본문 바로가기 대메뉴 바로가기

people

The US Science Magazine Published KAIST News on Nov. 30​
View : 13353 Date : 2007-11-30 Writer : ed_news

An educational innovation of our university arouses world"s interest.

The world science magazine, the U.S Science reports deeply President Suh Nampyo" KAIST reform, fund, tenure review, tuition, admission and faculty recruit in News Focus, internet version on 30 November. There is full text of the news below.

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/318/5855/1371



News Focus
HIGHER EDUCATION:
MIT Engineer Shakes Korean Academia to Its Core
Dennis Normile

Radical measures from the new president of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology are roiling a tradition-bound system

Worldly. To gain stature beyond Korea, KAIST has lured students from Vietnam, China, and Rwanda, among other countries.

CREDIT: D. NORMILE/SCIENCE

DAEJEON, SOUTH KOREA--When the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) announced on 19 November that an entrepreneur had donated $2.5 million to the university with promises of more to follow, it marked the latest in a string of coups for the new president, Suh Nam Pyo. A mechanical engineer on leave from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Suh has raised an unprecedented amount--$12.5 million--in a country where donations to universities are rare. He"s challenging other traditions as well. For example, KAIST"s latest tenure review turned down several candidates, a shocking move by Korean standards.
Suh says he is aiming to make KAIST "as good as the best [universities], including MIT." Many faculty members agree that Suh"s "overall philosophy and vision are correct," says KAIST systems biologist Lee Sang Yup. But there are concerns about how Suh will implement that vision at the 36-year-old university.

The KAIST community has reason to be cautious. In 2004, the university hired Nobel physics laureate Robert Laughlin as president--the first foreigner to lead a Korean university--with a mandate to transform KAIST into a world-class institution. Laughlin, on leave from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, proposed privatizing KAIST and charging tuition, focusing on commercialization, and tripling undergraduate enrollment (Science, 25 February 2005, p. 1181; 20 January 2006, p. 321). But when Laughlin"s plans failed to materialize, "the faculty was disappointed," says KAIST molecular biologist Chung Jongkyeong. In 2006, the board of trustees decided to seek a new president.

The board turned to Suh. Born in Gyeongju, South Korea, in 1936, Suh moved to the United States with his family as a teenager and earned a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As an MIT professor, Suh has won plaudits for his engineering design theories, earned more than 50 patents, and helped start several companies. In the early 1980s, he was assistant director for engineering at the U.S. National Science Foundation, and he headed MIT"s Department of Mechanical Engineering from 1991 until 2001.

Since arriving at KAIST in July 2006, Suh has opened undergraduate education to non-Korean students for the first time by insisting that many courses be taught in English. Suh decided that students who maintain "B" or better grades would continue to pay no tuition, whereas those with a "C" or below must pay about $16,000 per year starting in February. "We want students to take responsibility for their actions," Suh says.

Agent of change. KAIST"s faculty supports Suh Nam Pyo"s reforms, so far.

CREDIT: KAIST


A new admissions process may also have broad impact. Previously, KAIST, like most of Korea"s top universities, selected the top scorers in a written exam. Most high school students spend their free time prepping for these tests in cram schools. But Suh says that scores "are a one-dimensional measure" that fails to identify leaders. So candidates for KAIST"s next incoming class were invited to campus this fall for interviews, to give presentations, and to engage in discussions while being observed by faculty members, who made selections based on scores and personal impressions. "We"re looking for future Einsteins and future Bill Gateses," says Suh.
An even more radical step was putting teeth into tenure reviews. Traditionally, faculty members in Korea gain tenure after logging enough years. Suh insisted that KAIST professors up for tenure gather endorsements from experts in their field around the world. In September, 11 of 33 applicants were denied tenure and were given a year to find new jobs.

The tenure review "is the beginning of an educational revolution," says KAIST chemist Ryoo Ryong. But he and others worry about the fate of those denied tenure. Suh understands their predicament but is standing firm. The professors who didn"t make tenure "are very good people, but in terms of the standard we set, they"re not as good as we expect our professors to be." He is asking other universities to consider giving these professors a chance.

At the same time, Suh is looking to inject fresh blood--including foreigners--into the 418-strong faculty with a plan to add 300 professors over the next 4 to 5 years. (To expand the school, Suh is striving to win government approval for a doubling of KAIST"s base governmental support of $108 million.) His first catch is Mary Kathryn Thompson, who completed her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at MIT last year. "It"s an exciting time to be here," says Thompson, who just started studying Korean when she arrived last August.

Although they support Suh"s initiatives, some faculty members chafe at his blunt public comments implying that Korea"s professors take life too easy. "I cannot agree," says Choi Yang-Kyu, an electrical engineer. "Most professors here are working very hard." Biomolecular engineer Kim Hak-Sung adds: "President Suh should have sticks and carrots, not just sticks."

Carrots don"t come cheap. "I"m spending most of my time trying to raise money," Suh says. Part of that effort is wooing private donors. "Giving to universities is not prevalent in Asia, but it is something I"m trying to nurture in Korea," he says. That"s a precedent all of Korea"s universities might want to embrace.

 

    

The US Science Magazine Published KAIST News on Nov. 30 이미지
Releated news