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Internationalisation of higher education in South Korea: reality, rhetoric, and disparity in academic culture and identities.

The central theme of this paper is contradictions: the ways in which official agendas of internationalisation (programming) internationalisation - (i18n, globalisation, enabling, software enabling) The process and philosophy of making software portable to other locales.

For successful localisation, products must be technically and culturally neutral.
 in higher education higher education

Study beyond the level of secondary education. Institutions of higher education include not only colleges and universities but also professional schools in such fields as law, theology, medicine, business, music, and art.
 are disturbed by the principles of inclusion and exclusion in the local context of university academic culture. The case of South Korea shows how the national policies for the internationalisation of higher education are translated into local cultural practice inside academe: What are the 'positions' of foreign and female academics in the specific national university context? How are they constructed by official policies of internationalisation? How are they experienced by individuals to form new reflexive (theory) reflexive - A relation R is reflexive if, for all x, x R x.

Equivalence relations, pre-orders, partial orders and total orders are all reflexive.
 identities? The paper offers an illustrative il·lus·tra·tive  
Acting or serving as an illustration.

il·lustra·tive·ly adv.

Adj. 1.
 analysis of the positioned and positional identities of foreign and female academics and the boundaries of inclusion and exclusion drawn around their identities. This exploratory study is aimed at future research agendas for a larger theoretical study on internationally mobile academics in different social contexts.


Asian studies Asian studies is a field in cultural studies that is concerned with the Asian peoples, their cultures and languages. Within the Asian sphere, Asian studies combines aspects of sociology, and cultural anthropology to study cultural phenomena in Asian traditional and industrial  


higher education



South Korean culture


The overall purpose of this paper is to examine how the internationalisation of higher education is realised locally. Governments of most Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD OECD: see Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. ) member countries have created rationales to internationalise v. t. 1. Same as internationalize.

Verb 1. internationalise - put under international control; "internationalize trade of certain drugs"
 their higher education systems under the pressures set by problems faced by nearly all OECD countries. These pressures include increasing the recruitment of international students and scholars, declining funds for teaching, increasing concentration on research and the emphasis on business activity. Their policy agendas are often similar but are linked to specific national targets (Enders & Fulton, 2002; Marginson, 2003; Odin & Manicas, 2004). The British government, for instance, set a target in 1999 to have 25 per cent of the global market share of higher education students, and to increase the number of international students studying in the further education sector by 100 per cent by 2005 (Blair, 1999). Accordingly most universities in Britain have developed new strategic plans to increase international student enrolment and enhance their international profiles. They are facing increasing demand for places and more competition for international students. Extra recruitment of non-EU students has already generated over 1bn [pounds sterling] for the economy (McNulty, 2003). (1)

In this paper, the case of South Korea will be taken as an exemplary site where the changing nature of the university and personnel can be critically reviewed against the overall national policies for internationalisation. The paper will examine official policies for the internationalisation of higher education in South Korea, and analyse an·a·lyse  
v. Chiefly British
Variant of analyze.

analyse or US -lyze

[-lysing, -lysed] or -lyzing,
 the local context of the official version of what it means to be a foreign or a female academic against historical assumptions about the university. The central theme is contradictions: the ways in which official agendas of the internationalisation of universities and academic identity are disturbed by the principles of inclusion and exclusion in university academic culture in South Korea.

The immediate purpose is to ask questions about the implications of certain kinds of boundaries for academic identities. What are the identities of foreign and female academics in a specific national context? How are they constructed by official national policies of internationalisation and how are they experienced by individuals? The problem can thus be stated as an illustrative analysis of the positioned and positional identities of foreign and female academics and the boundaries of inclusion and exclusion drawn around their identities. This technical vocabulary can be defined.

The concept of boundaries is partly drawn from work on collective identities--as explored by Barth (1969) and Jenkins (1996).'Boundaries are permeable permeable /per·me·a·ble/ (per´me-ah-b'l) not impassable; pervious; permitting passage of a substance.

That can be permeated or penetrated, especially by liquids or gases.
, persisting despite the flow of personnel across them, and identity is constructed in transactions which occur at and across the boundary' (Jenkins, 1996, p. 24).

The term 'positioned identity' is taken to mean an institutionally framed identity. Positioned identity is a socially constructed official identification, including nationality nationality, in political theory, the quality of belonging to a nation, in the sense of a group united by various strong ties. Among the usual ties are membership in the same general community, common customs, culture, tradition, history, and language. , gender, institutional job title and professional knowledge. 'Positional identity' is defined as how individuals see their position: their personal or reflexive identity. The distinction between positioned and positional identity invented for and employed in this paper can be compared in principle with the distinction which Jenkins (1996) draws between nominal identity and virtual identity:
   The former is the name, and the latter the experience, of an
   identity, what it means to bear it. It is possible for individuals
   to share the same nominal identity, and for that to mean very
   different things to them in practice, to have different consequences
   for their lives, for them to do it differently. (Jenkins, 1996, p.

However the vocabulary used here (positioned and positional) is preferred, not least because persons are currently and increasingly being positioned by official internationalisation policies.

To identify this theme in relation to foreign and female academics, biography will be used. The paper attempts to understand the private in public terms, the intersection of biography with history and social structures as inspired by Mills (1959), The sociological imagination Sociological imagination is a sociological term coined by American sociologist C. Wright Mills in 1959 describing the ability to connect seemingly impersonal and remote historical forces to the incidents of an individual’s life. :
   Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can
   be understood without understanding both. Yet men do not usually
   define the troubles they endure in terms of historical change and
   institutional contradiction ... The sociological imagination enables
   its possessor to understand the larger historical scene in terms of
   its meaning for the inner life and the external career of a variety
   of individuals. (pp. 3-10)

For university academics, both positioned and positional identities were initially constructed by the fact that universities have developed as national institutions, despite the theme of 'universalisation' in their history (Rothblatt, 1997). University academics are partly defined by historical assumptions about a particular role and institutional identity, within a national cultural tradition and social structure (Enders, 2004; Henkel, 2000; Kogan, Bauer, Bleiklie, & Henkel, 2000; Kogan & Hanney, 2000; Scott, 1998). More and more national universities are eager to become international, vying vy·ing  
Present participle of vie.

vying vie
 to increase (global) market competitiveness and prestige beyond the boundaries of national territories. Accordingly international staff mobility has notably increased in the last decade. Given the emergence of a global higher education market, there is a new breed of mobile academics working in foreign universities. What are the positioned and positional identities of these mobile academics who cross boundaries?

Internationalisation policies

University academics in South Korea have experienced structural and cultural changes in the last decade, given the government higher education policy of internationalisation framed by perceptions of globalisation. The vision of this policy was clear: to upgrade major South Korean universities to the level of a global standard of excellence and solidify so·lid·i·fy  
v. so·lid·i·fied, so·lid·i·fy·ing, so·lid·i·fies
1. To make solid, compact, or hard.

2. To make strong or united.

 South Korea's reputation as one of the region's 'knowledge economies' (Kim, 2000). The ways to realise this goal included new rules of competition among universities for the available national research funds and a new evaluation system for measuring good academic performance (as this is defined by the government) (Kim, 1996, 2000). For instance, in 1999, the government embarked upon the Brain Korea 21 (BK21) project, which was to last for seven years with an investment of US$1.2 billion. The aim was to improve graduate schools at the top universities, strengthen regional institutions and upgrade academic research. The last goal was to be achieved by a benchmarking project that measured local institutions against foreign, mainly Anglo-American, counterparts. The global standard specified relied upon the number of international publications and the international ranking of research universities on the basis of internationally published Scientific Citation Scientific citation is the process by which conclusions of previous scientists are used to justify experimental procedures, apparatus, goals or theses. Typically such citations establish the general framework of influences and the mindset of research, and especially as "part of  Indices (SCI (Scalable Coherent Interface) An IEEE standard for a high-speed bus that uses wire or fiber-optic cable. It can transfer data up to 1GBytes/sec.

(hardware) SCI - 1. Scalable Coherent Interface.

2. UART.
). According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 the Ministry of Education (MOE Moe

continually exasperated at Larry and Curly for their mischievous pranks. [TV: “The Three Stooges” in Terrace, II, 366]

See : Exasperation
), BK21 contributed to an increase in the SCI-level publications by Korean academics. The government announced that the Korean ranking had moved up from 17th in 1998 to 14th in 2001 (MOE, 2002).

BK21 is currently sponsoring 629 selected research projects conducted by 69 teams (MOE, 2002). There are annual and mid-term evaluations. The emphasis is on building a supportive system for launching international collaboration programs with leading universities (mainly Anglo-American research universities) as well as merchandising research outputs and strengthening industry-university ties.

As a way to enhance the research capacity of academics and to nurture NURTURE. The act of taking care of children and educating them: the right to the nurture of children generally belongs to the father till the child shall arrive at the age of fourteen years, and not longer. Till then, he is guardian by nurture. Co. Litt. 38 b.  the next generation of research and development manpower, over 70 per cent of BK21 funds are invested in graduate students, post-doctorates, and contract researchers. Through BK21 projects, 34 153 graduate students have so far received financial support for three years; 12 751 graduate students have had short-term study visits to foreign countries; and 510 students have had long-term study visits. For the BK21 projects, 1933 post-doctoral posts and 1096 contract professorships have been created (MOE, 2002). Simultaneously the government has created a new fund to invite to South Korea 431 distinguished foreign scholars in science and advanced fields of research, and to implant implant /im·plant/ (im-plant´) to insert or to graft (tissue, or inert or radioactive material) into intact tissues or a body cavity.  state-of-the-art research and education (MOE, 2002). Thus elite universities in South Korea are now in competition to recruit foreign students and scholars, to conduct more lectures in English, and to establish an infrastructure for welcoming foreign students. However these contemporary developments themselves are framed by historical forces, which have defined some of the basic parameters of positioned identity. South Korea was strongly influenced by Japanese and American models of the university.

The Korean context

The modern university academic profession in South Korea developed quickly with the expansion of higher education in the second half of the 20th century, after political independence from Japan in 1945. The late transition of Korea from agricultural to industrial society was made during the concurrent processes of post-colonisation and modernisation and, as in the case of Japan, industrialisation Noun 1. industrialisation - the development of industry on an extensive scale
industrial enterprise, industrialization

manufacture, industry - the organized action of making of goods and services for sale; "American industry is making increased use of
 was led by the government rather than by a self-conscious middle class. In Korea, most people identify themselves as middle class--though the ongoing economic restructuring after the economic crisis in 1998 has made a widening gap between the rich and the poor (Kim, 2000). During the colonial period Colonial Period may generally refer to any period in a country's history when it was subject to administration by a colonial power.
  • Korea under Japanese rule
  • Colonial America
See also
  • Colonialism
 (1910-1945), Korean socioeconomic so·ci·o·ec·o·nom·ic  
Of or involving both social and economic factors.


of or involving economic and social factors

Adj. 1.
 and occupational structures were quickly transformed within the Japanese colonial model of modern society.

The embryonic em·bry·on·ic or em·bry·on·al
Of, relating to, or being an embryo.

In the life cycle of the round worm, a very early life stage occurring within the uterus of the female round worm.
 Korean academic profession was therefore being shaped by the Japanese colonial state's control over the meritocratic mer·i·toc·ra·cy  
n. pl. mer·i·toc·ra·cies
1. A system in which advancement is based on individual ability or achievement.

 principle in education, which was fundamentally defined by nationality. For instance, the professorships in Kyung Sung Imperial University were open only to Japanese. Accordingly the private sector of higher education was the alternative favoured by the Korean academic candidates for a professional career. The American influence was also significant: the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area.  model of higher education in the private sector was the major academic route open for a national (and nationalistic) Korean elite to enter the academic profession (Joung, 2002; Kim, 2001; Son, 1971).

As a colony, Korea experienced a process of cultural importation and adaptation of Japanese and western (mainly American and German) academic models. Thus the first generation of modern university academics in Korea lived in a doubly divided culture. In academe, there were different channels for absorbing western knowledge and culture in the Japanese imperial university, and in the nationalist private institutions of higher education, some of which (as indicated) were established by and directly linked to the American missionary organisations.

Thus the dual history of Korean higher education originated from the Japanese colonial education system. The first generation of the university academic profession in the public sector was mainly Japanese whereas in the private sector the academic profession was dominated by the foreign educated--including western expatriates as well as Korean nationals. As argued in Kim (2001), the changing composition of the academic profession itself shows the dramatic compressions of South Korean nation-building.

Overall the cultural context of the modern, colonised Adj. 1. colonised - inhabited by colonists
colonized, settled

inhabited - having inhabitants; lived in; "the inhabited regions of the earth"
, academic identity of the first generation of Korean university academics can be understood on three dimensions: first, the continuity of the Confucian tradition ensures high social respect for scholars in Korea; second, Japanese colonialism colonialism

Control by one power over a dependent area or people. The purposes of colonialism include economic exploitation of the colony's natural resources, creation of new markets for the colonizer, and extension of the colonizer's way of life beyond its national borders.
 produced anti-colonial and nationalist attitudes; and third, the colonial route to promotion for Koreans was through teacher training and vocational/technical education--rather than liberal higher education. These characteristics are still visible as Japanese colonial residues in contemporary South Korean academic culture.

Given the old colonial legacy of training, the government's selective promotion of technological skills and manufacturing industry from the 1950s, and the rapid expansion of higher education institutions, university academics in South Korea are notably technocratic. Many of them were the first generation of university-educated persons in their families. However the strong tradition of the Confucian scholar mandarin Mandarin (măn`dərĭn) [Port. mandar=to govern, or from Malay mantri=counselor of state], a high official of imperial China. For each of the nine grades there was a different colored button worn on the dress cap.  has guaranteed high social status. Contemporary university academics are a privileged class in South Korea (Kim, 2001, pp. 146-154, 177-182).

The old legacy of Japanese modernisation strategy, often identified with the slogan 'eastern spirit, western science', has also survived in the South Korean university academic culture and institutional identity. Despite the significant number of Korean academics with foreign PhDs, which far surpasses the number of local doctorates in major universities in South Korea, there are not many bi-cultural (let alone multi-cultural) South Korean university academics. According to the Korean Council for University Education (KCUE KCUE Korean Council for University Education ), the proportion of doctorates in the university academic profession in Korea is 82.9 per cent and about 40 per cent of them gained PhDs overseas (Korean Council for University Education (KCUE), 2000). However more than two-thirds of the PhDs were obtained in the United States of America UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The name of this country. The United States, now thirty-one in number, are Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire,  (USA). In the case of Pohang University of Science and Technology Pohang University of Science and Technology or POSTECH is a private university, based in Pohang, South Korea, which is dedicated to research and education in science and technology. In 1998, it was ranked by Asiaweek as the best science and technology university in Asia. , 93.3 per cent of the academic staff took PhDs in the USA, in the case of Yonsei University
This article refers to the South Korean private university. For the fourth-generation Japanese American Yonsei Japanese-American, see Japanese American.

Yonsei University (IPA: /
, the proportion of American doctorates is 81 per cent and in Seogang and Ewha Women's University, it is estimated at 81.3 per cent and 80.2 per cent respectively (Joongang Ilbo JoongAng Ilbo is a conservative newspaper published in Seoul, Korea. It is one of the "big three newspapers" in Korea. It boasts a circulation of 1.96 million copies in Korea (as of 2004). Its average page count per copy is around 52. , 2002, November 15). Among the newly appointed Korean university academics in 1999, the percentage of those with overseas PhDs was estimated at 52.2 per cent; and the proportion of American PhDs in the group was 70.5 per cent (KCUE, 2000). Overall the pattern of male academics with American PhDs has been the tradition of the Korean university.

On the whole, there is considerable evidence to indicate that the Korean academic profession is already internationalised in terms of the overseas academic experience of its members. Current internationalisation policies include efforts to recruit more overseas (students and) academics into the Korean university.

Here, however, it may be asked whether the academic culture of Korean universities is open: Is it inclusive enough to accept overseas scholars not just as visitors but as members of the university faculty? To put the same point another way: there is evidence that the positioned identity of many Korean academics is internationalised on the criterion of their overseas-based doctorates. However, does the culture of Korean universities provide a welcome for the positional identities of overseas scholars, even if the official policies of the Korean government would welcome such positioned overseas academics? One area of sensitivity for evidence on these questions is the situation of foreign academics in Korea.

Despite the official emphasis, for more than a decade, on internationalising higher education, culturally the internal sociology of the contemporary university in South Korea is still very local in practice. It draws on Confucian patriarchal pa·tri·ar·chal  
1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of a patriarch.

2. Of or relating to a patriarchy: a patriarchal social system.

 relationships and principles. The culture has not shifted to embrace the consequences of internationalisation and entrepreneurialisation policies. Regardless of the international experiences of Korean university academics studying abroad, especially in the USA, not many of them actually gained intercultural in·ter·cul·tur·al  
Of, relating to, involving, or representing different cultures: an intercultural marriage; intercultural exchange in the arts.
 identities, as they crossed international boundaries. Some of them, after returning home to take up a tenured ten·ured  
Having tenure: tenured civil servants; tenured faculty.

Adj. 1. tenured
 academic post in South Korea, often become even more Korean--nationalistic and local minded, focusing on local institutional politics. The overall character of university academic culture is homogeneously Korean. Accordingly it can be suggested that the foreign academics working in South Korean universities are likely to be in a disadvantageous dis·ad·van·ta·geous  
Detrimental; unfavorable.

 minority position and culturally segregated, a theme which is explored in the next section.

Foreigners Foreigners


the condition of being an alien.


Law. the seizure of foreign subjects to enforce a claim for justice or other right against their nation.

gypsyologist, gipsyologist

 in Korean academe

The number of foreign academics working in Korean universities is still fairly insignificant. There were about 1211 foreign academics in the university sector as of August 2001, which is equivalent to 2.9 per cent of all university academics in South Korea. Among them 49.6 per cent were American, 16.1 per cent Canadian, and 9.7 per cent Japanese. The foreign academics working in South Korean universities are paid the local university stipend sti·pend  
A fixed and regular payment, such as a salary for services rendered or an allowance.

[Middle English stipendie, from Old French, from Latin st
 (US$20 000--in the public sector), and most of them have been working on a contract basis, mainly teaching in language departments (Daehack Sisa, 2003, April 7).

However the new official policy of internationalisation of Korean universities has established specific rules and conditions, especially for elite universities such as Seoul National University Not to be confused with the University of Seoul.
Seoul National University (SNU) is a national research university in Seoul, South Korea. Founded in 1946, SNU was the first national university in South Korea, and served as a model for the many national and public
, Yonsei University, Ewha University, Korea University This article is about the university in Seoul, South Korea. For the Chongryon-affiliated school in Tokyo, Japan, see Korea University (Japan).

Along the modern Korean history, Korea University has been one of the craddles of manpower in Korean society
, KAIST KAIST Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology This article reads like a news release, or is otherwise written in an overly promotional tone.
Please help [ rewrite this article] from a to be less promotional, per Wikipedia .
), PosTech (Pohang University of Science and Technology). For instance, university courses offered in English will be increased by 30 per cent, and the number of foreign and international students and scholars will also be increased ( Nevertheless there is still a wide gap between policy aspiration aspiration /as·pi·ra·tion/ (as?pi-ra´shun)
1. the drawing of a foreign substance, such as the gastric contents, into the respiratory tract during inhalation.

 and institutional implementation even among the best universities in South Korea. Yonsei University--the best and the oldest private university in Korea--has only seven full-time foreign academics among 1345 academic staff members, despite its public reputation as the most internationalised university in South Korea. Korea University--one of the elite private universities in South Korea--had none as of 2003, despite its ambitious target to recruit 300 foreign academics by 2005. Seoul National University (SNU SNU Seoul National University
SNU Southern Nazarene University
SNU What's New? (slang)
SNU Spiritualists' National Union (UK)
SNU Skilled Nursing Unit (hospitals and nursing homes) 
)--the most prestigious national university in South Korea--has just one full-time foreign academic. Overall, the total number of foreign academics and international students at SNU was 28 and 660 respectively, in 2001 ( foreigner/foreigner_01.php). There are also the possible effects of the government's new quota system Quota System can refer to:
  • Quota System (Royal Navy), a system in place from 1795 to 1815 for manning British naval ships
  • Reservations in India
  • Quota Borda system
 and very simple criteria for academic staffing: one-third of new faculty hired have to have degrees from outside SNU and new faculty need to have two articles published in the past year to be considered for employment. For example, those who are publishing books rather than journal articles would be disadvantaged. Similarly a candidate who might have made a major contribution to his/her field three years earlier might not be considered. This problem was also indicated by the international panel on educational excellence organised by the South Korean government. This was composed of invited prominent international university academic managers mostly from the USA and the UK. Under the new government's guidelines guidelines, a set of standards, criteria, or specifications to be used or followed in the performance of certain tasks.
 for academic staffing, scholars like 'Daniel McFadden, a Nobel laureate Noun 1. Nobel Laureate - winner of a Nobel prize

laureate - someone honored for great achievements; figuratively someone crowned with a laurel wreath
 in economics who had one article in print when he was granted tenure three years after arriving at Berkeley, would not be eligible to teach at SNU (SNU, 2001, p. 22).

However the main difficulty in attracting world-class scholars is the relatively low salaries offered by SNU, which are 10 per cent to 30 per cent lower than other public and private universities in South Korea. Overall, in terms of its staff profile, SNU is not yet an international university, even though it is undoubtedly prestigious in South Korea.

At the policy level, the government announced in 2002 a new major strategy for the internationalisation of higher education. It set a target to increase the number of foreign students and foreign academic staff to 17 per cent in the public sector of higher education, and 30 per cent in all higher education. It was announced that 103 new foreign academics would be paid up to US$100 000 to start working in the 13 national universities from the autumn of 2002. The so-called 'brain pool' scheme has been implemented as a new incentive to attract foreign academics to South Korea within new fields such as information technology and bio-technology and basic sciences (Kang, 2002, p. 20). Thus it is clear that structural change looks like occurring, following the government's new steps in internationalisation policy. The strong desire for drastic change in internationalisation policy was also noticeable in the new appointment of Professor Robert Laughlin, the American Nobel Prize Nobel Prize, award given for outstanding achievement in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, peace, or literature. The awards were established by the will of Alfred Nobel, who left a fund to provide annual prizes in the five areas listed above.  Laureate lau·re·ate  
1. Worthy of the greatest honor or distinction: "The nation's pediatrician laureate is preparing to lay down his black bag" James Traub.

 in Physics in 1998, to the presidency of state-run Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in May 2004. (2) KAIST has become the first state-funded university in Korea to be headed by a foreigner Foreigner

All institutions and individuals living outside the United States, including US citizens living abroad, and branches, subsidiaries, and other affiliates abroad of US banks and business concerns; also central governments, central banks, and other official institutions of
. The appointment signalled a change for internationalisation from within university governance and management.

However there remains the question of the culture of the Korean university and the possibility of a contradiction between official policy assumptions and the realities of internationalisation on campus. There is anecdotal anecdotal /an·ec·do·tal/ (an?ek-do´t'l) based on case histories rather than on controlled clinical trials.
anecdotal adjective Unsubstantiated; occurring as single or isolated event.
 testimony by foreigners to illustrate this contradiction, and the anecdotal evidence anecdotal evidence,
n information obtained from personal accounts, examples, and observations. Usually not considered scientifically valid but may indicate areas for further investigation and research.
 is enough to suggest the need for systematic research. For instance, a French (male) professor who has been in a private Korean university for more than 20 years was still working on short-term contract(s) as of 2001. (In fact he understood that he cannot be tenured--officially because of his foreign nationality.) In private life, he is well assimilated into the Korean culture and has a Korean wife. In public life, he never feels fully accepted by Korean society, despite having lived and worked for a long time in Korean higher education. Despite his long service and his fluent fluent /flu·ent/ (floo´int) flowing effortlessly; said of speech.  Korean, he has never been able to attend the faculty meeting, allegedly due to his non-Korean ethnicity and nationality. On the other hand, his junior Korean-American colleague in the same faculty was invited to attend the faculty meeting. The French academic sees the reason for this exceptionalism ex·cep·tion·al·ism  
1. The condition of being exceptional or unique.

2. The theory or belief that something, especially a nation, does not conform to a pattern or norm.
 as 'Korean ethnicity', which is the most important attribute marking the boundaries of inclusion and exclusion in the Korean university faculty.

Two American (male and female) professors, both working in a major university in Korea for over 30 years, also confirm that the Korean university system does not allow foreign academics to have tenure tracks, nor to enter academic management positions. Foreign academics, especially those in the foreign language departments, are often treated as functionaries rather than professionals. In the existing Korean university system, there is no formal route open for foreign academics to develop their professional careers. Foreign academics in Korean universities have been employed on the basis of one- or two-year contracts. This has led to the de-professionalisation of foreign academics working in the Korean university system.

The American professors say there are two questions often asked of foreign academics in sequence when they are first introduced to their Korean colleagues: 'When did you come to Korea?' and next: 'When are you leaving Korea?'. The two American professors have experienced this sequence of questions numerous times during the 60 years of their (joint) service. Overall they feel there is a strong tendency in Korean society to control or deal with foreigners regardless of the length of their residence in Korea.

Obviously these anecdotes indicate that there is a strong cultural closure not to allow foreigners to be a part of Korean society and persistent resistance against foreigners entering the Korean boundaries. This is reminiscent of the boundaries of exclusion established in the Japanese colonial period (Kim, 2001). The colonial discriminatory dis·crim·i·na·to·ry  
1. Marked by or showing prejudice; biased.

2. Making distinctions.

 principle of ethnicity in the academic staffing and reward systems has survived in the contemporary post-colonial Korean academic culture. The boundaries are often articulated with a vivid sense of exclusive Korean nationhood. Both the French and the American narratives drawn from my interviews suggest that the boundaries of exclusion drawn in Korean academic culture make it unlikely that foreign academics will have equal status, access, participation in faculty meetings and influence on the decision-making process. Culturally foreign academics working in Korean universities are categorised Adj. 1. categorised - arranged into categories

classified - arranged into classes
 separately by their racial, ethnic difference rather than by their nationality. However the anecdotes merely provide hints about what the situation might be---thus highlighting the need for further research on the gaps between the policy discourse of internationalisation and the everyday discourses of self/other relations and positioning interactions inside academe. Perhaps there is no cultural space created yet inside the university work environment for a new breed of academics, whose positional identities would not be confined con·fine  
v. con·fined, con·fin·ing, con·fines
1. To keep within bounds; restrict: Please confine your remarks to the issues at hand. See Synonyms at limit.
 to a particular national academic culture but be open to an intercultural and cosmopolitan cos·mo·pol·i·tan
Growing or occurring in many parts of the world; widely distributed.

A cosmopolitan organism.
 domain. They are constantly crossing over academic cultural boundaries and engaging with new others.

The author's own experience confirms anecdotally another aspect of the Korean context of positioned and positional identity--for example, what it means to be a female contract professor in the university academic culture. The next section will focus on the female academic position and identity in South Korean university culture.

Women in Korean academe

Despite the government's policy to increase the number of female academics in universities, the overall gender profile has remained unchanged. Just 15.6 per cent of the country's academic posts--most of them non-senior positions--are held by women and only about 35 per cent of the country's students are female (Cohen cohen
 or kohen

(Hebrew: “priest”) Jewish priest descended from Zadok (a descendant of Aaron), priest at the First Temple of Jerusalem. The biblical priesthood was hereditary and male.
, 2002). In 2000, over 20 per cent of Korean doctorates were female, but female academics occupied only 14 per cent of tenured university academic positions. According to the Ministry of Education, 817 out of 1238 national university departments (66%) still have no female academics. In the case of Seoul National University, the proportion of female academics is estimated as only 9.8 per cent, which is lower than the national average (15.3%) (Hankook Ilbo Hankook Ilbo is a vernacular daily newspaper published in Seoul, South Korea. It is a sister paper of The Korea Times. See also
  • List of newspapers
  • Communications in South Korea
External links
, 2004). Exceptionally Ewha Women's University in South Korea--the oldest and largest women's university in the world--boasts a high proportion of female faculty at 54 per cent; though most of these female academic staff have undergraduate degrees “First degree” redirects here. For the BBC television series, see First Degree.

An undergraduate degree (sometimes called a first degree or simply a degree
 from Ewha (Special report, 2000).

Overall female academics in South Korea are positioned as a minority, not only in numbers in numbered parts; as, a book published in numbers.

See also: Number
 but also in institutional status and decision-making power. This is not so unusual; but it leaves positional academic identity unexplored. We know already--from the USA where gender sensitivity in work placement is much higher than South Korea--that female academics complain of their positional identity, saying they continue to suffer discrimination, and feel systematically marginalised (Tuan, 1999).

What is the situation in South Korea? Again we do not know, but I would like to refer to anecdotal evidence about the positional identity of one female Korean academic in a male-dominated Korean university faculty culture. She was one of three female contract professors in the faculty, who were recruited specifically for a funded research project sponsored by the Korean government. She was marginalised in general terms--like her two other female colleagues in the same job--on the basis of gender and institutional status hierarchy, that is, as a 'female contract professor'. However her female colleagues were relatively well adjusted to the patriarchal university faculty culture, partly because they had graduated from the same university and the same department. She was the first female staff member with different (national and international) university degrees in the faculty. Above all, she was the youngest in the faculty. Age is still important in defining position within a faculty culture marked by a patriarchal hierarchy. All tenure track academics in the faculty at that time were male with American PhDs, with one exception (and this staff profile has not changed since then). She left the university to transfer to another academic post in a different university before the end of her contract, and both of her female colleagues in the same posts have returned to their previous part-time lecturing posts again in the same university, after the termination of their contracts. By drawing on this anecdote anecdote (ăn`ĭkdōt'), brief narrative of a particular incident. An anecdote differs from a short story in that it is unified in time and space, is uncomplicated, and deals with a single episode. , it can be construed that the female academics' professional positions as 'contract' professor were casualised--and often subject to internal politics--and their social positions were marginalised by the male hierarchy in the university.

The culture of work and social environment in the Korean university faculty was like a Confucian family culture in a rural village. The female was treated as if she were an exotic guest visiting the big Confucian family which was the department, by her colleagues both male and female. Overall, what was so normal and natural to them was often unusual and difficult for her--despite her Korean nationality and her familiarity with Korean culture as a whole. She thinks her different (foreign) educational qualification further contributed to her positional identity as separate from the others in the university faculty.

The paper suggests in this short sketch that, although her positioned identity was contingent in the faculty culture, given the conditions of contract, the positional female academic identity was being constructed in between the boundaries of inclusion and exclusion of the Confucian and post-colonial academic culture. Thus what is open for exploration (regardless of the official advocacy of internationalisation and gender balance) is whether the Korean academic group culture is still strongly traditional, Confucian, patriarchal and parochial pa·ro·chi·al  
1. Of, relating to, supported by, or located in a parish.

2. Of or relating to parochial schools.

, rather than internationalised. If this traditional Korean cultural code is still strong, it is likely to cancel official projects for internationalisation.

The internationalisaton policy in South Korea was implemented in the general expectation that increasing the number of foreign academic staff would help to increase the standard of Korean universities to the level of international quality and eventually increase Korean economic competitiveness in the world. However there was no discussion in the official proposals about the internal sociology and the cultural assumptions of Korean academic departments. There was no strategic thinking about daily practices, which involve intercultural personnel.

South Korea is meeting a new challenge now. The internationalisation and globalisation of higher education can be tackled only by a new understanding of what is missing from the economic imperatives of globalisation. It is important and urgent to build intercultural wisdom and understand similarities in differences, accepting differences and understanding 'the others' as a part of our interconnected world. The internationalisation of higher education as a national project should have this norm at its centre rather than concepts of an economic market.

There are more mobile international professionals now across the globe. More and more academics work internationally with two or more bases beyond national borders. More and more people are positioned transnationally, given their mobile work spaces created in between/across national cultures. (This pattern is increasingly common especially in Europe.) And more and more academics may be experiencing the strains of newly constructed international/transnational positional identity, either by being 'exoticised' by local colleagues or by being excluded or marginalised in particular local/national settings.

Conclusions and future agendas

This paper has tried to open up the themes of positioned and positional academic identity in the university with examples of foreign and female academics in South Korea. The sketch was aimed at showing a possible gap between the official level of university policy assumptions and the quotidian quotidian /quo·tid·i·an/ (kwo-tid´e-an) recurring every day; see malaria.

Recurring daily. Used especially of attacks of malaria.
 cultural practices of universities. As indicated earlier, the government even set a very specific target to increase the number of foreign academics to 30 per cent of the total number of university staff in South Korea by 2005. However, when foreign academics join the local universities, they are subject to the legal bureaucratic bu·reau·crat  
1. An official of a bureaucracy.

2. An official who is rigidly devoted to the details of administrative procedure.

 rules of the hosting country: this gives them a positioned identity. They are also subject to different cultural rules. That is, national cultural boundaries of inclusion and exclusion are drawn in daily professional life within the hosting country. These cultural practices produce positional identities in the day-to-day interactions of individuals. In South Korea, in particular, university academics (regardless of nationality) are confronted by strong age and gender rules; but in the case of foreign academics, it seems possible that xenophobic xen·o·phobe  
A person unduly fearful or contemptuous of that which is foreign, especially of strangers or foreign peoples.

 classification is being added to the cultural boundaries of inclusion and exclusion. Clearly such cultural practices are likely to undermine official policies for the modernisation of South Korean universities. More precisely, such cultural politics of identity are likely to undermine or contradict con·tra·dict  
v. con·tra·dict·ed, con·tra·dict·ing, con·tra·dicts
1. To assert or express the opposite of (a statement).

2. To deny the statement of. See Synonyms at deny.
 official aspirations aspirations nplaspiraciones fpl (= ambition); ambición f

aspirations npl (= hopes, ambition) → aspirations fpl 
 for university reform.

In a simple sense, more research is needed to establish what in fact is happening inside Korean universities. But there is a more complex sense in which future research is needed. This 'future research' needs to be comparative--it is not just a question of assessing the facts of the Korean situation with some ethnographic eth·nog·ra·phy  
The branch of anthropology that deals with the scientific description of specific human cultures.

 and detailed illustrations. The problem is an international one. The problem specification needs to articulate a structural analysis of university traditions, socio-cultural analyses of university departments, and ethnographic interpretations of individual experience. This research could be framed by two questions: What are the contemporary policies of internationalisation (and genderisation) of the academic profession; and what is the gap between the official agenda for internationalisation and the academic culture inside universities in terms of their treatment of internationally mobile (and gendered) individuals (both male and female)?

International mobile academics may be categorised simply as foreigners and identified as outsiders. Local academics may expect foreign colleagues to be temporary visitors. Those who come for the long term, or even permanent residence, and cross boundaries can be disturbing and are often perceived as dangerous to the local status quo [Latin, The existing state of things at any given date.] Status quo ante bellum means the state of things before the war. The status quo to be preserved by a preliminary injunction is the last actual, peaceable, uncontested status which preceded the pending controversy. . The long-term resident foreigners would then have to be classified and labelled by the local social rules and orders. However the positioned and positional identity of those international mobile academics could not be easily classified in the local cultural rules, upon which the social order and cultural predictability of a university and its internal academic relations are based. The questions are of dramatic contemporary relevance to those internationalised and simultaneously newly internationalising places.

A research agenda, which covers the theme of how the local rules of inclusion and exclusion would interact with the positioned and positional identity formations as individuals shift countries, can be opened up for:

* societies of immigration--affirming new inclusion (e.g. the United States of America, Canada and Australia)

* societies being reconstructed re·con·struct  
tr.v. re·con·struct·ed, re·con·struct·ing, re·con·structs
1. To construct again; rebuild.

 to the principles of inclusion and exclusion (e.g. the EU); and

* societies newly internationalised or internationalising in East Asia East Asia

A region of Asia coextensive with the Far East.

East Asian adj. & n.
, such as Singapore, Japan, South Korea, and China.


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after first degree graduation, the registerable degree in veterinary science.

postgraduate degree
may be a research degree, e.g. PhD, or a course-work masterate with a vocational bias, or any combination of these.
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Dr Terri Kim is a Research Lecturer at the School of Sport and Education, Brunel University Brunel University is a university situated in West London, England. History
Brunel is one of a number of UK universities created in the 1960s following the Robbins Report on higher education (often called the plate glass universities).
, 300 St. Margaret's Road, Twickenham TW1 1PT, Middlesex, England, Email:
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