As Sookmyung Women’s University launched the student-designed major system for the first time this semester, there has been an obvious heightened interest in what kind of majors might be created. The brain and cognitive science major has been particularly eye-catching. Designed together by statistics major Student Min-seo Kim and Professor Seo-yeon Dong from IT engineering major, the brain and cognitive science major was born with the aim of studying the workings of the brain to incorporate the findings in various fields such as law, social psychology, life systems, and statistics. We interviewed the two to find out more about their path to new possibilities and challenges.
Q. Sookmyung Women’s University is preparing various programs for fostering creative and convergence-aware human resources. Professor Seo-yeon Dong, what is your opinion on the student-disigned major? And to the undergraduate student Min-seo Kim, we are curious about how you came to choose the student-designed major.
A. Professor Seo-yeon Dong: I first learned about the program while teaching Min-seo Kim, and I think it is a necessary system to cultivate self-directed and convergence-aware talents. It is really a system for students because they design and complete curriculum based on their own career goals or interests, and receive a degree as a multiple major upon completion.
Student Min-seo Kim: I chose the program because I wanted to take a step closer toward my dream, which is related to brain science. I was really interested in brain science, but I wasn’t sure where to start. That’s when I decided to participate in Sookmyung Women’s University’s self-directed career design project last year. After receiving the Vice President Award, the school told me that a new student-designed major program is to be launched this year. I thought it was a great opportunity because I was amazed that a major can be created by a student as a real school system and that I can create my own major by grouping classes from other majors.
Q. I heard that the brain and cognitive science major designed by both of you was named after several discussions. What was the final reason for giving the major its name? Can you also give us some details of the major?
A. Professor Seo-yeon Dong: I wanted the name to be a general e-x-p-r-e-s-s-i-o-n so that anyone can understand what kind of curriculum it is. In addition, with the idea that it should contain the core content of the field, it was based on the names used by other universities with a single major department that is of interest to Min-seo. Brain and cognitive science major aims to understand the human brain, learn the theories and research methods of brain science that identify the principles of brain operation, and to develop the ability to solve creative problems through interdisciplinary convergence of law, social psychology, life systems, statistics, etc.
Student Min-seo Kim: It was difficult to determine the exact name of the major or diploma. I asked the professor for advice, and we used the major and diploma names of other schools as a reference. Brain and cognitive science major can be a starting point for researchers in the field of brain science. I think the major can provide an early experience toward the path of a specialist in brain science with creative problem-solving skills in various fields.
Q. Tell us what was most interesting while teaching new knowledge through the teaching and learning in brain and cognitive science major.
A. Professor Seo-yeon Dong: Because there were no related departments or major in Sookmyung Women’s University, I thought there would be few courses related to brain cognitive science. However, after a closer look at the curriculum of our various departments, we were able to create a wonderful curriculum that allows us to design a brain and cognitive science major if only a few courses can be completed as exchange credits! One of the most interesting things we've gained from this system is that anyone who wants to study brain and cognitive science can take the initiative through the student-designed major.
Q. Do you have a comment or an advice for those who are interested in the student-designed major and want to take up the new challenge?
A. Professor Seo-yeon Dong: Student-designed major is a good system that allows students to design their own curriculum according to their career goals and interests, and receive a diploma as a multiple major. Students can even complete courses that are not available at Sookmyung Wemen’s University, and they can continue to consult with an advisor to complete their own curriculum design. I would like many of our students to participate and become self-directed and creative human resources with multiple talents.
Student Min-seo Kim: This is the first class of student-designed major. I hope that more students can participate each semester so that it can become one of our proud school systems. Finally, I am grateful to Professor Seo-yeon Dong for being my advisor since the self-directed career project and for all the guidance and support, and I am grateful for many programs that gave the chance to meet such great professors at Sookmyung Women’s University. I hope this great start can give me the drive to do a great job for the remaining semester.