By Jana Cunningham, communications specialist, University Marketing & Communications
In 2014, the University of Utah Asia Campus opened its doors in Incheon, South Korea to students looking for a global and culturally diverse education. On Aug. 22, the U welcomed the first group of students to Salt Lake City to complete their degrees.
Although most undergraduate students will spend three years at the Asia campus before finishing their degrees in Utah, Juhee Kim, Lihae Park and Rupert Kangho Lee are on an accelerated path and have already accrued enough credits to enter to the U’s main campus as college seniors.
The U also welcomed six graduate students in the Master of Public Health program, JiHo Chang, Krista Ocier, Jihye Park, Mariana Ju, Kayoung Kim and Sungmin (Paul) Kim. Because it’s a two-year program, graduate students spend one year at the UAC and one year on the main campus.
Fall 2016 enrollment at the UAC has increased to 225 students and next year, a larger cohort of about 60-70 undergraduate and graduates are expected to arrive in Salt Lake City. As the UAC increases its degree offerings in the years to come, it is anticipated that more than 300 students will arrive each year to complete their U degrees.
After spending his freshman year in the Savannah College of Art and Design and serving his country for two years in the Korean Army, Lee entered the UAC as a way to experience life in both Korea and the U.S. and is now looking forward to taking classes on the main campus.
“I think this is the chance to be a global citizen in the United States since it is a nation that I can experience various cultures and people,” said Lee, who is studying communication. “I’ve learned a lot about global citizenship from the UAC and I will use that knowledge to be a leading member at the Salt Lake City campus.”
As one of the founding institutions of Incheon Global Campus, the U currently offers undergraduate degrees in communication, psychology and social work, and one master of public health. Planning is underway for four new degrees to be offered beginning in spring 2017. Students will soon be able to get an undergraduate degree in film and media arts or urban ecology, a master’s degree in biomedical informatics or a Global Juris Doctorate.
The global campus also includes Belgium’s Ghent University, George Mason University, and the State University of New York, Stony Brook
Kim, who is majoring in social work, has spent the past two years taking advantage of the various opportunities at the UAC and helping to shape the future of the new institution.
“As one of the members of the first class, I felt it was a really honorable opportunity to be a part of the team that will build and change the campus,” said Kim. “When I was a member of Peer Mentors and Student Council at the UAC, I found the work that we did to change the school exciting and interesting. I could not have had the opportunity to participate in such processes in other universities.”
All students attending the UAC meet the same admissions and program degree requirements as main campus students, are taught and mentored by qualified U faculty and receive a University of Utah degree.
“I transferred to the UAC because I was interested in receiving a degree from an American college while studying in Korea,” said Park who is studying social work. “While there, I was able to closely interact and communicate with professors and was able to make a lot of memories with friends.”
Park adds that although she she has enjoyed her time at the UAC, she’s excited about all the activities the larger campus in Salt Lake City has to offer.
The Asia campus will celebrate the opening of their new building later this month. The nine-story, 170,000 square-foot state-of-the-art LEED-certified facility is modeled after the iconic J. Willard Marriott Library. The building includes a welcome center, student lounge, 26 lecture halls and classrooms, counseling center and more than 100 faculty and student support offices.
The U will accept student applications until Jan. 15, 2017, for the spring semester, and admission will be granted on a rolling basis. Main campus undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to take advantage of a global learning abroad experience at the UAC.