Moon Chun Memorial College:
A Multidisciplinary and International Institution

English: Manuel Noronha, Peggy Lau & Alice Hong‧Photo: Moon Chun Memorial College‧Chinese Translation: Davis Ip

“We care about you more than your GPA.”

Founding College Master, Prof Kit Thompson

Each year, first year students at the University of Macau (UM) are randomly assigned to one of ten residential colleges, and they maintain membership in the same college throughout their undergraduate years. The collegiate system is undoubtedly enriched by the diversity of its students, and their academic interests and expectations, talents, and drive.

Prof Kit Thompson, founding master of the college

An Educational Model to Help Students Grow

The Moon Chun Memorial College (MCM College) can best be described as contemporary: an international institution that is multidisciplinary yet is free of unnecessary hierarchy or fusty rituals. This college believes in connectivity, which is multidisciplinary and international; friendships across borders and cultures. All these work towards the ultimate goal, which is to facilitate student success and help them live their lives to the full.

Below are several signature events that define the authentic experiences and engagement of the college.

International Musicians in Residence

The college receives renowned composers, performers, and ensembles to present and perform, and hold master classes, informal discussions, and workshops. These visitors engage in short-term residencies which culminate in performances, exhibitions, and new works. In recent years, Supernumerary Fellow Dr Patricia Thompson has effectively involved both students and faculty members.

Choral Groups in Residence

The college has had the privilege of hosting a rich tradition of choral music, from chapel choirs to ensembles specialising in other genres from collegiate Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Oxford; and Cambridge, UK.

On 10 December 2015, the college was delighted to host an open rehearsal by the Choir of Gonville and Caius College, University of Cambridge, in College Hall to a capacity audience. Students and faculty colleagues from across UM greatly enjoyed experiencing the musical processes by which a world-class choir is produced. In 2017, Clare College Choir University of Cambridge held an informal open rehearsal to a capacity audience in College Hall. The Choir’s Director of Music, Graham Ross, led the group through choral works by English composers Ralph Vaughan Williams and John Rutter.

Music Direction

Through an environment of collaboration and creation, MCM College students continue to share their passion for music and culturally interact and engage with the Macao community during special festivities. Apart from recitals and performances, our students are trained to be music teachers by guiding their peers in their pursuit of musical knowledge and offering music appreciation sharing workshops, further enriching the college’s music and cultural environment.

Music direction

High Table

College Master Prof Kit Thompson and Supernumerary Fellow Dr Patricia Thompson receive distinguished guests, fellows and first-year students to a magnificent Commencement High Table: a black-tie event where members of the college and guests don academic robes and undergrads choose sub-fusc or evening dress. Our College Hall creates a most charming setting and atmosphere – one that is conducive to concentration and ideal for the exchange of views and insights as well as suave musical performances.

High table

Writers and Poets: The Script Road

The college has hosted several literary workshops over the years featuring some internationally acclaimed writers such as 2012 Pulitzer Prize winner Adam Johnson, Scotsman Graeme Macrae Burnet, Irish writer Marita Conlon-McKenna, and Asian American writer Leslie Chang.

Literary workshops

English and Portuguese Language Enhancement Activities

MCM College is dedicated to developing kinesthetic learning, where students benefit from learning through games and interactive activities. Regular participants of the English-in-Action series support each other, make decisions together and learn from one another. Popular games such as Jeopardy and Quiz Night involve all aspects of language: listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

‘A Mesa Portuguesa’ provided informal opportunities for students to practise speaking and listening skills in Portuguese. It was intended simply to ‘nourish’ and motivate language development and conversational skills. Participants of all levels (across the colleges) took time out from their busy schedules to speak with Visiting Scholar in Residence, Prof Joseph Levi, and fully immerse in a Portuguese-speaking environment over dinner.

Sporting Prowess

The college places a strong emphasis on leadership, teamwork, and healthy living as part of its experiential and peer learning programme. With such powerful and evocative core values firmly instilled, the college has managed to build successful team spirit and sporting prowess among its many competitive athletes, who not only represent the university at the intervarsity level, but also participate in Macao’s local sporting leagues and national team selections.

Sporting prowess

Pastoral Care and Social Responsibility

Under strict protocols and preventative measures of the Covid-19 pandemic era, students’ lives and well-being have been adversely affected. The college’s resident fellows implemented important initiatives to strengthen students’ supporting network with the collaboration of an assigned social worker’s on-site pastoral care, as well as a ‘Step by Step’ digital mental health programme.

Many new projects such as volunteering and community service activities aim to nurture social responsibility. Service targets include the elderly, the mentally ill, and the mentally disabled. Educational approaches to service-learning raise students’ awareness of social issues: ageing, depression, and inclusive community. Through reflection and reciprocity, students examine and enhance their own perceptions of social issues and life values.

Dr Manuel Noronha joined MCM College at UM in 2014 as associate master. He oversees student life and general operations in the college and provides student counselling and pastoral care, as well as managing student discipline, supervising, and organising developmental and academic tutorial programmes in the college.

Dr Peggy Lau is a resident fellow of MCM College at UM. She received her master’s degrees in piano pedagogy and piano performance and doctoral degree in piano performance from Michigan State University. She has vast experience in hosting resident hall activities.

Alice Hong is a resident fellow of MCM College at UM. She is an experienced student counsellor, and specialises in interpersonal and leadership skills training, volunteer training, career guidance, sexuality education, character education, and life education.

RC Development is a submission column. The views expressed are solely those of the author(s). UM launched its residential college (RC) system in 2010 to create a multicultural and multidisciplinary learning platform for knowledge integration. RC education aims to cultivate seven competencies of students, namely responsible citizenship, global competitiveness, knowledge integration, teamwork and collaboration, service and leadership, cultural engagement, and healthy lifestyle.

ISSUE25 | 2022

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