Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I'm grateful for the number of comments I've received for the earlier post on naming my walk. Keep 'em coming! I'm also grateful for certain offers of help both in the comments and via email. This is a big project, and it's going to require many hands. I also suspect the nature of the project might change along the way, but I'll be discussing that topic in another post as I continue thinking out loud.

Also: people should read Charles's excellent comment to the post right before this one re: problems in Korean academe. My own experience meeting Korean professors (and reading Marmot's Hole commenters with a Korean studies background) is that there are plenty of properly trained, legitimate scholars out there. At the same time, I teach wave after wave of students who evince little to no sense of academic integrity, which makes me think that Professor Jung is right at least to point out that Korea has a widespread, possibly intractable problem in its universities.

The focus of that article might have been a bit too narrow, however: in my view, failings in Korean academe have their source in a general culture of expediency, e.g., valuing a grade over the process that gets one to that grade, or valuing the name-brand cachet of a university over that university's actual quality, or being so immersed in competition with other students that the very notion of enrichment through study is abandoned long before the teenage years. This sort of culture produces downright dangerous results: incompetent physicians, poorly built bridges and buildings, corporate bosses with little notion of how to face market realities, etc. The culture that allows such shoddiness to occur is the proper topic of exploration; universities are merely one area where we can spot symptoms.


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