From the President
I want to wish everyone in our Keimyung family, and especially our incoming freshman class, a wonderful beginning to the semester in this the year of the White Cow. Freshmen are our university’s hope and pride. You have done well in harvesting the fruits of your endeavors by entering Keimyung University, which is a big accomplishment in itself. However, I caution you against complacency and encourage you to continue your journey to aspire for even bigger dreams.
A year has already passed since COVID-19 put the entire world in turmoil. We have had to wear masks and refrain from in-person social activities. However, I would like to remind you that this hardship is nothing new for humankind. Communicable diseases have threatened humankind since antiquity. The plague that erupted during the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta (BC 431-404) caused the city-state of Athens to collapse, and the Bubonic Plague that appeared during the medieval period killed one-third of the population in Europe. If there is one thing that we should learn from this history, it is that we must always be prepared for change after a crisis.
It is often said that a crisis is an opportunity. The Black Death that swept through Europe during the depths of the medieval period hastened the end of feudalism and opened a way to the Renaissance. The cholera epidemics of the 17thcentury which decimated the population, causing even greater damage than the Plague, resulted in the construction of cleaner and more effective water and sewage treatment and the enactment of public health and medical laws. I believe that COVID-19 will be no different. In the process of tackling this crisis, we are also preparing for another leap forward. We are not only developing vaccines and cures but also innovating and transforming our cultures and lifestyles. You are about to take this gigantic but difficult leap. Your effort to take on this difficult moment is beautiful, and you deserve credit for taking action. That is why freshman are the pride and hope of our university.
Keimyung’s roots go back to Jejungwon which opened its doors in 1899. While the institution started in a small straw thatched-roofed house, it brought hope to a poverty-and-ignorance-stricken neighborhood and taught people how to dream big for the future. With its five campuses and 122 years of history, Keimyung University now stands as one of the largest and most prestigious universities in Korea. It also takes pride in its state-of-the-art, 1,041-bed medical center. The spirit of sharing and reaching out to the less fortunate has been essential throughout Keimyung’s history. Keimyung University Daegu Dongsan Hospital has been dedicated to treating COVID-19 patients since the beginning of the pandemic. It will continue to render service as a leader in treatment and prevention against the disease by establishing the first COVID-19 vaccination center in Daegu.
Keimyung is also proud of its great achievements: Among others, it has won basic science projects sponsored by the government; its job center received the top rating for five consecutive years; its youth technology licensing organization received the highest grade for two straight years; its government-financed university innovation support initiative ranked in the top tier; its contribution to the development of high-school education has been recognized for eight consecutive years; and Keimyung University has been selected as an education center for ASEAN college students.
This year will see all courses provided in a hybrid format of both online and offline classes. We are fully prepared for teaching this new semester. There was not a single case of infection in any of our on-site classes last year. By taking all necessary safety measures and precautions, we will ensure that this year will be no different. All faculty members were busy during the vacation creating high-quality online lesson videos. Every building on campus is equipped with new systems that can accommodate remote teaching and online classes.
We are emphasizing what is called the “Tri-literacy” program: training in one’s own specific major, computer software programing, and foreign language proficiency. Every year we have incrementally adjusted and improved the program to better help students adapt to our increasingly advanced technology society. We are also in the process of converging various programs with humanities courses. Faculty members are working together to combine their in-depth expertise to speed up the program development. Though each of you has been admitted into a specific department, starting this year you will be allowed to take courses outside of your department and even beyond the college. This will pave the way for academic convergence.
The virus and its deviant cousins will continue to present complex problems for our universities to solve. Distance-learning has become an unavoidable norm, but it is a double-edged sword. It is a useful method to contain the virus and it also offers convenience for both students and lecturers. But when education becomes the on-line transfer of knowledge through a machine, the human side of even the greatest scholars is lost in the electronic wave, and the educational encounter loses the indispensable character of a mentor-pupil relationship. Furthermore, personal interaction in society and contact with our natural environment at large, which are two indispensable teachers next to the institutional one, will be very limited. More dangerously, public hygienic distancing coupled with emotional distancing puts young people at the risk of turning into asocial, lonely souls or self-conceited, arrogant beings.
Keimyung family members,
This year, we witnessed shocking developments at our neighboring private universities: the lowest-ever college entrance competition rates and student enrollment rates. We face many challenges. Now we are at a critical juncture where many universities may collapse. Nevertheless, we should not forget our duty of preparing our students for the future.
When the advancement of technology allows fully interactive online education, this is expected to bring about transformation in the tertiary educational system. Such a change will require Keimyung faculty’s incessant efforts to catch up with the rapidly developing educational environment defined by so-called “untact” culture.
Alone, a single candlelight may not be bright enough and can be easily blown out. However, the light of thousands of candles combined is strong and bright enough to shine through the darkness and into the future. It is with this sense of collaboration and optimism that we open a new chapter in our history. God bless us as we strive to shine light into this dark and uncertain world.