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Restructuring of Universities: Survive or Parish?

Posted October. 11, 2004 23:29,   


Cheongju University in North Chungcheong Province is reviewing the demand for professors in each division and department after the university decided to hire 40 new professors next year. The number is a significant increase compared with last year and this year, when three professors were employed respectively.

Kyungnam University got rid of four departments and revised four divisions into nine departments. Youngsan University in Yangsan, South Gyeongsang Province plans to cut the number of students it will accept in unpopular departments with low application rates.

Since the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development announced its measures to restructure the universities in late August, many private universities in the regions outside the Seoul metropolitan area have increased the number of professors, integrated or abolished departments, and cut the number of students to avoid being driven out of the market.

More Professors, More Integration, Abolishment and Specialization of Departments—

In Busan, South Gyeongsang Province where 10 private universities are located, nine universities except for Youngsan University fall short of the standard “65 percent of faculty to be full time” required by the education ministry. As a result, many universities including Dong-A University, with 52.6 percent, have been exerting their endeavors to hire more professors.

Youngdong University in North Chungcheong Province initially planned to hire about 10 professors next year but decided to hire more professors after the Education Ministry’s announcement. Seowon University, which has already employed eight professors, will secure 10 more professors next year.

Those universities in the non-Seoul metropolitan areas are concentrating also on eliminating uncompetitive departments while setting up new departments with comparative advantage. Paichai University in South Chungcheong Province cut down the number of evening-session students to 110 by no longer accepting students in the Division of English Language and Literature, Department of Public Administration, and Division of Clothing and Textiles, and transferring the Division of Information Technology Engineering and Department of Game Engineering to day-time sessions. Mokwon University in Daejeon also reduced its night-time students, accepting only 143 applicants. Daejeon University and Hannam University each eliminated three divisions.

In its bid to foster competitive areas, Wooseong University in Daejeon established the Department of Railway Facilities Environment Engineering in the College of Engineering last year, and the Department of Railway Management in the Division of Business Administration this year. The university also set up the Department of Culinary Arts where students can transfer to prestigious culinary arts-specialized universities in the U.S. after studying two years in Korea. The competition to enter this department through special admission was 4:1, which was much higher than the university’s average competition rate of 1.51:1.

Konyang University in Nonsan, South Chungcheong Province will soon open a Graduate School of Defense. The university found the major’s potential for specialization when it became popular among students. The major was established within the undergraduate school’s Division of Business Administration and accepted students for the first time this year.

Vigorous Restructuring of Universities—

Chosun University in Gwangju is pursuing a restructuring by integrating and eliminating overlapping office work in order to eliminate unnecessary administrative offices while strengthening the power and responsibility of the team leaders

The university decided to eliminate the deputy dean position in the undergraduate and graduate schools except at the Colleges of Engineering, Medicine, and Education, downgrading the position to the level of that in public universities.

The Deans of Colleges will take charge of auxiliary organizations; for example, the Dean of Education College will be serving also as the head of Secondary Education Training Center. The university also decided to cut 24 positions by managing some auxiliary organizations under bigger administrative offices.

“With the possibility of losing ground becoming a reality, universities must adopt advanced administrative system of high expertise and efficiency in order to survive in the competition,” the university said and added, “We are not expecting any backlash as the university community agreed on the need for restructuring.”

Some private universities, however, pointed out, “Restructuring should be conducted after fully taking into account the current situation of private universities in non-Seoul metropolitan areas to minimize the side effects. But the current top-down restructuring will inevitably deal a blow to the universities.”