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Kim Han-joong, Yonsei University’s 16th PresidentHis goals and aspirations
Soo-Ji Kim Reporter  |
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승인 2008.02.26  11:33:22
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Kim’s new vision for our university is ‘YONSEI, the First and the Best’, which refers to the rebirth of Yonsei as the most revolutionized university taking the lead in change. His ultimate goal is to instill pride among Yonseians. He said that he would be a compassionate leader while pursuing his goals. He plans to create mutual trust between students, faculty, and staff through reciprocal communication. In addition, he made another promise to provide full support to the fields of study that are below the university’s standards. Moreover, he pledged to respect and take care of the minorities including women, disabled students, and foreigners.
Kim’s strategies to realize his goals are as follows: an administrative reform, a personnel system reform, an expansion of research infrastructure, a financial reconstruction by raising 1 billion won in virtuous donations.
The first reformation Kim plans to implement is the decentralization of administration system which will impact both the current administrative and personnel system. The fundamental philosophy behind this reform is that Kim wants every department to be responsible for its constitution and organizational structure. When there is an appointment of deans, the nominees, who are primarily selected within their departments, must propose a developmental plan. Then the university’s personnel committee will make the final recommendation the head of university to designate. Kim also feels that the departments need to submit a progress analysis to the Information Management system so all information can be accessible on the spot.
The expansion of research infrastructure is Kim’s second reformation goal. The detailed plans are 1. to guarantee work and lab space for researchers, 2. to secure research funding for rising professors and their team, 3. to restore the old system of admitting students to departments rather than colleges, 4. to expand scholarships for distinguished graduate students, and 5. to attract excellent graduate students inside and outside of the country.
Last but not least, Kim plans to strengthen the university’s fundraising organization by hiring professional fundraisers to intensify the fundraising. He hopes to achieve his fundraising goal by diversifying his target and motivating enterprises, alumni, and churches. He is also working on other plans to raise funds within the university and from the educational foundation.
Aside from the structural reformations, he also speaks about promoting our university’s image and helping the alumni with their entries in public affairs through positive public relations and marketing. Kim compares Yonsei to the competing university, saying that we spend only 1/6 of their promotional hype, and shows his strong commitment for a more effective marketing strategy for the advertisement of our university. For instance, he plans to visit and support all of the alumni from Yonsei, who will be running for a public office in the general election in April, 2008.
By 2012, Kim hopes to rank in the World’s Top 100 Universities. He plans to realize this ambition by creating an account surplus, increasing funds, luring excellent students and professors, improving satisfaction through administrative reform, and encouraging Inbound Globalization through the Songdo Campus.  
Finally, Kim aspires to produce Nobel Prize winners by 2020 and bestow upon Yonseians absolute pride in their university. To realize this, first of all, he is going to increase the number of Underwood International College professors and the chair-professors, and make an effort to discover professors with the potential to be Nobel Prize winners. He will be reinforcing the positive incentive system, as well, in order to encourage the outstanding professors.
Kim’s term of office is four years from Feb. 1, 2008 till Jan. 31, 2012.
‘I am going to carry out a reformation in a dignified manner.’
The Yonsei Annals met with Kim Han-joong, the new head of school, at the Office of the President. We talked about his inauguration and his four-year plan for Yonsei. Here are the highlights of our interview.
Congratulations. How do you feel about becoming the 16th president of Yonsei?
I do have a very strong sense of responsibility. Since the inauguration, I have had tons of interviews with press off campus. Believe or not, this interview is the one that I am honestly afraid of.
The tuition fees were increased by 8.9% this year. Yonseians seem pretty flared up about this.
I grew up in a pastor’s family with six children. I personally went through a very hard time paying for my own tuition fees and this is why I understand the unhappy students and their families about the raise. I really am sorry, but until now, the university has been paying off the current account deficit with the university’s developmental funds. As a result, there is not enough money left for the university to use for advancements. Other competing universities have moved forward because their students have been paying higher tuition fees than our students over the past ten years. I really need the students to look at the actual amount of the tuition fees compared to other universities rather than only speaking about the increasing rate. I guarantee that no student will have to discontinue his or her studies because of their economic circumstances. For instance, I am going to establish more scholarships in cooperation with wealthy parents of students and churches outside the campus.
Yonseians’ interests in the opening of Songdo Campus are growing. Could you give us a detailed account of the new campus?
First of all, I want to clearly explain the current dispute among the public. The public states that Yonsei has received preferential treatment from Incheon city compared to other universities. However, the establishment of the new campus was not originally Yonsei’s endeavor, but an offer from Incheon city. Incheon city needed a breakthrough since the government’s disapproval of the city’s developments.
I am very excited about this project. Some say that every student must study one year at the Songdo Campus, which I do not agree with. I think that it would be smarter if the departments voluntarily move to the new campus. I will not be pushing any groups or individuals to go to the Songdo Campus, yet, I will encourage them with positive incentives. For example, it is possible to provide more work space to professors and offer four-year residential academic years to the students.
Any last words to Yonseians?
Students, faculty, and staff, are all same Yonseians. I wish all of us could broaden our views and thoughts. Our perspectives could be different from group to group; nonetheless, in essence, we all want is what is best for Yonsei. If we could have a little more understanding for each other and our diverse viewpoints, Yonsei will grow and develop.
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