October 26, 2004

SIUC, Korean university sign formal agreement

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale and Chungbuk National University of the Republic of Korea this week signed an agreement that provides opportunities for an exchange of students and faculty, and the ability to promote common research interests and projects.

Chancellor Walter V. Wendler and Bang Woon Shin, president of Chungbuk, signed the five-year Memorandum of Understanding on Monday, Oct. 24. Also present for the ceremony were: Provost and Vice Chancellor John M. Dunn; Christine L. Svec, associate director of international programs and services; John E. Dotson, retired chair of the linguistics department; English Department Chair Michael L. Humphries; Sanjeev Kumar, professor in civil and environmental engineering; and Soo-Gil Park, dean of Chungbuk National University's International Education Center.

Chancellor Wendler noted the agreement continues the University's historically strong international component, which is particularly noteworthy considering SIUC's rural location.

"For us to build this kind of international presence that we have, I think, is a real testimony to our faculty and staff over many years" he said. "I appreciate that deeply because it really does provide opportunities for students to study here and for our own native students, it provides a way for them a way to meet people from diverse backgrounds."

Located in Chungbuk, Korea, a province in the center of Korea, Chungbuk National University has 12 colleges, six graduate schools, a premedical school and 29 research institutes. With a reputation for its high quality of instruction and innovative research projects, it is one of the top 10 universities in Korea. There are 20,000 students and more than 1,000 faculty members. The university dates to 1951.

The relationship between the two universities is several years old, Svec said. Since January 2003, groups of Chungbuk students have been coming to SIUC's Center for English as a Second Language at the beginning of each spring semester to attend the intensive six to eight-week English language program. Visiting faculty members accompanied the students each time and expressed interest in establishing a formal international linkage agreement, she said.

The formal institutional linkage is with the Center for English as a Second Language, the Department of Linguistics and the Department of English. Svec noted the informal linkage has already branched out to discussions with the College of Engineering.

The benefits of the agreement include:

  • Increasing learning and research opportunities for both faculties.
  • Increasing the possibility of Chungbuk National University students entering SIUC's graduate programs.
  • Encouraging students from both universities to study abroad for one or two semesters at the other school.
  • Encouraging teacher-training programs.
  • Working together on joint projects in the future.

Park, the dean of Chungbuk's International Education Center, noted that his university specializes in nanotechnology, information technology and biotechnology research, and is specifically interested in furthering exchange programs involving students and faculty.

President Shin was a visiting scholar in SIUC's Engineering Department in 1992, and his son and daughter are currently SIUC graduate students, Svec said. Shin's son Shang is majoring in civil engineering, and his daughter Ji-Eun, is majoring in special education.

Creating citizen-leaders with global perspectives and expanding international outreach opportunities are among the goals ofSouthern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.