What is now called the information revolution is a global whirlwind of constant technological and cultural changes gaining momentum at a furious pace. Caught up in its powerful motion, one often finds herself in an overwhelmingly interdisciplinary mess. To counter and solve these complicated problems of the current generation, social demands for a convergence of various fields have been on the rise. Along with the trend, the Korean government recently announced that Korean secondary education will no longer be divided into liberal arts and science studies from 2018. Consequently, several universities, have started to consider the capacity for interdisciplinary thinking and skills as an essential part of their evaluation criteria for admission. In this issue, the Ewha Voice explores how Ewha and other universities are evolving to meet such societal needs.
Interdisciplinary studies in spotlight and how Ewha is fortifying itself
“This era can be called the generation of globalization, or convergence,” said Jeong Kab-young, president of Yonsei University. “Today’s issues are much more complex and not limited to a single subject.”
This seems to be a widespread notion throughout society. More universities are introducing new curricula emphasizing convergence, while the government is encouraging the integration of liberal arts and science studies. This trend has swept through Ewha as well, and the school continues to seek to cultivate professionals with the ability to integrate diverse areas of studies.
In 2007, Ewha Womans University established the Scranton College for integrative education. Originally including just two divisions, the Scranton Honors Program (SHP) and the Division of International Studies (DIS), it created a third division this year, the Division of Convergence & Interdisciplinary Studies.
The SHP’s goal is to cultivate students with a general knowledge in diverse fields who will be able to develop professional intellect in the evolving society. Along with a major chosen at the end of freshmen year, SHP students are required to double major in various tracks such as Digital Humanities and Integrated Studies of Culture.
Global Korean Studies, newly included in the DIS in 2015, emphasizes an individual’s ability to provide a multidisciplinary interpretation of issues in Korea. By converging humanities and social sciences, Global Korean Studies covers a wide range of subjects from Korean Business Ethics to Korean Traditional Art.
Also, the Brain & Cognitive Sciences major, established in 2015, incorporates various fields to deepen the understanding of the brain and the mind.
“Everything from medical sciences, law and business to physical education can converge with the field,” said Yun Bo-in who is majoring in Brain & Cognitive Sciences.
Another discipline established this year is International Cooperation and Development. As a secondary academic discipline, it targets developmental communities and seeks to cultivate influential leaders fit to serve the international developmental field. This summer, several students of this minor participated in a Faculty-Led Study Abroad Program supervised by professor Oh Jin-hwan to visit international organizations in Switzerland and France.
“Students communicated with workers and interns who shared detailed information regarding development issues based on their experiences,” said Chae Joo-Eun, a sophomore in International Studies who participated in the program.
Reporters: Huh Ryun-jung, Kang Na-min, Lim Ye-ju, Son Young-chai