Asia/Pacific IT Hub University by 2007, World-Class University by 2012
|Huh Unna |
President of Information and Communication University
A feature of the knowledge-based society is where only one person's talent can sustain tens of thousands of peoples. My dream is to nurture talented people like Bill Gates so that they can run Fortune 500 companies. The telecommunication industry is a very important field. IT-related exports account for over 30% of all exports. Nurturing IT talent is a project that the nation should support strategically as a far-sighted national policy. For this reason, ICU was created.
Huh Unna, president of Information and Communication University (ICU) so described her ambition in a New Year interview with The Korea IT Times.
Huh notes that with a view to nurturing 'Global IT leaders', ICU envisions becoming an IT hub university for Northeast Asia to spearhead the Korean industry's internationalization. She also has a vision to develop ICU as one of the world's top 10 IT universities that nurtures future IT industry leaders.
ICU was established in 1997 with an entirely English-language curriculum tailor-made by individuals, interdisciplinary education between its engineering and management schools, and IT-specific education for gifted children as well as early graduation. ICU is emerging as a reformative educational model, Mrs. Huh emphasizes.
According to the university president Huh Unna, ICU has produced 537 graduates holding masters as well as doctorate degrees during the past 6 years. Furthermore, she boasts that its graduates have a 100% employment rate. Huh adds that with its budget of 280 million won per professor ICU is outspending the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST) with 262 million won even though the university is fairly recent.
At present, ICU is carrying out national core research projects such as the MIC (or IT839) strategy, designed to help Korea stay ahead in the IT field by introducing and promoting new IT services to encourage investment in network infrastructure. Meanwhile the university's three research centers -- the Grid Middleware Research Center, Mobile Multimedia Research Center and BcN Engineering Research Center -- are winning recognition by being designated as core IT development research centers by the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC).
Huh asserts that this goes to proves that ICU is the most capable university in the IT field, and despite the fact it is relatively new it has more designated research centers than Seoul National University (2 IT research centers), and KAIST (2 IT research centers).
In the following interview, the Korea IT Times discusses with Huh ICU's role as IT-specialized research-oriented university, its involvement in the IT839 strategy, the plan to promote the university as one of the top 10 in the telecommunication field globally, and the university's student-oriented approach to curriculum construction.
Q: First off, please explain what ICU's chief projects are for 2005.
A: ICU plans to carry four projects in 2005 with a view to achieving our mid-term goal of becoming Asia/Pacific's IT hub university by 2007.
First, ICU will establish an all-English campus by 2007 as well as offering an English curriculum.
Second, we plan to open joint research centers in conjunction with the leading universities of the world as well as prominent corporations.
Third, ICU will expand its overseas student exchange from the current 5% of undergraduates to 10% this year and the proportion of foreign students at the graduate school from current level of 12% to 15%.
Fourthly, ICU pursues a more varied educational program and gain international authentification from bodies such as ABET, a recognized accreditor for college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology and AACSB of the United States.
Q: What is ICU's role in the IT839 strategy
A: By regularly holding IT839 strategy meetings and coordinating research in various fields since September 2004, ICU is seeking an active role in formulating the direction of government policy.
By working out a detailed research road map, ICU is pursing a mid-to-long-haul strategy to play a leading role in grooming a supply of specialized IT manpower and commercializing next-generation IT core technology.
In the interests of nurturing leading IT manpower, ICU offers an English curriculum. Second, for the purpose of supporting R&D in technology with a view to its commercialization, ICU is forming links with the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), KAIST, the University of Chungnam, the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information (KISTI) and Korea Telecom.
Third, for the purpose of establishing the university as a global center of excellence, ICU plans to produce high-grade personnel by attracting talent from China, India, Vietnam and Malaysia with the aim of having 40% of the academic staff comprised of nationals from these countries by 2007.
Q: How have your chief projects such as the Brain Korea 21 project as well as attracting an MIT Media Lab been faring
A: ICU will seek international research cooperation through demonstrating superior research performance and by concentrating on new technology development along with basic research. For this purpose, ICU will concentrate its efforts on new technology development through its research centers such as the Grid Middleware Research Center, Mobile Multimedia Research Center, Digital Media Research Center, and Electric Wave Education Research Center.
Furthermore, ICU will strive its utmost to become a worldwide R&D center of excellence by attracting overseas research establishments such as Cambridge University's Auto-ID Lab.
What's more, our university's Digital Media Laboratory has engaged in the field of ubiquitous computing as well as digital expression since its opening in March 2003.
Q: We understand that ICU offers a student-oriented approach to education by such initiatives as an all English curriculum and customized degree courses.
A: With a view to nurturing high-grade specialized manpower for the continuous development of telecommunication industry, ICU has been pursuing a education/research paradigm through collaboration between academia, industry, and research.
First, it is possible to offer intensive education at ICU with three semesters in a year. Second, in the interests of internationalized education, ICU has an English-language curriculum from the bachelor level upward.
Third, through degree courses customize designed by students, ICU aims to nurture application-oriented specialists.
Fourthly, through an interdisciplinary approach, ICU cultivates an all-round problem solving ability.
Q: Could you explain ICU's vision of becoming one of the world's top universities.
A: ICU is becoming a subject of benchmarking by universities throughout Asia/Pacific because of our three-semester academic year, English curriculum system by individuals, customized degrees, plus its research internships and interdisciplinary education.
To grow to become a world-level IT university, ICU will network among overseas universities with the aim of having 30% of the academic body comprised of foreign scholars by 2012.
At the same time, ICU will continuously strive toward achieving a first-rate research capability by attracting the research centers of leading foreign universities as well as corporations. On this basis, we plan to become an Asia/Pacific IT hub university in 2007 and a top world-class university in 2012.
Q: What is your opinion on the purpose of educational development in Korea in the field of telecommunications
A: If we nurture students from Asian countries such as India, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan to become CIOs in their countries, ICU could help to promote IT cooperative relations with them to the benefit of our domestic IT industry.
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