Past presidents of the Korean Social Science Research Council include some of South Korea’s highest-ranking officials — among them, a former chairperson of the civil service commission, a former deputy prime minister of education and human resources development, and even the country’s former prime minister. Now, a USC alumnus holds the position.
Yong-duck Jung, who received his PhD in public administration from the USC Price School of Public Policy in 1981, took over as president of the research council in January.
“Public administration and policy is an important academic field in Korea, where the state and public administration have been playing a leading role for national development,” Jung said. “As an expert of public administration, I have tried to apply the philosophies and theories that I learned at USC whenever I participate in administrative reform committees and performance evaluation committees of Korean government.”
Established in 1976, the council is an independent federation of 15 academic associations of the social sciences in South Korea. The council organizes local and international conferences that address current yet enduring social issues through multidisciplinary approaches, according to Jung. It also publishes the Korean Social Science Journal, an academic journal in English, as well as the Social Sciences Book Review.
“It’s very prestigious for us to have Yong-duck in this position,” said Jack Knott, dean of USC Price. “Part of what we try to demonstrate to our PhD students is that our graduates are very successful and also very impactful. Having him as president of the Korean Social Science Research Council helps the school make its mark in the advancement of public administration.”
Jung, who is also a professor at the Graduate School of Public Administration for Seoul National University, has written and edited many books, including Public Administration in the Modern State, The State Apparatuses in Korea and Japan, Collaborative Governance in the United States and Korea, and Public Conflicts and Policy Coordination Leadership.
He helped USC Price expand its global reach by using his connections to facilitate a memorandum of understanding with South Korea’s Ministry of Public Administration and Security to refer top-level employees for graduate education. Three graduate students from the ministry are expected to study at USC Price in the fall.
“He helps us bring in top international scholars,” said Carol Rush, associate dean for student affairs at USC Price. “He’s also regularly referring his top master’s students to our PhD program. He’s always positioning USC Price in a good light within the field in South Korea.”