Dr. Lee Ho-young has been inaugurated as the 8th president of Changwon National University. Because CWNU is a ‘national university’, it adopts a direct presidential election system. Thus, the qualifications and campaign pledges of two candidates who got dominant amount of votes were sent to Blue House for the president to be decided. That is why President Lee’s occupation of the office was postponed while having substitution in the office. There were numerous decent election pledges that President Lee had made, so the interview was conducted to scrutinize the promises and to figure out plans during his term in the office.
Q: You have mentioned about turning CWNU into the 10th ‘local based national university’ during the campaign. What is your exact plan while there are many competitors amongst our province such as Gyeongsang National University or Bukyeong National University?
President Lee: At the moment, CWNU’s reputation is quite low compare to our national universities in Korea. However, this was not the actual state in the past. In the mid-90s, the average admission rates in our university were apparently higher than the present. Moreover, CWNU had won many National Projects provided by Federal government for national universities in Korea. This spontaneously led to the enhancement of university budget where it created chain effect to form a better conditions in every field in university management. However, now that I look back on our status, everything has become a fairytale. We are desperate with structural reformation. For us to retrieve the old reputation, we need to set a concrete objective to accelerate the improvement. Therefore, I want to provide the cornerstone for us to become better ranked university among national universities.
Q: The vice-presidential system is introduced this year. Which changes would that bring to CWNU?
President Lee: The reason I reinstated the vice-presidential system is to distribute the authority or power that was too much concentrated to the president of the university. I am planning to appoint two vice-presidents who will be responsible for internal issues during my term in the office. I believe that the president of the university has to focus on external issues like promoting and publicizing the university or winning the projects that will improve the condition of the university while the vice-presidents take care of domestic situations. Furthermore on decentralization of the authority. Starting from this year the way of electing deans of each department will be changed. Previously we also followed ‘direct presidential election system’ in selecting deans, but I want to provide suffrage to professors instead of I appointing them. I want the deans to act as an ‘opposite party’ to keep the authority in check. ‘Yes-men’ cannot bring improvement to any organizations, so I will decentralize the authorities by distributing each members with some kind of responsibilities.
Q: We assume there will be some alterations in the grading systems based on your campaign promises. What triggered you to bring changes to them and how will it affect the scholarships?
President Lee: Now, we are facing with ‘convergence society’, where they demand people with various proficient abilities. I want the university to be the place to provide students with many different opportunities and experiences to make preparations. That is why, CWNU provides several lecture that converged the characteristics with different majors. However, with our grading system, we cannot stimulate students to register these courses. We are adopting ‘relative evaluation system’ where students need to compete against each other to achieve academic success. In this case, students with different majors are most likely to be fallen behind the line. By turning that into ‘absolute evaluation system’, we can reduce the pressure that students have to bear and increase the number of registered students for specially converged courses. Of course, this phenomenon naturally leads to scholarship issues as well. We will slightly reduce the scholarships based on good grades. Instead we will reorganize the scholarship distribution standard and use them to support students who sincerely in needs of financial supports. I once had the same experience back in the old days. I want to reduce the financial burden for my students. I wish they spend their precious time to upgrade themselves instead of making money to pay for tuition. Everything that I have mentioned is somewhat related to each other. Changing the grading system would bring alterations in scholarship system which again affects the grades of students.
Q: Do you have any other lessons that you want to give to the students of CWNU as the president of the university?
President Lee: I just want to emphasize three things. Firstly, ‘challenge’ yourselves. Students must set specific objectives before taking actions. A definite goal would act as an engine for them to achieve and provide them a powerful motivation. Secondly, try to have various ‘experiences’ during the college life. Perhaps, the college years might be the last chance to define ones true identities through many opportunities. Thus, utilize many programs and projects that our university is providing for students. Lastly, ‘respect and believe yourself’. Face up to the reality. I recommend our students not to be jealous of others who are in better conditions and arrogant over inferiors. Thus, be proud to be the students of CWNU and try best to mature yourselves mentally and spiritually.
By Kim Young-min, editor-in-ch firstname.lastname@example.org
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