How YU Is Encouraging Reading
How YU Is Encouraging Reading
  • Hye-jin Kang
  • 승인 2013.11.06 18:44
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 The Observer analyzed the details regarding reading enrichment events and programs like “Reading Classics and Writing,” and “the Chunma Reading Scholarship” at YU.

YU Central Library programs

The 1st Love Sare Book event

The YU Central Library distributed books for free or provided them at a low cost from September 25th to October 1st, 2013 in the first floor lobby. Six thousand books and 242 refinement magazines were distributed in 2012. The YU Central Library sponsored this event to encourage students and faculty to reuse reading material actively when they study or do research.

Chunma reading Scholarship

The YU Central Library has sponsored the Chunma Reading Scholarship to expand the culture of reading books since 2010. In August or September every year any registered student can apply to the program. Applicants have to read at least two required books over two months. Afterwards, they have to write notes about the books and submit them. At the beginning of November, primary candidates are announced and they must participate in a book journal competition as a second evaluation at the end of the month. Scores are then added up and the finalists are announced in December.

Interview with Yeong-chan Kwon, team leader of Social Science data team at YU Central Library

Q) What has been the effect of the Chunma Reading Scholarship?

A) The number of applicants for this scholarship has increased steadily as the years have gone by. In the case of the 100 classic selections, most students do not attempt them because they are too difficult to read before starting the program. However, the number of lent books has continually shown a slight increase.

Q) What are the limitations of operating this program?

A) This year finances at YU have suffered, so the budget for the Central Library has been reduced. This is also the reason why 90 students were awarded a total of 21,500,000 won in prizes last year, but only 60 students will be awarded a total of 11,500,000 won as prizes this year. Another issue is that many plagiarized papers were turned in during the book journal competition. Therefore we will introduce a plagiarism system that has been implemented abroad which is expected to make the evaluation process more stringent.

Reading Classics and Writing

This course requires students to read masterpieces chosen by the masterpiece selection committee at YU. Students learn and practice how to express their thoughts about these texts. It is a mandatory course for all first year students. Students have to take a theory lecture about reading and writing as well as debates and presentations at least once a semester. They must then hand in writing assignments and receive feedback a total of five times. The Observer interviewed a student and a professor who participated in this class in 2012 to listen to various opinions regarding their experiences. According to the student in this program, the professor Heon-ju Kwon who taught this subject asked students to raise their hands if they read books on a regular basis. Only seven of the forty-one students raised their hands. Sang-kwon Nam, the professor who taught the class in 2012 for Liberal Arts students said that the problem is not the shortage of reading time but the absence of methods to fascinate students about books. He empathized with students who feel pain about their reading and said it is the same for the faculty.

Reading Debate Competition

In order to understand the core value of the classics and improve debate skills, students participate in acompetition with 16 teams of two from each “Reading Classics and Writing” class dealing with selected classics every November. At the beginning of 2010, due to the fact the first year students who participanted in the competition did not have much experience, a plan was discussed to have senior students or winning debaters demonstrate their skills and hold a seminar. However, this plan has not been implemented yet. In addition, when the 3rd reading debate competition evaluation seminar was held in 2011, some participants pointed out the need to have a reading debate competition targeting all YU students, not only freshmen.

Considering the reality of the state of reading at universtities, students at YU must strive to become well-rounded and cultured and never make excuses like being too busy preparing for employment. Furthermore, the current programs that require students to read books at YU need to become firmer and more effective. It is certain that the solution can contribute to increasing students’ interest in reading.

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