Korea MOU

Global Reach:

SPPD to Provide Training to Korean Officials

By Ben Dimapindan

The USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development signed a memorandum of understanding with the South Korean government to provide graduate education and training for selected officials from Korea’s Ministry of Public Administration and Security.

The purpose of the program is to offer these professionals – who are civil service employees of the Korean government – the opportunity to study public administration, public policy or urban planning, as well as gain relevant field experience while pursuing their master’s degree.

“One of the distinctive features of our school is its capacity to explore and address today’s critical policy issues within a global context,” said Jack H. Knott, dean of SPPD.

“By enrolling a select number of foreign government officials who have worked at analyzing policies, delivering programs and making recommendations for their country, this partnership with Korea vastly enhances the learning environment at SPPD and strengthens our school’s reputation internationally,” he added.

According to Michelle Kim, deputy director of the ministry’s Training and Education Division, participants in the program will have the benefit of gaining new skills and fresh perspectives — but most importantly, professional “work experience in a foreign community.”

SPPD’s graduate degree programs feature a practical component within the curriculum that enables students to engage with leading professionals. These include labs with local government officials and nonprofit managers; a client consultation practicum; internships; and planning studios in which students work in teams to produce a professional report or plan in response to a real-world problem.

“We want our officials to learn something outside the campus,” Kim said. “We value the real work experience that cannot be provided by ordinary scholarship. By making this partnership, we hope our trainees combine the knowledge from school and experience from workplaces.”

Carol Rush, SPPD associate dean for student affairs, who was instrumental in facilitating the program’s establishment, noted that the representatives from Korea will help “add to the richness of an SPPD education.”

“Individuals chosen by the Korean government for the long-term fellowship program are markedly talented and viewed by the government as its future leaders,” Rush said.

Kim agreed, explaining that the participants will be mid-level managers who spent at least five years working for the federal government.

These officials also will have considerable experience in dealing with “very important tasks and policies which (greatly affect) the entire nation — about 50 million people,” she said.

Under the agreement, admitted students receive tuition assistance, along with living and transportation expenses and health insurance from the Korean government. They are also eligible for an additional scholarship from SPPD.

In addition, SPPD signed a memorandum of understanding in 2007 with the Korea Institute of Public Administration, a research organization sponsored by the Korean government, to conduct joint research. The Korea Institute and SPPD recently conducted a conference on collaborative governance and are publishing the papers presented.

Photo courtesy of Michelle Kim
Ministry of Public Administration and Security, with SPPD Associate Dean Carol Rush