“We have to Strengthen CNU through Communication and Innovation”
By Lee Ji-song, Student Editor
Chonnam National University (CNU) held its 2012 presidential election on May 23rd and Park Chang-soo was elected first among three candidates by the largest number of votes. The CNU Press and Broadcasting Center had a joint-interview with the new president-elect on May 24th. Let’s listen to how he felt about being elected and what he said on his future plans. – Ed.
Q: Congratulations! How do you feel about being elected?
A: First of all, I’d like to convey my sincere thanks to every CNU member and also to the other candidates. I appreciate the attention of local residents. Now it is time for a new change, so I will try to develop our university by fulfilling the election pledges and policies discussed during the election period.
Q: How will you upgrade CNU’s image and strengthen its competitiveness as a national university?
A: Restructuring CNU has frequently been mentioned since September last year. What we need to resolve this matter is our complete solidarity. First, we must try to turn CNU into a prestigious university, parents need to have trust in CNU, and CNUians should feel proud of their own university. Secondly, the professors and I will try our utmost to produce the best minds and to increase the employment rate of CNU graduates. I think CNU can manage the pressure of the Government’s university restructuring plan.
Q: What if CNU goes into financial trouble?
A: Even though nowadays National Universities suffer worsening deficits, national universities provide high quality education to students with relatively low tuition fees. The government is discussing a special law to be applied to national universities and its finances aiming for a higher quality of education. The law should affect our school. If the bill does not pass, I will visit the related local entities, government and enterprises to raise funds. I will do my best.
Q: How will you exercise your leadership to draw harmony and communicate among CNU members?
A: Through communication and innovation, I will lead CNU. We can go beyond the barriers by communicating in every possible way, outside, inside, and top to bottom. I will overcome the boundaries between professors and local residents. Leading the university should be based on the collective intelligence comprised of the wisdom and ideas of its members. I will lead CNU with the creative ideas of CNU members.
Q: Do you have specific plans to produce competent CNUians and to increase the employment rate?
A: First, we must improve our educational quality. I will improve our environment so that professors can teach students passionately and students can study hard. I will make some programs which CNUians can join, enjoy and study cheerfully. To increase the rate of employment, I will reinvigorate foreign language learning programs as excellent foreign language skills is a must for students to find employment at major companies.
Q: What is your plan for making CNU a global university?
A: Around 2020, there may be a decline in the university population, so other Asian universities are seeking out for foreign students desperately. CNU needs foreign students. Also Korean students should go abroad as exchange students more and more. This is also an important factor in the university evaluation. CNU needs to upgrade services such as language programs and visa extensions for foreign students. In addition to this, CNU has been evaluated low in international ties. So far Korean students have not been abroad much. It is necessary to establish an orientation program for pre-exchange students, which helps those students to receive cultural and language support in that country. I expect this new plan will remarkably improve the evaluation about CNU’s globalization.
Q: What are your focal projects during your term?
A: CNU has a long history. CNU has tradition and pride. To attract a big number of students to CNU, above all, the quality of education is important and further education should be actively made. Like flying birds balancing on two wings, education and study have to go in tandem. Secondly, CNU has to provide welfare services to about 35,000 students on campus. I want to make the campus overflow with students studying anytime of the day, even weekends and nights. CNU will be a prestigious university where students not only from Gwangju/Jeonnam area, but Seoul and even abroad wish to enter.
Q: What is your hobby and motto?
A: My hobby is to go walking. I hope to make a trail around our campus where students, faculty staff and local residents walk together. If I made the trail, the circumference may be 3.2km. My motto is ‘create the new based on the old’. If we make innovations and want to take off as a global university, we should start from the old, the basic, and make a gradual change.
Q: Last words to CNUians.
A: CNUians should be one of the most creative and outstanding individuals. CNUians should cooperate with and care for each other. CNUians, be ‘a serving person’ who makes a commitment to create a better society!