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Korea University, Postech and Ewha Top Rankings In All Three Fields

Korea University, Postech and Ewha Top Rankings In All Three Fields

Posted February. 21, 2005 22:49,   


In an evaluation of the performance of major institutions of higher learning carried out by the Korean Council for University Education (KCUE) last year, Korea University topped the list in terms of mechanical engineering, Pohang University of Science and Technology ranked first in biology and biotechnology and Ewha Womans University came in first for mass communications, advertising and public relations.

The KCUE on February 21 announced the results of its review of universities in the three fields of mechanical engineering (81 universities), biology and biotechnology (75 universities) and mass communications, advertising and public relations (58 universities), which are the subject fields of the 2004 evaluation and its overall study of 40 universities.

Up until now, the results of the organization’s evaluations have been known merely as “excellent”; “good”; “recognized”; and “improvement needed.” This is the first time it has released the rankings of universities, providing grounds for potential controversy in the run up to the reconstructuring of universities.

Critics have said of the annual evaluations by the KCUE, “It is hard to acknowledge the results as its review lacks objectivity in terms of criteria and method of evaluation.” This year, however, may see a mounting dispute over the reliability of the evaluation, now that rankings of universities have been announced.

KCUE president Lee Hyun-cheong explained, “The reason why we released the rankings of universities despite the possible controversy and stir our announcement would create is that we wanted to faithfully take a leading role in nurturing competent human resources, a job this age is desperately calling for.”

Results of the evaluation in academic fields-

Seoul National University failed to join the ranks of the “excellent” universities in all of the three fields studied, and its rankings were somewhere around 10th.

In mechanical engineering, Korea University, the Ansan campus of Hanyang University, Chungnam National University, Korea University of Technology and Education, Yeungnam University, Pusan National University, the Seoul campus of Hanyang University, Pohang University of Science and Technology, and Korea Polytechnic University ranked first through ninth, respectively, followed by Kookmin University and Sogang University, which ranked 10th. Seoul National University came up short in the standings at 15th. For its part, Yonsei University was excluded from this year’s evaluation, as its engineering field was confirmed by the Accreditation Board for Engineering Education of Korea just last year.

Pohang University of Science and Technology and Ewha Womans University were graded as “excellent” for biology and biotechnology, ranking first and second, and 58 universities like Yonsei University, Sungkyunkwan University, Chungnam National University, Sookmyung Women’s University, Seoul National University, the Ansan campus of Hanyang University, Korea University, and Chung-Ang University (in the order of the third through 10th) were recognized as “good.” Veterinary science, the famous Seoul National University professor Hwang Woo-seok’s field of study, is not included among the subject fields of biology and biotechnology.

The KCUE noted that the overall rankings of Ewha Women’s University went up greatly, as it got 29.45 out of 30 points in the professors’ evaluation.

Ewha Womans University, Yonsei University, Dong-eui University and Seoul Women’s University ranked among the top in mass communications, advertising and public relations, coming in first through fourth, and Chonbuk National University, Hallym University, Sookmyung Women’s University, Seoul National University, and the University of Incheon ranked fifth through 10th, joining the 21 good universities. Dong-eui University, in the meantime, received high points in club activities, practical education, and connection between industry and university in related fields.

Overall review-

Ewha Womans University topped the list by getting 97.75 out of 100 points. Among others which joined the group of “excellent” universities are the Seoul campus of Hanyang University (96.76 points), the Ansan campus of Hanyang University (95.60 points) and Inha University (95 points), followed by Seoul Women’s University, which received 93.92 points and joined the group of “good” schools, coming in fifth.

Seoul National University, Korea University and Yonsei University were not included as subjects of this year’s evaluation, as an overall review of universities is carried out on each group of universities only in years when they apply for evaluation.

In an overall review of universities set up after 1997, Gachon Medical School, Far East University, Myungshin University, Mokpo University, Yewon Arts University and Tamna University, all six subject universities, got enough points to be recognized by the organization.

Reliability of the evaluation-

There was some controversy last year when some professors in a few fields raised doubt over the credibility of the evaluation. In so doing, the group of professors jointly resolved to reject the evaluation itself.

In a way, universities that place all they have on getting good points in the evaluation, rather than increasing the quality of education they provide, tend to have higher rankings, as the criteria and fields of review are revealed prior to the evaluation.

Moreover, some observers point out that the results of evaluation vary according to the disposition of individual groups of reviewers, since a different group reviews the same field in each university.

Regarding this criticism, the KCUE said, “The so-called ‘top-notch’ schools or universities known to excel in certain fields recorded lower rankings than expected, as the evaluation standards vary greatly,” adding, “We will spare no effort to create novel standards of review in order to guarantee more credibility.”

Seong-Chul Hong sungchul@donga.com