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Introduction

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Introduction

The Department of Eastern Language & Literature (predecessor of Department of Korean Language and Culture) was initiated in July 1956 – two years after National Chengchi University (NCCU)’s reestablishment in Taiwan. The government approved the university’s reestablishment out of its intention to expand the scale of cultivation for exceptional talents in the field of humanities and social sciences. Due to the government’s wishes to strengthen diplomatic ties with Korea, the competent authorities included planned the inclusion of a Korean Language Section at NCCU in an effort to actively cultivate talents and experts who specialize in the Korean language and affairs.
However, the teething stage of the Korean Language Section was a time of difficulty and hardship due to the lack of instructors, insufficient literary collection/equipments and absence of teaching materials. Back then, given the severe shortage of qualified Korean teachers in Taiwan, the section had to count on Korean students who were studying in Taiwan at the time for immediate support or issue requests to the Korean government for teachers. With regards to admission, only four students enrolled in the department during its first year. By the end of 1967, the number of students graduating with a degree in Korean language was between two to five every year. As such, the focus of talent cultivation adopted by the section shifted towards elite education.

The number of students choosing to major in Korean during the second phase that followed (spanning from 1968 until 2000 before the section’s upgrade to a department) remained steady at roughly 25 per year. However, it is undeniable that the Korean Language Section had been one of the least popular academic branches at NCCU due to the less-than-favorable prospects in the employment market before the turn of the century. As a result, a portion of the students who enrolled in the section would attempt to be transferred to other popular disciplines that were perceived more favorably by the society immediately upon their admission. During the period, the number of graduate students majoring in Korea increased to around 21/22, with approximately a dozen if enrollment turned out to be poor. Nonetheless, the section takes pride in the fact that students who showed dedication in mastering the Korean language have generally achieved considerable success with their endeavors, be it the pursuit of academic career abroad, taking national examinations for public servants in the fields of international journalism/business and commerce/diplomat, devoting themselves to the field of education or serving under renowned corporations/mass media companies.

Toward the end of the 90s’, the Korean Language Section had been active for more than four decades, which allowed the section to accumulate respectable experience and resources in both education and research. In light of the progress in trade relationships between Taiwan and Korea and the fact that Korea has demonstrated significant influence in the international political arena, the Korean Language Section has therefore submitted a request to be elevated to a formal department to NCCU in the hope of training competent talents in Korean affairs in a more efficient manner to satisfy the demand for Taiwan’s social and national development. In August 2000, the Korean Language Section formally became the Department of Korean Language and Culture.
Upon becoming a formal department, the number of admission vacancies has increased further to 35 students per year. Despite minor changes in the years that followed, the Department has decided to set the admission vacancies to 38 students, starting in 2009. With regards to the instructors, the university has agreed to the Department’s request to hire more qualified instructors. The Department currently has nine designated instructors (including exchange professor) and Mr. Tseng Tien-Fu has been the Dean of the Department since August 2007.
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