President Yongmin Kim's Principle: Openness & Fairness
President Yongmin Kim's Principle: Openness & Fairness
  • Park Seo-kyung
  • 승인 2012.09.05 20:08
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His Reflections on One Year and Visions for POSTECH

Sep. 5th is the one-year anniversary of President Yongmin Kim’s inauguration. As his first year is coming to an end, The Postech Times interviewed him about what he has emphasized and what he plans for the future. <Editor's Comment>



Q: Any thoughts after spending a year as the president?
P: I think the first year has passed so fast due to numerous challenges and oppo- rtunities, and at the same time, three years still remain. But the feeling of former is stronger.
Q: Recently you’ve enforced neo-liberalistic system like public tender of purchasing system. Why have you promoted this kind of policy?
P: To become a world-leading university, integrity has to be deeply ingrained in our culture. Also, we should pursue excellence in education and research above all else. For POSTECH to become a world-leading university, openness and the principle of fairness are essential.?Until now, for example, most contracts have been private contracts without open competition, but I have been hearing dissatisfaction and protest within POSTECH and outside about them. Some companies insist “POSTSECH is exclusive and too closed to enter”. They insist POSTECH providing fair business opportunity is also an important principle.
As all contracts became public tender from last spring, janitorial workers’ salary decreased. I feel sad when I think of it. But, gaining openness without any negative consequences such as this case seemed next to impossible, so I was torn about that. It’s a juggling act, trying to keep the principles of openness and fairness. Now, we are trying to identify ways to soften this negative consequence.
Q: You’ve stressed comm- unication, holding conversation with members, sending email you have written yourself, and so on. What’s your purpose and expectation?
P: If an owner of a university existed, who should it be? There is no doubt that faculty is a very important group. However, students, staff, alumni, POSTECH Foun- dation, board of trustees and people who love and support the university are the key members of POSTECH as well. I think POSTECH can move forward fast when all the constituents understand and participate in the vision of POSTSECH. So, to improve common thread of ownership and communication, the decision-making process of school should be opened.
Q: What business and vision will you emphasize over the next three years?
P: I’ll continue to establish a strong foundation to enable POSTECH to lead the world in the next 25 years. The most important element for this is “Culture”, seeking excellence in education and research in our decisions. Honesty, openness, professionalism, and collaboration should also become deeply engrained in the culture. In addition, maximizing our existing resources, e.g., human, space, and financial resources is needed for POSTECH to become more competitive and excel. To create more financial resources, we cannot generate a lot in short term. We have to use the existing resources as efficiently as possible in short term, and generate new ones through fundraising in long term. Systems for this have been set in place since earlier this year.
Institute for Basic Science (IBS) campus centers were opened in early August. When IBS is well established, they will have a huge impact on research. Because POSTECH faculty members are leaders in their respective fields, they will direct and conduct world’s leading research, the entire quality of research will be enhanced.
Q: What’s the purpose of neo industry-university collaboration, and correlation to national policy?
P: The purpose of neo industry-university collaboration is to make POSTECH a better university, and give students opportunities to do creative and innovative research. Since a world-class company can rise and fall through breakthrough discoveries, research on basic and engineering science should be encouraged and supported. As faculty and researchers are learning the real world issues, trends and needs, they should be in position to develop technologies that could change the world in the next 10 or 20 years. Through this kind of research, POSTECH students can be trained to tackle and develop creative, adventurous and high-risk, high-return technologies. Students will then become even more confident and passionate about discovery and technology develo- pment. These aspects will prove to be even more important when students become global leaders or CEOs, and those are the people POSTECH needs to educate.
Q: Students feel that public recognition of POSTECH is low. What are you doing to solve that problem?
P: In some ways, that’s public relations or marketing. I believe that POSTECH should do more proactive marketing because POSTECH has lots of good contents. I want all members of POSTECH to be amb- assadors, too. So I asked the Office of External Relations to make a short PowerPoint presentation about POSTECH, to equip faculty members with an up-to-date POSTECH introduction when they deliver lectures outside POSTECH. And students and all other Postechians should also consider these things.
Q: Graduate schools have been mainly established by funding of government or company. When support is ended, debate surr- ounds the issue of removing programs. What is your policy regarding this issue?
P: POSTECH’s current organization is too complicated for its size. With external funding, new academic departments have been easily established. However, eliminating existing ones is another matter because it involves the students already enrolled in the program and the alumni. For current departments that have been created via external funding, they will be terminated by default, unless they satisfy conditions for continuation. Naturally, involved students of the terminated departments become restless and uncertain. The university should suggest a clear and reasonable solution for them.

Q: What is the desirable government policy for science and technology?
P: What scientists want are continuity and certainty, which enable them to plan in long term. So when a certain research is considered important, those things should be assured regardless of change of regime. Also scientists and engineers should continue to learn, expand the horizon and be more creative. I think only scientists and engineers can create true new values, which can enrich life. Therefore when students have dreams, and endure difficulties with courage, raising capability in school and overcoming failures, the dreams will come true. I want POSTECH to cultivate creative, courageous scientists. That’s my dream.
Q: What would you like to say to our readers?
P: I want members of POSTECH to know and be informed the way about the current status, issues and future directions through The Postech Times. And, I want The Postech Times to have open doors and encourage more participation and healthy discussion.
Q: Do you have any words of encouragement for The Postech Times as it completes its third year?
P: As POSTECH is a bilingual campus and has a sizable body of international faculty and students, the role of The Postech Times is very important. Although anno- uncements are to be in both Korean and English, I see only Korean is used in many announcements. Thus, during this transition period, I believe that The Postech Times acts as a pressure release valve that can reduce frustration of non-Koreans. So, I’d like you to work hard with pride and mission to serve them and make POSTECH a diverse campus.

Q: Do you have any additional comments?
P: During school years, not only solid scientific and technical foundation, but also non-technical things like communication, leadership, and management skills should be developed. These skills will serve students very well for them to become leaders after graduation. Finally, remember what JFK said in his inauguration address in 1961 with the word country replaced with university, “Ask not what your university can do for you; ask what you can do for your uni- versity.”