New Year’s Message from the President

2009-08-24 1,422

As the eventful year of 2008 comes to a close and the New Year of 2009 begins, I wish all of you a New Year full of happiness and love.

2009 is the Year of the Ox. There is an old saying that goes, “Ox pace takes you a thousand miles,” which means slow and steady steps take you much farther. This year’s start is cloudier and gloomier than ever. The recent global economic crisis has been even more brutal than the foreign exchange crisis we experienced a decade ago. At a time of such hardship, we should learn from the wisdom of the ox, not panicking or getting nervous, but being persistent to stay on with slow but steady paces to reach the goal.

A crisis and an opportunity are two sides of the same coin. We shall take this unparalleled economic crisis as a chance to take up a new challenge. Especially in times like this, we need to uphold the attitude we had in the very beginning and once again arm ourselves with spirits of a challenger and pioneer to commit to building a globally competitive university.

This year will bring us the results of some big and important initiatives that will greatly influence the future advancement of the University. The outcome of our effort, embarked upon last year, to establish a Max Planck Institute in Korea, will be of great significance not only to our University but to the Korean basic science community at large. Final decision by the Max Planck Society is expected by October this year.

The government has finally approved the proposal to upgrade our Synchrotron Light Source worth over US$70 million. The Pohang Light Source (PLS) will be upgraded from 2.5GeV to 3.0GeV with 10 more undulator/wiggler beamlines within 3 years. It will provide global scientific community with drastically improved beams with higher stability and brightness. At the same time, we will continue our effort to secure public funds to install a free electron laser, the 4th generation radiation source, to generate and supply coherent X-ray beams with another million times higher brightness and femtosecond shutter speed.

Last year, a number of proposals to establish new interdisciplinary departments and programs to attract internationally renowned scholars were selected and funded as a part of the ambitious “World Class University (WCU)” initiative by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. I expect that it will provide a valuable opportunity for restructuring and improving our academic activities and drastically enhancing global visibility which is critical for achieving our Vision 2020. Successful launching of the WCU programs in 2009 will certainly become of the corner stone for our journey to the global top rank university by the year 2020.

Reinforcement of undergraduate education is also a crucial issue throughout this year. The Residential College System and the English Certification System, both introduced last year, have been implemented and operated quite successfully. Starting this year, the Mathematics Certification System will be launched, and the curriculum reform is under way, aimed for enforcement in 2010.

We shall offer educational programs of world top level and do our best to nurture global talents equipped with courage, creativity and communication skills to excel and succeed. Also starting from this year, we plan to select new students based on our own admissions calendar and criteria. New admission officers will proactively excavate and invite talents, who, gifted particularly in science and mathematics, match the images and qualifications of the founding educational principles of POSTECH. Admission will be given based on the criteria including high school record, essay, recommendation, extra curricular activities, followed by a rigorous oral examination and interview on scientific and leadership aptitude, thus deemphasizing the standardized test scores.

In closing, I would like to ask all of you to prepare yourselves with positive attitudes toward change and innovation. The circumstances we face this year, internally and externally, are very unpredictable. Not only income from endowment, but also governmental and industrial support will be affected by the current economic situation. Careful selection and prioritization must be made in budget operation, and every one of University members should participate proactively in change and innovation required for our journey to the world top university.

I hope that we will not falter in complacency, but strive and be one step closer toward achievement of our dream and vision in the New Year. May health and blessing be with you and your family. Happy New Year!

Sunggi Baik
President, POSTECH