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Academic

NO.388 03.27.2018

Developing World-Class Talent in Convergence Science Research

Student demand for convergence education is increasing


In response to this demand, Kyung Hee University (KHU) has created new departments, such as the Department of KHU-KIST Convergence Science & Technology (KCST) in 2016, and the Department of Software Convergence (DSC) in 2017, in addition to introducing components of convergence and specialization into existing curriculums. Let us examine Kyung Hee’s recent efforts to create original courses, develop new curriculum, expand the freedom and choice of course selection beyond any major field of study, and to rewrite the administrative rules for schools and programs to accelerate the deployment of convergence education at the University. We will also visit DSC in the undergraduate program, and KCST in the Graduate School.

 

Convergence of Institutions, Not of Disciplines
KHU-KIST Convergence Science & Technology Department (hereafter KCST) is not a convergence of a particular discipline, but a fusion of discreet research organizations within a broadly compatible spectrum of study: fifteen research teams of the Korea Institute of Science & Technology (KIST) and Kyung Hee research labs in the Departments of Medicine, Dentistry, Korean Medicine, Pharmacy, and Colleges of Science and Engineering that are already conducting convergence research have joined under a single umbrella of KCST.


KHU and KIST have created a joint adjunct professorship program that allows students to take course in both institutions. Introduction to Convergence Science & Technology is a new compulsory course for graduation; other credits can be earned by taking courses related to individual majors. Approximately half of the graduation requirements can be fulfilled at KIST; this program helps to enhance educational participation of KIST adjunct professors, while facilitating KHU graduate students to gain access to and learn about KIST research.

Yong-Sup Lee, Rector of the Department, emphasized that because KIST adjunct professors focus their lectures on cutting-edge research, students gain a rare opportunity to study and research these advanced areas of science. In addition, students receive full scholarship, as well as research stipends, in the amounts of 1,100,000 KRW per month for master’s, and 1,500,000 KRW per month for doctoral students. Rector Lee explained that “because students receive scholarships and engage in high quality education and research, they harbor a great sense of pride in their work, which contributes to positive outcome. Hence, a virtuous cycle is at work.” 

 


Visible Outcomes: Growing passion toward the goal, and publication of study findings
Feedbacks from students are also positive. Ji-Woong Lim, who received his diploma on February 13 at the 2018 Commencement Ceremony, shared that “the main draw of the program was that in addition to being enrolled in a superior graduate program, we were able to experience a wide variety of research activities with access to the lab infrastructure of KIST, a national research institute.” Prior to joining the program, Lim was interested in new drug development with a background in chemistry, and the study of biomechanism. Consequently, he figured that KCST would offer him the optimum setting for learning.

 

Lim’s assessment was accurate. Ji-Woong took an interest in various topics during his undergraduate studies; in graduate school, he noticed that his level of curiosity intensified. Lim, who took part in developing treatments for dementia patients at the Convergence Research Center for Diagnosis, Treatment and Care System of Dementia, focused his study on improving the patient’s cognitive capability and developing a drug that minimizes toxicity and adverse effects. He touted the program saying, “By applying to actual experiments the advanced knowledge obtained in lectures, the process of identifying solutions using my own two hands instilled a sense of achievement, and stoked more passion in me toward new drug development.”  


Hyung-Joo Kim published his paper in an international journal. He designed a contact lens study that uses human tears as a non-invasive means to diagnose diabetes. To Kim, KCST served as a conduit to other disciplines. He applauded the program by saying, “It was the collaboration with researchers from other fields of study, and my participation in the wide variety of KIST seminars that opened my eyes to broader horizons and ideas. During the two years, I learned not only what my major discipline would offer; by learning research methodologies and attitudes toward research, I have developed the confidence that can be applied to any type of research.”

 

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