Increasing cooperation between universities and communities
Increasing cooperation between universities and communities
  • Son Min-ji
  • 승인 2009.03.17 19:20
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     When he first heard about community colleges, Lee Jae-yong (Korea University , 1) wondered what they were and how they worked. When he visited the last summer, he realized that community colleges are not only academic centers but also work as bridges connecting schools and communities. Sixteen community colleges in Iowa State provide incentive programs for socially isolated people in town such as well-researched job training programs. Also, certain community education programs mandated by state law provide neighbors with continuing education.

      Universities in also cooperate with the community with positive results. On December 15, 2008, Chungang University reached an agreement with Kangseo-gu Office to develop the community’s education levels through constant cooperation. “The agreement is based on providing diverse learning opportunities to residents. Kangseo-gu Office provides infrastructure, and the school provides academic content and teaching experience,” said Yoo Sung-jae, head of Industry-Academy Cooperation Office at Chungang University . Both have also agreed to expand volunteering opportunities about continuing education and the school made a special promise to try to improve the medical environment in the Kangseo community in the future. The school and the gu-office started a program to raise community leaders targeting public officers on March 12, and it will end on June 25.

      Ewha Womans University already has several community cooperation projects. The school of continuing education operates a Community Academy Project with several communities including Nowon-gu, Kangdong-gu, Kangseo-gu, Seodaemun-gu and Paju city in Kyonggi Province . The Community Academy Project is a consignment education course designed to provide learning opportunities to future community leaders using Ewha’s human and material resources. “Also it is to deliver the spirit of Ewha, which is rooted in volunteering and sharing. The ultimate goal is to enrich people’s standard of living as well as the standard of communities,” said Kong Jung-suk, who works in the school of continuing education. The Community Academy Project in Seodaemun-gu last summer included lectures on 15 different topics by professors to famous writers; especially, the final lecture was given by Jin-Duk-kyu, president of the Ewha Academy for Advanced Studies.

    This year’s program started on March 10, and instructors varying from professors to entertainers will give lectures to women in Seodaemun region.

     Universities not only make connections through continuing education programs. Several are attempting to improve both their own finances and the finances of their communities by strengthening surrounding business areas. In 1990, Konkuk University started the Starcity Project to acquire stable funds for the school’s development. Konkuk University built Starcity, a residential building that became a landmark in Kwangjin-gu. “Thanks to Starcity Project, Konkuk University earns 30 billion won every year. So far, 150 billion won has been invested into the school to give students expanded scholarships and to bring well-known professors,” said An Jin-woo, who works in the Public Relations Office at Konkuk University .

    Lee Ko-eun, a Konkuk graduate who now lives in Kwangjin, said she sees improvements thanks to Starcity. “Both the school and the community have developed together in terms of creating an active business district after the construction of Starcity. Better infrastructure for the school and an improved transportation system are evidence of this.”

    “It is a university’s duty, as an institution of higher education, to contribute to society by sharing the schools’ resources and experiences,” said Kong.

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