New Curriculum For New Freshmen
New Curriculum For New Freshmen
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  • 승인 2017.12.06 00:31
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▲ The slogan for welcoming interviewees on the auditorium

POSTECH decided to make major changes from the scholastic year of 2018. From next year, all students except for students majoring in Creative IT Engineering(CiTE) will start their freshmen year without their major determined. After studying for a few semesters, they can choose their major without any restraints. There will be no limitations concerning the number of students in each department to guarantee their choice. To make the transition smooth, a lot of policies are being debated, planned, and executed. To inform and introduce Postechians about the alterations, The Postech Times prepared a featured article about the topic.

What are the departments' preparations?
First, we made enquiries to the departments, to find out how they were preparing to the adjustment. The school declared that they would not take any measures even though all students apply to the same department, and so departments are desperate to attract students. Although departments had made arrangements to attract the undeclared students previously, they are now brainstorming and working more fervently, since the freshmen quota is not fixed and guaranteed anymore.
Previously, most departments just held information sessions for the undeclared. Those information sessions were usually conducted by professors like lectures, informing the students about professors, research fields, curriculums, and the benefits of the major. Those info-sessions were mostly held in the second semester, since the undeclared chose their major around the end of their freshmen year. Apart from the info-sessions, the undeclared students were invited to departments’ events, such as department camps, MTs, major’s nights, lab tours and other department events.
Now, with the change imminent, departments have started their preparations. First, info-sessions are changing. The departments of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), Chemistry (CHEM) and Life Science (LIFE) are holding their info-sessions twice a year, in each semester. Departments of Physics (PHYS) and Chemical Engineering (CE) made arrangements so students who came to info-sessions could have dinner with professors after the session, conversing freely. With the changes, info-sessions would be more interesting and informative.
The notable thing is that students are also working along with the professors and staff. Departments of Electrical Engineering (EEE), Mechanical Engineering (ME), LIFE and CE has their own team of students who cooperate to give ideas, promote department events and introduce their major. They created facebook pages to interview and introduce the faculty, fields of study, events such as info-sessions, and so on.
With the departments competing with each other, most departments were careful to reveal what they have prepared, and disclosed only a few ideas to us. Departments of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE), Mathematics (MATH), Industrial and Management Engineering (IME), ME and LIFE said they don’t have anything determined yet. Apart from those departments, others are preparing various events. CE will hold mentoring programs, matching each freshman with a senior. They are also planning meetings between students and professors at their labs to promote interest. EEE’s professors held a special lecture, presenting the six fields of study in electrical engineering. MSE established scholarships to make them look more attractive. CHEM will be conducting remedial courses to help the students’ studies, will create opportunities to talk with the professors after the lab tour, and also participate in lectures held for high schoolers.

What Changes?
From 2018, all freshmen in POSTECH will be Undeclared Students. To develop a curriculum that supports Undeclared Major Policy for Freshmen Admission and establish a creative undergraduate education system to fulfill the POSTECH vision, Educational Affairs and Records have tried to create a curriculum that enables students to explore their academic interests, enhance self-driven learning, and develop creativity. Major changes are as follows:
General Curriculum ΔReorganized General Requirement credit ΔCreated Freshmen introductory courses to encourage deeper understanding of Majors ΔEstablished Pass/No Record Grading Policy ΔEased Special Examination Passing Criteria
Major Curriculum ΔLightened Major Requirements ΔEnabled Major Declaration after completing three semesters ΔRemoved entrance quota and restrictions of Majors ΔAbolished restrictions on switching major period and approval process ΔRestructured STC course lists and changed guideline for STC credit completion (in progress)
HASS Curriculum ΔIncreased HASS Elective credit requirement ΔImplemented Intensive Writing Program ΔReformed English Certification Program (Changed the name to English Program, Accepts Official English Proficiency Test Scores)
In short, freshmen from 2018 will take 25 credits of General Requirements and 5 credits of General Electives. In their third semester, they will choose five STC courses. STC courses include 17 existing courses and 15 new courses. Their credits from STC courses will be included in their Major Electives. Until their third semester, they should take 7 credits of HASS Requirements. From their third semester, they should take 18 credits of HASS Electives including 2 courses from the Intensive Writing Program.
Presently enrolled students would likely wonder about how these changes will affect them, especially retaking courses. The Postech Times interviewed the Director Oh Chang-seon of Educational Affairs and Records.


▲ Course guideline for 2018 freshmen

Q. There can be various problems about the number of students in each department. Are you forecasting and preparing for those problems? And if a department gets very few freshmen, will the department have any disadvantages?
I think this will be the motive for competition in good faith. We will not judge the result of each department by only one year’s result. After several years, we will take proper measures. If some department needs more space or apparatus, then proper support will be provided. And the shortage of academic advisors is not a problem. In POSTECH, because of its trait of being a research-focused university, there are many professors who do not have teaching students.

Q. Will the scholarship system change?
 At first, we tried to change all courses to a Pass/No Record grading policy, but if it is enforced, we cannot receive support from the government. Hence, the scholarship system will maintain its current standards. If a student takes more than 10 credits and at least one letter grade course and gets at least a GPA of 3.0, the student can get a scholarship.

 About retaking courses, each department is subject to notice. Students who want to take Calculus have to take Calculus (MATH103), which is on offered in the first semesters of 2018 and 2019. Students who want to take General Physics have to take General Physics (PHYS101, PHYS102) Regular course. Students who want to take General Chemistry and General Chemistry Lab have to take General Chemistry (CHEM101, CHEM103) and General Chemistry Lab (CHEM102, CHEM104) for two semesters. Because current students take those courses for only one semester, some students resists about this and The Student Committee On Pedagogy and Education is conducting survey to solve this problem. Other courses will be on offer same as at present. In detail, even though some courses will be changed from General Requirements to General Electives or Major Electives, they will be accepted as General Requirements for students who entered before 2018.

Background of Change
According to Oh Chang-seon, Undeclared Major Policy for Freshmen Admission is first discussed in the second half of 2015. It is thought that introduction of the undeclared major system will bring well-adapting to changeable academic environment, decrease of academy entry barriers, assurance of autonomy of students. In March, 2016, POSTECH officially announced that it will select all freshmen as undeclared major students since upcoming 2018. Since the university was established, the three times of great change has made POSTECH creative. Through this upcoming fourth change, POSTECH attempt to be the value-create university rather than research-based university. In June, curriculum mapping was started in earnest. The mapping was constructed in order of General, Major, and HASS Curriculum. In the process of introduction, the various kinds of members in POSTECH participated in making the scheme. Director Oh said that in this procedure, POSTECH tried to collect diverse Postechians’ opinion through Undergraduate Association and got some positive response. It also listened to the voice of POSTECH Alumni Honor Society. He explained that although this change looks like radical in that some faculties still opposed to the change because it can break down the barrier of department, POSTECH judge that it is more important to blend knowledge of different field than keep the tradition, therefore POSTECH decided to impose the new rules.

How the New System is Delivered to Postecians
The new system is applied to entire students including the freshmen admitted in 2018 since the following year. However, announcement of information about the new system is delayed because some details are not decided yet. For instance, suggestion about changing HASS curriculum to mileage system since 2019 is recently discussed in university council held in Nov.30. Director Oh added it is a pity that schedule is so tight that we cannot deliver the details of new rules quickly. In fact, this lack of time lasts continuously until now. For example, there should be prepare for variables that can affect the new system. Furthermore, interests between the university headquarter and the departments should be adjusted because the new system does not ensure the constant numbers of the new student of each department. according to the original plan, plans for them should be all decided until September, 2017. However, because of complexity and immensity of interest and variables, those were not finished yet. In these situations, POSTECH plans to notice the new system by updating the academic guide rather than seminar, session or handing out brochure after the upcoming university council held in Dec.20. In case of major subject of each department, this kind of information can be noticed simply by updating POVIS online bulletin board.

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