Eun Kyeong Cho

Assistant Professor of Education - College of Liberal Arts

Professor Cho traveled to South Korea in summer 2011 to make a presentation at an international seminar and to meet colleagues to continue an ongoing collaboration with South Korean researchers at the Korea Institute of Child Care and Education (KICCE).

Restored landscape on Waedoh Island
Restored landscape on Waedoh Island

During the summer of 2011, I visited South Korea for three weeks. The visit had two main purposes: the first was to make a presentation at an international seminar and the second was to meet colleagues in person to continue an ongoing collaboration with South Korean researchers at the Korea Institute of Child Care and Education (KICCE). KICCE is a government agency that is in charge of collecting, analyzing, and reporting data on ECEC policy and practices in Korea. It also researches and reports on national and international trends on ECEC policy.

Dr. Bokhee Cho, Director of the KICCE, invited me to make a presentation at the KICCE International Seminar. My topic was about the early childhood teacher policy in the United States, focusing on “Recruitment, Preparation, and Retention of Early Childhood Teachers in the U.S.” Other presenters shared their research on early childhood education and care (ECEC) policy in their countries. One of the keynote speakers of the International Seminar was Professor James Heckman (Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics, University of Chicago). His speech was about “The power of the early years: Policies to foster human development.” Throughout the conference sessions, I experienced the power and importance of collaborative, interdisciplinary, and scientifically based research.


Dr. Cho presenting at the KICCE International Seminar
Dr. Cho presenting at the KICCE International Seminar

The second purpose of the visit was to have meetings with my research partners. I have been collaborating with my colleagues in Korea in conducting a national research project. Our current research project is to examine the ways human resources are utilized in ECEC programs and to identify challenges ECEC program administrators, teachers, and support staff have faced. The project is expected to offer suggestions for Korean government regarding the aspect that more governmental support is required and ways to provide such support. We also discussed plans for future research.

During the meetings with the Korean researchers and Director of the KICCE, I was impressed with their efforts for improving the ECEC system in the country by working with their international colleagues, by gaining advanced understanding of international trends and context, and by examining various models other countries have utilized. The visit allowed me to strengthen my relationships with Korean researchers and to create the conditions for collaboration on future research projects. It was also great to have a chance to visit South Korea again and spend a day in the country with my family there. This visit to Korea was made possible by an International Development Grant from the Center of International Education and a Professional Development Grant from the Education Department. I am very grateful to CIE for this valuable opportunity.