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Appointment of Professors at Nat`l Universities Marred by Sweetheart Deals

Appointment of Professors at Nat`l Universities Marred by Sweetheart Deals

Posted July. 15, 2003 21:49,   


Some of professors at national universities including Seoul National University violated rules of appointment when evaluating professor candidates by giving more credits to those who went to the same schools as theirs. They reportedly included articles that are not supposed to be taken into account during the evaluation or used a single paper twice in an attempt to give more credits.

The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MOEHRD) said on July 15 that it found 40 cases of irregularities in appointment of professors after auditing 10 national universities in March this year.

The ministry also said that it nullified the appointment of two professors and suspended two others at a national university in a local area. It also issued warnings to 48 professors and citations to 50 professors.

The audit covered 10 universities across the country – Gangreung University, Gangwon University, Geumo Engineering Institute, Bugyung University, Busan University, Jeju University, Changwon University, Chungju University and Korea Rehabilitation and Welfare University.

“We cannot disclose the names of universities that have violated the rules, since they are entitled to file a motion under the law,” explained MOEHRD. The remarks, however, have invited criticism that the ministry tried to take side with the universities, which are under their supervision.

▽ Sweetheart Deals

Seoul Nat`l University received a citation for appointing professors, who were linked to candidates based on senior-junior and mentor-protégé relationships, as members of evaluation panels.

A national university in a local area was ordered to reprimand a professor who gave perfect points to a candidate who went to the same school as his while giving relatively low points to others. The president of the university was also given a stern warning for exercising undue influence on appointment of professors, even replacing members of the evaluation committee.

▽ Research Results Bloated

Three Universities were found to manipulate credits during the evaluation process. A university in a local area included unofficial reports or results of studies kept by businesses or individuals to give more credits, and even decided to hire a candidate who did not have a degree only to cancel the appointment later.

▽ National Universities Violate Rules

MOEHRD has encouraged national universities to hire more resourceful teachers by allowing them to increase the number of professors by 1,000.

Although it has long been speculated that national universities appoint new professors based on sweetheart deals, this is the first time the ministry confirmed such cases. It is expected to send shockwaves throughout the education community given that the violators are none other than national universities.

“The practice of hiring professors based on senior-junior or mentor-protégé relationships has long been prevailing in universities,” said an official at MOEHRD. “We will continue to have an watchful eye on the process of evaluation so as to establish a transparent and fair system.”

Seong-Chul Hong sungchul@donga.com