Professor Jang Beom-sik was appointed as the 15th president of SSU. The next four years of SSU are expected to be brighter and more active, thanks to the new president. ST conducted an interview based on his pledge. .........................................................Ed
The inauguration ceremony of the 15th President of SSU was held on February 1, 2021, and the ceremony was broadcast live on YouTube to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The new president Jang Beomsik expressed his aspirations by saying, “Bigger Soongsil, and Stronger Soongsil.” ST met with President Jang Beom-sik, who will lead SSU for the next four years, and interviewed him about the specific direction of future plans and commitments. “We will find our own characteristics under the identity of a Christian university and develop it into the first to the best,” he said in prayer to his inaugural address.
ST: You were inaugurated as the 15th President of the school on February 1, 2021. I think you will be filled with emotions Please give me your testimony as president.
Jang: I feel a great sense of responsibility. One hundred and twenty four years ago, when darkness was covering this peninsula, Soongsil Academy was established by four missionaries and received the title of ‘university’ for the first time from Emperor Gojong. SSU, where you and I live together, is a school with an amazing spirit that has never been bent. It is not easy to get into the management of all these schools, and the pandemic has already changed the basic lectures of the university and the terrain of all the world. When we think about what we should do in front of a rapidly changing internal and external environment, we are thinking that new opportunities are coming. I want to maximize the advantages of our school and become the president who brings out the hidden potential. I want to start this ministry boldly with the spirit of challenge that makes crisis an opportunity with the responsibility of greatness.
ST: As president of the school, you will work hard for the school for the next four years. What is the most important value that you think is required from the president?
Jang: Our school has several modifiers called ‘the first’ that other schools have not done so far: the first university of Korea, the first IT university, etc. But if we have experienced the first time, it does not mean anything if they are not connected to the present and the future. The past tradition can shine only when it can be concretely linked to the present and the future, and only when members move forward with strong vision and hope. Members of our school have those capabilities. What is important as my presidency is that students, professors, staff teachers, alumni, and school gather the hidden capabilities of the members of the five subjects as a whole. So I want to make sure that the truth and service we originally aimed for can penetrate into reality without staying far away.
ST: “SSU DD,” a pledge to make multiple majors for Soongsilians, is noticeable. Some Soongsilians may feel a burden to take two majors at the same time. Considering this, why did you pledge to make multiple majors mandatory?
Jang: Mandatory multiple majors are policies that take into account both the rapid technological changes and the realistic necessity of student employment. The impact of digital conversion, including AI, on the education community is expected to continue. Technology changes require the integrated management of critical thinking, creativity, cooperation, and communication capabilities in our educational contents. In this regard, SSU intends to take a realistic approach in two directions.
It’s the most appropriate model for the real conditions that our school currently has, and it’s a system that is currently operating at SSU in an institutional way. Most of the worldly renowned universities in advanced countries are routinely graduating with more than one full-time degree. In fact, according to the data analyzed by the Korea Institute of Curriculum and Innovation, the employment rate of law schools, social sciences universities, humanities colleges, and natural sciences universities participating in multiple majors has increased.
We expect that it will be a good form for Soongsilians’ employment in a situation where the industry has a higher preference for graduates with multiple majors than with the single major. There is a slight burden on the completion of the multiple majors, but as a result, I am confident that I will play a big role for my job and future.
ST: What does the pledge to change “collective chapel education” to “conductive chapel education in small groups” mean in detail, and is there a voluntary participation plan for non-Christian students?
Jang: SSU is a Christian university. The beginning of the SSU ideology of truth and service begins with Christian identity. Soongsilians in Channel Plus are not a matter of choice because it is related to the founding spirit of the SSU. As long as SSU exists, it will last forever.
Although there were advantages of collective chapels, we would like to switch to a more family and intimate way. In the case of certain chapel classes, small groups of 7 to 8 students are divided into various ways with the planned Bible theme. Small smallscale chapel are assigned by group. And the leader worships the subject given on the day in various ways under the guidance of the worship leader who supervises the whole class. Existing second and third graders continue to worship in the current collective service. The convocation unit Chapel is designed to gradually expand starting with some colleges for new Soongsilians.
ST: After reunification, the Korean society will also include Soongsilians. I wonder if there is an opportunity for Soongsilians to participate in building a knowledge production platform for SSU’s “University of North Korea and Unification-related Information Collection.”
Jang: The answer is yes. Of course, Soongsilians can participate. Unification is not a pedantic issue. We need a concrete plan. Unification Information Collection University is the work of our school to create the most unique university in Korea. We started this work 8 years ago. The significance of this work is to respond to unification at the lowest cost when it comes to unification, and to efficiently promote the common sense of the two Koreas after reunification.
Until now, the work on unification had limited to majors in politics and diplomacy. However, SSU leads the direction in which professors do research related to North Korea other than their majors. Research has already begun in various fields, including North Korea’s classical poetry and North Korea’s electricity shortage. If one professor conducts one study, all information on unification will be gathered at the school. This professional preparation is possible only at SSU in the whole country, and I think it will have its own characteristics. It has a bold vision that is useful for countries other than certain governments, and I think Soongsilians will be able to participate in the collective platform through voluntary research participation.
ST: It’s time for the president to take his first step in a four-year term. If you have anything you want to say to the Soongsilians, please feel free to say it.
Jang: First of all, I want to say thank you. University finances have been frozen for the past 13 years. The external network of the SSU was limited without raising tuition. So, I am grateful and sorry to our staff and Soongsilians in the difficulty of the school not spending and expanding much of the total budget. I want to create a SSU that will move both Soonsilians and parents. If we work together in the future, I want to be the president with the feeling that ‘prosperity’ will not stay in the past but will continue even in the distant future. I will do my best for bigger and stronger SSU. I will gather your passion to achieve this great mission with excitement and joy.
Lee Ga-eun (News Editor)
Park Jun-young (ST Reporter)