The collaboration will offer a new dual-degree program for master’s students from IU to take coursework through the Graduate School of Public Administration at Seoul National University, or Korean students to take IU classes in Bloomington or online.
Beginning in fall 2014, students in the program can take one year of study at SPEA and one year at the institution, SPEA Executive Associate Dean David Reingold said.
About two-thirds of the coursework is offered through IU and the remaining third will be offered through Seoul National.
Reingold and Junki Kim, dean of the graduate school of public administration at Seoul National University, signed the agreement in October in Washington, D.C.
“SPEA has a long history of connectivity with South Korea,” Reingold said.
Reingold said he credits these relationships largely to professor emeritus Roy Shin’s work with institutions in South Korea, Shin’s home country.
Shin, recently appointed IU President Michael McRobbbie’s special adviser on global partnerships, had previously arranged several internship opportunities for SPEA students within the local Seoul government.
This is not the first time IU has formed an academic partnership with South Korean institutions.
IU currently offers a study abroad program with the Council on International Educational Exchange at Yonsei University, a dual-MBA degree program through the Kelley School of Business and a private university in Seoul, and a partnership through the School of Education, Shin said.
The SPEA partnership is one of the first dual-degree programs Seoul National has established with an international university, Reingold said.
With a particular focus on nations in the Pacific Rim, it is also part of a larger strategy to connect SPEA and its students with other parts of the world.
“We’re making our way around the globe as we stitch together opportunities for students,” Reingold said.
SPEA’s international expansion for graduate studies is due to increasing interest in its master’s degree programs, Reingold said.
Ranked as the second best graduate school nationwide for public affairs by U.S. News this year, SPEA’s graduate programs have been attracting more and more international students.
“We’ve been able to make the most of it by partnering with institutions,” Reingold said.
SPEA’s new focus on South Korea is also due to the large contingency of SPEA alumni in the country, Shin said.
He said many of South Korea’s top entrepreneurs studied at SPEA, and five IU alums currently hold administrative positions within the nation’s government.
“Those alums are eager to see our school continue to evolve,” Reingold said.
Shin visited Seoul last month and began exploring the possibility of a partnership between the Jacobs School of Music and the Seoul Arts Center, a concert hall in the city.
McRobbie has asked him to continue developing plans, Shin said.
At the end of the month IU Provost Lauren Robel will lead a trip to South Korea, and she plans to reconfirm IU’s participation with Seoul National University.
She will continue to discuss a possible partnership for the Jacobs School of Music.
“The prospect for the partnership is excellent,” Shin said.
Follow reporter Samantha Schmidt on Twitter @schmidtsam7.
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