[KS] Good news from the Department of East Asian Studies, University of Toronto

Andre Schmid andre.schmid at utoronto.ca
Wed Nov 10 12:36:16 EST 2010

Dear colleagues,

We are writing you with some good news: the Department of East Asian  
Studies at the University of Toronto has been saved.

This summer we wrote to the Korean Studies listserve explaining that,  
by the unilateral decision of our Dean’s office, the Department of  
East Asian Studies was to be broken up, split among various  
disciplinary departments with a chunk of us being sent to a new School  
of Languages and Literatures.

Our message requested your assistance to oppose this plan  -- and you  
certainly delivered!  We received dozens of letters from colleagues  
spread across four continents, both inside and outside of academe,  
defending the integrity of East Asian area study programs, and the  
importance of our Korean Studies program.  In this age of the internet  
when one is often requested to send letters of support, it is easy to  
wonder about the ultimate impact of such efforts. In this particular  
case, however, we can assure you that your letters provided one of the  
powerful motivating factors for our administration to reverse its  
decision. Indeed, recently a senior administrator described their  
reaction to reading the letters by laying their head down on their  
desk.   We are writing to express our gratitude to those of you who  
wrote letters and signed our petition.  You helped save our department  
and our Korean Studies program.

This means we are back in business and our graduate program will  
continue to thrive. In a bit of an unexpected twist, it would seem  
that the travails of the last few months have led the administration –  
again, no doubt with the assistance of your letters – to have a deeper  
appreciation of East Asian Studies.  The reversal of the plan has come  
with a new commitment to make our programs even stronger. We are  
happily accepting graduate applications for Korean Studies and looking  
forward to a future where we will be working together with all of you  
in strengthening Korean Studies more broadly.

With many thanks and much appreciation,

Juhn Ahn

Hana Kim

Kyoungrok Ko

Janet Poole

Andre Schmi

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