Ewha President Kim Hei-sook has stressed the need for a new vision to “bring the world to Ewha, and Ewha to the world”, following her trip to elite U.S. universities last month.
Ewha is Korea’s top university, according to Leiden Rankings. However, the school must raise its game to effectively compete in Asia and the world, where it ranks 53rd and 446th, respectively.
Kim visited four U.S. schools late last month to learn how Ewha can improve its international education and exchange to achieve its aim of ranking among the world’s 100 best schools by 2020.
From Oct. 23 to 31, Kim met presidents of universities in Chicago and New York to negotiate Ewha’s future international relations and partnerships.
Kim first visited her own graduate school, Chicago University, where she achieved her Ph.D in philosophy. Kim met the university chair, Professor Bruce Cummings to confirm an Ewha-Chicago student exchange program.
Kim then visited Cornell University vice-president, Michael Kitlikoff, on Oct. 24, to discuss ties between the two schools. These began with Meridian 180, a Cornell-sponsored partnership to foster a multilingual community of thinkers from around the world. The two also discussed Ewha’s international status and efforts for their partnership’s growth.
However, Kim said that her visits to New York University and the City University of New York’s John Jay College were the most memorable of her trip.
“By visiting both universities, I could meet a diverse group of students and interact with various professors,” Kim said. “It was symbolic for Ewha to establish a partnership with New York University, which is a center of international culture and globalization. This shows that Ewha has officially made strong steps in the international society.”
Kim aimed to expand Ewha’s international partnerships as Korea’s most prestigious women’s educational institution. With only three years left to achieve its goal of ranking among the world’s top 100 universities, Ewha has set the vision of ‘Innovation Ewha: Leading Global Excellence.’
Students are anticipating stronger efforts on international education for more opportunities to broaden their horizons in a multicultural learning environment.
Koh Yeon-soo, a sophomore in the Division of International Studies, suggested that Ewha should focus on study with a “global perspective.”
“As we are now living in a globalized society, Ewha must expand its education strategies from being the best in the country to being the best in the world,” Koh said. “Teaching students to view problems as global citizens is critical for them to become successful international leaders.”
Jasmine Cho, a sophomore in Ewha’s Division of International Studies, compared the school’s teaching methods to that of King’s College, London, where she is currently studying through Ewha’s study abroad program.
“Ewha should learn how to first accommodate international education techniques before expanding its international affairs policy,” Cho said. “Studying abroad, I realized that Ewha is still focusing too much on the cramming method of teaching. Here in London, classes are more flexible, with through student-led discussions and debates.”
Cho added that this enabled students to expand their understanding and creativity, without worrying about the right or wrong answer. Kim has already promised to take a more interdisciplinary and international approach.
“I will create an effective system that allows students and professors to actively communicate globally and overcome any human resources limitations,” she said.