Auburn University partnership with Keimyung University (South Korea)
2015 Heiskell Award Winner: International Partnerships
Nomination submitted by: Andrew Gillespie, Assistant Provost for International Programs
Auburn University’s relationship with Keimyung University in South Korea stems from a local connection with Korean automobile manufacturers in Alabama. Auburn University is located directly between two South Korean automobile corporations and their supply chain companies, which bring a strong Korean influence to the surrounding community. Leveraging this industrial context, Auburn University has created a comprehensive, strategic partnership with Keimyung University to provide Korean language and cultural programming for students.
“Recognizing that we play a pivotal role in recruiting and retaining such industries, Auburn has endeavored to integrate the local and Korean communities both on and off campus,” says Auburn President Jay Gogue. “Through strong partnerships with top Korean Universities and automotive manufacturers, Auburn has developed innovative strategies to benefit education, industry and local government.”
This partnership created the Auburn-Keimyung Korea Center and subsequently led to a Korean government-sponsored Institute on campus, offering language instruction on campus as well as numerous academic and cultural events that expose the faculty and student body to customs, language, food, music, martial arts, film, and traditional performances from Korea.
The King Sejong Institute creates social and academic interactions among the university, corporate, and local communities. Visiting scholars are invited by the Institute, and many spouses of Korean executives work in academic departments on campus. The relationship has resulted in additional funding for campus research and academic programs from corporate sources, and has led to internship possibilities for both American and Korean students.
Auburn’s partnership initiative has led to academic and co-curricular internationalization as well as internationalization of process and practice across many offices and services. A faculty-grants program helps faculty to develop collaborative teaching, research, and study abroad with Korean colleagues. This social, economic, and industrial context has made South Korea a strategic area of interest for Auburn University, driving a fruitful relationship on both sides of the ocean.