After the backlash to policies created by President Sung-Chul Shin, students have responded in unison through a vote on the establishment of the Transdisciplinary Major track and through the discussion with the president about his plans to create a mandatory artificial intelligence (AI) course.
With the Transdisciplinary Major becoming a possible option for KAIST freshmen starting from the 2018 spring semester, a poll was hosted by the KAIST Undergraduate Student Council (USC) PUUM from November 17 to November 22 regarding the postponement of the creation of the College of Transdisciplinary and Fundamental Studies. The results of the poll were overwhelmingly in favor of the postponement, with 89% (586 votes) supporting its delay by at least one semester and reconsidering its creation. 11% (71 votes) opposed the delay, supporting the establishment of the Transdisciplinary Major in February 2018.
The USC has revealed new information about the AI course. During an interview with outside media on September 25, President Shin first revealed his plans of creating an AI course compulsory for all undergraduate students. In response, the USC expressed its disappointment at the president not taking into account the students’ opinions. Afterwards, a meeting with a professor resulted in a follow-up conference with President Shin. On October 26, the USC met with President Shin to discuss the mandatory AI course, but he responded that he planed to proceed with his plan. However, a later interview with the Course Development Administration revealed that, although many departments are preparing AI-related courses, an AI course mandatory for all students has not been discussed in any faculty meetings.
The USC expressed its disapproval of a course that has not been proved to be necessary for students and the course’s development process, as there was no reflection of the students’ opinions. The USC has compromised with the administration such that the Central Executive Committee from USC will cooperate with the Course Development Administration during the course development process. Thus, the discussion has resulted in a provisional cancellation of the mandatory AI course and in the continued offering of optional AI courses. The USC plans to continue gathering student opinion on the development of any future AI courses.