Colorado State University President Albert Yates Leads Contingent to Korea to Advance Education, Research

Colorado State President Albert C. Yates will head a delegation of university leaders to the Republic of Korea to strengthen ties between the university and several of Korea’s key educational and corporate institutions.

"Internationalism is a key tenet of Colorado State’s mission as a land-grant institution," Yates said. "The university continually seeks ways to build and strengthen its successful partnerships with prestigious institutions around the world to expand opportunities for collaboration and student exchange."

This visit is the latest development in Colorado State’s growing relationship with Korea, which has taken shape through research and teaching partnerships, and through the involvement of key Colorado State alumni who are leaders in that country. It is also a strong indication of the University’s commitment to international outreach, which Yates has cited as a university priority since 1990.

During the visit, which begins May 19, Yates will receive an honorary doctor of science degree from Myongji University in Seoul, South Korea. Jung-Ho Sonu, president of Myongji University, received a doctorate in civil engineering from Colorado State in 1973. All expenses for the trip are being underwritten by Myongji University and the Korea Water Resources Corp.

Yates also will discuss mutual development programs with Seok-Ku Ko, president of Korea Water Resources Corp., and visit the Water Resources Operations Center.

"The partnerships and memoranda of understanding that underscore our international relationship with Korea help to encourage faculty, scientists and administrators to collaborate on research projects, increase the exchange of information and advance scientific knowledge," said Anthony Frank, vice president for research and information technology.

Frank will join Yates and Grant Lee, professor of philosophy, on the trip. Lee has been adviser for the Korean Students Association on campus since 1967.

In September 1999, Colorado State advanced study and research ties to the Republic of Korea in an agreement with the Korea Institute of Energy Research. KIER is the only institution in the Republic of Korea actively researching energy technology development.

In addition to Yates’ signature, the 1999 memorandum of agreement was signed on behalf of KIER by Soo Hyun Choi, then president of KIER and a Colorado State alumnus. Choi received his master’s in physics in 1975 and his doctorate in electrical engineering in 1978.

KIER, located in Taejon, Korea, is a non-profit, national scientific research institute supported by the Korean government. The main research activities are energy conversion technology for the rational use of energy, environmental technology related to fuel combustion and new and renewable energy technology.

The universities developed the five-year international memorandum of understanding to encourage faculty, scientists and administrators to collaborate on research and outreach projects with the goal of increasing the exchange of information and advancing scientific research in energy technology.

The partnership offered several mutual benefits, including the opportunity for Colorado State and KIER researchers to share new approaches and for Colorado State scientists to test theories using the unique experimental facilities at KIER.

One of the first projects was creation of a "smart" heating and air-conditioning system using artificial intelligence. Douglas Hittle, director of the Solar Energy Applications Laboratory at Colorado State, visited Korea in August 2000 to collaborate with colleagues on that energy technology research. KIER has a large, two-story, temperature-controlled building-within-a-building to simulate summer and winter conditions for research.

"The object of the research is to develop control devices that learn the dynamic response of buildings and therefore can better control systems such as heating and cooling," Hittle said. "Ultimately, the research will help save energy costs, reduce maintenance and improve performance of mechanical systems. The research is looking very promising. We’ve done some groundbreaking work through collaborative efforts with Korea."

KIER is located in Science Town, near Taejon in the Republic of Korea. Science Town is a planned and coordinated research community that houses about 52 organizations ranging from government-supported institutes and industry research laboratories to universities. Science Town was designed in response to the explosion of science and technology in South Korea that began in the 1970s and has steadily increased.

In another shared project with Korea, Allan Kirkpatrick, professor and chairman of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, noted that two doctoral students from Seoul National University are enrolled at Colorado State to participate in research at the university’s renowned Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory. The students, who are funded through research grants awarded to Colorado State, are working on high-pressure fuel injection systems research to develop cleaner-burning natural gas engines for industry.

In developing a cleaner engine, the students are hoping to address the crucial issue of air pollution in Korea, Kirkpatrick said, adding that the students are an example of the benefit of the exchange of information happening between the two nations.

"The Korean students have proven to be exceptionally bright and capable and a true asset to the research program here," Kirkpatrick said.

The Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory, housed in the 26,000-square-foot former municipal power plant on five acres of land one mile from the main university campus, is equipped with new and renovated equipment donated to the program by a wide variety of industrial donors. The value of specialized research equipment in the laboratory exceeds $6 million.

Currently, 96 Korean students and researchers are at the university, the third largest representation of any country, said Mark Hallett, director of International Student and Scholar Services.

"The university has seen a significant increase in recent years in the number of Korean students in spite of the Asian economic crisis of the 1990s," Hallett said. "Our Korean community now is one of the largest international contingents on campus." Colorado State also has a large number of Korean alumni.

As part of its commitment to international education, Colorado State also is active in Study Abroad programs, which annually provide opportunities for about 450 students to travel and study overseas as part of their academic careers. Toward that end, the Office of International Programs has developed a variety of reciprocal exchanges in addition to the Study Abroad program that are designed to address the specific needs and interests of Colorado State students. Students also may participate in programs sponsored by other American universities or by private nonprofit study abroad organizations.

OIP maintains reference materials for a wide variety of Study Abroad programs throughout the world. Study Abroad advisers are available to help students verify that a program of interest will meet university requirements for credit transfer.

In 1997, an agreement was signed with Seoul National University setting up a cooperative program that includes collaborative research and student exchange.