Founded in 1946 with patriotic spirit and revived through entrepreneurship, Kookmin University is the first private university built after the independence of Korea and it was the foundation of patriotism among the members of the Korean provisional government in Shanghai like Gu Kim, Ik-hui Sin, and So-ang Jo. Later on, it went through countless difficulties due to the U.S. Military Government that did not recognize legitimacy of the provisional government and Seung-man Rhee's Government and as Seonggok Seong-gon Kim who was the founder of Ssangyong Group took over the educational foundation in 1959, it became possible to solve the chronic financial problem and solidify the foundation for its revival. At the time of opening the university, the number of students was about 250 people; however as of the second semester in 2014, it grew into a large university with about 18,000 students from 15 undergraduate and 15 graduate schools.
The most frequently selected university with the largest amount of project expense in the University for Creative Korea (CK-II) - Kookmin University was selected in the final 6 project groups for ‘2014 University for Creative Korea (CK-II).’ CK-II (hereinafter called CK-II) is supervised by the Ministry of Education and executed by the National Research Foundation of Korea and with this selection, 4 billion won a year and maximum of 20 billion won of national subsidy for 5 years will be supported. Amidst the fierce competition among the 330 project groups from a total of 54 universities, Kookmin University realized great achievement in terms of selection rate, the number of selected project groups, and business expense. Also, 4 billion won of the national subsidy will be granted only in 2014 for the purpose of improving the educational condition and reinforcing the educational competence in accordance with the mid- to long-term development plan of the university.
In addition, CK-II is considered to be more than mere financial support as it is linked to the result of university’s assessment on structural reform, which decides the scale of university enrollment quota. For this business, 6 projects groups of Kookmin University, namely, ‘Automobile-SW-design’ converged Global Human Resources Development Program, Human Technology Creativity-HR Project, East Asia Localization and Future Development Youth Training Project, Creative Health Care Convergence HR Cultivation Project, Eco Community Art Project, and Active Aging Sport Care Project were finally selected and currently, the first year project is being conducted. Especially, the Eco Community Art Project was selected as one of the excellent cases of arts and physical education in the metropolitan area.
Plan for improvement and substantiality of the undergraduate educational environment – For the improvement of academic management system, Kookmin University adopts the big data analysis system for career guidance by setting the objectives of the undergraduate education, reforming the system, and assessing the educational achievement through a survey of the students and businesses that are the primary and final beneficiaries of education. Meanwhile, construction of visible infrastructure including high-tech lecture recording (multimedia) system, laboratory safety management system, and mobile device utilizing educational system will be executed starting from the improvement of demand-oriented curriculum and construction of invisible infrastructure on academic performance management and information system. Especially, the establishment of a design facility after the Buam, Pyeongchang, and Gugi Art Valley is expected to contribute not only to the site-oriented education but also to the local community.
Measure to innovate the general university system - Kookmin University that newly established the School of Automotive Convergence, Automotive and IT Convergence, Automotive & Transportation Design, and School of General Education in 2014 executed moderate reorganization of academic structure. The reduction in student enrollment that is promoted aiming at 4.02% reduction of the entrance quota will be decided in consideration of employment and drop-out rate. However, specialized field (departments) and recently established undergraduate courses are excluded in the target of the reduction, taking into consideration their specialized characteristics.
In relation with research performance assessment, the existing 1-year based performance assessment was abolished while upgrading it into mid- to long-term research performance assessment. Also, the weight on education was more emphasized for performance assessment along with thesis assessment in reflection of impact factor.
Kookmin University has realized outstanding achievement in various assessments as it was named as the no. 1 private university in the 2014 CK-II quantitative assessment conducted for universities in Seoul (referred from the data of the National Research Foundation of Korea) and through specialization of the ‘Small Giant’ based on academic connection, it is expected to mark a milestone in leaping as a world-renowned university in Korea.
Traditionally strong area and small giant-focused specialization – In this project, Kookmin University organized specialization project group focusing on convergence area, which is a small giant area, along with automobile and design that have been the strong academic fields of Kookmin University. Particularly, the small giant areas are capable areas to Kookmin University but new areas to other universities. The 6 project groups that were finally selected in the business and overview of each project group are shown as follows.
‘Automobile-SW-design’ converged Global Human Resources Development Program (participation: Department of Automotive Engineering, Department of Automotive and IT Convergence, School of Computer Science, Automotive & Transportation Design) aims to cultivate automobile-SW-design converged global experts who are equipped with creativity and practical competence to lead the technical and market changes through the converged education on automotive engineering, IT, design and field-oriented education with industry-university cooperation.
Human Technology Creativity-HR Project (participation: Mechanical Convergence Engineering in the School of Mechanical Systems Engineering, Sports Health and Rehabilitation in the Department of Physical Education) aims to cultivate creative human resources with converged knowledge on machines that help men exhibit considerable ability in terms of safety, health, and environment based on the convergence of engineering (Convergence Mechanical Engineering) and non-engineering (Sports Health and Rehabilitation) fields. The Project Group expects to expand the field of employment and job competence among the students through extensive convergence.
East Asia Localization and Future Development Youth Training Project (participation: School of International Studies) aims to cultivate local-adjustable and communicative human resources that can bridge Korea and local societies in East Asia through education on localization, commercialization, convergence, and experience in Korea.
Creative Health Care Convergence HR Cultivation Project (participation: Department of Bio Fermentation Convergence Technology, Department of Foods and Nutrition) aims to cultivate customized creative human resources that can newly pioneer the silver industry through pre-periodic education in relation with discovery, production, and evaluation of senior bio foods and medical supplies and customized total health care for the silver generation along with self-oriented education on practical training.
Eco Community Art Project (participation: Department of Music, Fine Arts, and Performing Arts) aims to cultivate the converged talent, or ‘socially contributing cultural and art experts,’ demanded in the society through the creation of advanced models on art education. Such education implies the shift from art education done by those majored in arts to the education by socially contributing cultural and art experts, such as arts and culture educators, arts managers, and arts planners.
Active Aging Sport Care Project (participation: Sports Trainer and Sports Industry and Leisure) aims to cultivate experts in the active aging sport care that help the elderly to live a healthy and vitalized life by caring for their physical, mental, emotional, social, and intellectual aspects through sports from pre-elderly seniors.
The success strategy of specialization is ‘cultivation of niche convergence areas.’
The success strategy of specialization is ‘cultivation of niche convergence areas.’
[Interview] President Ji-soo Yu
- How did you find the reason of Kookmin University getting good result in the CK-II?
“From long time ago, we have prepared for practical university specialization. When arts related departments of other universities operated their educational system focusing on fine arts and sculpture in 1975, Kookmin University installed the College of Design ahead of the time and we were the first university whose name of Design Department was approved by the Ministry of Education. Also, the Department of Automotive Engineering was newly established in 1992 for the first time in Korea while establishing the Graduate School of Automotive Engineering in 1998. With such efforts, we were settled as the Mecca of higher education specialized in the automobile field of Korea. The outstanding achievement realized in this CK-II is considered to be the outcome derived from the efforts of all members based on the tradition and culture of Kookmin University.”
- What is the strategy of Kookmin University’s specialization and what are its characteristics?
“Simply put, we have focused on what others don’t do and what we can do well. We do something demanded in the society and will continue doing so as we have done. We call it as ‘small giant’ focused specialization’ but we will focus on and continuously cultivate such small giant areas along with our traditional areas like design and automobile. Besides this, the characteristic of the specialization is to be removed or introduced anytime depending on the assessment on change and fulfillment of social needs as well as the demand of the times. Through self-assessment in every 2~3 years, an area with unsatisfactory result will be removed while introducing as a new specialization the area that has realized remarkable achievement through autonomous efforts of professors. In fact, the 6 project groups that were selected this time went through totally free competition and opinion sharing with the members.”
- How do you expect such changes to Kookmin University with this selection to CK-II?
“Most of all, I think this business will serve as a momentum to realize a consensus on the importance of specialization strategy and its further promotional direction between the members of the university. Also, we will upgrade the academic performance management system while reorganizing the overall educational system including liberal, major, and non-major fields. Moreover, we will exert efforts to realize advancement of lecture environment and infrastructure, reinforcement of site-oriented education, and security of education supportive information infrastructure.”
- Is there any comment you’d like to say?
“Kookmin University was founded with the patriotic spirit of the spiritual leaders who led the Korean provisional government in Shanghai like Haegong Uk-hui Sin and was revived by the entrepreneurship of the Seonggok Seong-gon Kim, the founder of Ssangyong Group. Having this CK-II as a momentum, Kookmin University will endeavor to leap as a world-renowned university. Most of all, I express my gratitude to those who exerted utmost efforts for this CK-II project.