The most picturesque season in a year has arrived in Korea University. Many trees boast luscious green leaves and royal azalea blossoms have come into full bloom along with forsythias and azaleas. They have covered the campus with a crimson-like color, the color of the university. Speaking of trees, one thing I would like to talk about is that the 5th of April is Arbor Day in Korea. In the past, Arbor Day was designated as a national holiday and many organizations held tree-planting ceremonies around the country on that day. The purpose of Arbor Day was to create a good natural environment in the ruins of the Korean War as there were not many trees on mountains after the Korean War. Nowadays, there is no need for planting trees because there are many trees planted throughout Korea, and Arbor Day is no longer observed as a national holiday.
KUBS held a tree-planting ceremony on Arbor Day (Apr 5) this year, during which three trees were planted: a plum tree, a scholar tree, and a pine nut tree. The history of Korea University began when it first started teaching Commercial Science in 1905 and plum flowers were used in the emblem of the school. Next, the scholar tree planted in the ceremony has grown from the seed of a scholar tree which was planted in front of the old building site of Bosung College, Korea University’s predecessor. Finally, the pine nut tree is the University Tree of Korea University. These trees were planted around the Business Administration building, and storyboards describing the history of each tree and their special connection to Korea University were installed to help the members of the university share stories related to the university’s history.
When the spring semester began in the first week of March, COVID-19 was still prevalent and there were many concerns about face-to-face classes. Therefore, the semester began with two weeks of online instruction, followed by lectures as they were planned in the initial lecture plans. Now, the situation has been much stabilized after just one and a half months and most of the confusion has been resolved. We believe that we are almost back to “normal” as the number of foreign exchange students which had dropped significantly due to COVID-19 is rising again. Regarding education, we are developing a Debate class at the undergraduate level to train social leaders equipped with characters and competence who will change the world, aimed at fostering critical thinking, cooperation, and integral thinking as well as social imagination. This course is expected to help us foster talented young leaders who have practical abilities for grasping the essence of problems in addition to functional and analytical knowledge, communicating with their own language, and drawing integral solutions. In the case of MBA, approximately 20 percent of existing courses have been newly developed. Mainly, content regarding ESG, business analytics, and entrepreneurship & innovation has been added to a great extent.
In addition, KUBS inaugurated the ESG-AMP program in March for the first time in the Executive Education Center which is the main center for non-degree programs. ESG-AMP has been newly added while the existing AMP program is still ongoing. Even though the enrollment number had dropped by about one third due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the past two years, the number is almost recovering to the pre-pandemic level starting from this semester. In the new ESG-APM program, people related to ESG from large corporations such as Samsung, SK, Kia and LG are enrolled and having active discussions. We plan to continue the ESG-APM program in the future.
Now, it is time to prepare for our next step while observing what the ‘new normal’ would be in the Post-COVID-19 era. As the direction, content and methods of education are fast-changing; we are tasked to keep a close watch on how the situation develops from various perspectives and search for solutions. I hope that everyone will wrap up the semester peacefully and happily.