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Scholars of Basic Studies Estranged SNU

Posted June. 11, 2001 08:59,   


``I do not regret giving up the professor of Seoul National University, which obligates the sacrifice and the hungry spirit. I will leave SNU to be a better scholar.``

Kang Seok-Jin, professor of Natural Science, SNU, will move to Korea Institute for Advance Study (KIAS) at the end of this month. He would be the third person who has moved from SNU to KIAS, following his predecessors Prof. Hwang Joon-Mook (Mathematics) and Lee Ki-Myong (Physics).

Assistant Professor Kang has taught at SNU for 8 years and won the `young scholar prize` in 1999.

He recently wrote a letter, ``The time is around the corner,`` on the blackboard of his homepage (). He said there, ``The work of the SNU Mathematics is miraculous [regarding the rare support to the department.] Students also need to show their enthusiasm and courtesy if they want to study under the instruction of good scholars.``

More professors of the basic studies seem to leave SNU in protest against the SNU`s policy that ignores the significance of the basic studies.

Leaving Professors: For past 4 years, 19 professors have left SNU of their own will and 8 of them (42 percent) are of the Humanities, Social Science, and Natural Science. Regarding the total number of the professors in the basic studies is 439 (29.6 percent) out of the total 1483 professors of SNU, the rate of the occupation change in the basic studies is relatively high. 5 out of 7, who have left SNU since Brain Korea (BK) 21 project launched out in 1999, are professors of the basic studies.

An assistant professor of the Natural Science said that newly employed professors are mostly disappointed by the poor research environment and he would move if the situation would not be better.

Prof. Lee Ki-Myong (physics, KIAS) said, ``Thanks to the economic stability and the reduced burden related with teaching and administration, I can concentrate on my research here.`` Professor Lee published average 6 articles a year at SNU and, after moving to KIAS, have published 7 papers a year.

The annual salary of the SNU professors barely reached 70 percent of the professors in the private colleges. Professor Kang, an assistant professor who has taught 8 years at SNU, earned 33 million won last year. Especially, the professors of the basic studies have rare chance to raise fund for their research without the subsidies of the school or the government.

Overseas Scholars Turning Away: many good scholars turned away from SNU.

The Life Science department of the Natural Science at SNU tried last year to invite Professor Park, who had taught in Britain, but Professor Park refused to accept the offer because of the poor research environment. A professor of the Natural Science department complained that the research equipment and facilities of SNU couldn’t compare to those of the domestic private colleges besides the foreign top-level schools.

The Frustration of the Basic Studies: The failure of the human resource management of SNU leads to the frustration of the basic studies. Academic Dean of the Natural Science Park Seung-Hyun said that the professor has lost their motivation and pride more and more and it becomes more difficult to invite good scholars. Chair of the Professors in KIAS, Myong Pyo-Chol, said, ``Foreign universities have been developing through the competition for inviting more excellent scholars.``