SCPD-Korea Distance Education Agreement Bridges Stanford and Pacific Rim

December 3, 2002

Under the agreement, the Gangnam-Gu district e-learning center will market the program, register students, and coordinate Stanford alumni serving as tutors.

“We’ve been trying to find the right Pacific Rim anchor and model to extend our distance education efforts,” says Andy DiPaolo, Executive Director of SCPD and Senior Associate Dean of the School of Engineering. “Korea has the key ingredients: a well-developed technology infrastructure; a range of high tech corporations seeking to maintain their competitiveness; and a work force of engineers and scientists requiring a world class educational provider to complement offerings from local universities. This is an ideal international market for us. It builds on Stanford’s thirty-four year experience in distance education and acts as a test bed for extension to other countries in Asia and Europe.”

Market, Need, Support: Blueprint for Success

The Gangnam-Gu government will market and deliver SCPD’s extensive portfolio — over 250 online graduate and professional education classes representing 10,000 hours of new content annually — to Korea’s high-tech corporations using Stanford Online, SCPD’s award-winning internet delivery system. The technical professional population in this district is one of the most highly educated and connected in the world. Yet, some of the best Korean engineers and scientists leave the country for several years to pursue advanced academic training and sometimes do not return. This is considered a serious problem to the Korean government and industry — one for which SCPD is offering a solution. When the program begins in the spring of 2003, it will offer the first online master’s degree in engineering in Korea. Qualified applicants may also take courses individually for credit or in partial fulfillment of more than 25 academic certificate programs.

The government views academic courses and professional education programs as precisely the education the district needs. “Our engineers and scientists in Korea are in great need of technological expertise that only Stanford can provide,” stated Mayor of the Gangnam-Gu District, Moon Yong Kwon, in his speech at the signing ceremony in Seoul. “Our businesses will avail themselves of the latest technology and information used by the companies in Silicon Valley and will also have instant access to the latest research findings from Stanford’s School of Engineering.”

Korea-Stanford Relationship: Environment for Success

Stanford alumni in Korea have actively pushed for such an opportunity, both at home and at Stanford. “Stanford has a long tradition with Korea. We have hundreds of Korean alumni in leadership positions — government officials, corporate officers, distinguished engineers and, of course, leading professors,” says DiPaolo. “We saw a tremendous opportunity to interact with talented industry professionals by working through our alumni in Korea.”

Paul Marca, SCPD’s Director of Professional Education and Business Development, acknowledges Sang-Mok Suh, Stanford alumnus, professor at Myongji University, and a visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, for the important role he played in garnering alumni support in Korea and working with SCPD to develop the agreement. “We had many intense conversations in the last few months and Professor Suh saw this as a tremendous opportunity to help support the growth of Korea’s economy.” Professor William Miller from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and the Institute for International Studies was the initiator through his entrepreneurship program with Korea. Marca continues, “It’s been a joint university, government and alumni venture in every sense, and has all the elements for success.”

Ongoing Alumni Leadership: Stanford Presence Assuring Success

The partnership calls for collaboration with the Stanford Alumni Association in Korea to facilitate the program development, maintain content relevance, and assist in program distribution. SCPD will make its portfolio of academic courses, certificate programs and professional education programs available via Stanford Online, relying on the Gangnam e-learning Center to conduct business on SCPD’s behalf.

Jim Plummer, Dean of the School of Engineering, emphasizes, “This is a continuation of the distance education experiments we’ve been running to determine how to reach some of the best and brightest engineers and scientists in the world. Working in partnership with Stanford alumni in Korea gives us confidence that we’ll be able to provide a high quality experience in support of career-long education and allow us to test what works best in delivering engineering courses and programs to international audiences.”

Stanford Center for Professional Development

The Stanford Center for Professional Development (SCPD) collaborates with School of Engineering faculty and other Stanford University departments to provide academic graduate education, degree and certificate programs and professional education courses for engineers, scientists, technology professionals and managers in industry. Over 250 courses — representing 10,000 hours of new digitized content annually — are delivered via distance learning technologies including television broadcast, two-way video, and Stanford Online as well as on campus. For more information, visit or call 650/725-3000.