New campus in South Korea to open by 2014

The new GMU Korean campus will be in the Songdo Global University Campus in Incheon, South Korea (photo courtesy of George Mason University).
The new GMU Korean campus will be in the Songdo Global University Campus in Incheon, South Korea (photo courtesy of George Mason University).

The George Mason University Board of Visitors recently authorized the university administration to establish a branch campus in Incheon, South Korea.

The new campus will be established at the Songdo Global University Campus, a location offshore of Korea that is part of the Incheon Free Economic Zone project.

The project intends to bring international businesses, technology and medical industries and education facilities such as foreign schools to the Songdo area, according to the campus website.

"Mason administrators have been working cooperatively with Inchoen Free Economic Zone authorities for more than three years as Mason evaluated this opportunity," said Anne Schiller, the vice president for Global Strategies, in an email.

According to Schiller, establishing the Songdo branch campus provides support for Mason's East Asian interests.

"It strategically and intentionally establishes a visible presence for Mason in a prestigious East Asian location and enhances Mason’s reputation nationally and abroad," said Schiller.

The project also has the potential to improve Mason's international recruitment and open new opportunities for domestic students.

"Mason US-based students will have the opportunity to complete a semester or longer overseas, earning Mason credit on a safe and comfortable Mason campus abroad," said Schiller.

According to Schiller, the initial programs will focus on economics, management, and global affairs, with others to come.

The classes will be approved university courses so students will avoid transfer credit issues.  They will also be taught in English by Mason professors.

"There will be students from many other top universities on the campus and elsewhere nearby, too, insuring that Mason students will enjoy wonderful opportunities to network and build friendships internationally," said Schiller.

According to an article published by the university, costs for the Songdo Campus will be minimal for the Mason administration, while the Korean programs will manage both direct costs and a share of the indirect operating costs of the university.

"No investment of Mason or Commonwealth funds is required to establish or operate the Songdo campus,” said Schiller.

In addition to those financial expectations, the project is intended to meet the education goals for the Commonwealth of Virginia. This includes study-abroad opportunities for in-state students, faculty opportunities for development and research and beneficial ties with international businesses, according to the article.

Academic programs at the new campus will begin by spring 2014.

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