Professor Jung Won-sup earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from Seoul National University and is currently a professor, Head of School of Liberal Studies, President of the Korean Association for Posthuman Society, and Director of the Institute for General Education Research (IGER) at Kyungnam University (KU). His representative books, which he collaborated on, include Artificial Intelligence and New Norms and Neo-Confucianism and Ethics. Established in March 2017, IGER in KU's College of General Education (CGE) conducts continuous research on the overall general education of KU. The institute has been making various efforts to cope with the challenge of fundamentally innovating the contents of education as a local private university facing an existential crisis at a time of rapid social change caused by advancing science and technology and a sharp decline in academic population resulting due to the approaching population cliff. Specifically, the institute aims to support the various humanity activities of educational institutions and civic groups in the region as well as to improve general education, which is gradually increasing in proportion within the university. To this end, despite a difficult financial situation, three humanities scholars in science, aesthetics and classical studies (Seo Min-woo, Choi Eunkwang, and Lee Gil-san) have been newly recruited as fulltime professors at the institute since 2020, and various efforts are being made to substantially strengthen the capacity of general education at KU. With the previous IGER directors, Professor Lee Eunjin, Kim Kyung-hi, and Jeon Young-rok (current Dean of CGE), the institute made a heartfelt effort to cooperate with members to lay the foundations for general education suitable for KU. In addition, I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to the Korea National Institute for General Education and the Korean Association of General Education, which have not spared their sincere advice and suggestions.
Arete General Education
Through this process, IGER selected Arete as the way for the general education of KU to proceed. Arete is a Latin word that is usually translated as 'virtue' and means ‘exercising one's potentials excellently.’ It is the core belief of the general education helping KU students demonstrate their abilities in the future. To this end, during the second semester of 2020, the Arete Classic Reading (ACR) lecture course was opened based on the 100 books selected by IGER. By naming the course "Arete Classic Reading: What is Kant's Enlightenment?", IGER wanted students to feel a little more familiar with the classics and opened a way for them to choose several ACR courses before graduation. During the ACR lectures, the professors aim to read and enjoy the text together with the students, avoiding unilateral lectures on the classics. They can select excerpts and read important parts of the book, read them together, or write manuscripts. In December 2020, as part of a plan to strengthen the research capacity of IGER, a comprehensive journal for general education titled Arete was launched. This journal on Classic Reading consists of various types of articles, introductions to classic works, sharing of cases of instruction for Classic Reading at home and abroad, and planning of reading reports. As a result, the journal will act as a guide in the process of operating Classic Reading on campus. What is more, it will be of great help for many people in elementary and secondary schools and local communities as well as various universities that are running Classic Reading courses similar to KU. Arete Vol. II was published in 2021, and Arete Vol. III in 2011, and IGER aims to publish Arete twice a year in March and September.
Enhancing General Education and Cooperation with Local Community
Another major project planned by IGER is the establishment of the Department of Phronesis Convergence and the major of Classic Reading and Convergence. The goal of the plan is to cultivate talents who can well adapt to new scientific and echnological innovations represented by big data and artificial intelligence, and who are well quipped with fundamental thinking skills and convergent problem-solving skills in an era of changing global environments and crisis. Under this situation, IGER is playing an important role as a think-tank to prepare for the future of KU. In this context, another important role of IGER is to develop Hanma Personality Courses and support the operation of USG (University Sytsem of Gyeongnam & Ulsan). Based on these activities, IGER intends to act as a bridge connecting the general education of Gyeongnam area by communicating with various institutions and organizations both inside and outside the school. First, IGER is working closely with the 'Artificial Intelligence Ethics Research Center' on campus, which was established by Jung Won-sup in 2020 and is being operated under his direction. Through various joint research and academic activities, the two centers are considering ways to educationally respond to social changes resulting from rapid technological development such as artificial intelligence and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Beyond KU, IGER is building research networks with local universities and research nstitutes. First, in June 2020, an MOU was signed with Dignitas Institute for Liberal Education at Dongeui University for the study of liberal arts education. Professor Kim Young-woo (Director of the UI Institute for General Education Research and Dean of Inje University College of Liberal Arts) was invited as an external researcher of IGER of KU, which is seeking close cooperation with the two institutes. In addition, to expand its influence, IGER has a steady exchange with Hyoam Academy (Hyoam High School & Gaeun Middle School) located in Yang-san City and Changwon Cultural Foundation. What is more, IGER is looking for ways to crystallize its vision based on various achievements accumulated in the local community such as the opening of lectures for citizens in collaboration with Humanities Community.
IGER Implements Business Supported by Research Institute for Humanities and Social Science
have three researchers: Dr. Kim Chang-hwan, who is well-informed in Oriental Classics; Dr. Kang Dae-jin, well-known authority on Greek Mythology; and Dr. Sun You-jeong, leading researcher in the field of History of Science. Along with other young and energetic researchers, IGER is brimming with academic depth and vitality and seeking various ways to make its valuable research achievements a basis for enhancing the 21st century general education. Through this business, IGER is aimed at developing and expanding its "Humanities and General Education" model to cultivate digital citizenship. More specifically, its purpose is to discover the contents of general education and develop them into class courses for general education at other universities in Gyeongnam Area as well as KU, and to promote the public nature of humanities in collaboration with the citizens and humanities organizations in Gyeongnam Area. For this purpose, IGER formed three research teams as follows: digital literacy (DL), digital curatorship (DC), and digital publicness (DP). The DL team, whose leader is Lee Mi-seon (professor of English Education), aims to reestablish the meaning of literacy requested by the digital era and develop a general education curriculum suitable for KU and other universities in Gyeongnam Area. The DC team, whose leader Cho Ho-yeon is a leader in the field of digital humanities research, aims to develop lectures to improve the specific skills for students to efficiently utilize analog information in the digital environment. The DP team, led by Professor Kim Young-woo of the Inje University College of Liberal Arts, aims to improve the publicity of humanities by spreading general education courses to civil organizations as well as educational institutions of various levels in the community. On October 28, 2021, a launching conference was held for the teams to bring teachers together. Director Jung said, " Cultivating digital citizenship is a matter in hand in the new normal era. But yet, with financial support from the government and the university, also with the efforts of the excellent researchers, it will not be easy to make the isvion come true in some respects. We earnestly expect your great attention and guidance to get through the challenges awaiting us.“