A Sookmyungian’s phone rings. She grabs the phone and reads the message. It is from Sookmyung Women’s University Prime. The message details newly designed programs made for students in the College of Engineering but that are also open to all other major students as well. The Sookmyungian stops to ponder whether any of the programs would really be beneficial, so she decides to enroll in one. However, many other Sookmyungians simply ignore the message and rarely take the time to read or consider any of the programs. Why do so many students forgo the opportunity?
What Is Sookmyung Women’s University Prime?
Sookmyung Women’s University PRIME was newly established in year 2016. PRIME stands for PRogram for Industrial needs-Matched Education. It was established to meet the needs of Korean society, which needs students majoring in engineering. Sookmyung Women’s University PRIME founded a college of engineering at Sookmyung Women’s University to meet that demand. It began with only two majors within the department, namely information technology and chemical and biological engineering. Today, the College of Engineering has grown and is expanding. It now offers three additional majors to choose from: computer science, mechanical systems engineering, and basic engineering. Sookmyung University PRIME appears to be only making an effort for the College of Engineering and training Sookmyungians engineers. However, PRIME is also working to provide plenty of services and programs to other colleges as well on campus so that every Sookmyungian can benefit. For Sookmyungians in the College of Engineering, PRIME provides scholarships, free lectures, and experimental programs to students enrolled in the college as well as providing the students with plenty of opportunities to learn more about engineering from a practical perspective. For non-engineering Sookmyungian, there are 3C Education Innovation (Convergent, Creative, Cooperative) lecture, Design Thinking Program, Hands-On Experience, and so on. However, it is unclear whether programs designed by PRIME are really helping Sookmyungians, so The Sookmyung Times designed a survey that investigates students’ thoughts and feelings about programs offered by Sookmyung Women’s University PRIME.
Who Are The Main Beneficiaries of PRIME?
From February 5th to 10th, 131 Sookmyung students participated in The Sookmyung Times survey. SMT asked students in the College of Engineering three questions related to the College of Engineering on satisfaction and reasons of it and 5 questions of non-College of Engineering students related to level of awareness and degree of participation in PRIME.
Students were first divided according to whether they were enrolled at the College of Engineering or not. Among the 131 participants, 26 students (19.8%) were registered in the College of Engineering. When questioned about satisfaction with PRIME, 26.9% of total respondents said yes, 61.5% said somewhat, and 11.5% said no. Reasons for being satisfied with PRIME included free programs and opportunity to access unexperienced programs. However, according to survey respondents who responded with ‘somewhat’ and ‘no’ towards satisfaction, PRIME tends to focus on quantity rather than quality. One student respondent said, “There are always announcements about events, but its completion is low.” Also, respondents were unsatisfied with the method of program and scholarship notification. They said it would be much more helpful if they were announced at least a day prior instead of the day of. Survey results on non-College of Engineering students found that PRIME, though it claims to be benefiting all students, may not be. Of the 105 non-College of Engineering students (80.2%) most were ‘somewhat’ satisfied with PRIME, 22.9% were not satisfied, and only 16.2% said they felt satisfied with it. Reasons for these results included claims like “I didn’t know about the programs PRIME offered.” In fact, Career Camp was the only program in which more than half of respondents (72.4%) said they knew. 10 participants said they hadn’t heard of any of the programs. Respondents also claim program structuring is weak. They said they felt confused from program announcement to end. Confusion is said to come from the constant scheduling changes and the fact that the programs are ‘first-come-first-serve’, but announcement messages are sent to students at different times. One student participants said, “I don’t know what I was doing there. The program was all over the place. It had no consistency at all.” The last revelation from the survey was that non-College of Engineering students claim the programs are uninteresting, and hence, they had little motivation to participate in them. According to the survey, 55.2% of respondents said they had never joined a PRIME program. However, not all comments were negative. Some student participants said thanks to PRIME, they are able to discover new fields and fresh possibilities and gain financial support.
What Should Sookmyung Women’s University PRIME Do to Improve?
The survey reveals that despite offering all campus students a variety of programs, about three-fourths of the student body are not participating in them and those that do are mostly unsatisfied, so there is a need to focus on PRIME’s positives to eliminate its weaknesses. PRIME should conduct regularly scheduled surveys on its present conduct and seek ideas for future programs. According to the SMT survey, the strengths of PRIME are its provisions of financial support and various experience opportunities. One program respondents were especially satisfied with the contest that provides financial support for clubs. The contest allots the support and gives clubs full control over the management of those funds. Respondents liked that the programs are free and that these types of programs are accessible thanks for PRIME. Thus, PRIME should investigate and use its budget to provide programs that students’ desire.
The shortcomings of PRIME are in its program announcement method, its public relations, and the program quality. With revisions to PRIME to address its shortcomings, complaints about quality are sure to disappear. Program notification method and public relations need modification. PRIME notifies students and posts information on the programs via text messages and on Snowe. However, students often ignore these texts simply because of the multitude of texts they receive from the university daily. Additionally, few students regularly check notices on SnoWe. PRIME should inform these issues by encouraging PRIME supporters to work hard by reward or founding a PRIME leadership group. Also, in today’s world of SNS usage, it may prove beneficial to promote the programs on various SNS platforms. Most importantly, they should customize the program for students.
What Should the Future of PRIME Be?
Last year, the campus of Sookmyung Women’s University was alive with various programs operating constantly. PRIME was also working actively. While some enjoyed those PRIME programs, many did not. Sookmyung Women’s University, having been selected to operate PRIME, must strive for its success. PRIME has done its best in its first year of operation, so on its report card, it will see a grade of B+. SMT really hopes Sookmyung Women’s University PRIME attains a grade of A+ this semester.