“2016, a step closer to joining the world’s top 10”
[New Year Address] Third reorganization, launch of the K-School, improvements to campus infrastructure Achievements in 2015: Top 100 World’s Most Innovative Universities, UNESCO Netexplo Awards, DARPA Robotics Challenge
In commemoration of KAIST’s 45 anniversary, President Sung-mo Kang of KAIST announced plans for the university in his 2016 New Year Address. The president asked all members of KAIST to work together to help the university join the world’s top 10 by its 50th anniversary in 2021.
In the third round of reorganization, the Business School in Seoul and the Department of Business and Technology in Daejeon will be unified under the same governance system.
KAIST has launched the K-School, which provides a five-year integrated BS and MS program targeted at potential entrepreneurs. The PCM Minor Program has been established to encourage entrepreneurship among students, and will be affiliated with the K-School.
Continuous improvements are being made to campus infrastructure. The Academic Culture Creative Building will be equipped with cutting-edge facilities. The KAIST Library will undergo remodeling, and the Startup KAIST Studio2 will be open to students interested in entrepreneurship.
Below is the full version of the 2016 New Year Address by President Sung-mo Kang.
New Year’s Message
Dear members of the KAIST community,
The Year of the Sheep has dawned upon us. I pray for the health and good fortune for you and your families, and may KAIST further develop and flourish this year. Happy new year to all!
During the past year, we tirelessly strived towards the goal of becoming one of the top ten research universities of the world and we have achieved remarkable growth on all fronts. All members of the KAIST community were at the spotlight of these efforts and achievements. My praise and deep-found respect goes out to everyone for your dedication and hard work.
I am confident that the capabilities of our students, faculty, staff, and all members of KAIST have already surpassed global standards. KAIST will surely become one of the top ten universities of the world if we continue nurturing stronger, mutual trust and cooperation on our campus.
I was inaugurated as the President of KAIST in 2013, and for the first two years (’13~’14) of my administration, I strived to convene the capabilities of the KAIST community with a focus on “communication and trust” and “harmony and cooperation.” For the next two years (’15~’16), the focus of my work will be “a quantum jump for KAIST through qualitative growth.”
As mentioned above, the focus of my work for the first two years has been “communication and trust” and “harmony and cooperation.” During this period, KAIST’s core values (creativity and challenge) and a mid-to-long-term development plan was established, in addition to strengthening the brand name of KAIST, and the renewal of our university identity (UI). Ceaseless efforts were made to build trust in the management. KAIST became the first university in Korea to introduce the Ombudsperson system and it also established a Customer Satisfaction Center and Center for Human Rights and Ethics. Our web services were upgraded to be more user-friendly and on-campus communication systems were also improved.
Moreover, continuous endeavors have been made for creating a culture and environment in which all KAISTians can focus on education, research, and administrative work and reach the highest potential of their outstanding talent, creativity, and audacious spirit.
These efforts include the establishment of the Startup KAIST Studio and the IDEA Factory in the Education Support Building(W8), improvements to the tenure system and tuition system, the establishment of the KAIST Academy, and Innovation Day.
Established in April 2014, the KAIST Academy seeks a level of excellence that befits the reputation of KAIST in its programs, including Education 3.0, education programs for the gifted, IT camp, and non-degree programs. In particular, the Administrative Development Education Center is training administrators for comprehensive critical thinking abilities and professionalism in their work. In just its inaugural year, a total of 1,250 people participated in such professional education courses. Responses from participants were highly positive with satisfaction levels reaching 4.5 out of 5.0.
In addition to promoting meaningful inner growth, there were countless efforts to improve campus infrastructure. Timeworn buildings and facilities have been restored and refurbished, construction for new student dormitories and the Jang Yeong Shin Student Center are now complete, and agendas for better infrastructure will continue this year.
We have made various resolutions to shape a consensus for change since 2013. In 2014, students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, as well as experts from industry and academia came together to create a strategy for education and research innovation. Thanks to these endeavors, KAIST is now ready to make the next quantum jump for change.
Beloved friends and family of KAIST,
2015 will mark the beginning of a new KAIST. This moment forth, my focus will be on “KAIST innovation based on qualitative growth.” We have a sturdy foundation built by a united KAIST and the time has come to seek and solve new challenges that can contribute to the sustainable development of humankind and our nation. KAIST should be the leader of growth engine projects and fulfill its university social responsibility (USR) as the best research institution in Korea.
I believe everyone will agree when I say that the speed of KAIST’s growth is truly remarkable. In particular, it boasts the best education and research infrastructure not only in Korea, but in the world. In addition to this wonderful infrastructure, we must all uphold high ethical standards. If we recognize the importance of human rights and ethics, and treat each other with respect and trust, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, gender, level of education, or social position, and if we strengthen and develop various systems for growth, the future of KAIST will be brighter than ever.
Last year, the Education and Research Innovation Committee prepared many strategies for innovation. With the Provost & Executive Vice President serving as the Committee Chair, the committee consists of faculty members, students, and alumni, as well as those from the fields of industry and research. Some of their work includes the reorganization of academic units, establishment of convergence capstone design courses to nurture convergence-based thinking and practical application abilities, and the introduction of the STEP system to motivate tenured professors.
Allow me the chance to briefly explain the changes we will see this coming year. Academic units will be reorganized in tandem with increased convergence education. Currently, we have 6 college units, 2 school units, and 33 departments (including department-level organizations). After the changes are implemented, there will be 5 college units, 5 school units, and 27 departments (including department-level organizations).
Engineering education will be strengthened and made more coherent by merging the largest college in KAIST, the College of Information Science and Technology, into the College of Engineering. The Division of Mechanical Engineering and Division of Ocean Systems Engineering will be reorganized under the School of Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace System, in which it will be renamed as the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
The Department of Computer Science, Department of Web Science and Technology, and Graduate School of Information Security will be merged together as the School of Computing, and a common undergraduate program will be operated. Operation of master’s and doctoral programs in the Graduate School of Ocean System Engineering, Graduate School of Web Science Technology and Graduate School of Information Security will remain the same.
In addition, the Department of Electrical Engineering and Department of Humanities and Social Sciences will be upgraded to Schools.
The Graduate School of Future Strategy, sponsored by former Chairman of the Board Chung Moonsoul, will become the Moonsoul Graduate School of Future Strategy.
The Department of Bio and Brain Engineering will change its affiliation to the College of Engineering from the College of Life Science and Bioengineering.
Through the reorganization of academic units, we will be able to realize a π(pi) shaped education in which we can build a common academic foundation, strengthen convergence education in majors, and link master’s and doctoral education to bachelor’s programs.
We have done our best to take note of diverse opinions on this matter and to implement them in the process of reorganizing the academic units. We hope you can understand that not all opinions could be reflected in the plan. We ask for your support for the successful reorganization of academic units.
The newly established “convergence capstone design” course will train students to become scientists and engineers strong in both theory and practice. Though departments had previously operated capstone design courses, the gap between classrooms and the field made it difficult for departments to solve the often complex problems that companies face. Last year, a Promotion Committee consisting of numerous professors from various departments was created, with Professor Park Sukyung of the Department of Mechanical Engineering serving as the Committee Head. Through compiling information and requests from companies, the committee has finalized preparations to establish a course where students will gain hands-on experience from the best of academia and industry on the entire process; creating ideas to manufacturing prototypes to solving complex difficulties that companies face. This course will help students gain the competencies required to find solutions in engineering issues and apply them to real life.
Another change we will see this year is the introduction of the STEP system, a new evaluation system for tenure-track professors. In 2007, KAIST introduced a new tenure evaluation system in which professors could receive tenure early-on, regardless of their position.
Now that the current system is functioning stably, we would like to introduce a new system to provide further encouragement and motivation. Tenure-track professors will be divided into STEP 1 and STEP 2, with an extra reward system for STEP 2 to be established.
We will continue to provide positive motivation for our professors. Education and research has always been at the core of KAIST. We must make sure that, by the time they graduate, our students have both outstanding talent and character. We shall continue to produce exceptional research achievements and make every member of our community swell with a sense of belonging and feel proud of KAIST. In order to do so, we must uphold our role as a “Student-Centered, Faculty-Driven Research University,” using the exemplary education and research environment as a foundation to discover and lead issues that can contribute to the development of humankind and our nation.
Research should focus on solving critical problems the world faces in the 21st century, such as health care, energy, and environment, and ultimately contribute to sustainable development.
At the national level, KAIST should lead sustainable development by developing and implementing state-of-the-art science and technology for natural disasters, national defense sciences, future strategy, and socio-cyber wellness. KAIST will continue to provide wholehearted support for research projects that can contribute to all of humanity and the progress of our nation. On October 22nd of last year, the KAIST Institute for Disaster Studies (KIDS) was established; a prime example of our university’s ‘Students-Centered, Faculty-Driven’ philosophy of convergence at the grass-roots level. Rather than the Top-down method, KIDS was established via Bottom-up when professors seized the initiative to tackle the immediate issues and problems that society faces today. With KAIST serving as the cornerstone, experts of all fields and disciplines will pursue solutions to such issues. It is with sincere hope that this type of research environment will flourish and expand, and KAIST is prepared to extend its full support for all research endeavors that will contribute to the betterment of all humanity and society.
KAIST recently established a Global Cooperation Research Center in Pangyo in cooperation with Gyeonggi-do. The Center will serve as a future growth engine that will bring sustainable growth in the sectors of education and research, and discussions are currently underway with Seoul Metropolitan City to establish a finance program at the KAIST College of Business. Furthermore, KAIST is spearheading a project to establish an innovative, converged medical sciences research system in Sejong City. We plan to collocate the research capabilities of industry and academia in this system. We are currently conducting an inspection to see if the budget for the KAIST Graduate School of Converged Medical Sciences (Sejong City) is appropriate. KAIST will continue to do its best to secure future growth engines.
Our campus will be bustling once again this year with construction work taking place in various locations. I am aware that construction on the main road last year has inconvenienced many people, but thanks to your kind understanding and the hard work of construction crews, the main road is well on its way to completion.
We have received a donation of 100 pine trees from Yeong Yang-Gun, and these trees will be planted along the main road in accordance to the campus master plan. I look forward to a more beautiful and energetic eco-campus after construction has concluded.
Construction for three new buildings, namely the Chung Moonsoul Building II, the Center for Academic Enrichment & Creativity, and the KAIST History Museum will begin this year so students, faculty, and staff can live and work in a better environment. The Chung Moonsoul Building II will largely expand administrative space and provide a one-stop service for research facilities, labs and the Admissions Office. Construction for the Center for Academic Enrichment & Creativity will take place in tandem with remodeling work for the library. State-of-the-art facilities for students, such as exhibition and performance zones, multi-media rooms, seminar rooms, and group study rooms, will be built. The KAIST History Museum will help promote our vision of the future and extend the importance of science and technology not only to the local community but also to the entire nation.
Renovation projects for department buildings will also take place this year. The aged facades of buildings will transform into unique designs, each representing the characteristics of the department it houses. The Engineering Building will be the first of many to undergo such a makeover.
KAIST will continue to strive for globalization and diversity. This July, KAIST will host the International Presidential Forum on Global Research Universities (IPFGRU) and the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC). Many representatives and leaders of globally renowned universities and institutions will attend, and these events will be an opportune platform to introduce KAIST’s achievements and to receive practical consultation that can contribute to the development of KAIST. We seek to further increase opportunities for students to experience other cultures and start-ups overseas. One such program is the “Summer Research Global Entrepreneurship,” which enables our students to participate as TFT members in a global startup. The10:10:10 Initiative aims to increase the number of international students, international faculty members, and female faculty members, and we plan to reach this goal as soon as possible. We will pursue higher goals on this front. KAIST will aspire to implement new projects such as a global exchange system for students, faculty, and staff. We will strive to create a global campus that is more accommodating and comfortable for international students and faculty members.
The Happy Campus Project will continue on in 2015. I will give my utmost support to ensure that every member of the KAIST community can be happy in our campus. Our efforts will focus on enhancing living environments for all KAIST members through the “education, research, administrative system improvement project,” “remodeling of education and research facilities,” “creation of high-standard living conditions,” “support for children’s education,” and “increasing social exchange opportunities for families and spouses.”
Active fundraising activities have led to a total of 8.5 billion won in development funds (by agreement) in 2013, and 46.7 billion won (by agreement) in 2014, adding up to a total of 55.2 billion won in funds over the past two years. This is the largest amount of funds raised over the past five years, a testament to the enormous love and trust KAIST is receiving from people across the nation. I would like to express my gratitude to the members of the Development Foundation who are persevering to meet the goal of collecting a total of 100 billion won in four years (2013~2016), as to those who are sending us large support for the success of the fundraising campaign. We will continue to do our best to deliver education and research achievements that can win the hearts of all Koreans.
The future of KAIST lies in your hands. I would like to ask our students to seek higher goals and focus on your studies and research to cultivate the creative talent that will enable you to make large contributions for the betterment of humankind. I will meet with students at least once per semester to listen to your thoughts and views, and reflect them within our policies so we may provide a better environment and system for all. I would like to ask our professors to focus on research that can have a large positive impact on the nation and all of humanity. Please provide the best education to our students so that they become globally renowned leaders. To our staff members, please work to the best of your potential and professional abilities to enhance KAIST’s research and educational environment. To our students’ parents, I would like to ask you to continue your wonderful support for our students so that they can become global leaders with outstanding character and skills. Last but not least, I would like to ask our alumni for continued interest and support for KAIST.
I have consistently emphasized the importance of communication in school management. Members of the KAIST community already possess world-class levels of competence and I am confident that trust and communication will further enhance them. The concepts of leadership and followership are not in a vertical relationship but are rather horizontal, much like the front and back tires of a vehicle, moving together in synchronization towards a common destination. If the followership does not budge, there can be no progress no matter how hard the leadership pulls. There can also be no progress if the followership pushes but the leadership does not move. What is essential here is trust, the faith that both seek to advance towards a common goal. We all have a role to play at KAIST. I believe the future of KAIST will be brighter if we all keep to the rules and dutifully perform our roles while maintaining a horizontal relationship of respect and trust, and engage in active communication and cooperation.
I am confident that every member of the KAIST community can be happier through mutual respect and kindness in our new happy campus this year, and I believe we can all advance further with our creative and audacious spirit. Every step forward you take this year is meaningful. Please remember that every step taken becomes a part of your life, as well as a part of KAIST’s history. Let us remind ourselves of the valuable lessons from the history of KAIST, continue our efforts to actively prepare for tomorrow, and enjoy the many gifts that 2015 will bring to us all.
I sincerely wish that all your dreams and wishes may come true this year.
January 1st, 2015
President Sung-Mo “Steve” Kang
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