Ewha students meet professors in class, but not many students say they have time to talk to their professors about personal concerns or problems after class. “Even though I have an advisor and take her class, I rarely talk to her to get advice about my major. Instead, I share my concerns with my friends and parents. Students need opportunities to become closer to their professors,” said Park Jung-eun (Economics, 2).
Professors also recognize a problem. “Since professors have to take care of not only many undergraduate students but also graduate students, it is hard to focus on just a few students,” said Professor Yoon Bo-suk (Philosophy). “But, by discussing academic subjects, students and professors can build sound relationship that will positively affect one another,” Yoon added. Ewha’s colleges, departments, and divisions, and even the student council have taken measures to increase faculty-student interaction, but only with mixed success.
The freshman seminar program is one measure to increase communication that Ewha adopted when it started to admit students into divisions without a specific major in the year 2000. To help freshmen contact their professors and decide their majors, the school assigned freshmen in the same colleges to faculty advisors and arranged meetings twice a month in a semester. “I was able to get help from my advisor on deciding my major. I had lots of time to become close to the professor while talking about my concerns. I still sometimes have meals with the professor and other friends who took the same seminar,” said Kim Si-won (Korean Literature, 3).
The Journalism Department started a mentoring system called “career coaching” last semester. Students can choose among four career coaching programs including a debate club, a club helping students who are preparing for apply for jobs in journalism, and a club focusing in the media industry. “I hope this will be a chance for students to study a specific field in their major with the help of their professors,” said Professor Park Sung-hee (Journalism).
The Department of Public Administration also has a mentoring program which arranges for students to meet their own advisor professors one on one. “Each professor in the Public Administration Department is assigned to a number of students and arranged to meet them at restaurants near the school. At the meetings, students share information and concerns about their majors with professors and build a close relationship with professors in person,” said Lee Hyun-jung, a teaching assistant in Department of Public Administration. However, participation in this program has been declining. “When we first started this program, many students participated. These days, however, only about 10 to 30 students participate in this program,” added Lee.
The student councils in various departments are also trying to prepare opportunities to enhance communication with professors. The student council in the department of Korean Literature holds regular field trips twice a year to places connected to novelists or poets. On April 4, the spring field trip was to Okcheon-gun in
The student council in the Division of International Studies (DIS) plans to provide a coffee morning on May 9 in the
Other universities have similar programs. For example, the department of Nuclear Engineering in
Park said that not only should Ewha and Ewha professors hold specific programs, but students should also try to arrange time to talk to their professors. “Students should be brave enough to go and visit the professors’ offices when they have problems with their studies or their plans for their future careers. There are no professors who avoid students needing help. Lack of communication will never be solved without students’ participation,” Park said.