KU’s Institute for General Education Research (Director Jung Won-sup) was selected as a financial beneficiary regarding education of the 2021 Humanities and Social Research Center Support Project, which is organized by the Ministry of Education and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRFK). The purpose of this project is to establish excellent academic research results, foster and educate next-generation researchers by reacting to national and social issues. The NRFK has evaluated a total of 259 projects that focus on the following areas: strategic areas, pure learning, problem solving, and combination of multiple studies. Out of 259 projects, 43 were selected after the reviewing period. As a result, KU’s research project, The Development and Spread of Regional Humanities and Liberal Arts Education Models to Foster Digital Citizenship, was selected as the only model in Gyeongsangnam-do. With this success, KU is supposed to receive about 2.07 billion won in project expenses over the next six years. The expenses will be used to develop liberal arts-related curricula and textbooks as proposed in the regional humanities and liberal arts education models. Director Jung Won-sup stated, “KU’s Institute for General Education Research is trying to present systematic educational measures to improve 'digital literacy' that is strongly required for Korean young people today. We hope this will be one of the examples of actively and creatively breaking through the crisis factors of the fourth industrial revolution." As part of the project, courses for Arete Classic Reading have been provided. In order to obtain detailed information about the Arete, I interviewed Professor Lee Mi-seon, a professor of English Education and director of the division of Arete. Kyungnam Times ● 27 Director, Jung Won-sup 28 Beyond KU Q1 Would you give us a brief explanation about the Arete Classic Reading Project? Arete Classic Reading is a general education course designed to develop literacy, academic abilities, and communication skills for students through the joy of reading books. 'Arete' is a Greek word meaning ‘excellence’ or ‘ethical virtue.’ This course helps promote self-directed learning and thinking skills through reading, discussing selected classics in literature, history, philosophy, and science together with professors and students. Q2 Would you explain the development of Arete Classic Reading? Classics contain the wisdom of mankind who survived through the trials of time. Through reading classics, we can gain essential knowledge in life and wise insight into the world. In order to become the most suitable person that the society needs, we need core competencies consisting of a comprehensive understanding of humans, society, and nature, analytical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills. KU developed a classic reading curriculum named Arete Classic Reading, as the basis for fostering these competencies for KU students. Plus, for systematic classical reading, KU selected ‘Arete Academy Classics 100.’ KU Students can develop literacy and analytical judgment on a lot of information through the classes and their own active reading. Q3 How is Arete Classic Reading progressed? Arete Classic Reading consists of three components: reading, discussing, and taking a reading note. Pass or Non-Pass credits are given to the students because the process is more important than the evaluation of the outcome of learning. In this class, the professor plays a role as a tutor or guide, that is, a role as a senior who has read and studied over classics for more time than students. Specifically, classes are conducted in a shared inquiry way in which students actively and voluntarily read books and participate in discussions. Students can develop their thinking skills by reading, discussing, and recording expanded thoughts in their reading notebooks. Arete Director Lee Mi-seon Q4 Would you tell us the difficulty you and the institute have suffered to turn Arete Classic Reading from an elective course to a must? Students who are to enter KU in 2022 are required to complete one of the courses of Arete Classic Reading. During the first and second school years, they will discover the pleasure of reading classics by focusing on relatively easy classical works. During the third and fourth school years, they will find out the literary beauty which relatively difficult classical works provide, and develop an ability to have an empathy with various humans. In addition, according to the students' wishes, KU will guide them to take the path of classical reading experts by completing a double major or minor. To enhance the effectiveness of this class, KU has published a guidebook, Arete Reader, to make students' reading easier. For the regional spread of the Arete Classic Reading project, the Institute for General Education Research plans to expand classical reading by distributing the liberal arts journal, Arete, to the local communities. In addition, the institute will create a ‘Special Lectures on Classics’ program for elementary and secondary school students. Through these efforts, it is strongly believed that the Arete project will become a representative brand of KU, and KU will be a mecca for reading classics. The Arete project has already been actively conducted in connection with various universities and research institutes in Busan, Ulsan, and other cities in Gyeongsangnam-do. Fueled by the success of this Arete project, KU is planning to spread the ‘General Education of KU’ to other local communities as well as KU students.
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