The University of Seoul (UOS) has developed over the last 100 years, and sometimes it made the world surprised by its improvements. The progress was available thanks to thousands of UOS members. Now, it is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and The UOS Times interviewed the President of UOS, Won Yun-hi, as the person to explain about the developments of the past and the way to go in the future.
1. Please tell us about the successful businesses that you have done during your tenure.
There were a lot of businesses, but what remains in my memory the most is convergence education by selecting several majors. Other universities went through the channels of merging some departments, but UOS made it possible to select departments freely. For example, The Department of Korean History includes a lot of factors of humanities studying with historical books. But if a student needs knowledge such as statistics or GIS for deeper researches, it is possible to learn those things with convergence education. It is the College of Liberal Arts and Cross-Disciplinary Studies that makes such things possible. It was considered a successful example of convergence education by the Ministry of Education.
Also, I have tried to make the facilities better during the last three years. The biggest ones were the Citizens Culture Education Center, UOS’s Daycare Center, and enlarging the dormitory. Among all the facilities, I have focused on facilities related to students. First of all, the first floor of the Main Library was completely repaired. In front of the library, there was a security office which was not used that much. Because of the budget, we did half of the repairs last year and are going to complete the rest this year. With a cafe and comfortable chairs, it will be put to very good use. After the reconstruction of the first floor, we are planning to repair the third floor of the Main Library this summer vacation.
The student lounge in the 21st Century Building was a dead space before, but it became much better. The cafe on the first floor of Cheonnong Hall was also changed. Projectors and lecture desks in most of the lecture rooms are changed, and seminar rooms are developed. What I worry the most is the thing that people may think of UOS as a cheap university with half-college-tuition, thinking that lectures and the facilities are also not that good. For a better image and environment, the Main Stadium will also be repaired this year. Making a better image of UOS is one of the reasons that I am focusing on the improvement of the educational environment.
2. Could you tell us about the events that you are planning for the 100th anniversary in detail?
Among about 70 events for the 100th anniversary of UOS, the biggest one is a vision declaration, which is going to be held on May 2. The direction of improvement and vision of UOS will be declared here.
Also, the day before the Daedong festival starts, an international food festival will be held. In UOS, there are foreign students from about 100 foreign exchange universities. With students from around the world, we are going to make their traditional food with them. If possible, we are planning to invite the ambassadors of those countries. On May 3, a concert will also be held at Lotte Concert Hall, which has about 2,500 seats. Since alumnus will be invited, it is a day of reconciliation. UOS gathered participants of the chorus, and the selected teaching staffs are now training hard. I also applied to this program, but I do not know well whether I can make the stage together because my schedule and the days we practice for the concert are always conflicting.
Included in these big events, a lot of activities are waiting for students including a marathon, burying a time capsule, and making commemoration stamps. Detailed lists will be printed this month.
3. Please tell us about your top priority during the rest of your one-year tenure.
Facilities are closely related to budgets. To make an educational environment that is not left behind compared to Yonsei University and Korea University, I am going to persuade the city to budget for better facilities and make a good business plan.
Compared to the top 10 universities in Seoul, UOS’s research environment is not that good. I want to improve educational and institutional environments for better classes and research.
4. Beyond its 100th anniversary, UOS will progress towards its 200th anniversary. For bicentenary, do you have something that you want to talk to UOS members and to Seoul City?
Seoul City is a foundation of UOS. There are about 40 universities in Seoul, and it’s hard to find a city like this. Even though UOS is Seoul City’s university, sometimes I feel that UOS is just one of the universities among 40 universities in Seoul. Rather than this, I hope UOS becomes a university that can be developed with Seoul City’s overall development as a university that was founded and established by the city.
The School of Medicine also has the same problem. I hope we make it not only because UOS needs it, but because Seoul City also needs it in the perspective of health service, so that the university and Seoul City develop mutually.
Often interests of different UOS members tangle in a complicated way since there are a lot of members in the community. However, as a president of UOS, making a university that everyone enjoys coming to is the main goal. For this, continuous studying and compromising of cases where the interests of different members collide will be necessary.
Even with his busy schedule, he greeted The UOS Times with answers well prepared. Also, the reporters were able to feel his sincere mind and passion for the infinite development of UOS through the interview. The UOS Times hope this interview to be an indicator to make UOS grow with stability.