In July, the UOS was selected as an excellent university in the 2003 Speciality Project Evaluation of Universities by the MOE (Ministry of Education & Human Resources Development). The MOE selected 30 universities including the UOS from 121 public and private universities all over the country, based on their plans and actual results. This is the second time that the UOS was selected as an excellent university in this evaluation since 1997.
Besides, the UOS will be supported by state subvention about 90 million won. So it has fine prospects of continuing to develop its project of specialization in the Urban Sciences field, which has been promoted since 1995. Since then, the UOS has constantly promoted its plan of nurturing Urban Sciences as a priority, and it intends to make this plan applicable to the world of IT, as well.
Through this interview with the Chief of the UOS Office of Planning & Development, we found out some relevant issues, the aim of the plan, and its influence on the UOSians.
The UOS has just been selected as an excellent specialized university for the second time since 1997. Would you explain what a specialized university means?
A few years ago, the MOE decided that universities should make an effort to have a specialized field rather than to develop every part of them equally. So every university chose the one particular area they wanted to develop, and they have predominately nurtured that part.
Since then, the MOE has evaluated the best faculty of each university and has given support to the selected 30 universities, the total amount being 30 billion won. This MOE program helps each university to diversify and specialize and it can be said that the quality of education and competitiveness are also being improved compared to other foreign universities.
Why was the UOS picked an excellent university? The 30 univer-sities were chosen as excellent universities from 156 public and private ones, and the biggest reason that the UOS was picked as an excellent university from this keenly competitive field is the superiority of its Urban Sciences faculty. Because the UOS is operated by the Seoul municipal admin-istration, it can especially develop its Urban Sciences field that is related to Seoul city’s needs.
So we can say that our goal is to help Seoul to grow and develop through the various fields of the College of Urban Sciences. But this doesn’t ever mean that we ignore other fields. We will develop all fields as well as the College of Urban Sciences maintaining our fundamental framework in the long term.
The Urban Sciences field has been a priority since 1995. Are there special reasons for developing it in particular?
Of course. The Urban Sciences field has been promoted particularly for a long time. We have discussed it since November, 1996. The reason that the president of the UOS made a plan to develop the Urban Sciences field in particular might be that it was related to the big city, Seoul. Also there were actual results in the Urban Sciences field that were evaluated as very good.
How much has it advanced, compared to 1995? First of all, we have had major growth quantitatively. For instance, the number of professors has doubled from 150 to 300. But as time passed, there has also been a rise in quality. We have used the time since 1995 for making and planning a system, and we have been able to increase the faculty institutes. And we could publish scientific journals and get actual research results in various fields. In 1998, we established an Urban Sciences institute, as a process of our big advance.
In 1998, the promotion of the Urban Sciences field in the IT world was chosen as a new task. Could you tell us about this in detail? Today is the era of the IT Society, so the contents of education and research are different from the past. Students should learn about this advanced area to a high degree because all aspects of this field are rapidly advancing as time goes by.
For this reason, the UOS has a plan to intensively promote the Urban Sciences field by developing our study center to a high degree, and expanding our super-computers and electronic library.
The government subsidy would be about 90 million won. What will this money be used for?
Before anything else, we will use it to expand facilities as much as possible. Almost 60~70% of the subsidy will be invested in multimedia lecture rooms, seminar rooms, student lounges, and language labs for students. So we will help students to study in a constructive environment by expanding study facilities and laboratory facilities. And we will make an effort to publicize our university because the UOS is not well known to the outside world, compared with other universities.
What directions will the development of Urban Sciences take in the future, and what influence do you think it will have on the UOSians? In the future, we will keep it to a high degree than intensively promote. Lately each department has been making their development plans, and trying to assist students in deciding their courses from freshman through to senior.
And we will take the proposals of each department and make places where all students can relax comfortably. As a result of this effort, we expect that all of the UOSians will have quality and competitive power in this society.