In the process of gathering information about Sogang University's Sogang 2010 Vision Project to write Cover Story, I found that promoting internationalization was one of the essential objectives of Sogang University. Has this tendency been shown only in Sogang University? The answer is NO! Since the beginning of the new millennium, internationalization has become the most common objective of all Korean universities. In this whole academic arena? mood of promoting internationalization, we need to look at the achievements, as well as the problems of Sogang University? internationalization.
Sogang University has only recently started to strengthen its interest in internationalization. While many other universities have long been active in the process of promoting internationalization. In Sogang University, there were not so many visible efforts before 2005. With Sogang University at a standstill on its internationalizing achievement, President Sohn Byung-doo took office in July, 2005 and came up with the Sogang 2010 Vision Project. Thanks to three years of steady efforts, there were visible achievements; compared to the 2006 spring semester, the number of lectures in English (from 102 to 224) and the number of sister universities (from 59 in 14 countries to 147 in 44 countries) increased radically. Besides the above-mentioned achievements, Gonzaga Hall was completed on August 25th, 2008, and will be expected to promote Sogang University's internationalization by accommodating many more foreign students and professors than Sogang University has before.
However, problems and a false image exist on the inside of those achievements. For example, the quality of lectures in English is not guaranteed. Due to the difficulty of communicating in a foreign language, lectures in English tend not to be fluently conducted, and several students are not able to participate as well in class as they did in Korean lectures. Similarly, we have to remember that not all of those new sister universities are places where Sogangers mainly hope to go or to take part in a substantial academic exchange with Sogang University. In other words, there are many non-British&American universities among the new sister universities.
Thus, I maintain that Sogang University should value real achievement rather than simply numerical ones. Sogang University should increase the percentage of lectures in English only if the quality of lectures is guaranteed at the minimum level, and should center on practical academic exchanges with foreign universities. To speak more generally, Sogang University might just as well have not conducted rapid internationalization efforts, and should not waste its manpower to obtain only numerical achievements.
As mentioned at the beginning, Sogang University has made some visible achievements in internationalization. However, we should bear in mind that there are some deeper aspects to those achievements. Now we have to remember following two points: real internationalization will not be built in a day, and its achievements will not always be shown by numbers or rates. Do we hope to achieve real internationalization? If so, it should not be internationalization just for internationalization? sake; it should be genuine internationalization for promoting Sogangers in the world.
By Wee Dae-yoon firstname.lastname@example.org (Editor of The S.H.)