The separation between the Liberal Arts and Science Campus makes communication between the students of the respective campuses scarce to the point that whenever a big event is happening in one of the campuses it is hard for the other students to hear about it. The 50th anniversary of the College of Engineering and the start of the construction of Future Engineering Hall are two of the events that were unheard of by the Liberal Arts students. The Granite Tower (GT) is taking a first step of breaking such boundaries by introducing detailed insights, accomplishments, and future plans of the School of Engineering.
▲ Dean of Engineering, Chae Soo Won. Photographed by Kim Sun Oh
2013 is a special year for Korea University’s (KU) College of Engineering. In October, the faculty and students of Engineering celebrated the 50th anniversary. Its accomplishments on incubating well-trained engineers for society are recognized both domestically and internationally. "From this point on," as the Dean of Engineering Professor Chae Soo Won puts it, "it is Engineering’s turn to lead KU."
Ko Gong Haeng Jin and Gwa Hak Ko Dae
There are many similarities between the current KU President Kim Byung Chul and Dean Chae — the most important of which is dedication to the growth of the College of Engineering. The slogan of Engineering, "Ko Gong Haeng Jin (March of Engineering)" has been set as the priority of Dean Chae and his predecessors. As the slogan suggests, Engineering is making their best efforts to train versatile engineering professionals and simultaneously make KU one of the top engineering schools in the world.
The slogan of President Kim when he took office in 2011 is "Gwa Hak Ko Dae (Science KU)." This clearly expresses Kim’s dedication to facilitate the growth of science departments during his term. "President Kim has brought a lot of changes to Engineering," said Chae. Chae also mentioned that as soon as Kim took office, Kim was dedicated to solve the issue of Engineering lacking space for research and lectures. As a result, on October 10, Engineering celebrated the groundbreaking ceremony of its fourth building – Future Engineering Hall.
▲ Concept photo of Future Engineering Hall. Provided by eng.korea.ac.kr
Future Engineering Hall, composed of four floors below the ground and six floors above, is estimated to provide cutting-edge research and lecture facilities, along with many convenient facilities, including parkinglots and locker rooms. It will be constructed on the land that the Radio Engineering Lab and the basketball court are currently occupying. Expected to be finished in February 2015, Future Engineering Hall is the first step of renovating one of the oldest buildings on campus, College of Engineering Annex. According to Chae, the university is planning to move the research equipment to the Future Engineering Hall, remove College of Engineering Annex, and build a brand new building at that location.
These kinds of investments and dedications are necessary for KU’s further growth. Traditionally, KU has been known for its liberal arts and humanities programs, including Business School and College of Law. Therefore many resources were invested into the development of these departments. However, since many global university rankings are gradually putting greater emphasis on a university’s science programs, "it is necessary for the school to prioritize the growth of science departments in order to maintain the current rankings of KU," as Chae asserted during the interview.
These efforts have generated many astonishing results, along with both international and domestic recognitions, especially this year. While last year only two out of four fields of engineering made it into the top 100 program of QS World Engineering & Technology, this year, all four are seen on the list. Also, all seven research teams of departments and Engineering are selected to the "BK21 Plus Program," in which the Korean government will give huge financial support to the graduate students of these departments. While many schools failed at making specific fields one of the candidates of the program, KU managed to gain the full trust of the government.
▲ Dean Chae presenting in the 50th Anniversary. Photographed by Kim Sun Oh
The Next 50 Years
Growth of any department requires advancement of both "hardware" and "software" factors. Facilities for research and lectures are necessary for training new talented individuals; motivated and knowledgeable students are required to produce original and innovative research. In other words, it is also the students’ job to perform with their best abilities for the further growth of Engineering.
The educational policy of Engineering is "Empowering Humanity through Engineering." Specifically, the faculty will educate the students in a way that would generate innovation, creativity, and collaboration. Chae emphasized collaboration the most during the interview with The Granite Tower (GT). "Innovation and creativity are generated through collaboration of several kinds of expertise," Chae explained. In order to do that, students need to have complete and profound conversance of their own majors, and then absorb the knowledge of other majors.
The College of Engineering has seen many changes over the past 50 years. Once, it had to rely on the popularity of KU to get recognition from the nation; now it is gaining individual accomplishments and acting as an intensifier of KU’s fame. Even though Engineering has generated many unprecedented results in its 50th anniversary year, its faculty will not stop pouring their efforts into its further development in order to show gratitude for President Kim’s expectation of Engineering that he expressed during Engineering’s 50th Anniversary Ceremony held in Intercontinental Seoul Hotel — "I believe Engineering could make KU shine in the upcoming era by becoming one of the top technology hub of the globe."
▲ President Kim giving a speech in the 50th Anniversary. Photographed by Kim Sun Oh