CBNU president Koh Chang-seop started his four years term last April 17. As the 22nd president of CBNU he defined his visions as, “A university where a better future begins.” CBT repoters met with CBNU president Koh Chang-seop to hear more about his plans for the future university management, as well as his pledges and vision.
Q1. You faced significant challenges during the election due to the voting agreement among the members of the university. After several attempts, you have finally been appointed as the 22nd president. It must have been a remarkable experience for you. Could you please share your thoughts, even though it is late?
First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who believed in and voted me. The crisis faced by CBNU due to the declining student population is, in essence, a crisis for our region. The weight on my shoulders feels immense as my university grapples with difficult financial challenges. As a Flagship Korean National University, CBNU is the base and main body of regional innovation growth. It is our duty to foster the talents that our nation and local community require and to dedicate ourselves to creative research and development. I will do my best to ensure that members of CBNU feel a sense of pride and to fulfill CBNU’s obligations.
Q2. You have been with CBNU, working alongside students since 1996. How did your connection with CBNU come about?
I completed my doctoral program in Electrical Engineering at Seoul National University, and following that, I worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Florida International University in the United States. I also served as a visiting professor at Texas A&M University, where I had the opportunity to teach students and engage in research activities. Throughout this process, I gained a deep appreciation for the significance of domestic technological advancements and the importance of nurturing brilliant talent. Subsequently, while working as a senior researcher at Samsung Electronics, I experienced the gap between industry and university. During this time, I realized the necessity of nurturing field-oriented professionals. Therefore, I decided to apply for a professorship position at CBNU. Over the past 28 years, I have been dedicated to fostering talents and conducting industry-relevant R&D, establishing a meaningful connection with CBNU.
Q3. As president you have presented “Autonomy, Respect, Communication, Future, and Change” as the core values. What do these values mean?
I believe that CBNU can leap forward as a university that leads the “change” of the “future” by fostering a culture where individuals freely “communicate” with “respect” in an “autonomous” environment. The five core values I proposed stem from this belief. I believe that when all members of CBNU community respect and are respected in an autonomous environment, we can lead new innovations with a united spirit. To create such an atmosphere, efficient policies can be formulated through unrestricted communication. Furthermore, these efficient policies are essential for fostering an educational environment that allows students to develop their individual capabilities and for establishing research capacity at a global level. We will generously invest in order to achieve all of these goals.Moreover, we will provide support to empower all members to feel pride and dedicate themselves to their work.
Q4. The CBT reporters are concerned about election pledges, especially “Appetizing Campus for 365 days.” You promised to improve the quality of student restaurants, introduce special cafés to study and outside restaurants. How did you come to make this pledge, and how do you plan to promote it in the future?
While preparing for the election, the biggest difference in opinions among the members, was on the student cafeteria. Although I made an effort to prioritize students’ health first and made various efforts to reach our goals within the conditions that CBNU can afford. Therefore, I made this pledge to facilitate a campus where students are satisfied, and to continuously find solutions so that everyone can be satisfied. However, there are various pending issues, I drew from the best solutions to gather members’ opinions. First, CBNU strives towards the development of various menu options to vitalize campus cafés and expand a range of use of convenient facilities for students who study until late within the bounds of campus. Most of all, the enterprise to introduce, “A Breakfast of 1,000 KRW” start to foster healthy university life from May 2. In the era of high prices, a high-quality breakfast is provided so that students can start a fun day with cheap and healthy meals at university. In the future, I will coordinate students’ voices and school conditions and realize a students’ welfare that everyone can be satisfied with.
Q5. You assert a lot of pledges besides the pledges the CBT reporters asked you about earlier. Among them, what are the pledges that you think will be kept no matter what, and why. Could you please mention any specific practical measures?
I will keep all pledges that I assert, and among them. I have more affection to the pledge of “The Gap-Zero Self-Employment Program.” This program ensures that the specifications required by the companies match the specifications prepared for by the student. While CBNU manages the assistance program, students autonomously plan employment projects, professors make an effort to mentor and guide. The reason why I am passionate about this pledge is that I believe it is the inherent role of a university to help students realize their dreams and develops talents that companies and the community need. CBNU will monitor field-centered cases through data that analyses companies and organizations related between department, capability and specification, stories of review of colleagues for the Gap-Zero Self-Employment Program. CBNU will strive to develop creative-fusion talented people through a managing program to strengthen the employment capability of graduates, fostering edu-tech and having future-oriented educations increasing an autonomy of education. Through various scholarships, CBNU will help students lead their university life without worrying. In addition, CBNU will establish a student-centered campus environment so that students can have the specifications to get a job where they want.
Q6. The crisis of local universities experiencing a sudden reduction in the number of students has intensified. What is your solution to overcome this crisis?
Local universities are undergoing a crisis that echoes an urban legend(or allegory): “Univerisities will fade in order of the cherry blossoms (; it is a popular saying that universities in the southern part of the Seoul metropolitan area will be closed first).” The solution to overcome this crisis is that universities should become the foothold and main agent of regional innovation and growth. The universities have to foster excellent personnel to lead the era of the fourth industrial revolution and supply them to the local community. Moreover, the community has to strengthen a mutual cooperation relationship supporting these universities. To accomplish this, I plan to bring a CBNU Work-Life Balance Innovation Park to our area - an innovation valley that leads future research and serves as a hub for regional growth. CBNU will focus on nurturing convergent and complex fields grounded in local strategic projects and on supporting the growth of local industries. Also, CBNU will create a networked, innovative campus that is unique to the region to achieve campus differentiation and balanced development. Within the Gaeshin Campus, known for its autonomy and creativity, as the focal point, I aim to establish a regional campus master plan. This plan will include the Ochang Campus, a center for the bio-health industry, and the Sejong Campus, which as a vision for the future.
Q7. Recently, a change represented by AI (Artificial Intelligence) is just around the corner, ChatGPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) is now used by students to complete assignments, so plagiarism and morality controversies may arise in CBNU. Moreover, there are worries about plagiarism of academic papers and research results. In this regard, are there any preventative measures being taken at CBNU about this?
Lots of universities, such as Oxford University and University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, are already prohibiting the use of ChatGPT on campus. In the United States, recently, “GPT Zero” technology, an AI detector that distinguishes whether AI was used to write specific articles, has emerged. However, the future is not just about knowledge, but about utilizing a various kinds of knowledge. Now it is the time that people have to live with AI. I think instead of just preventing AI from being used, it should be used well through education on the proper use of applications like ChatGPT. Therefore, CBNU is going to prepare measurers about focusing on proper use, education, and evaluation measures.
Q8. There are actually less opportunities for students to communicate directly with the president of CBNU during school life. Moreover, due to the fact that the student council has not been formed this year, so it is hard to tell the president of CBNU about the inconvenience or difficulties which students feel. Do you have any countermeasures against this?
I like to hear from students’ in a face to face setting, such as while enjoying a meal or a cup of tea with them. On the first day of the Breakfast of 1,000 KRW, I was able to spend valuable time while having breakfast together and communicating with students. Of course, making lots of these kinds of opportunities and listening to all students would be the best way, but there are many restrictions of time and physical constraints due to the responsibilities of the president of CBNU. This year, CBNU has no student council, and it is operated by an emergency committee system, so I will meet student representatives of the emergency committee regularly to listen to various voices of students and try to make as many opportunities to meet with students in person as possible. Furthermore, I will find out what students are uncomfortable with, and what they want through “The Open President’s Office,” “President-Student Lifelong Professor System,” social media, and school newspapers. Through these means, I will reflect good ideas in policies, communicate with students, and continue to expand opportunities to listen to students’ opinions and communicate with them.
Q9. As a life senior and the 22nd president of CBNU, please say something to the students.
First of all, before speaking as the president of CBNU, I want to talk to students as a life senior. University is not the end of the life, but it is the cornerstone of and a stepping stone to the future. This is because, the future is so heavily influenced by the time that students spend here and things they have learned and experienced so far. If students lose their pace, they cannot do anything for a long time. I hope students do not forget that the subject of life is yourself and you should move forward with yourself at the center. If students look back and know enough of what they want, they will have the strength to overcome any trials. Students will encounter numerous attempts and setbacks in the process of pioneering the future. There will also be solid roads and curved roads. If students feel tired, CBNU will always support them. Students will face a bright future when they live faithfully in the present, believe in themselves, and move forward proudly toward the future.
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