This year marks the 76th anniversary of kyungnam University (KU). In addition, it is the 65th anniversary of the founding of KU Newspaper (KUN), the 45th anniversary of the KU Broadcasting Station (KUBS) and the Kyungnam Times (KT). To commemorate the meaningful time between the university and the Center for University Press, a joint interview was conducted with President Park Jae Kyu. The 76th Anniversary Interview with President Park Jae Kyu By Kim Seong-eun KT Senior Reporter Kyungnam Times ● 7 Q1. In line with the sharp decline in the school-age population, it is unavoidable for universities to shut down or downsize some unpopular departments and cut their enrollment. I think our university also needs strong measures and restructuring for the shortage of students. Would you tell us your views on this matter? A. Due to the decrease in the school-age population, the reduction of enrollment is inevitable for the university to secure competitiveness. To this end, the departments have been reorganized into a focus on the Industry 4.0, Health Care, and Human Resources Cultivation for Public Service, which can help to meet the needs of the local community. What is more, KU has been strengthening cooperation with local governments, companies, and educational institutions in order for students to expand their opportunities to be employed by excellent enterprises in the community. In particular, KU is planning to expand trial programs for high school students in the community to help them gain high-level experiences and career exploration opportunities, which is differentiated from other universities. KU is also holding various briefing sessions for prospective freshmen and their parents to deliver KU’s competitiveness and development processes. Q2. Due to the spread of COVID-19, the students of 2020 and 2021 school years missed many opportunities to make good memories while enjoying college life: how can they regain their lost times? And how can the freshmen adapt to school, catching two birds of study and enjoyment? Finally, Would you tell us about various lecture platforms such as K-MOOC? A. Due to the influence of COVID-19 over the past three years, most student activities were stopped and even classes were conducted online. I hope that KU students will not associate the COVID-19 pandemic with complaints and frustrations. Rather, I believe they would turn negative aspects into positive, making up for their shortcomings and creating opportunities to look back on themselves. I think a bright future will be unfolded if they actively participate in various learning activities that KU provides, based on self-directed and active attitudes to develop cooperation and problem-solving skills required in the era of Industry 4.0. One of the representative lecture platforms that students can use effectively is the Korean Massive Online Open Lecture (K-MOOC). It is an open lecture platform involving about 160 domestic and foreign universities spotlight Ku 8 and research institutes (http://www.kmooc.kr/). It provides courses in various specialized fields such as humanities, society, engineering, nature, and art and sports for free; systematically manages the quality of lecture contents. Plus from this year, students can enjoy high-quality courses provided by international universities such as Stanford and Yale. KU students are also to take various online classes through the inschool e-Class. 119 cyber-only courses have been provided during the spring semester of 2022. Q3. Hanma family members have ensured preventive measures against COVID-19. We think it is high time for KU to come up with guidelines and policies for the post-COVID era. We'd like to listen to your views on this issue and your future plans. A. According to the cumulative proportion of confirmed patients, our university is still below 20% compared to 34% to 35% of the country, which is the result of all member of KU working together to prevent the spread of the pandemic. But anxiety still remains because new mutations might emerge and become prevalent again in the fall. Students' campus life and professors' research activities are to be guaranteed freely. However, the top priority should be put on the safety and health of our Hanma family. Although the government is lowering the level of COVID-19 prevention, our university will continue to maintain somewhat more conservative policies than those of the government until uncertainties are resolved further. On campus, we should wear a mask and maintain personal distance as well as installment of the partition at the school cafeteria. I would appreciate it if you could endure and cooperate a little more, thinking that this it is the best way to protect KU members' health. Currently, we are doing our best to prevent COVID-19 within the scope of guaranteeing students' selfgoverning activities based on the government's quarantine guidelines, with the University Daily Recovery Support Group (UDRSG) at the center. Q4. I think KU should respond quickly to the arrival of the post-COVID and AI era. What are KU’s countermeasures and future directions for the new era? Plus, please introduce KU’s competitive and differentiated programs which help students’ employment and start-up businesses. A. In order to improve the employment rates, we are focusing on developing capacities and skills for the fields which the Industry 4.0 requires. The suitable measures are to Kyungnam Times ● 9 expand non-face-to-face employment education and provide specialized education for start-ups through digital platforms that utilize various digital education equipment and software. Our university is playing a role as the center for the Smart Manufacturing ICT Business Group of the Ulsan and Gyeongnam Innovation Platform Project. Its aim is to build smart factories that advance the machinery industry in the region, and foster suitable human resources through education on new technologies related to Industry 4.0 such as AI, big data, and IoT. We are also focusing on digital platform-based job start-up education such as The University Innovation Support Project sponsored by the Ministry of Education, The LINC 3.0 Project and the Challenger Innovation Leading University Project. What is more, through The University Job Plus Center Project and The IPP-type Work Learning Parallel Project sponsored by the Ministry of Employment and Labor, we are continuously operating various customized job guidance programs for unemployed graduates; for example, AI-based Online Self-introduction Map, AI Interview Map, Online Job Camp, Online Overseas Internship, and Online & Offline Parallel Job Counseling Support Program. Q5. KU achieved a lot of business results and indicators in 2020 and 2021. What is the future goal of KU as a prestigious private school in Gyeongnam? A. KU’s vision is a ‘regional impressive university that opens up the future’ and its educational goal is to ‘cultivate creative and convergence talents who are to lead the development of the dommunity and world.’ ▶ The commemorative photo with kyungnam University President Park Jae Kyu after the interview spotlight Ku 10 First of all, a major academic restructuring was carried out in the direction of customizing future-oriented industrial demand. The main direction of the reform of the academic structure is to strengthen the high-tech industrial sector to prepare for the era of the 4th Industrial Revolution and to promote the health and medical sector in preparation for an aging society. In order to reduce the number of enrollment of traditional engineering colleges and to expand the training of human resources in the high-tech industry of the future, we have established the Smart Machine Convergence Department and Occupational Therapy Department in 2021, and AISW Convergence College and Health & Medical Information Department in 2022. In addition, to strengthen the capacity of the healthcare sector, the admission quota of Nursing was expanded from 95 to 125. Second, in addition to future-oriented academic restructuring and administrative reorganization, KU is expanding curriculum innovation by strengthening two-way teaching methods based on social demand and experience, such as capstone design, project-based learning (PBL), field practice, and internship. Q6. The three media of KT are also making a lot of efforts to promote KU at home and abroad and to improve the quality of the media. Would you tell us about the development direction of the three media?: KU Newspaper (KUN), KU Broadcasting Station (KUBS) and Kyungnam Times (KT). A. First of all, congratulations on the 65th anniversary of the founding of KUN, the 45th anniversary of KUBS and KT. I think that KU Press has been playing an important role in the cultural development of our university while becoming a media that boasts long tradition and history. It faithfully fulfills its role and duties as a window for communication with faculty members, students, and alumni who graduated from the university. KUN has published electronic newspapers over the past five years as part of an effort to meet the demands of the Industry 4.0 and AI era. A new section was created to introduce school clubs to help students enjoy various activities on campus, with their articles published as well. And via the columns of ‘The Book in My Life,’ professors are to talk about their life books or thesis. KT has been published as a quarterly magazine, and has stabilized the operation of the mobile site quite a bit. In order to diversify its readership and attract superior freshmen at home and abroad, the range of KT distribution has been expanded to foreign language high schools, specialized high schools, and overseas sister universities. Kyungnam Times ● 11 KUBS has been doing its best to improve the broadcasting environment and upgrade the facilities. For example, the aging broadcasting equipment has been replaced and drastic investment was made to create a pleasant atmosphere for broadcasting. I think KU Press, as the subject of the university and social responsibility, includes the readers both the university and the community. It is a recent trend that ordinary readers do not simply remain as users, but they want to play the role of producers. Therefore, the three media of KU, whose key words are ‘freedom of expression,’ are encouraged to respect the rights of themselves and others in all communication processes and to be an important stepping stone, heading for a democratic society with full responsibility. Q7. On May 10, the inauguration ceremony was held for Korean President, Yun Seok-yeol. We expect that inter-Korean relations and North Korea-U. S. relations will be significantly different from the last Moon Jae-in administration. Based on your experience as Minister of Unification, would you tell us about your views on peace, security, and unification? A. First, I think there are two issues that should be considered, regarding peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and the unification of the two Koreas. One is the deepening strategic competition between the U.S. and China over the Korean Peninsula, and the other is the prolonged Ukraine crisis that will affect the international order; especially, in East Asian countries which include the Korean Peninsula. Conflicts between the U.S. and China are causing many difficulties toward resolving peace, security, and unification issues on the Korean Peninsula. In particular, if the U.S.- China conflict intensifies over time, it will be more difficult to solve North Korea's nuclear and missile problems. Russia's military invasion of Ukraine has prolonged war, and international oil prices have soared negatively affecting the global economy. In addition, the arms race is accelerating as countries increase their military spending under the pretext of security protection. With the environment surrounding the Korean Peninsula changing rapidly, we should actively engage in diplomacy to form a consensus on unification based on the support of the people and establish the importance of cooperation from neighboring countries in the international community. Second, there is a sense of alienation between the two Koreas as the division of the two Koreas has lasted more than half a century. But it is important to recognize the importance of continuous and lasting peace and unification between the two Koreas. In particular, it is necessary for young people, who are the main players of future unification, to understand the reality of North Korea. In addition, the successors of unification should recognize the geopolitical situation on the Korean Peninsula and make every effort to overcome division and lay the groundwork for integration. If we continue to make efforts in various ways to educate young people who are preparing for the future of unification and make them aware that peace and unification are directly linked to our lives and can bring positive changes to our lives, we will be able to achieve good results. Based on this perception, KU has been operating Unification Education Leading University and has played a vital role of a hub for Regional Unification Education as the organizer of the Gyeongnam Unification Education Center. Q8. Through the International Education Quality Assurance System (IEQAS), our university has already been accredited by the Ministry of Education as a university which leads international exchange and cooperation. Please tell us what KU is implementing to attract outstanding students abroad and educate them at KU amid the difficulty of COVID-19. A. KU has been selected as a university leading international exchange and cooperation via IEQAS for six consecutive years since 2017, which is a rare case in Gyeongnam. KU has also been recognized for its excellence in attracting and managing international students. As a result, KU has been successful in recruiting highly qualified international students and developing customized education programs amid the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years. Most foreign students who took a leave of absence have returned to school and the number of new students is on the rise again. spotlight Ku 12 Kyungnam Times ● 13 Outstanding overseas students continue to knock on KU’s door, believing in KU’s excellent reputation and proven reliable service; we are proud to develop and provide high-quality education programs such as customized cultural modules for international students. As part of the University Innovation Support Project, the Content-based Instruction (CBI) was introduced into each department two years ago, and the Korean language education and mentoring program based on it have successfully settled down, which is a great help in strengthening the major capacity of international students and forming ties between professors and students. In addition, we provide employment capacity building programs and Korean life support services for international students. In doing so, we are continuously supporting their employment and help them adapt to the Korean society. Q9. Thank you for spending your precious time on this interview. Finally, would you tell us a message for all the members of KU? A. It is very meaningful that a lot of things have been achieved thanks to the collaboration of all the KU members amid difficulties of COVID-19: KU was selected as General Financial Support College, USG Shared College, Social Customized IndustryAcademic Cooperation Leading College (LINC 3.0), and Humanities Research Institute Support Project in the 3rd Cycle Basic University Competency Diagnosis. In addition, KU has been selected as an organization for Unification Education by the Ministry of Unification in the Yeongnam region, and gotten the first rank in the performance evaluation of University Innovation Support Project by the Ministry of Education for two consecutive years. However, we should not be satisfied here. In the future, our university will have to actively cope with the changes and challenges it faces by innovating the educational organization of departments, improving educational methods and environments according to social demand in each academic field. Once again, I wish the success of the three media of KU. Finally, I expect that you will play important roles in making KU successfully implement abovementioned tasks and projects.