Prof. Desmond TSOI Awarded Michael G. Gale Medal for Distinguished Teaching

Prof. Desmond TSOI, Assistant Professor of Engineering Education in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE), has won the prestigious Michael G. Gale Medal for Distinguished Teaching in 2022. The honor was established by the University Council of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) in 1994 and is awarded to the faculty member who best exemplifies the continued pursuit of excellence, devotion to teaching and the ability to inspire and motivate others. It is presented annually to one outstanding faculty member from across all Schools at HKUST.

Prof. Tsoi joined HKUST in 2016. He received his PhD from Nanyang Technological University in 2009 and has taught in various universities in Singapore and Hong Kong prior to joining us. His research interests lie in multimedia technology, computer vision, and web technologies and engineering.

Upholding his teaching philosophy of “examples are always more effective than precepts”, Prof. Tsoi adopts student-centered and project-based learning strategies to help students gain real-world knowledge and skills. His five engaging and interactive computer science courses have been proven popular among students from diverse backgrounds and with different learning objectives. For 12 successive semesters from 2016 to 2021, he attained the highest teaching evaluation scores among all faculty members teaching regular undergraduate courses in his department.

Committed to educational innovations, Prof. Tsoi has made exemplary efforts to improve teaching efficiency. Together with his research assistants and Final Year Project groups, he developed an online assignment submission and automatic grader system, which has served about 2,500 users including teaching assistants and students to date and graded more than 170,000 assignments in one and a half years.

By setting an example to strive for excellence, he always encourages his students to set goals and empowers them to achieve their potential. Under Prof Tsoi’s guidance, his students’ final year projects have been acclaimed internally such as with the President’s Cup and Best Final Year Project awards, and earned external honors including the ASM Technology Award and HKIE Environmental Division Prize.

Prof. Tsoi’s passion for education has seen him being recognized with a number of teaching awards. Just a year after joining the University, he was elected one of the Best Ten Lecturers in 2017 and nominated for the Common Core Teaching Excellence Award. He is also a two-time winner of the School of Engineering’s Distinguished Teaching Award, commended first in the academic year 2018-19 and again in 2021-22.

Beyond the classroom, Prof. Tsoi devotes his time to curricular and student development at both the departmental and University-wide levels, as well as in other educational settings in Hong Kong. As an active member on departmental curriculum committees, working groups and teams, he takes part in the review of courses and programs and has made valuable recommendations for further improvements. He also collaborates with education platforms at HKUST such as the Student Innovation for Global Health Technology and the Center for Education Innovation to nurture students’ self-confidence and self-directed learning capabilities. Externally, he works with the Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong and the School of Professional Education and Executive Development of PolyU to enhance the quality of computer education.

For his achievements in teaching and curriculum development, his dedication to students, and his broad contributions to the University’s educational mission, Prof. Tsoi is a well-deserved recipient of the Michael G. Gale Medal, which recognizes, celebrates and rewards distinguished teaching, excellent service, and selfless commitment.

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The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) ( is a world-class research intensive university that focuses on science, technology and business as well as humanities and social science.  HKUST offers an international campus, and a holistic and interdisciplinary pedagogy to nurture well-rounded graduates with global vision, a strong entrepreneurial spirit and innovative thinking.  Over 80% of our research work were rated “Internationally excellent” or “world leading” in the Research Assessment Exercise 2020 of Hong Kong’s University Grants Committee. We were ranked 3rd in Times Higher Education’s Young University Rankings 2022, and our graduates were ranked 23rd worldwide and among the best from universities from Asia in Global Employability University Ranking and Survey 2021.

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