Student Perspective: Dr. Kwang-Wu Kim’s First 100 Days

New College President Dr. Kwang-Wu Kim holds the belief that the concept of knowing a leader’s work ethic completely in the first 100 days of their term is not possible. “Overtime there is a development of priorities,” Kim explained during the first Columbia assembly of the school year.

Dr. Kim believes that his responsibility for higher education is to assess and hire talent, set priorities, represent and develop new resources.

Dr. Kim touched on the need for more donors and the balancing of the school’s budget. Improvements in alumni and student relationships were also mentioned. Kim observed that there was a lack of internal organization between and within departments. He has been meeting frequently with staff and students in order to assemble a way to improve Columbia’s communication.

Here at the College Archives, we understand. Columbia is an innovation focused school. Even within the recording of the school’s history, much has been forgotten or fragmented. The College Archives is making up for the lack of organization in the documentation of the school’s history. For instance, Columbia has had at least three “first school dances” and alumni reunions. There are positives and negatives to being continually focused on progress and creativity.

Dr. Kim feels strongly connected to the philosophy of Columbia. Our mission leaves a powerful resonance with him, being the first college mission statement he fully believed in: Live what you love.

But Dr. Kim ponders the reality of the mission statement. Is Columbia preparing students in order to do this? Kim stated that he believes in accountability and outcomes. Columbia is behind after being unresponsive to the recession. Right now, it is studio and classroom focused, with a flat tuition for every student. Kim would like to take Columbia’s curriculum beyond the classroom, pushing the portfolio center as an extremely important resource.

“Columbia is relatively unknown to the larger world. There is a lot of confusion about Columbia,” Kim said. Not everyone can go here. Are we the school of last resort? The school students pick when they can’t get into the more prestigious universities? Kim believes that we cannot brand ourselves as such. We have a distinctive vision as well as resources. We have the access, the outcomes and the connections to have successful alumni from our career and life oriented education. A new statement will “brand” Columbia: Live what you love, create your careers. The newly redesigned College seal shows a light breaking through a circle.

Columbia has come a long way. With this new statement at the forefront, Columbia will continue to progress as an art school for hundreds of days to come.

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