How long have you been distanced from mathematics and science as a HUFSan? Did not you want to learn mathematics and science that is different from exam-oriented study in high school? According to the course handbook for the 2018 first semester, HUFSans who enrolled in 2017 or later have to choose four courses among five core liberal arts courses not including core humanities foundation courses. If you count the ‘science and technology’ section out, you can graduate without taking courses on natural sciences during your four years. The Argus listened to professors and students to discover what they think about HUFS’ humanities focused lectures.
Beginning in 2016, the World Economic Forum (WEF) presented the “4th Industrial Revolution” as a topic the world will face in the future. The ‘4th Industrial Revolution’ is a next generation industrial revolution that advances information technology which is fused to the whole economy and society, making an innovative change. Although there is disagreement on the 4th industrial revolution’s start and whether it has progressed or not, it is certain that a new world is opening due to the existence of Machine Translation, Big Data, IoT, and autonomous driving unmanned vehicles, beginning with Deep Learning (an artificial intelligence technique) widely known through Alpha Go. The ‘Pokemon GO’ game in July 2016 and the VR cafe in the second half of 2017 are additional sure evidence showing that convergence and innovation are progressing quickly even in everyday life.
Do HUFS’ humanities focused lectures need to be changed?
Misunderstanding about literary knowledge
If HUFS just follows the flow of time in education, it will turn into something more like half an education. We should get away from a narrow and dichotomous thought which makes a distinction between liberal arts and natural sciences.
For example, we can encourage students of liberal arts majors to learn programming to increase integrative thinking. However, this ability can also be cultivated through humanities lectures on logic, analytical philosophy, and linguistic engineering. There is a need to extinguish the misconception that we cannot cultivate natural scientific abilities from studying literary arts.
HUFS basically has to maintain foreign language focused education and then build a composite above that. Now, HUFS is a humanities and linguistics focused university composed of 50 humanities and linguistics related departments or divisions out of 83. CORE business under the ‘humanities based composite’ is promoted to overcome the limitation of pure language and literature focused education. This attempt to increase the applicability of scholarship by strengthening humanistic competence has helped HUFS to walk along the road of change. To increase the humanities applicability, HUFS has to focus on complex humanities and change the course manual for students to learn in various academic fields.
I think there are both advantages and disadvantages of HUFS’ humanities focused curriculum. There are some cases in which departments related to the humanities are dismissed by universities, overlooking humanity’s long-term and basic academic value. So, it is an advantage that HUFS recognizes humanities value and continues developing this. According to the advent of the 4th industrial revolution and the changed period having importance in terms of the fusion of liberal arts and natural sciences, concerns about natural science classes are increasing among students, and I think the school needs to satisfy students’ demand. Also, I agree that HUFS needs to supplement natural scientific curriculum with a humanities based curriculum as a way to raise HUFS’ competitiveness compared to other universities. But personally, I think the development of a professional and systematic curriculum for each department in existence is more necessary. If there are valuable natural scientific liberal arts courses to the extent that the curriculum development in existing departments is not neglected, I want to take those courses.
Natural scientific ability and engineering
As we classify basics of liberal arts into philosophy and logic, there are mathematics and natural sciences such as physics, chemistry, biology, and environment in natural sciences. Based on the natural sciences’ results, engineering focused on product development for human’s convenience has developed in various ways.
Need for natural scientific liberal arts courses
Lately, there is a need for ‘SW(SoftWare) liberal arts education’ irrespective of student’s propensities or majors. The purpose of it is to increase ‘computational thinking,’ which can develop problem solving skills using computers. Also, it is to acquire ‘computer languages.’ As people from different cultures and ethnicities have different languages and ways of thinking, computer languages are essential for the connection between humans and computers. In the case of Harvard University, there is a hands-on introductory computer science course called ‘CS(Computer Science) 50’ as a liberal arts course. And more than 50% of the student body takes that course. Considering that this is not a requirement for graduation, it is said to be a very high percentage. This can be regarded as a demonstration of the need for SW liberal arts education. As a result, both students with liberal arts majors and natural sciences majors should prepare for the natural scientific educational environment.
I think HUFS’ humanities focused curriculum should be changed as the world is changing. With the changing of the times, unified thinking about liberal arts and sciences has become more important and science technology is rapidly developing. It surely has raised the need for liberal arts students to have some knowledge of natural sciences. Although humanities should fundamentally be based on overall intellectual activities including academic fields, taking natural sciences classes as liberal arts courses is more timely. Basic scientific knowledge will be helpful. Thus, I think HUFS’ humanities focused curriculum has to be changed to the extent that it is not just following an exterior situational shift. If there were various classes for acquiring scientific knowledge, I would want to take some. It is true that I have more interest in liberal arts courses because I’m in liberal arts major. However, I think taking some scientific classes would be a big help for me to live in the future.
By Seo Eun-sol
Reporter of Campus Section