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The Heart of a ServantCommunicative English program in Yonsei Univ.
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승인 2004.10.15  00:00:00
트위터 페이스북 구글 카카오스토리

   Last Tuesday, I had the distinct honor of spending an inspiring hour with our new University Pres. Jung, Chang-Young. As most Yonseians know, the Underwoods are leaving Korea in October, and Nancy Underwood was kind enough to mention my name to Mr. Jung. Since I have been here for seven years, Pres. Jung wanted me to provide him with information concerning the CE (Communicative English) Program in general and our CE teachers' dedication and devotion to Yonsei in particular. I can assure Yonseians that our new president has a vision for English education at Yonsei, and a conviction to ensure that graduating seniors can freely converse in English, as well as excel in today's current global environment. He tasked CE Department to write two articles, in order to assist Yonseians in understanding CE's vision and its drive to succeed in what we do. As our Administrative Coordinator, Jason Rhodes will provide the Annals readers with CE's strategies, curriculum goals and vision. I will divide my task into three parts, starting with a brief history of CE, followed by an introduction into our faculty's attributes and finally a personal insight into my own Yonsei experience and how I came to have the heart of a servant.

   When I first came to Yonsei, CE was part of the English Department. We were a small and family-oriented community, with Nancy Underwood serving as our Coordinator and Horace Underwood as our patron (Dean of the School of International Studies). On a personal note, I will truly miss the Underwoods as they leave for Florida and a well-deserved retirement. When Horace Underwood left Yonsei to work with the Fulbright Foundation, CE became the "Cinderella" of English education at Yonsei. There were various opinions and proposals concerning our mission, future and viability interjected by competing interests. Our prince came in the form of University College, and under the steady hands of Dean Ju and our current Dean Min Kyoung-chan, our department has grown to 28 instructors and we collectively issue over 8000 academic credits per semester. In the second section, I will briefly introduce our CE Department instructors to The Yonsei Annals readers.

   The Communicative English Department is a very diverse group of faculty members in terms of nationalities represented. As one teacher interjected, there are many "faces" in our community. For awhile it looked as if CE was going to stand for Canadian English or Commonwealth English with Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand and the Caribbean comprising an English lion's share of our staff. They graciously tolerate a select few ex-commonwealth rebels (Americans) and we systematically complicate the Queen's English with our own unique colloquialisms, idioms and sports metaphors (commonly known as American English). I would be remiss if I did not explain that we have native speaking faculty members of Korean origin, who hail from the countries listed above. In many cases, they provide a valuable "cultural bridge" and I have learned a lot from their wise counsel.

   The CE Department is also a diverse group in terms of characteristics, talents and attributes. In my humble opinion, innovative and enthusiastic faculty members surround me. They not only encourage their students with original curriculum delivered in creative pedagogical settings, but also inspire their fellow faculty members to deliver a continually better product when the classroom door closes. I get some of my best ideas from my colleagues' feedback to what I do and hearing their unique twists on how to approach difficult language concepts. We also have a diverse database of personal attributes in our department. Space precludes me from listing all of our faculty members' individual talents, but suffice to say a student should be able to find expertise in almost any field of personal interest. It is noteworthy that CE instructors routinely exceed university averages in terms of student evaluation scores. That leads us to part three of my article.

   My heart of a servant did not come naturally, so it is crucial to understand that I am only at my best when I am serving others. I will provide a brief explanation of my first two defining events and focus on my Yonsei experience, in order for my target audience to understand how I developed my creed and educational philosophy. Eagles have played a role in the defining events of my life, and I do not feel that this is accidental or circumstantial. I did not realize that I had a knack or talent for teaching until I joined the USS Kidd DDG-993 Pre-commissioning Unit (During my service in the United States Navy, whose symbol includes an eagle). I had an opportunity to train young sailors and eventually journey to Sri Lanka. It was in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka that my life truly changed. It was through young orphan children that I came to know the Lord. I remember one particular child who followed me around for two days, while we renovated the orphanage's desperately poor facilities. She finally said to me, "Uncle, you are not a happy man. You need my Jesus." It struck me that a child with absolutely nothing in the world, except her faith, pitied me. I began to study the Bible and passages describing a unique personal walk with God appealed to my solitary nature (I was a lone eagle). My personal favorite verse group is Isaiah 40:29-31 "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youth grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like Eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (NIV) Is it any wonder why I am so comfortable teaching at a university whose symbol is an eagle? My undergraduate university's symbol is also an eagle, although it is not nearly as large or prestigious as Yonsei. It was there that I finally understood the concept of discipleship and developed the heart of a servant. It all came together to me and I devoted the rest of my life to encouraging, teaching and serving young people.

   That brings me to my Yonsei experience. My sojourn in Korea and Yonsei in particular has provided my third defining experience. My colleagues and students have provided the practical applications and experiences that convince me that I am where God wants me to be. It is at Yonsei that I have been able to develop my pedagogical technique concerning continuing education. I truly believe that education is a process and strive to assist and encourage my students even after their coursework is complete. The freshman program offers me an opportunity to encourage a large number of students. Out of that group, a few students each semester stick with me and continue to seek my help with exchange programs, advanced academic endeavors or just a little fatherly advice. Some students have become like sons and daughters to me, and I am committed to their academic, emotional, financial and spiritual needs. As I said before, I am happiest when I am encouraging and serving. Yonsei has provided me with lots of blessings and opportunities to serve in the land of Yonsei eagles.

   Another passion of mine is curriculum development. I decided to write my own textbooks and revise them every semester in order to meet the changing needs of my students. Yonsei also provides me opportunities to satisfy my teaching passion beyond the freshman program. I feel that I gravitated towards the engineering and nursing departments, because my father is a practicing engineer (still working at 78) and my mother was a nurse. With input and assistance from Professor Lee, Chul-Hee, we were able to develop a Practical Technical English Writing course (DZ-510), as well as serve the Graduate Engineering Department's exemplary students. It is gratifying to see students that I taught as freshmen, attend my graduate-level class. I also work with Professor Lee Won-hee in the Nursing Department. With her insight, guidance and feedback, we have developed curriculum for the BSN-RN Nursing Program, as well as a journal-writing course for Sigma Theta Tau, Korea's Honor Society for Graduate Nurses. The members of this fraternity represent the "best and brightest" of the graduate-level nursing profession.

   In conclusion, I hope that this article, as well as the companion article helps students understand the CE Department and its faculty better. I would also like to issue a challenge to The Yonsei Annals readers. Do you have any goals or visions for English language education at Yonsei Univ? We, the collective faculty and administration of Yonsei University, would like to hear your feedback.  


We want to hear your feedback about English language education at Yonsei Univ. Limit your responses to 300 words, in a 12-point font, double-spaced MS Word English document. Place it in my mailbox in Paikyang hall on the fifth floor.

Roy K Burlew,
Communicative English Department Instructor

-This article may not reflect the opinion of The Yonsei Annals-


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Roy K. Burlew (the left) and his pupil