According to Gwangjang, Professor Bae Woo-sung is one of the most popular professors at the University of Seoul (UOS). His lectures are also recommended by many students. However, if you think he will give you a good grade without working hard, you should not take his lecture. Prof. Bae teaches about a culture of Joseon in the Dept. of Korean History. He has a very gentle smile, which he did not lose once through the interview.
The student who recommended us to interview you through Facebook said, “Prof. Bae tries to see and understand things around us from students’ perspectives, rather than from his own viewpoint.” What do you think about this comment? If students feel like that, I appreciate it. I think understanding things from students’ perspective is a bit different form of study. Delivering knowledge is a natural thing but the delivery itself has an important meaning, especially in the humanities. Because of this reason, understanding things from students’ perspective is very important.
On Gwangjang, there are many comments saying that your lecture is quite difficult for most of the students, but highly recommended. Why do you think this is? It is hard to answer this question. I also appreciate comments like that. I think university professors have many jobs to do. They should work on their researches, teach their students well and donate socially through using their abilities in the major. Those are all important to me. However, I know that I cannot do them all, so I want to focus on teaching students. Of course, I want to do many other things like contributing to remarkable research; however, I have put a priority on teaching. What I consider as ‘good teaching’ does not only include delivering a lot of knowledge and knowing what students want and reflecting it in the lecture. I also take into account how I can have positive influence on students. Additionally, based on my educational capability, I think about how I can help students. Therefore, I do not think that students’ evaluation of my lecture is unfair. I hope students would strive like me to understand things at the same perspective with each other, in order to create a meaningful atmosphere within my lectures. Of course, I always do my best to do so.
How would you describe your lecture style? I endeavor to expand students’ discussion time more than my lecture. Therefore, I have a seating list of students in my classes. I use this during class. It is not effective if I simply point at a student saying ‘hey’ or ‘you.’ Therefore, I say the student’s name through eye-contacting. It puts some burden on students to speak and think.
What is your life time goal? I do not know how I am doing well for my students. However, I want to teach students, do researches enthusiastically while also actively contributing to society. I hope I can do my work without losing my passion and keep my present attitude until I retire from the UOS. I am not a genius, so I cannot offer a world-surprising research, but I can be the best professor in terms of teaching and donating for society. I think people should do something he or she can do well or likes to do, just as how I can be best at teaching which I enjoy doing the most. I want to live enthusiastically and I advise students to do the same. Have passion and struggle for your work!