Dankook University (DKU) made many changes to improve the lives of Dankookians (Students of DKU) in 2021. They established new language departments for Vietnamese and Global Korean under the College of Foreign Languages. They also made upgrades to the libraries on both campuses. The Toegye Memorial Library on the Jukjeon Campus has a new "Dosan Lounge," an area for group discussion and team learning. The Yulgok Memorial Library opened their own lounge on the Cheonan Campus. Changes were also brought to the library's general reading room hours of operation.
The first change in the College of Foreign languages is the introduction of the Department of Vietnamese. Vietnam is a country with a great potential for growth in Southeast Asia due to its large-scale investment in abundant labor and economic infrastructure. As a result, the number of tourists to the region has increased significantly and job opportunities have expanded. Our Department of Vietnamese will help students develop an expertise in the language and region opening up several new economic opportunities for our graduates.
|▲ New website of the Department of Vietnamese (Photo from Dankook University)|
The second new addition to the College of Foreign Languages is the addition of a Department for Global Korean. With the international status of Korea forever increasing, the number of learners who want to major in Korean language and culture has risen significantly. The Department of Global Korean was established to train Korean teachers and experts in Korean culture to combine the theory and practice of Korean language and culture for foreign learners. The department will recruit 10 Koreans and foreign students for the program.
|▲ New website of Global Korean Language Department (Photo from Dankook University)|
Professor Kim Joo-sung, Dean of the College of Foreign Languages said, "The Department of Vietnamese will offer classes to help students understand Vietnamese and the Vietnamese people through their language, culture, history, and society. The Department of Global Korean will offer courses necessary to train Korean language teachers to teach the Korean language and culture to foreigners.” The Dean believes that the new programs will help students take on the challenge of these new areas and help develop diverse paths for our students in our increasingly global environment. He said, "The recent globalization of the Korean Wave and the rapid growth of Vietnam’s economy is drawing keen attention from people around the world. As a result, interest in Korean and Korean culture and Vietnamese regional studies are on the rise, so the college of Foreign Languages established new departments and programs that will provide the necessary professional education students are looking for in these areas. In particular, the Department of Global Korean will help graduates get a job at a Korean company or work as a Korean language teacher.” The Dean promised to make continued efforts to satisfy the diverse interests and careers of its students.
Changes at the libraries of both campuses have also been completed. The Toegye Memorial Library on Jukjeon Campus opened the 'Dosan Lounge'. Named to inherit the spirit from Toegye Yi Hwang's Dosan village school, the lounge was built in the former electronic information archive area on the third floor of the library. The space was centered on personal PC and multimedia data use, but the utilization rate had fallen recently, so the space was put to a more productive use. Meanwhile, as the role of libraries and the needs of clients changed, libraries are focusing more on openness, autonomy, and providing active learning environments. As part of the university innovation support project, they aimed to create a user learning space that promoted the concept of an ‘Active Learning Classroom’ while at the same time establishing as place to rest, a place for self-study or joint learning, and a joint task room all within this space. As a result, the interior design and equipment composition are open spaces, and the layout has been established to allow free movement, facilities, and data access as desired. When library officials were asked how they envision the ‘Dosan Lounge’ being used they said. “It is not a private study-oriented space and does not require quietness, unlike the general reading room. Here you can watch videos and talk about them with your classmates. It is good for many people to gather to discuss issues, or prepare homework, and also if you just want to take a break. I hope you can use this space to do that too.” They added, "Our library aims to create an environment in which the library space can motivate students to study comfortably, even if they do not have a fixed purpose, such as borrowing books or copying materials."
Meanwhile, the Cheonan Campus Yulgok Memorial Library opened 'DYL (Dankook University Yulgok Memorial Library Lounge'. Similar to Toegye Memorial Library, it is said to have improved the environment in which students perceive the space from simply “a place where they have to study." DKH interviewed the Cheonan Steering Team about the specific activities that students can do in the DYL. “Students are able to do a total of four activities in our facility. It is a basic learning space, a place to relax and recover, a future-like library for personal devices, and a separate study space for joint learning."
|▲ Yulgok Memorial Library newly opened DYL Lounge to keep up with users' convenience and trends. (Photo from Dankook University)|
With the completion of the futuristic libraries, the hours of use have also changed. When social distancing is in level 2, the general library is available from 9am to 5pm. They were closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. However, there were a lot of complaints from students about their operating hours. The most common opinion was that the hours were too short. Some said that the use time felt shorter because they lived far from the school library and could not access the facility early enough in the day or late enough at night. Students also complained that because of the restricted operating hours, they were forced to instead visit cafes resulting in an unplanned economic burden. There were complaints about the library book loan window being too short too. In order to address these matters, the student council arranged meetings with library representative. As a result, at the beginning of the semester, if the social distancing level is less than 2.5, the library operating hours will be increased. The general library would be available from 9am to 8pm weekdays and on from 9am to 3pm on Saturdays based on the 2 level of social distancing, and from 9am to 5pm if it is lower than level 2.
There have been many changes to Dankook University in 2021 that offer students several new learning and growth opportunities. Students should make good use of these new developments as the new semester begins.
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