September 2021

Dear Alumni,
Updates to Alumni from the College Management
Warmest greetings to our first issue of Updates from the College Management of 2021/22!  After the prolonged suspension of normal campus life, students of Gratia were finally back to school and could meet everyone face-to-face (with a mask though) on campus.  Let us take this opportunity to update you on alumni matters and walk you through the latest situation of College operation.
Support and Services to Alumni
Progress has been made in developing the platform for operating service and support work for alumni as mentioned in the last issue.  With efforts made to do the groundwork in the past few months, preliminary design of the alumni website is ready.  Further work is in progress to co-ordinate and prepare with relevant parties involved before rolling out for use.  Keep checking out the update from the College.
Graduate Survey and Graduation Ceremony
With the 3rd cohort of graduates in place, the College will soon roll out the survey to invite graduates of 2021 to update their status and destination.  Graduates of the year are kindly requested to revert the response upon receipt of the invitation.  As for the graduation ceremony, we share your frustration that it has been further postponed under the threat of the pandemic in the last two years.  Although we have in our schedule tentatively planning it for some time in December 2021, the threat of the COVID-19 variants in the local community has aroused considerable safety concerns.  We therefore have to cautiously monitor the situation before we could confirm whether it is feasible to pursue the plan.  We shall update you on the matter as soon as a decision is made.
Teaching and Learning                             
In the past few months, the key priority of the College management was establishing a safe environment for full resumption of on-campus operation in the new academic year.  Health and hygienic measures have been stepped up, an important one of which is implementing the requirement of COVID-19 vaccination or regular testing for the entire College community, including both staff and students.  As for day-to-day learning and activities, students are requested to observe social distancing in classrooms and anywhere of the campus.
Student Support and Activities
This year, we have engaged Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service as the service provider of student counselling and personal development programme.  Counselling service has been strengthened with on-campus consultation of the counsellor increased to three days a week.  With the resumption of on-campus operation, more workshops will be run for skills enhancement and for enrichment of students’ learning experience.  The government-funded project, “A Multi-dimensional Approach to Narrow the Learning Gaps among Students”, will continue this year to run a variety of workshops.  As of last academic year, the project counsellor will be stationed in Gratia, also 3 days a week, to provide support to students.
Programme Development
To meet the needs of the sector for professional development, application was made to add a 3-year part-time conversion mode (Year 3 entry) to the Bachelor of Social Work Programme.  Proposed addition was in principle approved by the Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications.  Subject to approval of the Social Workers Registration Board, the conversion mode will be offered in September 2022.
Enjoying Campus Life Again
Notwithstanding the need to maintain social distance and the inconvenience brought by the anti-epidemic measures, both staff and students treasure being here altogether and be able to enjoy campus life again.  We also look forward to the opportunity where alumni could meet and catch up with each other at Gratia.  We also hope that it won’t be long when it is feasible for organizing alumni activity on campus.
Best wishes to you all!
College Management