To Be Creative Intellectuals with Visionar Minds
To Be Creative Intellectuals with Visionar Minds
  • Lim Yang Yunjeoung
  • 승인 2010.05.09 02:08
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Park Kim Injin / Junior Reporter




Universities have been considered the birthplaces of learning and intellect from old times.  However, recently, the university had to change in present society which puts emphasis on practical learning and employment.  Then, rather SMU extended liberal arts courses and established the General Education Institute (GEI) on December 7, 2009.  So the Sookmyung Times (SMT) decided to find out about the liberal arts of SMU.  New Sookmyungians may wonder why they have to take more credits of liberal arts.


- For Education of Liberal Arts Intellect and Reinforcement of Capability, SMU

In 2010, new Sookmyungians have to earn four more credits of mandatory liberal arts courses. That is, they will take all 18 credits for four years. Mandatory liberal arts courses are increased from the existing six courses to eight courses.  An existing course, ‘Special Lecture in Leadership,’ was changed to a general liberal arts elective, and ‘Sookmyung Leadership’ was changed to ‘Leadership and Career Development I’.  Also, three new courses, ‘Leadership and Career Development Ⅱ’ and ‘Readings in Humanities Ⅰ’ and Ⅱ,’ were added.  New Sookmyungians will take those three courses when they are sophomores and juniors.  The manager of the GEI, Kim Dae-seok (Kim) said,  “Of course, increasing of mandatory liberal arts courses can make students feel burdened.  However, many companies demand not just scholastic marks evaluation but capability evaluation of students. In addition, Sookmyungians tend to choose un-academic courses because of good grade points.  So, SMU recognizes the importance of liberal arts education to enlarge and develop more Sookmyungians’ communication ability.”  The GEI has established educational goals to ‘cultivate creative intellectuals with visionary minds’ through reinforcement of basic liberal arts education.  Until 2009, liberal arts courses and class administration were scattered at each division and Academic Affairs Services, but this method was not efficient.  The GEI solved this problem and developed various liberal arts courses which were demanded for change of the times through prognosis and analysis about each course.  Kim also said, “We reorganized leadership courses through an education course satisfaction survey.  In ‘Leadership and Career Development Ⅰ,’ students can have personal MBTI tests and basic capability evaluation.  After two years, students will be able to know their advance through ‘Leadership and Career Development Ⅱ.’  And in ‘Readings in Humanities,’ students will be able to increase their discussion ability.  It is necessary to improve humanities intelligence because many businesses point out lack of that.  Until now, the number of courses in each liberal arts part was unfair and not the same, and liberal arts major electives were maldistributed in a specific division.  The GEI was created for solving these problems. We worked continually through analysis of liberal arts. 

 -  - Practical Liberal Arts Education, CAU


Reinforcement of liberal arts education is a trend in Korean universities.  Chung-Ang University (CAU) was also established a Faculty of General Education for ‘Dragon 2018 (CAU 2018+).’  The ‘Dragon 2018 project’ is planned to prepare for the 100th anniversary of CAU, 2018.  Its core is training of ‘Rightful and true Chung-Ang’ students so CAU can strengthen the internal stability of liberal arts education for achievement of this core purpose.  However, CAU is reforming in a practical way completely like a business.  Reformation of the liberal arts was affected by practical currents, so CAU designated accounting courses as mandatory liberal arts courses.  And CAU enforced freshmen learning ability evaluation and investigation to all freshmen for advancement of liberal arts education.  CAU tested English speaking and writing, basic ability of Chinese characters and second foreign languages from February 17 to 23.  Test results of English speaking and writing are used to measure the standard for English mandatory liberal arts courses which have achievement level curriculum.


- Global Liberal Arts Education, KU

Korea University (KU) wants to become rated as one of the world’s top 50 universities by 203.  So, KU executed reformation of its liberal arts education courses daringly for doing global higher educational institutions.  The Academy of General Education established in 2009 is effectuating not only liberal arts education of various fields but also foreign languages education.  Also, KU is offering inservice training through Industry-University-Institute Collaboration internships.  



- Sookmyung, what do you think? 

SMT conducted a survey about liberal arts electives to find out students’ thoughts.  About 50 Sookmyungians responded to the survey. The survey included questions as follows: 1. Which mandatory liberal arts subject do you think is the most useful?  2. Which mandatory liberal arts subject do you think is the most useless?  3. What do you think about the seven core liberal arts electives?  4. What do you think about the general liberal arts electives?  5. Please write any other opinions that you have about our liberal arts electives program.  The results of the survey are shown in the charts below. For the most useful liberal arts electives, ‘Writing and Reading’ came in first and ‘English Discussion and Presentation’ came second.  ‘Presentation and Discussion liberalarts lecture’ followed and ranked third place but the differences between these three top winner subjects were not significant.

According to the survey, the leadership related courses marked the top by an overwhelming majority for the most useless liberal arts electives.  The Sookmyungians who voted for the leadership related courses gave reasons for their responses; “I think the leadership program is not so well organized.  It needs to be more systematic in order to attract students’ interests and participation.”  Another Sookmyungian added, “Whole lectures were mostly repeating.  Also the contents are too common and ordinary.  I don’t think the leadership program actually helped my leadership growth.”

For the questions about the core liberal arts electives, “There are too many subjects required to take” ranked the highest and “There are no various subject choices” came second.  Lastly, for the survey on the general liberal arts electives, “There are not so many classes offered” marked the top and “the courses are not technical and professional,” and “There are many different choices of subjects” followed as second and third.  There were no big differences in number between these three leads.  There were several other opinions and comments for the fifth question.  Most of them said they want broader choices of subjects, especially for the mandatory and the core liberal arts electives.  Also many others added that they want more division of the classes, as they could not register for the courses they wanted to take due to the small numbers of classes with limited enrollment.  Lastly, there were comments stating that liberal arts electives are needed to be more technical and professional.  The survey results pointed the technical and professional issue as one of the main problems.  In effect, according to the manager of the GEI, Kim, there are only 25 percent of formal professors for the general liberal arts electives.  However, recently, there was a huge expansion for the mandatory liberal arts courses and this increased number of former professors to 83 percent at the present.  Moreover, SMU is planning on an expansion of full professors for the general liberal arts as well.

- Get Together, Sookmyung

SMU is striving to enforce our liberal arts electives program.  SMU have reflected Sookmyungians opinions and made several changes in order to strengthen our educational support for students with acceptable reasons.  However, the survey has shown that most Sookmyungians have not noticed these changes and efforts.  If Sookmyungians concern more about the changes in our campus, it would help SMU to consider students’ desire and reflect their opinions more carefully in order to apply them for reinforcement.  SMU and Sookmyungians need to give attention and participate together for the better growth of our birthplace of learning and intellect.




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