Dear all faculty and staff at Kangnam University,
The new year will be full of expectations and high hopes for a brighter future. Kangnam University has stood the test of time boasting 68 years of history which have included many challenges all overcome by the grace of God. I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year filled with good health and prosperity.
Amid many obstacles and challenges, our university has made remarkable strides in many areas. We have achieved many of our goals by being recognized as an accreditation institution for university evaluation, selected for the Educational Capacity Enhancement Project, and recognized as the university with the best educational conditions for students with disabilities. However, we have also experienced failures in the following areas such as the University Empowerment Project, the Leading University in Advanced Undergraduate Education Project, along with national projects which include the Leading University for Fostering and Supporting International Collaboration Project. Despite these failures, we received the award for Best Admissions Office Support Project and were recognized as a university with a strong continuing education program.
Universities are currently faced with the challenge of overcoming a sharp decrease in the college-age population. At this rate over 50 universities may close down within 10 years, and the number of universities may shrink to half the current size in 20 years. The Ministry of Education has decided to close down universities deemed insolvent based on their policy of enhancing competitiveness and increasing the quality of education in addition to reducing the enrollment quota and implementing specialized programs leading to large-scale reductions in the enrollment quota nation-wide. Amid this situation, it is fair to say that the future of our university is a bleak one. Then how are we to deal with this situation? If we are unable to prepare for changes, it will bring about stagnant educational growth as well as financial detriment eventually leading to insolvency. Now is the time to prepare for imminent changes in a strategic and systematic way, so that it will lead to specialization and continuous development.
In order to survive, universities must accept innovation suited to the spirit of the times, and we are no exception. All of us here at KNU must come together and support one another to realize our goals of innovation and positive change. As president, I would like to take this time to outline some of our tasks at hand.
First, our goal is to become a strong university through specialized programs.
Efforts must be made to increase the competitiveness of our university through allocating resources and fostering selected educational programs and academic disciplines. In order to do this, we plan on implementing specialization and restructuring. Through the integration of departments, closures, and restructuring/reductions in quota, we will make every effort to improve specialization and educational conditions. We will encourage specialization across disciplines and create a system for educational advancement and development.
Second, we will foster talented individuals who will make a difference in their communities by providing quality education.
One of the main goals of university education is to provide creative and innovative learning, thereby fostering students who will have a deeper understanding of the world around them. In order to do this, we have made dual and specialized degrees mandatory and adopted the graduation certification system. We will continue to establish an educational system that is uniquely our own, fostering talented and outstanding individuals who will make a difference in their communities. We will build a more systematic academic curriculum and go ahead with our plans of restructuring undergraduate studies enabling the integration of academic disciplines.
Third, we will establish KNU as the leading university in globalization.
We are living in an age of globalization and part of the human community, which is why we have to foster individuals that will fit the “global standard”. Our university has established ties with other universities as sister university to 137 universities in 35 countries. We have extended our ties to universities located in China, North America, South America, and Southeast Asia, and are expanding our overseas educational support projects in countries in Africa such as Uganda and Kenya. We will continue our efforts to globalize our university in a variety of ways in many parts of the world.
Fourth, we will achieve our goal of administrative specialization that will contribute to the enhancement of education and research as well as competitiveness.
Due to the diversity of roles played by the university, it is clear how important it is to improve the quality of administrative tasks. Just as it is important to improve the quality of education and research, it is also essential to pursue specialization in the area of administration. Based on the establishment of strategy, execution, reduction of costs and communication, we will increase administrative efficiency. The administrative performance evaluation is in its trial run phase at the moment, and through the restructuring of the administrative system and performance annual salary system we will achieve our goal of administrative advancement and specialization.
Fifth, we will do our best to establish a systematic budget management and budget deficit management system.
Through a systematic management of our budget and efficient management, our university has established a solid financial structure over the years. However, due to the half-tuition issue we have lowered our tuition fees, leading to added pressures on our budget and financial management caused by a demand in scholarships and reductions in enrollment. Last year, we were forced to operate under a tight budget and had to make major budget cuts. In order to solve this problem, we plan on establishing a budget deficit management system through effective distribution of resources and expansion of scale-up financing. We need to actively raise funds for university development and discover talented individuals who will represent our university and at the same time achieve a budget deficit management system through fairness and justice in budget management and effective distribution of resources.
Finally, we will pursue our plans of academic affairs management and policy projects that will instill faith and trust in our students.
We must continuously communicate with our students so that we will satisfy their needs in every way. It is essential for universities to adapt to the changing needs of the students leading to proactive evolution. We need to change and innovate from the perspective of the students satisfying their needs to the fullest. As a result, KNU will become a university sought after by excellent students ultimately standing tall above the rest.
I am certain that we will overcome any challenges that lie ahead as long as we have the passion and drive to make KNU a leading university in all areas. Let us all work hard to make KNU the most prestigious Christian university here and abroad. Above all, let us strive to develop in a proactive way exceeding all expectations and enhancing brand value. All of this will only be possible with your unending support and fullest participation.
Let us reach the goal as a leading university in globalization which will all be made possible through communication, harmony, and participation.
Moreover, I would like to wish you all good health and prosperity in the new year, and may God bless you abundantly. Thank you.
January 2, 2014
President of Kangnam University
Shinil Yoon, DBA
Translated by Julia Kim