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Interdisciplinary Programs: For the Better Use of the System

More and more undergraduates are choosing double majors as job seeking becomes more difficult. Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) is running a system of interdisciplinary programs, but many Kingos are not aware of it. Therefore, the Sungkyun Times (SKT) now introduces and analyzes interdisciplinary programs and tells stories of some Kingos who are participating in these programs.

Introduction of Interdisciplinary Programs
Definition
Interdisciplinary programs at SKKU are curricula that connect two or more majors. Their purpose is to overcome academic bigotry and to implement interdisciplinary education which can arise from studying each major separately. The introduction of interdisciplinary programs were done in sequence. Comparative Culture and Micro System Technology, which do not exist now, were introduced in 2005 as the first interdisciplinary programs. Since then, a lot of interdisciplinary programs have been created. Kingos can complete interdisciplinary programs in double majors regardless of their ordinary majors. They can also earn a degree if they earn more credits than the minimum number of compulsory credits of the major. If the subjects that are included in the curriculum of the interdisciplinary program are the same subjects of the ordinary major, the credits will be repeatedly admitted up to six credits maximum.

Types of Interdisciplinary Programs
Commonness
Self-designed Transdisciplinary Studies: Major for Kingos to design their own curriculum, considering their interests, aptitude, vocation, and career prospects

Humanities and Social Science Campus
Comparative Culture: Major to actively cope with the era of globalization and its complex culture and to become a culture related worker and culturology researcher

Glocal Cultural Contents: Major for studying one area of culturology that is implemented through the interaction of global and regional objects

Japanology: Major for studying solely on Japan to become Japan experts

Koreanology: Major for foreign students to learn about Korea

International Trade: Major to foster trade professionals by offering Kingos the opportunity to study international trade theories and policies

Public Interest and Law: Major for Kingos who have various majors to hold in public offices and work in specialized jobs through legal education

Numismatology: Major of studying the humanities field with knowledge of classical language and philology

Fusion Linguistics: Major to pursue the convergence of neighboring disciplines based
on linguistics & computer science and linguistics & neuroscience

Future Humanities: Major to educate combining future reflective ability and scientific future predictive capacity

Informatics: Major to educate about informatics knowledge and technology

Data Science: Major to study scientific approaches for finding meaningful information
and creating new values from data

Natural Science Campus
Biotechnology: Major for a joint study of Food Biotechnology, Bio mechatronics, and Genetic Engineering

Energy Science: Major that encourages convergence of research and education field of technologies related to new and renewable energy

Convergent Software: Major to train talented individuals who have convergence software development ability targeting those who are not majoring in software

Problems and Solutions
Unsatisfying Curriculum and Shortages of Open Classes
There are, however, interdisciplinary programs which have poor curriculums and which havea lot of subjects from other majors. Since each interdisciplinary program is linked with more than two majors, there are some issues where subjects from different majors are not balanced well enough. Additionally, the number of subjects opened only for students who major in interdisciplinary programs is not sufficient. Although a lack of open classes is a chronic problem in all majors, there are more complaints from interdisciplinary programs. It is because investigations into the number of students who enrolled in interdisciplinary programs and demands of the subjects have not been sufficient.

Opinions from Students About Their Majors
Data Science “Among the 37 subjects of Data Science opened this year, 21 subjects are from the School of Business Administration. It means only eight subjects per year are Data Science's own subjects. I asked SKKU about it, but I was told that according to school policy, more subjects cannot be added.”

International Trade “Many of the subjects are related to the School of Business Administration and the School of Economics, and I think other subjects about foreign languages, which are also opened for International Trade students, are insufficient.”

Convergent Software “I am unable to attend many of the classes I want because there are not a variety of classes opened.”

Lack of Information and Exclusive Management
It is an enormous problem that overall information about the interdisciplinary programs is insufficient. There are no pages which are only devoted to interdisciplinary programs on the school website. When students want to find information regarding interdisciplinary programs, they have to go to the homepages of each individual college which are only concerned with interdisciplinary programs they are managing. Only a couple of interdisciplinary programs have their own site. Furthermore, information sessions for interdisciplinary programs have only two annual presentations, which means that Kingos have limited opportunities to obtain information. Additional sessions of each individual program seem to be fine, but there is a lack of information and promotion about the interdisciplinary sessions. Interdisciplinary programs are involved in each college, and this distributed system results in not only students having difficulty in gaining access to all interdisciplinary programs in each college, but also a lack of responsibility for establishing the administrative offices for whole interdisciplinary programs. In fact, dealing with the administration affairs of students is difficult because there are almost no offices which specialize in interdisciplinary programs. There are some cases where offices or coordinators exist, but students do not know much about them. A Kingo who majors in International Trade responded that administrative affairs for her major are dealt with in the College of Economics’ office. In addition, another Kingo responded that there is no designated office for his major. A student from Self-designed Transdisciplinary Studies said it seems like there is no office or coordinator at all. Students from other majors responded that they didn’t know. These diverse answers shows that they are not sure about the existence of offices or coordinators.

Possible Solutions
To solve all the problems mentioned above, it seems that the interdisciplinary programs need all-round revisions. First of all, to specialize in interdisciplinary programs, setting up an exclusive office and hiring program coordinators for designing programs and administrative affairs are necessary. By hiring program coordinators, the curriculum’s own subjects will increase, which will result in achieving the fundamental goal of interdisciplinary programs. In the case of Data Science, the coordinator and workers working in their own office have changed their curriculum for three years after the establishment of the major and have increased their own subjects. Second, it is essential to create a homepage devoted solely to interdisciplinary programs regardless of colleges. An explanation of what students exactly learn in interdisciplinary programs through a homepage is also needed rather than the abstract remarks provided in the introductory paragraph of interdisciplinary programs. The information currently mentioned does not give students a specific idea of what they gain and how they can relate them to their own careers when they major in interdisciplinary programs. Lastly, there should be many examples of elders because students have more difficulties in obtaining information than regular majors.
Many students, including freshmen, are often unfamiliar with interdisciplinary programs. It will be helpful for students to know and find a wide range of courses that fit into their own career ambitions in advance. The efforts of SKKU to improve the program should be increased.

최유진  cc981028@hanmail.net

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