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SNU Announces New Retirement Rules

  • September 4, 2006
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Professors belonging to College of Natural Sciences at Seoul National University can be guaranteed their tenure only when they receive recommendations from more than five overseas scholars.

The SNU College of Natural Sciences announced on September 3 that they will implement new promotion regulations that professors’ tenure will be guaranteed only when they receive recommendations from at least five out of ten scholars whom they sent recommendation requests to. These ten scholars must consist of five overseas scholars whom they have chosen and another five who are working in the same field and whom the review committee has chosen.

The review committee will exclude from the recommendation request list those who have personal connections with the professor and thus cannot objectively recommend them.

The recommendation request contains a question: “Do you think this scholar is eligible for SNU College of Natural Science, which tries to belong to the world’s top 20 universities?”

The changed regulation will apply to those who get promoted from assistant professors to associate professors, beginning next year.

Oh Se-jeong, dean of the College of Natural Science, said, “Last year, we listened to foreign scholars’ opinions about our development direction. Based on their advice that we should enhance the quality of theses, not just the quantity, we will reflect it in the professors’ promotion regulations first. This type of promotion system is common in developed countries, but this is the first time in Korea.”

Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) is also preparing for a similar regulation, but it is not certain when it will be implemented. Regarding the new promotion regulation, most professors at the College of Natural Science are agreeing on this, but some point out that it is too early to put it in force yet.

A professor of SNU College of Natural Sciences who requested anonymity maintained, “Unlike developed countries where private research institutes including those affiliated to companies are abound, Korean professors has nowhere to go when they are not guaranteed tenure. So its intention is good, but it is not the right time for the new regulation.”


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