Sejong Korean Scholars Program, Stanford University: Unprecedented Online Lecture Series on Korea for American High School Students

By Sangsoo Im, Correspondent, Yonhap News, San Francisco
Translated by Annie Lim, coordinator and instructor, Sejong Korean Scholars Program, SPICE.

Stanford University, one of the most prestigious American universities on the West Coast, has launched an unprecedented online lecture series on Korea for American high school students. 

This is the first time a Korean Studies program has been made available to high school students.

Created as part of the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE), this one-semester program offers courses on Korean history, culture, religion, art, and politics, consisting of lectures, online discussions, and assignments.

The name for this program is the Sejong Korean Scholars Program (SKSP).

The program, which launched last month, is managed under the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC) under the leadership of Director Gi-Wook Shin and is funded by the Korea Foundation. 

Alongside Gi-Wook Shin, David Straub (former U.S. Department of State’s senior foreign service officer specializing in Korean affairs), Charles K. Armstrong (director of Center for Korean Research at Columbia University), and Michael Robinson (professor at Indiana University) are some of the top scholars involved in the program.

The program is free, and the instruction is in English. Approximately 60 students applied, and 27 were selected on the basis of their grade point averages, essays, and letters of recommendation.

SKSP’s coordinator and instructor Annie Lim says, “The students who applied are interested in a variety of topics ranging from Korean history to Korean pop culture.”

Upon completion of the courses, the students will receive credits through Stanford Continuing Studies.

A similar program on Japan has been in progress at Stanford University for 10 years.

Stanford University is the first among American universities to create textbooks and curriculum on Korean studies for high school students and has begun to reach out to the 50,000 high schools in the United States.

APARC’s director and one of the founding members of SKSP, Gi-Wook Shin points out, “Along with Yoko’s Story and so on, American junior high and senior high schools’ distorted history textbooks containing Korean history have received a lot of criticism, but there has not been much effort to rectify it. Through SKSP, we hope that American high school students can acquire a broader perspective and expand their range of knowledge and understanding about Korea.”