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Gyeongju University
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Joined: 22 Jan 2013

PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PatrickGHBusan wrote:
Seriously this, if true (government raising the bar) is a good step.

In Taiwan, the government took the following action: They made it illegal for universities to hire any full time native speaking English instructors who did not hold a relevant master's degree. All foreign EFL teachers who held only a B.A. degree, or no degree at all, were slowly phased out of the system.

Now, after a Taiwanese university has hired a foreign English teacher, the universities have to apply to the Ministry of Education for a "Certificate of Lectureship" for the new instructor. This teaching license is later issued to the English teacher and permits them to legally teach at any college or university in Taiwan. There's no way of getting around it.

Taiwan, additionally, refuses to recognize any master's degrees obtained at distance or through online study. That would eliminate about 90% of the TEFL teachers in Korea with master's degrees since nearly everyone I know here has obtained his / her degree either online or through distance study.

So, the wonderful thing about such a system is that it completely eliminates *most* of the backpackers, short-term stayers and under-qualified TEFL'ers from the competition. I'd like to see the Korean government take the same measures and have more control over universities regarding the kinds of people they hire. This would benefit those who are truly qualified.

Although only anecdotal, I think it speaks to the changing hiring trends here at Korean universities. A few weeks ago I was talking to a friend who teaches at a university just outside of Seoul. He said a few teachers' contracts were not renewed for 2012. Not because they weren't doing their jobs or were unreliable, but because they only had B.A. degrees.

This is the situation now. If one doesn't have a master's, and a relevant degree at that, it's going to get a lot more difficult to find university teaching work and to keep it. So you do what you gotta do to stay competitive, because it won't get any easier to find or keep these jobs. Of course a University can still hire someone with a B.A. degree and no publications, and many do. However, with so many foreigner EFL teachers having the proper requirements and looking for work it`s much simpler now to hire those that are qualified.

It might even become more like Japan at some point where universities begin demanding a high degree of Korean language proficiency, a minimum of 3 publications and a doctorate. This is the standard at many Japanese universities these days and actually has been for a long time. Even for part-time university positions in Japan, foreigners are expected to have publications - usually a minimum of 3.[/b]

Here's an advert I saw recently for an English teaching position at a lower ranked university in Tokyo.

Contract: 1 year, renewable 4 times
Salary: ¥6 Million a year
Research Budget: ¥280, 000 a year
Koma: 10
Qualifications: (1) Sufficient Japanese proficiency for conversation, making administrative papers, and supervising entrance examinations, (2) Must have more than two published books and research papers on related field of study.

These are typical requirements for applicants now in Japan. Will Korean universities follow suit?

I doubt it. Japanese universities have had these standards for about 7yrs now and tho in the recent past (since about 2,000) there has been a lot of controversy about foreign staff not being able to get tenure. However, as you can see these kinds of positions pay a decent salary and give a research budget.

Does anyone here seriously think that Korean universities are going to give foreigners teaching at university around 65 million won a year with an MA or even Phd? Publications or not? No way.

The Korean system talks a lot of blether about standards but does its best to mess up and continue hiring sub standard teachers in terms of what they have actually accomplished irrespective of the MA they got in Engineering or from an online university or whatever. Korean employers mostly won't put their money where their mouth is so don't expect any Japanese style upgrade in salaries etc.

I don't get the point of asking for a PhD and 3 publications for a language instructor even if he's teaching at the university level. If he was conducting even a little research then I would understand, but in that advert the research budget is enough for office supplies and a notebook.

Also 6M yen is equivalent to 65M won in terms of monetary value, but you can't compare Japanese and Korean wages. Even low-level jobs pay more than medium-level jobs in Korea (3M a month for a car washer in Japan versus 2.4M for a lucky fresh Korean university graduate)
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Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Location: Retired

PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm With You wrote:
I don't believe that there are over 3,000 foreign "professors" teaching at Korean universities. If that's the figure that the newspaper is using, it likely represents mainly all of the foreign EFL instructors teaching at universities.

If so, then that's misleading since most of them aren't regarded as employees of the universities but only temporary contract instructors. Many of whom are also on non-renewable contracts.

80 million? When have you ever seen a university EFL position here that advertised a salary of 80 million?

Those salaries would be for those people who are professors back home...not some guy with a B.A and whose only qualification is that they can speak English. The best jobs aren't advertised anyway.

Well you can believe what you want, but do you have anything at all to substantiate it? I at least provided a source. Your opinion on the other hand seems to have nothing behind it.

Last edited by TheUrbanMyth on Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 20 Aug 2010
Location: South Korea

PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I took Chinese for one class and my native teachers had MA's and my non-native teachers had PhD's in Chinese language.

Yes in fact most universities in the Western world have their own in-house language institutes. Just as most Korean universities have in-house Korean Language institutes for teaching their in-bound foreign students, so do many (if not most) Western universities. The Korean teachers who work there would never get a job at a Korean language institute at your Korean university with a one month certificate and no other related training.

And you will not find American Universities allowing a visiting professor of a credit Chinese course to have a one month Chinese language certificate and no other related qualifications. Doesn't happen.

If nothing else it is simply related to competition for that job. The uni can easily get someone else more qualified. It just so happens that at the moment there are not enough MA qualified applicants for University positions in Korean universities at the moment...but that is changing rapidly.
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Joined: 08 Dec 2005

PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is really 2 threads:
One is about the OP Gyeongju University.
The other is about the conditions of university employment.

I've said enough about Gyeongju University employment.

The Korean Government gives universities funding based on the number of full-time lecturers they have. Korea like the US bandies the term professor around to the undeserving, but that's another argument.

The extra funding requires an MA and 2 years of teaching experience at either a school or a university. IMHO a non related masters and 2 years in a school is less than a BA, a CELTA and teaching experience for teaching English conversation at the university level and less than a related BA or MA.

Now we can complain all we want how little we're paid, which we are, but the reality is most universities would struggle to fill a class for an English speaking professor say in business, because the students' English level isn't high enough. Forget about filling a whole schedule. So these jobs don't go to foreigners. I suspect that the 3000 professors earning 80 million is a combined statistic of the number of foreign conversation lecturers and the supposed average of 80 million a year. My Korean boss with a PhD doesn't make that much.

Usually we're teachers not professors. I know someone will chime in they are, but how many of us do research? How many of us are given the resources to do research? Allowances to attend conferences, access to online journals and databases or even have an English section in their campus library? What software do you have on your work computer? Do you have SPSS, SAS, Endnote or even Office in English?

I do research to get my doctorate and fortunately my Australian university gives me everything I need to do research except funding. When I get my doctorate it will be straight to the airport and home, even thought the Australian government has just announced billions of dollars of funding cuts to Australian universities because there will always be kids signing up to business classes which is kind of sad but fortunate for me as I really wanted to major in classics.
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Joined: 24 Feb 2006

PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This came up again?

"Does anyone here seriously think that Korean universities are going to give foreigners teaching at university around 65 million won a year with an MA or even Phd? Publications or not? No way."

Let's put this dog to sleep. Yes 'way'. To get the competitive, tenure-track assistent professor or visiting assistant professor jobs, you need a minimum of 2 SCI/SSCI (internatinoally ranked, peer reviewed publications). These are considered entry level now as most Korean universities are doing away with the probationary, one year 'full-time lecturer' slot. I don't care if your dicipline is musicology, linquistics, business, second language learning, or archeology. If you have a Ph.D. and are competitive, the jobs are out there.

My first tenure track job in Korea at a private university in Seoul paid 68 million a year. There you have it. Ironically, I took a slight cut in pay when I moved to another university after a couple of years so that I could teach more courses in my primary dicipline. Now that I've been promoted and have gotten both an increase in pay based on rank and on time in grade, things have leveled off a bit. There are other perks where I currently work that offset the small difference in pay. If you throw in the invited prof work that I do for international stuff a few weeks a year (a few days a week, not full-on weeks), my salary is now about 86 million a year. Add to that (if you will) the few million that the university provides to attend international conferences (they pay registration fees, airfare, hotel, and about 150/day in expenses).

Both universities provide annual increases of a few percent. For tenure track profs, initial contracts are for 3 years, same as for Korean professors hired on. Second contracts are for 5 years. These are not arbitrary dates. Rather, they correspond to about the amount of time it will take to move up and be promoted to the next rank. Pay and employment conditions are the same for those on visitor status, but contracts may be year-to-year depending on incoming rank.

I should add that these are the pay and contract terms for ALL profs in ALL diciplines hired on in a tenure track or visiting capacity. And when I say 'profs' here, I mean the one's holding the Ph.D.s with the publications and the experience at the post-doc level.

Housing was not provided at the first university, nor was it subsidized, but my understanding is that they are reconsidering this. Where I currently work, you can opt into the university housing and that is highly subsidized. If you don't live there, then it comes out of your pocket.

So enough of the conjecture. Here it is in black and white. There is no contesting this. It is fact.

In the instances where, as one poster mentioned, a foreign Ph.D. holder is working along side MA holders teaching ESL and receiving the same pay under the same conditions, the reason is simply that the Ph.D. holder got hired into an ESL program. Just that simple. There could be any number of reasons for someone to do this; maybe they haven't actively participated in their field or published for quite some time, so they're not competitive in their dicipline anymore but they want to teach. Maybe they don't want to teach in their dicipline or to have to get involved to the extent that a tenure track gig would expect. Who knows?

Some people seem to have a chip on their shoulder: in the face of evidence to the contrary, they still want to believe that academe in Korea is shrouded in mystery and that there are dark forces at play against the evil invading international faculty. Simply not true.
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