Prof Adrian Bailey joined UIC in September 2020 and is now wearing many hats as so to speak when it comes to roles. He is the Associate Vice President (Internationalization), in addition to being the Dean of Division of Humanities and Social Sciences (DHSS) as well as a Chair Professor.


Prof Adrian Bailey joined UIC in September 2020

Prof Bailey was Chair Professor of Geography and Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences in Hong Kong Baptist University before joining UIC. He joined the Department of Geography at Hong Kong Baptist University in 2010 and described the city of Hong Kong as "Fantastic". Over the last five years, the broad research agenda of Prof Bailey has focused on migration, health and well-being, and life course theory. In 2013, Prof Bailey was then elected as the Fellow of Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS).

Prof Bailey's journey began when he acquired his PhD in Geography from Indiana University in the US in 1989. His time in Indiana showed him the importance of cultural diversity.

Previously, Prof Bailey was Associate Professor of Geography (with tenure) at Dartmouth College in the US between 1989 and 1999, where he experienced an exciting college life in a good location. It was at the University of Leeds in the UK where he worked as a Professor of Migration Studies between 1999 and 2010, where Prof Bailey found a good balance between a dynamic city and an inspiring landscape.

In addition to his scholarship, Prof Bailey also boasts a wealth of experience in university administration at a senior level. Apart from his current deanship, he has taken on diverse roles of importance, including Head of the Department of Geography, Head of the School of Geography, and Director of Centre for Advancement of Social Science Research.

It was at HKBU where Prof Bailey first came to know of UIC and its development. He isn't a stranger either, because Prof Bailey has visited UIC several times before including being a High Table guest speaker. "I liked what I saw. I liked the direction that the university was going in. President Tang Tao has got some big ambitions when it comes to balancing between teaching and researching that I felt I could contribute too. It's progressive and heading in a direction that I could relate to," says Prof Bailey when asked what attracted him to UIC.


Prof Bailey believes there are four different forms of capital, which are essential aspects of the internationalization of a university. They are human capital, social capital, cultural capital and ethical capital.


UIC students embracing the international experience on campus

Prof Bailey explains how human capital is needed for universities to achieve goals, develop and remain innovative. Universities can invest in human capital, for example, through education and training. Social capital is the networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society, enabling that society to function effectively.

Cultural capital functions as a social relation within an economy of practices (i.e., system of exchange), and includes the accumulated cultural knowledge that confers social status and power. Ethical capital enables people with diverse backgrounds who may never meet to come together and address urgent global problems, for example, through making conscious choices about what they buy. "These four elements of capital are needed in a university, and they need these capitals in their students and their staff," said Prof Bailey.

Prof Bailey believes UIC needs to do more to be truly international. While complimenting the number of UIC students that go abroad, the number of international partners, the college's curriculum and the diverse range of staff, Prof Bailey feels more needs to be done when it comes to bringing international students to the campus as well as research collaboration.

The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) is something that Prof Bailey thinks UIC can look for support with becoming more international. "Companies within the GBA have an interest in global reach, and this university also has an interest in global reach; therefore, we can help each other," said Prof Bailey before continuing "As a university we attract talent, we can offer continuing professional development, as well as working on shared projects with companies. We can be a good neighbour within the GBA".


Prof Bailey stresses how essential the GBA is and what excellent opportunities it can provide for not just the university but also the students as they will live, work and hopefully thrive in the GBA. "If the GBA sneezes, then they (the students) will catch a cold. GBA's fortune is their fortune." Partnerships, student exchanges and potential investments through strong cooperation and collaboration with the GBA are very much a focus of Prof Bailey's international vision for UIC.

One ambitious aspect that Prof Bailey would like to see implemented at UIC is that every student, during their four-year duration at the college, is mandatory to undergo an international experience overseas. He does understand it is a challenge, but something he believes is critical for UIC students to experience.

Liberal arts

"The range of liberal arts is important, and I think it is being re-recognised," says Prof Bailey. Explaining how specific terms have been used for hundreds of years, and they come in waves, he says that the science element, the art element and the social science element should overlap. "The three elements of liberal arts, sciences, arts, and social sciences, in harmony, that's the win, that's the production of a successful liberal arts education" expresses Prof Bailey. He explained it's about giving students analytical, rhetorical, reading and writing skills; however, it also gives them other skills such as creating the ability to work in new environments with others and flourishing in times of risk and uncertainty.

When it comes to being the Dean of the DHSS, he wants to build on the strength of that each of the stand-alone programmes and go back to basics with the social sciences as a bridge between the sciences and the arts.

DHSS is planning to offer a new programe on Digital Social Science, "Digital Social Science is all about training graduates for work and life in a digital society. It means having skills in digital analytics, programming, statistics, maths, critical and creative thinking as well as being creative and resourceful in uncertain, dynamic and risk-filled environments." Prof Bailey believes that smart city solutions as well as digital healthcare and knows that this area has enormous growth potential for employment and opportunities.


Prof Bailey stresses what excellent opportunities the GBA can provide for students

Prof Bailey stresses the joint importance of internationalisation and localisation "You can't have one without the other," A tangible example he used was about scholarships and the right balance to offering local students and overseas students these scholarships, and not to mismanage the resources involved in this. Prof Bailey wants to provide more competitive scholarships to attract even more international students.

"The market place for international students is highly competitive, but UIC can attract the best". Paying attention to student expectations and re-balancing university strategy to emphasise top students, top research, and top partnerships with the GBA is how a university should be thinking when considering the future. According to Prof Bailey's vision, the GBA's location and its growing links to other regions in the world is an area where UIC can look to attract more international students.

Looking at a graduate's job title and role, rather than the sector is how Prof Bailey measures a successful student. Whether it is in academic, business, or entrepreneurship, Prof Bailey believes that "leadership" is the key for what he considers to be a successful student. "Making students resilient and resourceful," Prof Bailey states "Especially given our uncertain times."

Prof Bailey is hoping that when the COVID-19 pandemic situation settles down and travelling becomes more convenient, he sees himself as an ambassador for UIC and introducing the brand.

Editor: Samuel Burgess