Category Archives: Education

Graduate school students respond to Emanuel’s dismissal from the University of Illinois

I received this letter from the graduate students at the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures in April, 2001. The students asked the department head, Professor Jerry Packard, to consider keeping me on as a professor even after the department tenure committee had decided to dismiss me without talking to me even once,  and in spite of all of my publications and my service to the university.

I was deeply touched that my students made this effort. Not a single faculty member at University of Illinois, let alone any faculty at any other university, or anyone else anywhere has ever commented on my illegal dismissal from the University of Illinois, or any of the actions taken against me before then.

I applied for fifty or more jobs in the fall of 2004, academic NGO, government and other. But there was nothing to be found. After  two months of unemployment, I was offered a position working at the culture center of the Korean embassy in Washington D.C.


정체성을 찾는 교육 | 켄트학교 이야기 (허핑턴포스트 2016년 04월 26일)

“정체성을 찾는 교육 | 켄트학교 이야기”

허핑턴포스트  2016년 04월 26일

임마누엘 페스트리아ㅜ시



지난 10년간 서울의 국제학교 수는 급격하게 증가해 왔다. 채드윅스쿨, 드와이트스쿨, 그리고 한국국제학교와 같은 학교 설립이 성황을 이루면서 기존 서울외국인학교와 서울국제학교 등과 경쟁국면에 들어서게 되었다. 모두가 아이비리그에 진학하려는 한국 학생들을 대상으로 수익을 기대하고 학생과 학부모의 관심을 끌 만한 좋은 시설과 환경을 제공했다.

그러나 공부하기 좋고 고급스러운 환경은 당연히 공짜가 아니다. 서울외국인학교의 경우 고등학교 과정은 아이비리그 진학을 위한 입학 상담팀 등을 포함하여 한 해에 미화로 대략 3만 5천 달러가 소요된다.

그런데 아차산 근처에 잘 알려지지 않은, 진정 ‘대안’이라고 부를 만한 학교가 하나 있다. 수영장이나 축구장과 같은 시설은 없지만 이 학교는 단순한 학업성취 그 이상을 원하는 학부모들의 지속적이고 헌신적인 신뢰를 얻어왔다. 한국켄트외국인학교에 자녀를 보낸 학부모들은 학교가 숨겨진 보석으로 남아 있는 현실에 만족한다고 고백한다.

학교의 설립자는 애초에 켄트학교를 세울 무렵 아프리카와 동남아 개도국 출신의 외교관 자녀들이 기존의 엘리트 학교로부터 외면당해온 현실을 염두에 두고 도덕적인 원칙에 기초하여 그들의 경제적 여건에 맞춰 교육의 기회를 제공했다. 그 결과 켄트학교는 동아시아에서 가장 다양한 학생군으로 구성된 학교가 되었다. 개교의 모티프는 사실 기독교 신앙의 영향을 받은 것이었지만, 학교 설립자는 많은 다른 종교적 신념들까지도 포괄할 만큼 그 영역을 넓혀왔다.

켄트학교의 인테리어는 간결하고 실용적이다. 방문자들을 압도하는, 교회장식에서나 볼 수 있는, 높은 창이 줄줄이 이어 붙어 있는 솟구치는 계단 같은 것은 찾아볼 수 없다. 그러면서도 세심한 부분들에서 눈길을 끄는데, 예를 들어 방문자는 계단에 붙은 표지에서 이런 글을 쉽게 발견할 수 있다.

“잠깐! 불을 끄세요. 불필요하게 전기를 낭비하면 무슨 일이 생기는지 알고 있죠? 농사를 망치고 더위가 심해지고, 태풍도 더 자주 와요. 그뿐만 아니라 동물의 멸종도 앞당기게 됩니다.”

계단에 붙은 또 다른 표지에는 구내식당에서 음식을 남기지 말라 당부하는 내용이 적혀있다. 또한 학교 입구에서 방문자들은 학교의 성격을 드러내는 핑크색 포스터를 볼 수 있다. 그 내용은 환경이나 다양한 상황 등에 대한 태도를 결정하는 것이 곧 우리 자신이라는 점을 상기시킨다.

켄트는 일반적인 학교와는 그 성격이 다르다.

Read more of this post

“Interview with Harvard’s Legendary Dean Henry Rosovsky” (Huffington Post, January 9, 2016)

Huffington Post


“Interview with Harvard’s Legendary Dean Henry Rosovsky:

The Secret of excellence and the prospects for Asian Higher Learning”


January 9, 2016


Emanuel Pastreich



Harvard University had obtained a remarkable global role since the end of the Second World War. Of course it has been a strong institution for a long time, but if we think back, in 1900, or even in 1930, it was not considered to be on the same level as some universities in England, Germany or France. What exactly was it that allowed Harvard to reach the status that it enjoys today?

The task of building a great university is never simple.

Let me stress one point because it’s so often misunderstood, and we see this in Asia today: To become a world-class university takes a lot of time. There are simply no shortcuts. People tend to assume, and I have encountered this sort of thinking all over the world, that if they just sink enough money into a university, it will emerge in a few years as a first-class institution. But such rapid growth never happens. It takes time; it takes generations.

That said, there are a few clear factors that determine the potential of a university to reach the highest levels of excellence. In the case of Harvard University, it was true that by the time of its tercentenary (300th anniversary of its founding) in 1936, Harvard had already achieved a reputation as a world-class institution. Harvard did not have the stature that it does today.

So what specifically happened between the nineteen-thirties and now? Well the United States became more economically powerful and attracted more resources and faculty from around the world after the Second World War. But one very important development were the innovations introduced by President James Bryant Conant who served as president from 1933 to1953.

What were the specific steps that President Conant took as president to transform Harvard? Read more of this post

“UI Professor travels to East Asia” (The Daily Illini July 5, 2000)

I returned to the University of Illinois from what I thought was a rather successful trip to universities in East Asia to discuss collaboration in internet education with universities in East Asia. I was at the time an  assistant professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. It was an unusually hot July in 2000 and I had to move into a new apartment in a few days, so I felt but overwhelmed and also infinitely excited about the possibility of holding live video seminars with my peers in Asia in the near future.

I was quite optimistic as I thought that this trip to Asia was one that would determine my career. But I found an article in the school paper Daily Illini that had come out while I was in Asia that suggested something else was going on. I was quite puzzled by the negative statements in the article and sensed that something was very, very wrong. Although I did not know it then, my life would never be quite the same again.


The Daily Illini

“UI Professor travels to East Asia”

July 5, 2000



by Andy Grimm

Daily Illini reporter


University professor Emanuel Pastreich is spending the rest of his summer vacation touring the campuses of some of East Asia’s premier universities.

Pastreich, an assistant professor in East Asian Language and Culture at the University, left Tuesday for Seoul, Korea, hoping to develop contacts which will lead to preliminary discussions with administrators of some of East Asia’s leading universities.

Pastreich will only talk with administrators at the East Asian universities. He is not serving as a formal representative of the University, said Jerry Packard, head of the EALC.

“We in the department told him to cool his heels and take things in a methodical fashion, but he’s chosen not to do that,” said Packard.

The EALC has not given any funding for Pastreich’s trip. Representatives said that University administrators “have not decided whether they want to buy in” to Pastreich’s plan. Pastreich said he has contacted other departments, but Packard said he thought Pastreich was paying for the trip largely out of his own pocket.

The technology necessary is already largely in place, but there are still substantial challenges. If Pastreich felt getting University support was difficult, he might face even more challenges overseas.

“Talk about dealing with red tape, you may think it’s difficult to push something through (at the University), but it’s relatively easy compared to China,” said Packard. “Red tape is much more tangled there. It’s very difficult, especially when you’re an outsider.”

While the University has used videoconferencing to create collaborative courses with schools in the United States, the international exchange would be the first of its kind.

Pastreich envisions East Asian history courses taught using video lectures that students could watch in class or online. Students at different universities would complete group projects using e-mail. Pastreich will visit the University of Tokyo, Seoul National University and Peking University in hopes of creating a series of courses that will use videoconferencing and the Internet to link students across the Pacific together for classes.

“The most exciting thing to me is that students here, who maybe know Pokemon or tae kwon do, or like Chinese food get a chance to experience East Asian culture,” said Pastreich.

Carrying a portable cup in Seoul

I have seen all sorts of arguments for new high tech solutions to the environmental problem. They are mostly ridiculous. We need specialized new technologies in the case of responding to Fukushima, but otherwise, actually we need primarily old technologies to respond to climate change.

Most every country in the world required someone purchasing any liquid in a bottle to pay a deposit and then return that glass bottle after the liquid had been used until the 1970s, or even 1980s. This system is very simple and it is not difficult.


I have taken a vow to never use disposal cups, but it is extremely difficult since people will bring me drinks before I say I have my own cup and even in cafes they will ignore the mug cup I have brought. They think I just came up to order coffee and put this plastic thing on the counter. It does not occur to people that I expect them to put the coffee in that mug cup.


I would go as far as to suggest that most Koreans have no idea why I carry a cup with me and no idea why I do not eat meat.



Lecture at the Multicultural High School Dasom in Jaecheon

I had the honor of delivering a talk at Dasom High School in Jaecheon Korea on November 3, 2014.  The talk related myexperiences working in Korea to a group of students for whom many have a non-Korean mother and a Korean father (although Korean students and other foreign students were also included in the audience). Dasom High School was opened several years ago by the government as part of an effort to increase opportunities for multicultural students (which in Korean means those with one parent Korean and one parent non-Korean) in society.

The talk focused on Korea’s tremendous appeal and potential as a multicultural society. I wanted to suggest that those with mixed parentage may well go on to play a central role in Korean society as it evolves in the years to come.

I was deeply impressed by the sincerity of the students and their honest desire to learn and grow. I do hope many will join the Asia Institute.

Emanuel speaks to students at Dasom High School about Korea's tremendous potential as a multi-cultural society. The discussion with the students was an inspiring opporunity to discuss how those from other countries and those with mothers (or fathers) from other nations could play an increasingly important role in the nation.

Emanuel speaks to students at Dasom High School about Korea’s tremendous potential as a multi-cultural society. The discussion with the students was an inspiring opportunity to discuss how those from other countries and those with mothers (or fathers) from other nations could play an increasingly important role in the nation.


Several of the teachers at Dasom High School watching from the rear.

Several of the teachers at Dasom High School watching from the rear.


Emanuel most enjoyed the direct discussions with the students.

Emanuel most enjoyed the direct discussions with the students.

“University of Illinois as a World University” (Proposal by Emanuel Pastreich, June, 2000)

15 June, 2000  

“The University of Illinois as a World University” 


The Marriage of High Technology and Liberal Arts in the Field of East Asian Studies


The first steps towards a program for joint instruction between the University of Illinois, the University of Tokyo, Seoul National University and Peking University using advanced computer-guided video-conferencing technology and internet communications.


Short Term Goal:

Over the next two years a set of critical courses in the humanities at the University of Illinois, University of Tokyo, Seoul National University and Peking University will be open to students and faculty of all four participating schools using advanced computer technology provided by the Office of Instructional Resources. Taking advantage of its world-class program in computer engineering and computer science as well as advanced internet capability, the University of Illinois will be the first institution in the world to offer a program whereby courses taught in both English and the languages of Chinese, Japanese and Korean at four separate institutions in different countries are available to our students.

Although the use of such international links will eventually transform the entire university, it will be primarily in the humanities, and specifically in East Asian studies that we will begin this program. After a short pilot program limited to several focused seminars conducted entirely in English, a full program offering a wide variety of courses first to graduate students in East Asian Studies will be set up. Many courses will be offered that would otherwise be unavailable in the United States anywhere.

By dint of the overwhelming advantages that the University of Illinois holds in the computer sciences the humanities program at University of Illinois will be transformed. We will have a program in East Asian studies that will be the envy of schools in the United States and throughout the world. We will be able to promise within Liberal Arts and Sciences a group of scholars second to none because of the participation of those at universities in East Asia and elsewhere and would turn our program in East Asian studies, and other departments soon thereafter, into programs that could compete with any academic program in the country.

Whereas a private university such as Harvard can hire one or two outstanding teachers in any one field of East Asian studies, we would be able to offer access to courses at three major East Asian institutions thereby making ourselves an international center. Eventually our advantages in computer science will make the University of Illinois a vital center for studies in the humanities throughout the world.

Moreover, University of Illinois would not only offer courses in English in conjunction with  University of Tokyo, Seoul National University, Tsinghua University and Peking University, it would take on the role also of a transfer point through which courses shared via video-conferencing between those three universities were routed even in such cases as courses for which there was not great demand at University of Illinois. University of Illinois could promise to act as the hub for video-conferencing and internet instruction and eventually define the world standards for international education.

Long-term goal

The United States has closer economic and political ties with East Asia every day. Already the United States has considerably greater economic ties with East Asia than with Europe. After Mexico and Canada, which are essentially part of the domestic economy, the major trade partners are Japan, China, Germany, United Kingdom and Korea. At the current rate of change, China, Japan and Korea may well be come the top three in the next five years. Moreover, from electronics, to software and daily use items, East Asia has an immense impact on current manufacturing and technology. Our applied sciences are increasingly working in cooperation with East Asian academic institutions and private corporations. We have a large number of graduate students and faculty from East Asia. And yet East Asian Studies has not received the attention it deserves on our campus. A strong East Asian studies program with a reputation as strong as our E.C.E. & Computer Science departments is essential to the well-being of University of Illinois.

This project in international internet instruction will not only make University of Illinois the primary center for East Asian studies, it will make it a presence in East Asia as well.  Subsequently the reputation of University of Illinois within the humanities will increase. An outstanding program in East Asian studies will make all the difference as East Asian culture becomes more mainstream in the United States and the actual command of Chinese, Japanese and Korean more important in high technology fields. Already multi-Asian word processing is becoming an immense field in the computer industry.

No one has any doubt that we will need specialists in the future not only in the humanities, but also in technical fields, who have an outstanding ability in those languages. Access to instruction in the original language at universities in East Asia would make all the difference.

There is an absolute limit to what the University of Illinois can be as an international university unless its program in the humanities has at least as great a reputation as that in the sciences. This program will allow us to use our advantages in computer technology to catapult our program in the humanities to the top. Cooperation will extend into the applied sciences as well allowing for joint laboratories and joint programs in science and technology.

The program in connection with University of Tokyo, Seoul National University and Peking University would establish University of Illinois as a major center in East Asian studies. Eventually courses would be shared with universities in countries all over the world so that the student at University of Illinois would be able to access classes that would otherwise be unavailable. Likewise, our faculty could offer courses for a collection of students at different institutions that they would otherwise not be able to find a sufficient audience for.

Benefits to be obtained from this program of study

So much of our computer related research, interaction with high-tech corporations, and future markets for our graduates involve East Asia. Whereas a university like Harvard or Princeton has great advantages in terms of the financial backing for studies in the humanities, they are in fact limited in faculty to a few well-known professors. By setting up a lattice of courses of instruction available to students at University of Illinois, University of Tokyo, Seoul National University and Peking University  that is administered by the University of Illinois, we will be able to offer a breadth of courses that cannot be matched by any other university. We will not only level the playing field, we will make our technological advantage the key to our program in the humanities.

There remains considerable sensitivity between China, Japan and Korea at an institutional level even as the three countries are drawn together by economic, technical and cultural ties with the United States and each other. For this reason, the University of Illinois is in the unique position of being able to act as a conduit for intellectual exchange between the three Asian countries which will dominate the economy and culture of the 21st century.

It would be far easier for a student at University of Tokyo to take courses at Peking University through our program than to actually work through the complex bureaucracy surrounding such study in Japan or China.

The University of Illinois program in international video-conferencing and internet instruction could become a major institution within East Asia, and as East Asia increases in importance, so will University of Illinois.

Our program will be extended out into the sciences as well, thereby allowing cooperation on scientific projects between the four institutions at a level of complexity and immediacy previously unimaginable. If the University of Illinois acts quickly it can seize the lead in what will be an inevitable revolution in higher education.

Although initial instruction will focus on East Asia, once the system is in place, courses at universities in France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, or elsewhere will also be handled. Specialized courses that could not be offered before due to low appeal to the overall student body will then be available. Problems concerning visas for students and visiting faculty will cease to be a concern.

The disadvantages of University of Illinois location would be completely offset by this program, and the flexibility of the university as a whole in engaging in this project would soon make it a rival with major Ivy League universities. We might not have the endowments that those universities have, but we would be able to match their offerings, their foreign programs, and their faculty. University of Illinois would become the conduit for this new network of international scholarly exchange–and if we do it quickly, we have the chance to jump to the forefront of the academic world.

Steps involved:

A) A series of focused academic conferences on set topics involving University of Tokyo, SeoulNationalUniversity, TsinghuaUniversity and PekingUniversity. A conference on a subject such as “Modern Chinese history” will include scholars from each participating university and allow us to employ the new medium. Such academic events will make the power of this new approach quite clear to all involved.

B) Discussions with University of Tokyo, Seoul National University and Peking University concerning the administration of a trial run of the video-conferencing instruction program. Must make sure that video conferencing facilities were available at the appropriate time at all four campuses, and that their software was mutually compatible. First trial will be entirely courses that are conducted in English, 2000-2001. Either an ISDN or  I.P.  line, or the new Access Grid of Electronic Visualization Lab  will be employed. The times for classes will be China time 8 AM – 11:30 AM; Seoul/Tokyo9 AM – 12:30 PM; Champaign-Urbana  6-9:30 PM

C)  Set up small administration for the trial program.

D)  Arrange for a set of classes at each university to be available via video-conferencing to students at all four of the universities on a regular basis. Set up a unified format for the video-conferencing and internet components of these courses. Set up a system for organizing the courses and allowing courses to be available not only to students from University of Illinois, but also simultaneously to students at the other three campuses. Thus a course on Japanese history at University of Illinois, for example, would be attended by students from Beijing, Tokyo and Seoul.  The first run would be courses carried in English in the humanities in East Asian studies at each institution that would then be available at all four universities for real time participation (available at University of Illinois from 6-9 PM). Other courses would be taped from all four universities and be made available on the web to a limited number of students at all four campuses. On line asynchronous discussions will supplement the occasional video conferences.

At first a pilot program limited to four seminars (one at each campus) conducted entirely in English will be undertaken.

Eventually a specially outfitted room, or series of rooms at each respective campus complete with a life-size transmitter screen, a simultaneous electronic writing board, instantaneous interactive pads for each students, and complete internet e-mail equipment for interaction in English, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean would be set up at each campus.

D) Set up a program for granting credit for the courses offered by the program between the four universities.

E) Put together database of all faculty at each of the institutions participating that can be readily adjusted at a later date so that scholars covering similar subjects can easily communicate with each other.

F) Run a set of courses for which credit is actually granted between all four universities.

G) Expand that set of courses from one humanities course for each university to include courses in both the humanities and the sciences. Also arrange for video conferencing between the seven universities as part of joint research in the humanities and the sciences.

H) Arrange for the use of such video conferencing to set up joint laboratories in the sciences between Asia, Europe and the University of Illinois. Expand the range of the technology quickly so as to make the University of Illinois a clear world leader in education.

Basic approaches

1)          Lectures from designated classes that are recorded on video and made

available at the other campuses. Students would watch the lectures then compose

e-mail format responses (or postings on a web page) that would be responded to

by teaching assistants at the campus from which the lecture originated. The

video recordings of lectures would be divided into two different categories:

video tapes of lectures that could be kept permanently on file & video tapes of

lectures that could be shown only one time and then have to be destroyed.

2)          E-mail address exchanges between students at each university studying similar subjects. The students would carry out an extended dialog via e-mail, or

postings at a common web page for the course of a semester—perhaps working on

projects together. After a month or so, there would be a video conference

discussion between students on a the topic they had previously investigated.

3)          Extended video conference academic conferencing on set topics for professors and researchers. Scholars working on a similar topic would meet to discuss a topic of common interest via video conference. They would first exchange comments on set topics via postings at a common web page (in whichever language was most appropriate ECJK). As scholars would not have to pay for travel and eventually will be able to carry out such academic conferences from the computers they have at home, the international conference will become far, far easier.

4)          Occasional meetings via video conference for students taking similar courses at all four universities. Faculty members would also be present for these

non-credit intellectual exchanges.

5)          Selected seminars conducted entirely via video conference including students from all four campuses (conducted in language appropriate to the subject). These seminars would be conducted largely via daily posting at common websites with an actual video conference once a week, or perhaps once every two weeks  (alternating with a meeting of students at the local campus). Papers would be  sent via e-mail for grading, but require a special code to identify them as original. The grade received by a student is in all cases at his own institution, so there is no problem with credit for the course attended.

6)          Joint web pages between administrators at each institution that are accessible only by code. These web pages would allow the presidents of each institution, for example, to share valuable information or tips for future cooperation without that information becoming public. It would make it simple for a dean, for example, to figure out who is the person of equivalent rank in the other three institutions.

7)          Joint web pages shared by scholars in similar fields. Thereby professors in Chinese studies, for example could easily go to a web pages on which all scholars working on China at all four institutions are listed. They could then proceed to arrange scholarly exchanges on their own.

8)          50 minute multi-media class modules on a set topic prepared for viewing via internet at each university. The module would consist of A) a spoken lecture by a professor; B) a set of images related to the topic; C) a set of relevant texts illustrating the issues concerned; D) recordings of relevant sounds. So a 50 minute module on Chinese poetry would consist of a selections from a lecture on the topic by a professor, images of Chinese landscape and traditional clothing, selections from Chinese poems in the original language and in translation and a recording of a poet reciting his own composition. After observing the entire module, the student would respond to various topics and engage in an e-mail discussion with students at his campus and the other three campuses. He would also have to respond to the teaching assistant who would grade him on his comments.

9)          Massively parallel research laboratories. Scholars conducting research on a specialized topic, say chip fabrication, would be connected via a dense tissue of video conferencing, sophisticated shared web pages, shared data bases and systematically coordinated planning. Therefore massive parallel research laboratories could be created between the four universities in which faculty and facilities could be massed and complex tasks partitioned and assigned so as to avoid duplication. The result would be a new level of speed and sophistication.

10)        Immigration has become an issue and the governments of Korea, Japan and the United States have made it more difficult for Chinese students to obtain visas recently. Although such policies are often unfair, immigration is a serious issue to take into account. If Chinese students and scholars can participate completely in the universities of Korea, Japan and the United States via internet and video conferencing, however, they can make a full contribution without leaving China. After they have finished their studies, they can work for international companies and make a significant contribution to the world economy while remaining in China and using such internet, shared databases and video conferencing technology.



The asynchronous symposium is an innovative format in Internet communication designed to allow intellectual discourse between individuals with similar fields of expertise who otherwise would never have any contact for reasons of culture. In a nutshell, there are four parallel web pages representing a basic “chat room” on which participants can post their responses to a given topic. In this first experiment, the languages of English, Japanese, Chinese and Korean are suggested, although obviously there is no limit. The responses posted by scholars on each of four parallel web pages are then translated into the other three languages and posted for the other participants to read. The first asynchronous symposium will discuss the broad issue of technology and globalization. Once the web pages have been developed and translators are found, any number of subjects can be brought up.


The Asynchronous Symposium is conducted over four parallel (but linked) web pages. One page is set for English input, one for Chinese, one for Japanese and one for Korean. A set of questions or topics are posted at the top of each web page in the four languages. Scholars (or experts) post their responses to the given subject at the web page set for their own language. Thus a Chinese scholar merely composes in Chinese. Graduate students (or professional translators) are paid to translate the postings into the other three languages from each web page every twelve hours. Therefore a scholar reading the postings in any one of the four languages can have a discussion with others with similar interests but unable to express themselves in a foreign language. A special code is required to log on to a page.

This format allows meaningful dialogs between individuals who would otherwise never communicate. Even if they met, they would most likely feel ill-at-ease or inarticulate. The cost of paying graduate students to do the translation is minimal compared with the costs of putting together an international conference—although the relationships established by these asynchronous exchanges may lead to further projects. Moreover, the results of such an asynchronous symposium would most likely be worthy of publication in a magazine or newspaper.

Major intellectuals or government officials in China, Japan or Korea may well get in the habit of logging on to this informal discussion when they grow tired of their work late at night. We may well get insights otherwise unavailable.


Underlying  Principles for the University


The next generation of the internet will bring far more reliable and user-friendly means of communicating information. As a result a thick binding tissue will develop between institutions involved in the systematic application of internet connections. The implication is that the effectiveness of one’s hierarchy of connections, and its user-friendliness will determine the status of the university more than actual physical installations on campus. The internet and video conference ties to other universities of scale abroad will make the difference to the university. This truth has not been realized, but it will soon be apparent.


When we visualize the university, we should imagine a mirror that has been broken into hundreds of shards and lies spread across the floor. Each splinter shines brightly and the total is most impressive. The important point, I feel, is what can be achieved if each of the fragments of glass is tilted ever so slightly. Each fragment does not have to actually be moved, or transplanted, just propped up in one direction or another. Once this process is achieved, the light reflected from each piece will converge on a single point, a single goal. Then the light reflected by those many fragments will be powerful enough to vaporize the dense stone. Imagine if we could add the light reflected by fragments from other institutions to that beam.


There are figures who made great fortunes in real estate by pursuing the following strategy. They look at maps of the city over a period of twenty or thirty years, figure out where the business and residential centers are, then interpolate as to how the city will expand and transform over the next five to ten years. Once they have mapped out their speculations as to what will happen to the population in the near  future, they buy farmland in those areas that look like they are marked for development. Once the farmland is bought, it can be rented back to farmers, and the proper moment must be awaited. We should plan for the university in precisely this manner.


Video conferencing will make teaching over the net far more legitimate and convincing in the next few years. Internet technology is rapidly moving towards a “just like actually being there” state. It is not there yet, but this is the time to approach the technology systematically. Video conferencing will also become a central part of the internet as well during that period. This moment is the best moment to enter into the field in a systematic manner.


Time zones can be a problem, but asynchronous learning can be as effective, or more effective, than live teaching. Asynchronous discussions punctuated with live video conferencing can achieve all required goals. Written responses can be far better than classroom comments. It is just a matter of refining the technique.


Internet connections can be viewed as connective fiber tying together institutions. Pairing up specialists at different universities as that connective fiber grows thicker can lead to a unique international academic community.

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“Future of the College Entrance Examination” (University Life)

The University Life

Kyung Hee University

“The Future of the College Entrance Examination in Korea”


Emanuel Pastreich

October 1, 2014


The question of how entrance exams in Korea can be reformed is both a simple one and a complex one. As these exams have caused such suffering for youth, and such distortions in the priorities that inform education, it would seem a simple task to just revise the exams so that they reflect the needs of students. However, as long as Korea is dominated by a social values system that judges people on the basis of the schools they attend, and that narrowly defines the social status of people, whatever reforms we make in the tests themselves will be distorted by need to insure a harsh competition that generated by the structure of society itself. Reform will prove illusionary. Read more of this post

아시아인스티튜트 의 “작은 세미나” (고등학생을 위해서)

고등학생위주의 토론:

“작은 세미나” (고등학생을 위해서)
“교육에는 ‘무엇’ 이 없다”

2014년 5월 27일 (화) 오후 6시

“지시인으로 산다는 것은 무거운 것이다”

2014년 6월 3일 (화) 오후 6시

“언론, 잃어버리다”

2014년 6월 10일 (화) 오후 6시

2014년 6월 17일 (화) 오후 6시
“문화와 관습, 우리가 신경써오지 않았던 것들”

관심이 있는 고등학생들 EPASTREICH@GMAIL.COM로 연락 주세요

Asia Institute map with #

“The Professor’s Role” (Joongang Daily May 12, 2014)

Joongang Daily
May 12, 2014

“The Professor’s Role”

Emanuel Pastreich

One of the greatest attractions for me about Korea is the status that professors enjoy in this country. I am not talking about just the respectful manner in which students speak to teachers; that is a pleasant, but not particularly significant, aspect of Korean culture. I am talking rather about the broad role that professors play in policy and industry. Professors serve on government committees, and the position of professor is a standard platform for launching a political career. In a sense, the rank of “Dr.” seems to outrank just about any other position in this society.

Korea stands in marked contrast to the United States, where the status of intellectuals has been much diminished over the last fifty years. Whereas American presidents like Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman appointed many professors to high positions, those days are long gone in my country. But the tradition remains in Korea.

Although I am delighted to live in a country that values intellectuals, my experience as a professor has also brought me face to face with the profound contradictions in the actual role of the professor that undermine the critical role of intellectuals in society.

Professors, I learned, are not evaluated by their peers in a written format that captures the complexity and subtlety of their role, but rather are assessed according to inflexible checklists that have little, or nothing, to do with what the responsibility of the intellectual should be.

There are three categories for evaluating professors at the university: teaching, research and service. In the case of teaching, the courses are so large that it is essentially impossible to talk with any real intimacy with students. The role of the professor is now to provide letters of recommendation for future employment or further education without actually having worked closely with that student and to provide a grade for the course. My teaching performance is evaluated by students using a survey that encourages students to see professors as performers.

Sadly, a close relationship wherein the professor guides the student in understanding the world and prepares him for the challenges of a rapidly changing society is not relevant in the evaluation of the professor-although such relations with students would be the most valuable thing a professor could do.

Moreover, the relationship of teacher and student is limited entirely to the course itself with little of the lifelong relationship that made Korean learning great over the last 500 years. There is no incentive at all for the professor to tell the student about harsh truths so as to help him or her to survive in what looks like a very grim future. Telling students pleasant myths helps one in getting a good evaluation, but it is a deep disservice to the students themselves.

Then there is research. I was shocked when I was told last year that I should not bother reporting articles unless they are published in English, in Science Citation Index (SCI) or Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) journals. These journals have magically been declared to have “impact” (even though their readership is extremely small) and are considered “A grade.” But, in fact, many world-class journals are not included in these mysterious lists, and although I wrote in SSCI journals 10 years ago, I have stopped because I find that books and other journals have far more influence.

Oddly, although the complexity of a scholar’s research activities can only be evaluated by his peers, the evaluation is left up to a check list made up by people who know nothing about the field.

The scholar who publishes 10 mediocre articles in SSCI journals (which is easy to do) is favored over the scholar who publishes one game-changing paper in an obscure journal. Needless to say, Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution or Galileo Galilei’s heliocentric model for the solar system were not easily published in the scientific journals of the time. Today, scholars agree that much of the best writing is found on blogs and in many other unconventional places.

In addition, it is assumed in evaluations that research written in English is the most important. In the humanities, obviously, the best journals in French literature are in French, and the best journals in Chinese history are in Chinese. But English is not even the only language for science. Although many scientists publish primarily in English, in the field of botany, for example, some of the best journals are written in Japanese. There is an increasing amount of first-class work in science that is published exclusively in Chinese, Japanese, Korean and other languages – the fact that American scholars do not know about that scholarship does not reduce its significance.

I thought that I would do well in the “service” category as I participate in many volunteer activities related to the environment and civil society. But I discovered that only bureaucratic duties in the department count as “service.” That is to say that if intellectuals do their duty by calling attention to important issues for ordinary people, issues that ordinary people do not have the expertise or the time to fully comprehend, that effort is irrelevant in the assessment of a professor’s contributions.

Korea has a glorious history of academies called hyanggyo that produced great scholars who were also intellectuals of conscience. Scholars in those academies were evaluated by other scholars according to the quality of their writings and their ethical stance. That tradition of scholarship, in which the academies were fiercely independent and committed to a long-term vision of learning as an ethical pursuit, should be a model for us. It is precisely the combination of ethics and scholarship that distinguishes Korean academics. To tear the two apart is to destroy the very appeal of Korea’s universities.


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