Randall McCrillis (left,) Dean of Students, and Todd Kent (right,) the Chief Administrative officer at the University of Utah Asia Campus for first-year students during an orientation in February 2019. Courtesy of UAC.

 

Chief administrator and dean of faculty Todd Kent and dean of students Randall McCrillis at the University of Utah Asia Campus (UAC) in South Korea have had a busy year. Now, they’re coming forward with a common vision for improvement on the Korean campus.

UAC hosted a celebration for the fifth anniversary of its opening on May 29 at the Incheon Global Campus Multicomplex building. UAC usually presents a summer banquet every spring semester, but it hosted those two events at the same time in honor of the anniversary.

Kent expressed his satisfaction with UAC’s developments over the past five years. “I am very proud of UAC,” he said. “We started in 2014 with about six faculty members and 14 students, and now we have over 400 students in UAC and the Salt Lake City campus. We also have over twenty faculty members and many visiting professors. We are still growing and I am really proud of what we are doing.”

Kent started at UAC in August 2016 and taught political science until the spring of 2018. When he became the chief administrator in July 2018, he stopped teaching. Kent, however, expressed his plans to teach international politics to students in the future. “I really love our students and I am looking forward to teaching politics again.”

Kent also called for students to take advantage of what the office has to offer. He wanted students to do more activities and dig into their major to prepare for their career after graduation.

“I do not want our students to think entering UAC is just for getting a diploma,” he said. “I want our students to start thinking about their career on the first day at UAC and learn broadly.”

In the next five years, Kent has even bigger plans for the university: “We now have over 400 UAC students in here and SLC. I would like to make this number double.”

UAC is the first school in Incheon Global Campus where a student lounge exists inside of the school building, according to Kent. UAC did not have its own building when it opened in the fall of 2014. Now, UAC has its own building and is creating more spaces such as the student lounge inside of the building for students.

McCrillis is also proud of UAC’s developments. “We are growing in areas such as our civil engineering department and urban ecology department,” said McCrillis. “We also have a tutoring center, a career development center and a student leadership involvement center.” He also mentioned UAC’s first commencement ceremony. “The commencement ceremony is a memorable event and seniors who graduated last year are now doing well in various fields.”

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Faculty members, staff, alumni and a member of Utah State introducing themselves to the attendants during the University of Utah Asia Campus’s first commencement ceremony on March 16, 2018, at the Incheon Global Multicomplex building. (Courtesy of UAC)

UAC held its first commencement ceremony at IGC Multicomplex Building on March 16, 2018, and David W. Pershing, former president of the University of Utah and Keith Grover, member of the Utah Senate, came to Korea to attend. A total of 30 students graduated at that time, and on June 14, UAC is planning to hold its second commencement ceremony.

McCrillis also explained what UAC is doing to bring more international students. “Mainly our international students at UAC are from the United States,” and UAC is planning to bring more students from Salt Lake City. McCrillis said that “targeting about 30 to 40 students from SLC is possible” who are majoring in certain UAC departments.

Explaining his goals for the next five years, McCrillis said, “I would like to grow the students’ population double. I would like to see about 40 to 50 international students in semester coming from SLC to here and a well-established career internship development center.”

Since UAC opened in September 2014 with 13 students, UAC has improved along with the increased number of students. McCrillis mentioned during an interview with the Daily Utah Chronicle in March that UAC almost met the standard in admissions. Accepting twenty-five first-year students per degree programs every semester is UAC’s quota as determined by the U’s administration, South Korea’s Ministry of Education and Incheon Global Campus Foundation. UAC is now ready to think about increasing their quota and McCrillis said eventually UAC will increase the quota to have more students enrolled.

Kent and McCrillis said that the number of international students is increasing every semester and they were sure to recruit more international students with their strategies.

m.shin@dailyutahchronicle.com

@TheChrony

Mitch Shin is the University of Utah Asia Campus correspondent for the Chronicle.

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