Pioneer in Various Forms: Discussion of the Service-Learning Model of Lingnan University in Hong Kong

Hok Ka Carol MA, Cheung-ming Alfred CHAN, Mui Fong Fanny MAK, Alice Cheng LIU

Research output: Book Chapters | Papers in Conference ProceedingsBook ChapterResearchpeer-review


Lingnan University, which is the only liberal arts university in Hong Kong, has a long history in both Chinese and Western learning. Focusing on the comprehensive development approach of Whole-Person Education, Lingnan University is committed to establishing students’ civic awareness; cultivating their knowledge, skills, and observation power; allowing them to pursue their goals; and developing their abilities to think, judge, and care about the world as well as take responsibilities in the ever-changing social, cultural, and economic environment. Lingnan’s teaching objectives are not only about nurturing scholars, but also fostering future pillars who know how to take from the society and give back to the society. The concept that service learning advocates, which is a combination of “formal academic studies,” “meaningful service,” and “reflection,” fully embodies the teaching philosophy of liberal arts education and the motto of our university, “Education for Service.” Through active participation in social services, students apply what they learn, use knowledge and skills in real life, and deepen their grasp of knowledge to witness their growth and accomplishments. In the process, students build their sense of social responsibility, learn about different social issues, and enhance their whole-person development.

From 2004 to 2005, with support from the Kwan Fong Charitable Foundation, Lingnan University launched a service-learning pilot scheme, which formed the basis for the development of the university-wide service-learning programs. After receiving support from a donor and the university, the Office of Service-Learning (OSL) was officially established in 2006 and, to this day, remains committed to integrating the concept of service-learning into the liberal arts curriculum among institutions in Hong Kong. Over the years, the OSL has successfully launched a series of local and international service-learning programs, each of which provide students with opportunities to apply academic theory to service. In addition, under the guidance of course instructors and community agency representatives, these service-learning projects allow Lingnan students to cultivate active and positive attitudes and practical working skills. We insist on working on the following four missions: (1) manifest Lingnan University’s motto “Education for Service”; (2) promote interactive learning and district service activities; (3) provide whole-person development learning environments to students; and (4) enhance learning and teaching efficiency and quality through applications of service-learning. Although the concept of service-learning was initiated in the West, its core ideas are very similar to those of Chinese traditional Confucian culture. In correspondence with the core thinking of Confucianism, Lingnan University has adopted the core values of ren (benevolence), yi (justice), li (propriety), zhi (wisdom) and xin (integrity) into service-learning. While Lingnan University as a whole focuses on students’ whole-person development, various service-learning projects also aim to promote the core values and to make positive impacts on students’ development.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationService-Learning as a New Paradigm in Higher Education of China
EditorsCarol MA Hok-ka, Alfred CHAN Cheung-ming, Alice LIU Cheng, Fanny MAK Mui-fong
PublisherMichigan State University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9781609175535
ISBN (Print)9781611862713
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Pioneer in Various Forms: Discussion of the Service-Learning Model of Lingnan University in Hong Kong'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this