Following University Ranking Criteria Makes POSTECH Great University?
Following University Ranking Criteria Makes POSTECH Great University?
  • Ahn Joon-hyung
  • 승인 2010.09.01 15:45
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When judging the middle class, what criterion comes to your mind? According to a survey of 1515 Korean adults by The Institute for Social Development and Policy Research, 51.7% of the respondents said ‘income and property’, followed by ‘housing assets like apartments (22.7%)’, ‘life style like education and consumption (16.2%)’, and ‘job or social status (9.5%)’. Of course, economic circumstance is a good standard to judge quality of life in a capitalist society, but does it represent all? Here is another interesting criterion by Georges Pompidou, ex-President of France. He said that the middle class is people who fulfill the following conditions. They should have wide abroad experience with foreign language proficiency, could play an instrument and a sport well, should be good enough at cooking to serve his or her guest, and should correct social justice when the society is facing a crisis.

I think both of the two different criteria are reasonable in their own way. But depending on whether people seek the former or the latter, the future of society will be totally different. If people place value on economic wealth, they can get what they want by spending money, and can enjoy material affluence, but I am not sure the endless pursuit of material wants will bring happiness to all people in society. On the other hand, if people consider spiritual values as important, regardless of their economic level, overall quality of life will be improved. As you can see above, depending on the criteria people seek, their lives will become different.

Then how about a university? Many universities, both at home and abroad, also establish various standards and try to improve the indices to become a better university. Especially in recent years, as some university evaluations have great effect on procuring excellent students and raising contributions, many universities including POSTECH have been trying to meet the rating agencies’ criteria. For example, POSTECH declared its ‘Three Year Globalization Plan’ which includes invitation of great scholars from abroad by spending a lot of money, attraction of overseas laboratories, and expansion of English use on campus so as to get good marks in the globalization part of the evaluation.

Although each university evaluation agency has reasonable criteria in its own way, it does not mean every university has to follow them. Every university is under different situations, so it is desirable for each university to try to improve its urgent problems rather than to follow the agencies’ criteria unconditionally.
Let me take the case of POSTECH. Since entrance into the school, I have had many chances to visit other good universities in Japan, China, Hong Kong, USA, Canada, and so on. Whenever I visit universities, my impression was that they are excellent, but POSTECH is also on a par with them by and large, and in some aspects even superior. On the other hand, several things such as welfare for graduate students, limits of location, and a lack of students’ love for university which are all critical factors for the development of the university are weak points of POSTECH. Then what is POSTECH’s urgent problem? On what points does POSTECH have to focus?

Many universities including POSTECH are struggling to jump up to be a leading university in the world based on some world university rankings’ criteria. But a blind endeavor without enough consideration about whether the criterion is suitable or not, could not guarantee the development of the university. Therefore we need to continue discussion about the right direction of the university’s development and the right criteria of evaluation, and try to reach an agreement on these.

Ahn Joon-hyung (IME05)