Open major system adopted from 2018
Open major system adopted from 2018
  • Hong Ki-yeon
  • 승인 2016.05.23 11:08
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Starting from 2018, about 400 freshmen entering school based on their College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT) will be enrolled as open major. The given quota excludes those entering the College of Education, Medicine, Art & Design, Music, College of Nursing and Kinesiology & Sports Studies. The open major students will not belong to a fixed division or department during their freshmen year. Instead, they will choose their major as they begin their sophomore year.
“The only classification they will have during their freshmen year is the division of Liberal Arts or that of Natural Sciences,” explained Namkung Gon, the Dean of the Office of Admissions (OA). “Out of the annual quota of 400 students, 200 will be of Liberal Arts and Natural Science, respectively.”
The main reason the school has decided to adopt the open major system is because the number of students selected based on their CSAT grades is dwindling every year. For the school year of 2018, only 20 percent of the total freshmen quota will be admitted through the traditional system. This poses a problem regarding the prior way of distributing freshmen quota to each individual division or department, for the number of each quota is kept to a very small number.
“If individual departments were to be given their own quotas, some departments might have only three to five students to select based on their CSAT grades,” Namkung said. “This can lead students with very good grades to shy away from applying at all, in the fear of having a higher chance of failing than if they were to apply for a department with a larger quota.”
Another reason for adopting the open major system is that the government is encouraging universities nationwide to cultivate an environment for convergent education rather than education centered on fixed majors.
“The open major system will grant students more academic freedom,” Namkung said.
Despite such intentions of the school, the initial disclosure of the plan for the system roused controversy amongst students and professors of the Scranton College, which originally runs a free major curriculum. The core of the controversy lay in the confusion of the two terms, “open major” and “free major.” The confusion was caused by the school using the word “free major” to refer to “open major” in its interview with the press in April. Some also question if the newly supposed system is related to CORE Project.
“The original plan was to make the matter public after talking it over with students first,” Namkung explained. “However, the press began to cover the story last month, which led the school to reveal the adoption of open major system rather hurriedly.”
Such premature disclosure caused unrest among the students of the Scranton College, and a survey conducted by the student government association revealed that the students were in general dissatisfied with the way school had not talked over the matter with them beforehand. The incorrect use of the word  “free major” also caused anxiety among students.
On May 3, a discussion meeting was held between the OA and the Scranton College to resolve the misunderstanding. Three members of the OA including Namkung, dean and vice-dean of the Scranton College, and about 60 students participated in the meeting. During the meeting, Namkung emphasized that the school has no plan to abolish or reduce the Scranton College.
“Our goal is to maintain the achievements of Scranton College, and cultivate the new system at the same time,” Namkung stressed.
Namkung added that the specific details of the open major system are yet to be decided. According to him, the school is willing and planning to discuss them with students and professors as well as the alumni of the Scranton College. The process of gathering opinions of students is still ongoing.

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