Seneca News

Prof. Bruce Shim from Korea has wrapped up his year-long sabbatical at Seneca. During his time here, he helped develop student and faculty mobility opportunities between Seneca and Jeonju University. 

Feb. 13, 2020

Prof. Bruce Shim is set to return to Korea this week after spending one year as the first visiting professor to Seneca from Jeonju University, located near Seoul.

During his time at Seneca, Mr. Shim worked closely with the School of Hospitality & Tourism, Seneca International, Degree & Credit Transfer Office and the International Mobility Office to develop student and faculty mobility opportunities between Seneca and Jeonju University. This included developing a semester exchange for students and pathways for students to experience diverse cultures while exploring career opportunities available to them globally.

In conversation with Seneca News, Mr. Shim talked about the work he has done during his year-long sabbatical, his experiences at Seneca and the learning he carries back with him for his students at Jeonju University.

Joy Kwon, Bruce Shim, Hamza Syed, Rorian Wilson, Kim Jaehyun
From left: Joy Kwon, Regional International Business Development Manager; Prof. Bruce Shim, Department of Hotel Management, Jeonju University; Hamza Syed, International Mobility Co-ordinator; Ronan Wilson, International Partnerships Project Manager; and Kim Jaehyun, Manager, International Centre, Jeonju University.(Photo: submitted)

SN: You have been working to expand the collaboration between Jeonju University and Seneca. How far have you succeeded in this?

BS: Jeonju University has an ongoing and strong relationship with Seneca as our students come here to the English Language Institute. One of my tasks was to make student mobility between the two institutions easier through student exchange programs. Over the past year, together with the Seneca team, we have developed a student exchange program for Seneca’s Hospitality – Hotel & Restaurant Services Management (HTM) diploma program under which students will be able to do up to two semesters of their program at Jeonju University.

It’s great to see that it has generated interest and there are students who would like to go to Jeonju University. Once I’m back in Korea, I will also be introducing and inviting students to spend up to two semesters of their program at Seneca.

SN: You have also developed a university pathway from Seneca’s HTM program to Jeonju University’s hotel management degree program. Can you tell us more about that?

BS: Under the university pathway, on completion of their two-year HTM diploma program at Seneca, students will be able to transfer to Jeonju University for the third and fourth year of the degree program in hotel management. In other words, Seneca’s HTM graduates will be able to transfer to Jeonju to complete a bachelor’s degree in hotel management.

SN: How does this pathway benefit students?

BS: Jeonju University has a strong partnership with the hotel management industry. In addition to experiencing a different culture, better understanding of local history and learning economy impact, the program will open up new job markets for Seneca students in countries like Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines and Korea. One of the benefits of this program is that students will only be sent to five-star hotels.

SN: Is there a similar program for students at Jeonju University?

BS: Yes, we have developed a program under which Jeonju students, on completion of their four-year program, can come to Seneca for a graduate certificate program. Once they have completed this program, they’d be able to get a work visa and gain experience in the Canadian hospitality sector before returning to Korea.

Bruce Shim, Demetrios Koumarelas, Angela Zigras
Prof. Bruce Shim (centre) is pictured with Angela Zigras, Chair, School of Hospitality & Tourism, and Prof. Demetrios Koumarelas. (Photo: submitted)

SN: How would you assess the Seneca experience after one year of being here?

BS: It has been a great experience. What impressed me the most is the strong relationship that the School of Hospitality & Tourism has with industry. The on-campus job fair was very impressive and very good for students. In addition, they have a lot of opportunities to get direct interviews with the hotel industry. Seneca makes an effort to arrange these opportunities by being proactive. And this is across all programs.

SN: How would you differentiate the classroom experience at Seneca from that at Jeonju University?

BS: I was really surprised by the relationship between professors and students in Seneca’s classrooms. I found that professors are very approachable and accessible to the students. While we are also informal at Jeonju University, in the hotel management department there is a very strong discipline in the classroom. An example is that we have a formal dress code and if someone is dressed sloppily, they can be asked to leave the class. Professors, too, try to wear suits and ties. The students are made aware of the fact that they are training to be great professionals and they must dress as such. We have found that, for this reason, hotels in Korea are giving students at Jeonju University more opportunities than others.

However, the professors I talked to at Seneca told me that while the class atmosphere might be informal, there is strong content in the study materials backed by well-structured lectures. Also, the exams are very strict. So, it is a different style of teaching and learning.

SN: How will you take this experience back to your classes in Korea?

BS: I will definitely share this experience with other professors and try to balance the classroom atmosphere when I return to teach. 

Prof. Bruce Shim with faculty members of the School of Hospitality & Tourism.
Prof. Bruce Shim (fourth from left) with faculty members from the School of Hospitality & Tourism. (Photo: submitted)