Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Yonsei University of South Korea proposes 'G10'academic exchange

Jeong Kap-young,Yonsei University President.

Yonsei University President Jeong Kap-young said Wednesday that his school’s administration is talking with other top schools in the Asia-Pacific region about forming an elite group of 10 higher education institutions to lead change in the global educational sector.

The group, which he dubs the “G10,” is one of Yonsei’s bold initiatives to expand academic exchange and cooperation among prestigious schools in the region. Under the proposed system, member universities would exchange faculty members and students, and initiate joint degree programs, Jeong said.

“Many schools have reacted positively to the idea of spurring academic exchange through the G10 framework. The group would include top private and state universities in the Asia Pacific region.”

Japan’s Keio University is enthusiastic about the project. Yonsei has agreed to set up an office in Keio to discuss follow-up measures and strengthen bilateral cooperation, according to the 61-year-old economics professor.

The proposal represents Yonsei’s vision for globalization.

In his inauguration speech, Jeong called for a “third founding” of Yonsei to make it one of the most respected schools in the world. It adopted the concept of a residential college at its new campus in Songdo, Incheon. Professors and students there will live together in dormitories.

The school said this is to integrate living and learning, helping students develop their character and engage in study more actively. Yonsei is the first Korean college to adopt such a system for undergraduate students.

“In the long term, we want to develop the Songdo campus into a specialized learning environment for professors and students from around the world. It’s the centerpiece of our G10 project,” said Jeong, a native of Gimje, North Jeolla Province.

“The vision of a third founding reflects our resolve to become a global leader in both education and research. The Songdo campus is where this dream will come true.”

The first founding was the establishment of Jejungwon, a medical institution, in 1885. The following year, the Underwood School was started by Horace G. Underwood, a Presbyterian missionary, providing education for orphans. The second founding came when Yonhui College and the Severance Medical School merged under the name Yonsei University in 1957.

Jeong has invited a group of 15 descendants of Horace Underwood to Seoul to share his vision and ideas for the school’s development. They will arrive on May 26 and stay till June 4, Jeong said.

The school also plans to initiate a reconstruction project to turn the Sinchon campus into an eco-friendly learning environment by 2015. It will hold a ceremony to commemorate its 130th anniversary on the renovated campus.

“We are focusing on enhancing the distinctive characteristics of the campuses in Sinchon in Seoul, Wonju in Gangwon Province and Songdo to generate cross-campus synergy in education and research,” Jeong said. 


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