By Hannah Mason, Assistant Editor
Recently, WLU Associate Professor of Graphic Design Moonjung Kang established a partnership between West Liberty University and Hanbat National University in Korea.
Over spring break, Kang traveled to Korea to visit the university and meet with the university president, Dr. Song Ha-young, who signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to make the partnership official between the two schools. Kang said that she then brought the MOU document back to the hilltop for WLU President Dr. Stephen Greiner to sign this week.
According to Kang, the new partnership means that many different types of academic collaborations will now be possible between Hanbat National University and WLU, including exchange student programs, research collaboration, and exchange of knowledge or coursework.
“The MOU is step one in establishing a sort of sisterhood between the two schools,” Kang said. Hanbat, she added, is a very global school, with more than 100 existing partnerships with colleges around the world. They also have a very advanced graphic design program, she said, which will be very beneficial for West Liberty students to learn from.
Even before any official documentation or partnerships were created, however, Kang already had established a relationship with the Department of Visual Communication Design at Hanbat. Through contact with the department chair, a friend of Kang’s from her graduate school program at Hongik University in Korea, Kang has set up a design study abroad program for West Liberty students to visit Hanbat National University this summer.
Four West Liberty graphic design majors will make the trip to South Korea this summer: Jenny Ball, Courtney Carter, Maria Christine Pangilinan, and Rosalie Haizlett. The trip will include an intensive four-week program, taking place from June 27 to July 22.
“I had to jump on the opportunity,” Kang said, adding that the program includes free tuition, housing, and meals for the West Liberty students. The students will also earn six academic credits for the program, and the curriculum will include hands-on design work in advertising, packaging, and branding.
Sophomore Maria Christine Pangilinan, known as Maricris, said of the upcoming trip, “I’m quite excited for this new experience. That I get to learn more about the culture and more about my major. I’m so grateful to have this opportunity and I can’t wait for the summer!”
Kang has also arranged for Dr. Mihee Hong from Hanbat to spend her sabbatical year, beginning in fall 2016, here at West Liberty. Hong, who teaches design theory, history, and multi-media, will give lectures to the students at West Liberty while she is here.
In addition, this past November, the work of several West Liberty graphic design majors was included in Hanbat’s annual joint exhibition, which continues to be displayed alongside work from, among other schools, New York’s prestigious School of Visual Arts.
In terms of exhibitions, Kang also serves on the international exhibition committee for the Korean Contents Association, which, she said, is a global organization involved in graphic design and marketing. One of the activities that the organization holds each year is an annual summer exhibition to display the work of designers from around the world, and Kang said that she is planning on having the exhibition here at West Liberty in the Nutting Gallery during summer 2017.
For more information about the partnership with Hanbat National University, the study abroad trip, or the Korean Contents Association exhibition, please contact Professor Kang at [email protected].