POSTECH, Globalization and 2020
POSTECH, Globalization and 2020
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  • 승인 2009.10.14 15:18
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Striving for a globalized campus through Vision 2020

In 2006, the year of its 20th anniversary, POSTECH announced “POSTECH Vision 2020.” Three years have passed since the announcement and all members of the university are putting their efforts into this vision-becoming a world top 20 research-oriented university by the year 2020. POSTECH is also in pursuit of fostering creative students and engineers with global leadership and creating economic value by conducting high impact research.

There are five key areas planned to improve to reach the goal. Selecting competitive students through a unique admission system and continuously providing a customized education to the selected few is the first key area which embodies the founding principle of POSTECH. The second is the creation of research breakthroughs that have high impact academically and socially and the establishment of interdisciplinary convergent programs. Securing and supporting world top class scholars and process innovation combined with the establishment of strong financial resources are the other two areas among the five.

The Postech Times will review what POSTECH strives to do in terms of globalization, which is one of the key areas of Vision 2020, over two issues. Globalization is now a major factor to be scrutinized in order to become a world’s top 20 university.

With the overall aim of increasing global visibility, there are four strategies  for the globalization of POSTECH: raising the global brand image, expanding English lectures and international faculty, revitalizing student internationalization programs and constructing the necessary infrastructure for the international community.

This issue will deal with the first two strategies and the following issue will discuss the others.

Reporter Kim Eun-ji

 ■ Raising Global Brand Image
Strategies for Uplifting POSTECH’s Brand Value

▲ University Advisory Committee(UAC) members discussed about Vision 2020 at the 1st UAC meeting held in last year
In this article, we are going to deal with the first item of POSTECH’s Vision 2020 Globalization, ‘Raising Global Brand Image’, with the information from Vision 2020 website,, and from POSTECH official quarters.
Let’s take a look at each strategies, then analyze them one by one. It breaks the goal down into four strategies. The details of strategies have changed a little bit, evaluating the status and prospects yearly.

I.Organization of the University Advisory Committee (UAC)
About the first strategy, the first POSTECH UAC meeting was held on Nov. 10 and 11, 2008 and 11 of its 19 members are either non-Korean or Koreans teaching at or working for non-Korean Institutions. The second Annual council meeting will be held in Nov. 2009. Also, the data from official quarters states that on June 2009, Computer Science Professor Kang G. Shin of Michigan Univ. held a presentation about the direction the  Department of Electric and Electronic Engineering should take. That’s all the UAC has done over two years. It is newly founded, so we had better assume a neutral rather than a critical.

II.Raising International Brand Awareness
For the second strategy, the POSTECH Newsletter published quarterly by the International Relations Office would be a good example. Also, The Postech Times English could help POSTECH raise brand awareness. From 2008 through 2009, high-ranking officials including the president have done international publicity activities several times to attract the attention of world-class universities such as MIT, Stanford, and Caltech. POSTECH jumped up 54 places in one year, and placed 134th at the Times Higher-QS World University Rankings in 2009. Believe or not, its peer review score has soared from 37 to 53, which is considered tacitly to highly depend on universities’ name value, in other words, brand awareness.

III.Holding International Science Councils & Supporting Professors’ International Activities
Let’s take a look at the third strategy. There were 6 international science councils POSTECH held and no support for professors’ international activities from 2008 through 2009. The Office of Planning and Budget, which takes charge of these, says they will choose 30 top conferences from each department or research field from this year, planning to start supporting these next year.

IV.Nobel Prize/Fields Medal Winners’ Lecture Program
About the last strategy, which is the most non-achieved of the four parts, only Dr. Jung Sang-wook, a highly probable candidate for the Nobel Prize, had a lecture at POSTECH last year. Furthermore, the university did not fund for this this year, though they planned to invite four winners. It seems a dead letter now. Alternatively, the Office of Academic Affairs, in charge of this project, says the ‘A-un Lecture’, which is a program for only Nobel Prize Winners and Fields Medalists, will be planned to be held this year.

If you visit the Vision 2020 website, the chart of how much POSTECH achieved Raising Global Brand Image will appear. You can see the achievements of Globalization keep edging up to 100%. Strategies which have the quantitative criteria are calculated as a percentage and others that are qualitative are calculated at a rough estimate by 25%, laying down reference points of how much these are carried out, POSTECH official quarters says.

After taking everything into consideration, we could conclude that the Vision 2020 project is still far away. POSTECH students and faculty members should make a fine-tuning of the communication system and interactive tools to create more various and specific plans for globalization, cooperating complementarily.

Reporter Shin Chang-ho

■ Expanding English lectures & international faculty
Projection: Massive Influx of English & International Academics

[Table] Execution Plans by 2011
In the wave of globalization, POSTECH declared strategies to increase global visibility. The level of globalization now undeniably is taking a larger proportion even when considering  world university rankings. POSTECH was placed 134th at the Times Higher-QS World University Rankings in 2009, up by 54 places from 2008. Inspite of capabilities to move up to a higher place in level with fore-running universities with similar conditions and backgrounds.  POSTECH lacks the ‘international factor.’ One of the core components that POSTECH is zeroing in on is the proportion of English lectures, international faculty, graduate students and researchers.

Increasing the number of lectures taught in English is the most noteworthy change POSTECH will be making by 2011. From that year, lectures for graduates are all planned to be in English and the outcome of this English-only lecture system is expected to be positive.

In addition to this, the current sophomores will have 100% English lectures from 2010 and the current freshmen will join the group by the year 2011. The current sophomores, who  first experienced the English Proficiency Certificate Program, were selected as the first target to alleviate side-effects of immediately introducing English lectures to freshmen and provide students enough time to adapt with in a bilingual environment.

Previous financial merits of English lectures to professors have now been terminated; however, the professors are spending more time and effort into each lecture, as they are now expected rather than rewarded. Even now, the number of lectures taught in English is reflected in faculty evaluation. It is advisable that professors actively participate and enthusiastically accept this major shift.

Expanding the international faculty is a more challenging area to work on as this links with the international researchers working for a particular professor. Although POSTECH’s selection as one of the major beneficiaries of the government-run World Class University (WCU) program caused an impact on the number of visiting international faculty this year, full-time international scholars are essential to establish POSTECH into a world distinguished research-oriented institute. POSTECH’s all-out effort in recruiting quality full-time professors is therefore most needed.

Reporter Kim Eun-ji


■ Revitalizing Student Programs for Globalization
Open your eyes to find your programs for globalization

Since POSTECH set up its university development committee in December 2003, much effort has been made to improve global competence by holding regular committee meetings. As a result, POSTECH declared its Vision 2020 strategy in 2004 to become a world top 20 university by the year 2020. Vision 2020 is divided into five key areas, which in turn have 17 action plans. In this article, we are going to focus on student global exchange programs as one of the 17 action plans in which Postechians can participate.

POSTECH has set up sisterhood relationships with 73 universities in 19 countries so far. Based on the agreements with other universities, POSTECH has offered diversified programs to improve Postechians’ capability for globalization. The programs provided by POSTECH are the Study Abroad Program, the Language Study for Freshman, the Summer Session, the AEARU Camp, Cross Strait Symposium, Bang Dosie Cultural Experience Program, World Class University Visiting Program and the Overseas Internship. Now, we are going to take a look at the programs offered in other rival universities such as KAIST and Seoul National University. Although there is the difference of scale for programs among each university, the content of programs is similar. Here is a chart to summarize the programs. 

▲ Comparison of student programs for globalization among the top three university in Korea
According to the chart, there is a distinctive program that differentiates both KAIST and SNU from POSTECH. It is a summer program that provides participants from various countries with the opportunity to build up a global human network by inviting distinguished scholars to give lectures in English for six weeks during the vacation period. Though POSTECH has many exchange programs, it needs to consider implementing such a summer program in addition to the courses offered during the summer vacation.

We have seen the globalization programs offered by POSTECH and other rival universities. Considering the fact that the number of entering students is about 300 per year and the possible number of participants for globalization programs are about 200 per year, you can recognize how blessed Postechians have been with opportunity compared with other university students.

However, although the maximum number of participants for the overseas internship program is 20, there were only four students who joined this program in 2008. It seems to reflect relatively less interest from students, who want to go abroad for study rather than work anywhere in the internship program. We hope that Postechians will have the chance to increase their global mind by taking advantage of the various exchange programs mentioned in this article.

Reporter Cho Sung-won


■ Constructing Global Infrastructure
POSTECH Needs to Make Concrete Plans to Build Infrastructure

During the 1970s and 1980s, Korea could achieve amazing economic growth in a short period of time. This was possible because the government constructed essential infrastructures like express highways, harbors, and so on. These infrastructures supported and promoted the development of other industries like shipbuilding, automobile manufacturing, and steelmaking, and the overall economic level could increase rapidly.

As you can see in this case, infrastructure is one of the core factors in the effective implementation of campus globalization. Recently in the wave of globalization, POSTECH is planning to construct several global infrastructures. Let’s take a look their progress.

⊙ POSTECH Overseas Offices
POSTECH opened its first overseas office in Beijing, China, on Oct. 30th to attract excellent Chinese students and to strengthen the relationships with sister universities in China. This office is expected to take on important roles as a bridgehead in revitalizing mutual exchanges between POSTECH and Chinese universities. POSTECH has plans to launch other overseas offices in Europe and America if the Beijing office is successfully operated.

⊙ MPI-Korea
The Max Plank Institute (MPI) in Germany is a global top level institute which produced 33 Nobel Prize winners. Currently POSTECH is trying to induce the Max Plank Society to found MPI-Korea in Pohang. Last year POSTECH held a symposium with the MPI the purpose of which was the final screening for the decision of the MPI-Korea establishment. And in this January, President Sunggi Baik visited Germany and signed a MOU with Peter Gruss, the president of MPI, about the science and technology research cooperation between the two institutes. If this plan comes into efffect, it is expected that POSTECH can enhance its research capability by activating collaboration with world-class researchers.

⊙ Global Housing
POSTECH is planning to build new housing for researchers. This housing will include various types of rooms like single or family and will be equipped with some convenience facilities like dining rooms and a fitness center. And this would be also arranged as a luxury accommodation to attract the world’s best-known scholars from other countries. But this global housing establishment plan is not confirmed but just under consideration.

⊙ Constructing an International School for foreign faculties’ children
If foreign professors or researchers have to immigrate with their families to Korea, one of the major concerns is the educational problem of their children. To solve this, the plan to construct an international school in Pohang has been proposed. But it has not made any progress due to a lack of budget.

As mentioned at the beginning, infrastructure is the most essential element in effective achievement of campus globalization. But some of POSTECH’s plans are just on the drawing board and are not concrete. So it is strongly needed to make concrete and visible plans which can find an echo in all Postechians’ hearts. And then we have to prioritize the tasks and carry out the plans intensively.

Reporter Ahn Joon-hyung

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