Bogus degree epidemic continuesYet another forgery of academic records surfaced this week following the revelation that Kim Ock-rang, 62, the well-known CEO of the DongSoong Art Center and one of the most influential figures in the Korean art world, is the latest figure suspected of using bogus academic credentials.
Shin Hyun-ki, the dean of academic affairs at Dankook University, said yesterday that the school will request Kim, an art management professor, to appear for an inquiry next week. If she doesn’t show up, the school will hand over the case to its disciplinary committee, the dean said.
On Monday, noted architecture professor Lee Chang-ha of Kimcheon Science College in North Gyeongsang, admitted to the suspicion that he is only a high school graduate.
Last month, the case of Shin Jeong-ah, 35, a professor at Dongguk University and a rising art curator, stunned art circles when it was revealed that she never received a doctorate from Yale University and also lied about two additional academic degrees.
On Wednesday, the school said it was belatedly investigating Kim’s academic background after suspicion was raised about the authenticity of a bachelor’s degree she claims from Pacific Western University in the United States. Kim tendered her resignation on July 19, when the national focus was on Shin Jeong-ah’s lie, saying she needed to quit for “personal reasons.” The school will not accept her resignation and want to hold her responsible for her alleged “illegality,” Dean Shin said.
The Los Angeles-based university has been called a “diploma mill” that produces fake diplomas, by police.
“We only looked into her final degree, which is a master’s degree, when she applied to our school,” Shin said. “We were not thorough in verifying her other degrees.”
Kim, who joined the Dankook faculty in September 2002, claimed during the application process that she graduated from Pacific Western and received a master’s degree at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul.
According to Sungkyunkwan, Kim applied to its Graduate School of Performance Art in 1997 also with the Pacific Western degree. She earned a master’s degree in February 1999 and a doctorate in February 2004 from the Korean school.
Choi Young-rok, a public relations official of Sungkyunkwan, said yesterday the school did not know whether Pacific Western is an accredited school. Choi said the admissions process was above board and Kim received legitimate degrees at the university.
Kim also claimed that she graduated from the prestigious Kyunggi Girl’s High School in Seoul when she applied for Dankook and Sungkyunkwan, the schools said. She has also said she graduated from Ewha Womans University in Seoul.
However, both women’s schools denied that Kim is an alumna.
Dongsoong Art Center, founded by Kim in 1989, is the first center devoted to the performing arts in Korea. The center, located in Daehangno, northern Seoul, is well known for supporting artists and promoting independent arts.
By Chun In-sung JoongAng Ilbo/ Moon Gwang-lip Staff Writer [email@example.com]