University of Utah aims high as it opens its new Asia Campus

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University of Utah aims high as it opens its new Asia Campus


Michael Hardman

The University of Utah welcomed its first students yesterday at its new Asia Campus in Incheon.

Located within the Songdo International Business District, the country’s first free economic zone, the school is the latest in a series of overseas universities to open its doors there.

Other institutions that have operations at the Incheon Global Campus (IGC) are the U.S.-based Stony Brook University, part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system, and George Mason University.

Ghent University, located in Belgium, also opened its global branch there yesterday.

Michael Hardman, a distinguished professor and the chief global officer at the University of Utah, recently discussed the school’s aims and its future direction with the Korea JoongAng Daily.

Q. What are the short-term and long-term goals of the University of Utah Asia Campus?

A. It is both the short- and long-term goal of the University of Utah Asia Campus [UAC] to offer the highest quality educational experience taught by our world-class faculty in a unique, imaginative and innovative global campus setting.

As we open this new campus, the university’s immediate goal is to appoint outstanding faculty members from the Utah main campus to teach and conduct research at the UAC. We will also recruit, accept and enroll top-tier undergraduate and graduate students who fully meet the main campus admissions criteria.

The University of Utah’s ultimate goal, and that of our Korean government partners, is for the UAC to become a premier global campus with top-tier academic, research and community engagement programs - an extended campus of the University of Utah that is financially self-sufficient.

How are faculty recruited?

The UAC faculty come directly from and are appointed by the Utah main campus. Every professor is as fully qualified as a main campus faculty and has extensive experience teaching in higher education. Students can count on an excellent, world-class faculty at the UAC.

Which fields will the Asia Campus focus on?

In its first year of operation, the UAC will have three undergraduate degree programs and one graduate program. New degree programs will be added in future years in disciplines such as, but not limited to, engineering, science and health that will expand education opportunities for students interested in attending the University of Utah and its Asia Campus.

In 2014-15, the UAC will offer all freshman students a Global Citizenship Certificate Program in general education that leads to undergraduate degree majors in communication, psychology and social work. Our global citizenship certificate and three undergraduate degrees have been reviewed extensively within Korea and throughout Asia to assure they are highly marketable for a graduate’s future career and/or further post-graduate education opportunities.

All three undergraduate programs are highly ranked within the University of Utah and in the United States. The bachelor of social work degree is also an internationally accredited professional degree program in which students are fully qualified to work in countries around the world.

The UAC’s initial graduate program is a master’s degree in public health. With an increasing worldwide awareness of the need for new, well-prepared leadership in public health, as well as the critical focus on issues of global health, infectious and chronic disease, health economics, community health, health policy, environmental health, and disaster preparedness, the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree provides an excellent opportunity to engage in the exciting and growing field of global health policy and practice.

Only some of your university’s courses are available in Korea. Do you have any plans to increase availability?

As indicated above, the University of Utah will be expanding its Asia Campus courses and degree offerings in the future. It is important to remember, however, that every enrolled student at the UAC in Korea will also spend an academic year at the Utah main campus. For undergraduates, it is three years in Korea and one year on the main campus where students complete their major degree requirements and have the opportunity to participate in University of Utah elective courses.

For graduate students, they spend one year in Korea and one year at the Utah main campus. They also have an opportunity to take advantage of both required and elective courses during their year at the Utah main campus.

What was the number of applicants for the first semester?

While our official application period was less than three months, there were more than 120 student applications initiated, of which, 70-plus were submitted within the deadline for fall admissions.

We are opening the campus with a small, but fully qualified cohort of undergraduate and graduate students who are expecting, and will receive, personalized learning and support services from UAC faculty and staff.

How will the University of Utah cooperate with other universities in the Incheon Global Campus?

The University of Utah is pleased to be part of the Incheon Global Campus University Alliance and in partnership with our colleagues from the United States and Europe. As an Alliance University participant, we see it as very important for our UAC students to be full participants with all IGC students in the global campus community. This includes both campus living and academic learning opportunities. In the first year of UAC operations, our focus will be on quality campus life activities and support services that cut across all four participating universities.

In subsequent years, we will be working closely with other IGC universities and our main campus faculty and administration for approval to offer UAC students the opportunity to take courses from our Alliance University partners that would count toward degree credit. At the same time, we also welcome students from our Alliance partners to take courses through the UAC.


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