CCST Council Member Named President of KAIST
CCST Council Member Sung-Mo "Steve" Kang will begin his term as President of
KAIST on February 23.
CCST Council Member Sung-Mo "Steve" Kang has been appointed the new president of the Korea
Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Korea's leading technology school. Kang's
four-year term is scheduled to begin on February 23.
"I did not expect this development," said Kang. "KAIST is facing some organizational challenges,
and there was a need to find someone relatively quickly to steer the institution into a more
constructive environment. My experience at [the University of California] Merced was felt to be an
Kang, an electrical engineer with a wealth of experience from a long and distinguished career in
both private industry and higher education, served as Chancellor at the recently founded UC Merced
"During my time at Merced we were able to eliminate doubts about the viability of the new campus,
bolster the faculty, and improve enrollment," said Kang. "KAIST is a much older institution, and
faces different challenges, but the need to establish a similar harmony is there."
KAIST is a prominent public research university in Daejeon, South Korea. It has an enrollment of
nearly eleven thousand students. The institution helped pioneer the establishment of
competitive research oriented graduate school programs in Korea; today, KAIST ranks as one of the
top 25 engineering and technology institutions in the world, and its 605 faculty conduct
research in cooperation with academies and industries in numerous countries.
The institution has been experiencing conflicts between its faculty council and its
administration, which has been attempting to modify tenure rules for professors in a bid to make the
university's research more competitive.
"KAIST research remains outstanding," said Kang. "The question is simply one of ensuring that the
system of tenure review is as rigorous as possible, so that the university can continue to remain
competitive in the face of stiff worldwide competition."
Kang has served on the CCST Council for three years. He was about to begin a second three-year
term when his nomination to KAIST forced him to step down from the Council. He says that CCST's
focus on providing policy advice with a long-term view is one of its strongest assets.
"CCST is focusing on issues that are critical for the future of California," said Kang, who
praised the Council's dialogue on STEM education and the state's water infrastructure. "In addition,
the S&T Policy Fellows program is one of CCST's most outstanding achievements. In the long run,
giving these S&T Fellows an opportunity to provide input into policy discussions in Sacramento will
be great for California."
Kang says his time at CCST will be an asset in his position at KAIST, which provides science
advice to the Korean government.
"The dedication of so many of CCST's members has been inspiring," said Kang. "That experience
will help me work for high standards wherever I go."