Recently, globalization has become a big social issue in Korea. Universities are also not exempt from this preoccupation. Many universities have tried to enhance their international competitiveness by keeping pace with changes in the global market. Dongguk University (DU) is also trying to internationalize itself. Although Business Studies has always had a global ethos, still, its record on this count is very impressive. Its achievement so far includes: extending the rate of English lectures up by 50%, a dual degree agreement with foreign universities, the creation of an English Zone. Furthermore, the College of Business is now preparing: an AACSB (an international business certificate) and lecture exchange courses in real time. The Post interviewed Prof. Yang Dong-hun, the Dean of the Business College, to ask him, among other things, about his ideas on how the college would become more international.
What does globalization?
To the question, “What is your definition of globalization?” Prof. Yang gave a one word answer: “Borderless”, he said. He continued: “Even though we live in Korea, as a member of the global world, we are always interacting with foreign countries. Distance is not an issue.” After saying this, he emphasized the importance of English. He explained: “as the world becomes global, we have no choice but to study English for communication.” To meet this demand, the College of Business provides various English-related classes and amenities for students; for example; the English Zone, increasing English lectures up by 50%, English-only debating classes and an exchange program with foreign universities. However, he added that the above-mentioned are only indirect ways to bring about globalization. He divided globalization into two parts: ‘indirect’ and ‘direct’. According to him, to globalize means to experience, to feel, and to interpenetrate other cultures. For this reason, his college has strengthened relations with several foreign universities, such as Texas State University, The University of Philippines, and Stonybrook University.
The College of Business also has established special classrooms to enable exchange lectures with foreign universities in real time and consulted with Stony Brook University for a dual degree system between its schools and Dongguk’s. Furthermore, they have formed good relations with Victoria University in Australia as well as universities in China. He mentioned, also, that his staff will visit Denmark and Belgium during this winter’s vacation. “With regards to the English zone and the exchange student program, we will broaden the respective systems by offering awards for outstanding students. For the English-only lectures, we shall endeavor to improve the quality of the lectures by holding review-meetings every semester. As Dean of College, I think that the quality of lectures will have improved, remarkably, by next autumn. In addition, we will attract more exchange students. This leads to two positive effects: the first is to instil global competiveness in the professors; and the second, to allow our students the opportunity for joint-study programs with foreign university students”.
Improving Competition within the College of Business.
The College of Business has achieved many things. How were they able to do it? Kim said: “a shared vision is the driving force behind the achievements. To give an example, the lectures in English require professors to overcome the difficult task of explaining complex ideas in a second language. I’m thankful for the professors understanding and sympathy with our vision. This is the most important background to our successful performance”.
However, there are still problems. According to a survey conducted by Han-kyeong business newspaper, the Business College was ranked a mere 18th in the Korean universities’ table. Even though Dongguk Business College is registered as a department, the rating was still a disappointment as it has now hampered the college’s globalization plans. In case of Korea University (KU), which was ranked first in the business college section, has relations with over 570 foreign universities. Consequently, as much as 188 of its students went to foreign universities in 2008. In addition, they provided not only an exchange student program but also a global internship program. They also have agreements with several well-known companies such as GE, HSBC and so on. Compared to these facilities, Dongguk has less to offer. An increase in the budget is the key to greater competition. Prof. Yang said that: “one of the hardest things to deal with is that we are unable to support our professors and staff sufficiently. To overcome this situation, we have to find a way of procuring a greater budget.”
The College of Business in DU is going to receive an AACSB. They have already passed the preliminary examination for this. This means that the college will officially be admitted as an international college. This is a remarkable result considering it has difficulty competing with the bigger universities. At the same time, it means that the Business College has to expand as an international college in order to survive. However, the college cannot do this alone. The student body and the university have to interact in a more way. Prof. Yang wants students to actively participate in globalization. At the end of the interview, he said: “It is our goal to make the students in our college the global leaders of tomorrow.”
Kim Ji-heon .
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