It was a bit embarrassing for me as an engineering professor, only accustomed to analyzing experiments, to write an article for the humanities. Especially, selecting a subject was quite complicated but I decided to write about my opinions on the university education system. We are encountering a global trend where the life-time of products is getting shorter on account of technical developments, a deluge of information, and the growing rights of consumers. In this rapidly-changing society, giving IT devices as an example, there are many components, and they are asked to be small but while maintaining high-performance. Furthermore, they strive to find the most optimal structures in order to lower the cost of products. Generally, these components are made by one country, one company and one machine in an industrialized structure, making it inevitable that young people will have difficulty in getting a job. Therefore, even though my writing skills are lacking, for students living in these rough times, I would like to write down my analysis of the present state of university culture and how to prepare for a better future. Appointed as a professor of engineering in 1996 and having observed students for 20 years, I’ve realized that students’ understanding has been getting worse in my classes. Of course, it does not exactly correspond with reality, as the employment rate of conglomerates is getting lower and the entrance rate of graduate school has decreased as well. Moreover, the employment rate in laboratories for recent graduates is declining remarkably compared to the past. However, students are consistent in their sincere desire for employment in a conglomerate and they expect to get a position in one. We can easily see around us that many students actually put off graduation and concentrate on building qualifications, grades and language scores. I would like to say not that their desire to join a conglomerate is inappropriate but that students who prepare in advance and make an effort can reach their goal earlier than those who get a late start.
Take the time for attending school, for example. Low grades are caused from a shortage of effort fundamentally, although some lack comprehension competence. Then, how about filling this deficiency with the professors’ support? In the past, I let my students assemble in the central library at 5:00 a.m. to study and improve their effort, but, I saw that most of them just did it once or twice and then gave up. To prevent this, I wish all professors and students in the university would work together to attend campus early in the morning just for one month, but we wouldn’t be able to avoid the criticism of infringing their rights. For such a reason, their indifference and lack of will most likely become an obstacle. Many students have a desire to join a big enterprise, so they need sufficient effort. The quality of their studying is also as important as their effort. Students should get qualifications, like language scores, that are really concerned with early in their university years. However, after students are satisfied with these scores, they have to focus on comprehending a wider variety of topics for their major and in-depth study. Rather than running towards a goal of employment, they would be better off setting their goal to improve their ability to perform tasks in their field. This would be advantageous to both companies and the students. In the engineering college, the university matches seniors up with professors as a mentor program and opened the ‘Project Lab’ program to let them assign a laboratory, help them study and write a graduation thesis. This program would be ideal. After several years, the problems of each of lab have occurred one by one. While teaching, I saw various styles of students- free, monotonous, lazy, indifferent, and so on. They pursued immediate benefits and occasionally seniors gave incorrect information to juniors trying to boast about their achievements. Unfortunately, they trust that information completely. On the other hand, they totally disobey their parents and often doubt professors. However, those seniors mostly have little or no social experiences and talk with just odd bits of information. The important things in this kind of situation are meeting, counseling, and teaching from professors within your major. After teaching students and helping seniors get employment for several years, and furthermore being an adult who had social experiences for many years, I can confidently say that professors are well-equipped to guide students professionally. If there was a counseling time twice a semester and professors had career counseling with individual students, it would be ideal. However, we can’t say there are professors who counsel many students in this way. I often say, in some sad situations; ‘Don’t respect professors recklessly.’ ‘Do respect the points that the professor tries to teach sincerely to you.’ Absolutely, most professors take care of their students above all and teach with passion. It is a kind of essence and duty. However, I would also like to say that professors are partially to blame when students doubt their professors. Professors are like parents having sons and daughters. Although it could be perfectly equal, they need to treat students like their offspring with responsibility. With a great sense of responsibility, the teaching effects will be better than before and communication between them will be increased positively. I think that responsibility makes students inspired. Universities should be run with all aspects focusing on students, so the administration should also focus on optimizing learning conditions for students and supporting the professors in their research. ‘What can I do for you?’ is a great question for everyone in the university system to ask. We should remember that students are the V. I. P of the campus. Finally, I will finish my writing with these words.
Students make an effort to achieve the dream. Professors have passion to take care of students like their children. Universities operate aggressively with a positive attitude. ‘What can I do for students?’
by Jong-Myung Woo, Dept. of Radio Science & Engineering
The Chungdae Post -
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