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Wednesday,October 21,2020
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Elephant Still Alive?
Dongguk University (DU) will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year. As a matter of fact, universities with 100's years of tradition are rare in Korea. Therefore, Dongguk has influence on this society. It is indeed worth celebrating this anniversary. But, our present status is that of a third-class university.
  In February, Donggukians got shocking news. The Korea Council for University Education (KCUE) announced the result of their 2004 University Evaluation. The evaluation ranked universities in various fields, and superior grades for DU were few. We thought that DU was still in a high level, but it was nothing but an illusion. During the past several years, we distrusted the results of JoongAng Ilbo's University Evaluation and doubted its criteria. However, the 2004 KCUE's evaluation, in which the School Authority (SA) had gotten everything in readiness for the past several years, demonstrates that DU has lost its competitive power.
  There are reasons of status: Forty-two DU students are lectured by a professor. Compared with other rival schools, this figure is considerably low. (KyungHee; 39, SungKyunKwan; 38, ChungAng; 37, students per professor) Most schools already have enough campus space. On the other hands, we still lack 60% of the Education Authority's space criteria. Our university reserve fund is remarkably lower than others. Moreover, national support is decreasing every year.
  Of course, the above is just quantitave value, and such data doesn't explain everything about DU. However, it is enough to point out that DU has severe problems. Then, what is the intrinsic problem?
  The answer is obvious: the School Authority's dogmatism. The main constituents of the university are students, professors, and the SA. But, many Donggukians couldn't be aware of the SA's consideration for both students and the faculty. The number of treatises of DU faculty is low, but the faculty's wages are the lowest among universities in Seoul as well. Moreover, there are arisen some doubts for selecting of vice-president at Gyeongju Campus. The SA raised 7% of school expenses again without any discussions with students, so many students are complaining of it. Scholarships for excellent academic records are still low, though scholarships for staffs of student activity were pretty reduced. President Hong proclaimed management based on principle, but unreasonable student received scholarship which reduces 72% of his school expenses, only for the SA's interest.
  Hong does make an effort to revive DU, and as a matter of fact, he did many things. But if the plan of the SA continues not to regard two of the three main constituents, DU will be known as a school third-class at its 100th anniversary. Because the conditions for not only the university evaluation but also a university with great vision demand firstly balance among students, professors, and the SA.

Kim Sung-ho  kaedoly@dongguk.edu

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