University officials visit plant to plan curriculum

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University officials visit plant to plan curriculum

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Yoo Seong-jong, center, director of the Boryeong Fire Plant, talks to Lee Yong-goo, left, the president of Chung-Ang University, and Park Yong-seong, chairman of the school’s board of directors, at Boryeong Fire Plant in South Chungcheong. Provided by Chung-Ang University

A delegation of 20 professors and board members from Chung-Ang University (CAU) left for Boryeong Fire Plant in South Chungcheong last week on a so-called site visit.

The primary goal of their trip, explained the school’s president, was to pick up tips on how to design the curriculum for their two new postgraduate engineering departments.

“College education was just too arrogant and imprudent all along,” said President Lee Yong-goo. “It’s time to teach [students] something that’s actually useful in the real world.”

Lee further explained that after the tour, which lasted a few hours, his teaching staff would finalize the curriculum for the engineering procurement construction department and the environment health safety department.

Both departments, affiliated with the Graduate School of Construction Engineering at CAU in Dongjak District, southern Seoul, will open courses in March.

Stepping inside the fire plant wearing white safety helmets on Jan. 19, the group, mostly professors from various departments including accounting, business and civil engineering, rushed to fire questions at their guide and the director of the plant Yoo Seong-jong.

“What type of education is necessary for operating and managing a power plant?” asked one professor.

“How many people are involved in safety supervision, and what do they normally do?” asked another.

Yoo answered: “There are 21 safety supervision workers here who check the pipelines’ internal pressure. I hope students who want a job in this field learn the 101 on co-generation in advance.”

Seoul National University (SNU), which plans to establish a graduate school for engineering next year, said it is also negotiating with on-site specialists in formatting the curriculum.

That collaboration, said Lee Gyeong-woo, who heads the educational affairs department of SNU’s College of Engineering, “will be helpful for the school to simultaneously develop with companies.”

SNU recently surveyed 400 companies asking about necessary skill sets in engineering and will apply those results in the new curriculum, Lee explained.

Also emphasizing the connection between students and field workers is Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, which is currently discussing whether to organize the annual seminar involving company human resources managers more frequently on its campus in Dongdaemun District, central Seoul.

The school is discussing whether to run it quarterly.

Meanwhile, students at Sungkyunkwan University’s software department completed a joint research project with 20 companies, including Daum Kakao, and are prepared to announce the results late next month.

“The connection between universities and industrial circles is increasingly becoming a crucial criterion [for the government] in allocating financial aid to schools,” said Bae Seong-geun, an official from the Ministry of Education’s University Policy Division. “It’s no longer safe to say that universities live in the ivory tower of academics and students simply sit at their desks researching.”

BY NOH JIN-HO, LEE SUNG-EUN [selee@joongang.co.kr]


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