New Year message from the president

Kangnam University president Shinil Yoon greets faculty and staff at last Thursday's faculty workshop in Wooweon Hall. (Photo: Charles Ian Chun)

Kangnam University president Shinil Yoon greets faculty and staff at last Thursday’s faculty workshop in Wooweon Hall.
(Photo: Charles Ian Chun)

Dear all members of Kangnam University,

The Year of the Ram has begun and I would like to thank God for giving the faculty and staff here at Kangnam University the strength and courage to overcome challenges and turning them into feelings of worth and pride over the last 69 years. Moreover, I would like to wish you and your family peace and joy like the blue ram which symbolizes harmony. One year ago today I mentioned the meaning of the blue horse. However, last year was a year filled with many tragic accidents and disasters such as the collapsing of the Marina Resort in Gyeongju, the Sewol Ferry tragedy, the Ebola virus outbreaks, and the collapsing of the ventilation grate in Pangyo. It was also a year in which we were unable to achieve the “Specialized Business Project for Universities” and experienced cuts in the “University Entrance Quota”. Yet, we also achieved success by being chosen as the “University that Normalized Secondary Education” in addition to being awarded the “Best University to Evaluate Educational Welfare Aid to Special Needs Students in 2014” and achieving strides in maintaining our status as an “Accreditation Institution for University Evaluation”, which we received in 2011. I would like to take this time to thank our faculty and staff for their hard work and dedication.

We are experiencing long-term economic recession here at home and overseas as well as increased competition among universities caused by changes in secondary education along with reductions in the school age population, university structural reform, and reduction policies implemented by the government. Furthermore, universities have cut back on their budgets and slimmed down on their academic and administrative organizations. To face these setbacks, universities are actively straying from customary administrations through bold innovations and changes. We have experienced many challenges but have never succumbed to them in nearly 70 years of the university’s foundation, turning challenges into opportunities. 2015 will be a year in which we lay a solid foundation for the next 70 years whereby we will see continued growth after overcoming obstacles along the way through teamwork and cooperation.

First, we will re-examine our goals and pursue internal stability. We must proactively implement bold innovations in order to break away from passive changes from the outside and make this our year to promote internal stability through reorganization and specialization by re-examining our current values and goals. To achieve this, we must divide the mid- to long-term development plan of New Vision 2020, which was started in 2011 and developed in three phases to follow pace with the government’s structural reform period. We will establish the New Vision 2020 Phase 2 Development Plan, pursuing a detailed action plan in a total of seven areas including university specialization, curriculum and support, faculty and staff, educational conditions, research and industrial cooperation, administration and finances, and external evaluations. Based on thorough situation analysis, we will establish a systematic Phase 2 detailed business plan by connecting the development plan with our budget to make it realizable. Moreover, we will overcome the current financial crisis by including revenue diversification, expense propriety standards, a cost reduction plan, an efficient budget execution plan, and improvements in cost structure. We will take action to deal with the government’s plans to reform the structure of universities by minimizing the entrance quota and maximizing financial support. In order to secure financial aid from the government, the wisdom and cooperation of all members of faculty and staff are needed for structural reforms of departments and reductions in the entrance quota as well as improve various assessment indexes.

Second, we must set a “strategy of financial expansion” for the development of our university. In order to overcome the current financial condition of maintaining the tuition-fee freeze or tuition-fee cuts, it is essential that we achieve groundbreaking improvements in earnings and expenses. We will actively pursue the task of expanding the financial support project, profit business, development funds, corporate body transferred money. We will combine all of our creative capabilities for financial expansion. We will also prepare an action plan by establishing an innovative compensation system for those contributing to the generation of profits and create a strategic organization thereby becoming a year in which we will lay a foundation for financial expansion. We will reorganize our administration by setting “downsizing, efficiency, flexibility” as axes of innovation in order to fully optimize our administration. In order to provide a higher level of education, the process of our university’s strategy-planning-execution-assessment must operate properly. We must never forget our beginnings and exert every effort to learn — all which requires sacrifice.

Third, we must realize our goal of “satisfying our clients, that is, the students with a high quality education.” We will strive to become a “student-centered university” by earning their trust of our students through high quality education. In order to foster talented individuals that will make a difference in society, we must establish a solid educational system and structure that will ultimately lead to a competitive edge. Reforms and changes will make students want to come to our university to learn. We must do everything we can to satisfy the needs of our students through the perspectives of our students. Communication is essential when it comes to fulfilling the needs of our students. Furthermore, we will fall behind if we do not develop and evolve in a creative manner. The ultimate goal of changes will be the reconsideration of quality education — that is, a university that “teaches well.” In addition to quantitative indexes such as faculty procurement rate, tuition fee restitution rate, scholarship payment rate, and employment rate, it is essential to concern ourselves with improving indexes such as class management, student evaluations, student learning competencies support, career path and counseling support, employment and start-up business support, and educators satisfaction level management. We will place priority on setting aside a budget for high quality education by taking into consideration all related indexes leading to productive results. Let us all work together towards the goal of becoming a small yet solid university that will stand alongside or even surpass other universities around the world.

Our most important goal for the new year is “communication based on trust.” Based on this trust, all members of Kangnam University including faculty and staff, alumni, and students will stand united in harmony leading to hope and positive change. We should set aside all differences and work with one another for a common purpose. We should be the first to set an example for taking a stance when it comes to hard issues and strive to make changes without letting our past and customary practices get in the way. In the previous year, we worked with many faculty and staff for several months on the Specialized Business Project and sought ways to improve our competitive edge through departmental specialization. Although we were not chosen for that project, it provided a valuable experience in which we were able to examine the current conditions of each department leading to the breaking down of barriers between departments. Now is the time for all of us to come together for a common goal. The new year will bring about a stronger conviction for innovations and changes laying the “cornerstone for the next 70 years.” Once again, I would like to wish you all a healthy and prosperous new year. Thank you.

2 January 2015

Kangnam University
President Shinil Yoon

 Translated by Julia Kim

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