Go to contents

Deans Call for Liberal Arts Funding

Posted September. 27, 2006 07:09,   


In the opening ceremony of Humanities Week (September 25-September 30) held on the morning of September 28 at the International Education Center of Ewha Womans University in Seoul, deans of humanities colleges at 93 universities nationwide—including Seoul National University (SNU), Yonsei University, and Korea University—proposed the creation of a liberal arts promotion fund and a committee provisionally named “Humanities Korea,” in an endeavor to revitalize liberal arts that have been stagnant.

In a statement, “Our Proposal for Today’s Liberal Arts,” read by Dean Yoon Pyung-hyun of the College of Humanities at Chonnam National University, they stated, “We deeply reflect on the current situation of the liberal arts circles. We have only hidden ourselves behind the defensive discourse of the ‘crisis of liberal arts,’ failing to create alternative values by thorough self-reflection and active engagement in the reality.”

“The origin of the problems, however, is a changing social structure that looks down on humanistic spirit and values. Responsible for all this is the government, who led the change, and universities who simply went with the tide,” they argued.

As ways to promote liberal arts, they called for creating a government-led “liberal arts promotion fund”; establishing Humanities Korea under the deputy minister of education for long-term development of humanities; guaranteeing participation of liberal arts scholars in major state policy committees; and formation of a “liberal arts development promotion committee” where the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MOE), academia, and relevant agencies participate.

Right after the opening ceremony, humanities college deans of over 50 private universities—excluding national and public universities—formed the “National Association of Humanities College Deans at Private Universities” and selected Cho Kwang, the head of Korea University’s humanities college, as the first chairman.