Sacramento State offering new Korean program

Daisy Aguilar

The Asian studies program at Sacramento State will offer a newly designed Korean studies concentration starting spring 2014.

The Korean concentration was developed due to a high demand from Asian studies students.

“There was a lot of interest from the students,” said Greg Kim-Ju, vice director of the Asian studies program. “Typically, when there is an Asian studies program there’s a Japanese, Chinese and Korean concentration. Korea is one of the areas that is represented in Asian studies.”

The process of designing the Korean studies concentration began more than a year ago. Asian studies faculty and professors interested in the concentration began to meet periodically with the aim to develop Korean courses.

There are currently 50 Asian studies majors with declared Japanese, Chinese, south and Southeast Asia concentrations.

Pattaratorn Chirapravati, director of the Asian studies program, said she already signed up three students for the Korean studies concentration.

There is also a Korean language course already being offered at Sac State for the first time this fall.

Chirapravati said she was surprised to see the Korean language course fill up within a day and half of being offered.

She said as of now only four Korean language courses have been approved. Another six courses will be sent to the curriculum committee in three different colleges next month.

All the courses have to be approved by the end of the fall semester.

The courses will include Art of Korea, Kang on Typography, Korean Identity, Korean Pop Culture, Education and Communications and Calligraphy and Typology.

Since Asian studies is only a program, they will have Korean courses offered by different departments.

Some include the department of foreign language, department of family and consumer sciences, department of art and department of psychology.

Kim-Ju said there are other professors from different departments who have expressed an interest in teaching for the Korean concentration but are waiting to develop a course.

Since many students may not be aware of the new concentration, the Asian studies program will begin to promote it.

Next month, they will have a research professor from Korea University and an anthropology lecturer to speak about current Korean issues.

They will also host an event next month where they will expose Korean culture through food, music and dance performances.

Some Asian studies students are excited to hear about the new concentration.

Senior Jennifer Taylor, 40, Asian studies, said if the Korean concentration was offered when she first started, she would have chosen that instead of the Chinese concentration.

“It’s disappointing for those graduating because it would have been nice to take a course in that area,” Taylor said.

Peter Norton, 25, Asian studies, said he’s glad the Korean concentration was designed because Korea is prominent.

“Korea has played such an important role in the history of Asia,” Norton said. “It played a relationship with three other important Asian cultures.”

Kim-Ju said he believes now is the perfect timing for the Korean concentration.

“I think this will be a nice addition to the Asian studies program,” Kim-Ju said. “It fills a need driven by the students and also a representation and the direction Asian studies is going”.