Provost Mark Ginsberg Interviews with The Korea Economic Daily

Universities Need to Actively Invite High-tech Industry Experts to Resolve Issues of Faculty Shortage and Practical Training Skills

Provost Mark Ginsberg Interviews with The Korea Economic Daily

Dr. Mark R. Ginsberg, Provost and Executive Vice President of George Mason University, recently interviewed with the major national business daily, The Korea Economic Daily, during his visit to George Mason University Korea in Songdo, Incheon. The interview was published both in print and online.

“It's true that it's increasingly challenging to hire outstanding faculty as we compete with industry who pays higher salaries. This is why George Mason University actively invites adjunct faculty who work full-time in corporations and public institutions and lecture part-time at our university. Faculty who are very active in industry are an important educational resource for students,” said Provost Ginsberg.

Their situation seems similar to that of Korean universities, which are facing difficulty hiring high-tech industry experts such as in the semiconductor and artificial intelligence industries, but their concerns are the opposite. Seoul National University revised its policies last year to hire Google engineers as adjunct faculty, but there are still very few such cases. Provost Ginsberg stated that George Mason University invites adjunct faculty not only in engineering and natural sciences, but also in public policy, medical care, and legal fields. Adjunct faculty make up a significant portion of the faculty.

George Mason University is a research-focused university in Virginia, USA and has a well-known Economics program that has produced two Nobel Prize-winning professors of Economics. Provost Ginsberg visited George Mason’s Korea campus this year in celebration of George Mason University’s 50th anniversary. George Mason University Korea opened in 2014 and is one of the five campuses of George Mason University. Mason Korea offers six undergraduate programs and students receive the same U.S. degree as students at the US campus when they graduate.

“The US campus and Korea campus are one George Mason University despite their different locations,” said Provost Ginsberg, adding, “faculty from the US campus come and teach at the Korea campus and offer the same quality of lectures.” About 150 students from the US campus study at the Korea campus each year and students at the Korea campus are also required to study at the US campus before they graduate.

Provost Ginsberg’s view on education is that universities need to nurture multi-talented and well-rounded students rather than students who only specialize in only area. This contrasts with the notion that universities need to teach specialized education from the undergraduate level due to the recent increase in demand for "technical talent."

"An engineering executive recently said, “we want to hire engineers from George Mason University because your engineers can actually write,”” said Provost Ginsberg, adding, “We require our engineering students to be proficient in writing and our humanities students to learn about mathematics and technical areas."

The financial structure is also significantly different from that of Korean universities. 40% of George Mason University's budget comes from student tuition. Although it is a state university, government support is less than 20%. At Korean universities, student tuition accounts for a much lower portion of the budget as tuition fees have remained constant for 14 years due to government regulations. “We anticipate about a 3% increase in tuition this year. With the 8% inflation rate in the US, 3% increase is very moderate,” said Provost Ginsberg.