Korea U, UBC sign agreement

New residence and cultural centre will house some 200 students and foster international scholarship

An agreement between UBC and Korea University (KU) will establish a joint academic program for undergraduate students and a $10-million residential cultural centre on campus.

"This agreement represents a major development in our relationship with Korea University," says UBC President Martha Piper. "It is a strong and focused step toward our mutual goals of strategic international partnerships."

Advancing international scholarship and research, particularly with Pacific Rim countries, is among the university's goals.

"In this era of globalization, there is a need to study foreign languages and also a need to better understand the cultural and societal context of different countries," says Dr. Jung-Bae Kim, KU's president.

The agreement could serve as a model of intense cultural exchange experiences for other institutions, he adds.

The 20-year agreement provides for an eight-month integrated cross-cultural education program at UBC for about 100 KU students annually.

The program, which starts in September 2001, will be designed using curriculum from the faculties of Agricultural Sciences, Arts, and Commerce and Business Administration. In the first year, about 60 to 70 KU students will attend the program which is expected to be fully operational by the 2002-2003 academic year.

The two universities will jointly develop one course specifically for the program to be offered each academic year. It will be open to students from both universities and delivered jointly at UBC by two faculty members, one from each institution.

Planning for the campus residence and cultural centre starts this fall. The complex will accommodate about 200 students and will offer academic, developmental and cultural programming reflecting Korean heritage. The facility's location has yet to be determined. "The facility symbolizes the partnership between the two institutions," says Larry Sproul, director of UBC's International Liaison office who helped negotiate the agreement. "The program of activities and the day-to-day student interactions will significantly enrich our relationship with KU and Korea." KU students will be accommodated in UBC residences until the new complex is built.

A senior academic council will be formed to oversee all initiatives in the strategic alliance between UBC and KU. A management committee comprising students, staff and faculty from the two universities will handle operational details of the joint academic program.

Funding for the academic program will come from tuition fees and both universities will share the cost of residence construction.

KU, originally founded as Posung College in 1905, is one of the top-ranked private universities in Korea.

UBC has 215 international agreements in 46 countries ranging from Australia to Zimbabwe.

For a list of international linkages visit www.interchange.ubc.ca/ubcintl/linkages.html.