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08/03/2020 Interview > Faculty > ERICA

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[ERICA’s Power]Department of Transportation and Logistics Engineering Professor Lee Gun-woo, who Returns to His Alma

[HY ERICA] Interview with Professor Lee Gun-woo in the Department of Transportation and Logistics Engineering (Department of Transportation Engineering, Class of '96)

Global News Team

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From student to professor! Transportation expert returns to his university
Professor Lee Gun-woo in the Department of Transportation and Logistics (Department of Transportation Engineering, Class of '96)


Professor Lee Gun-woo, who was appointed at the beginning of the year as a professor in the College of Engineering Sciences' Department of Transportation and Logistics, set out for a new challenge. He has come back to his alma mater, where he spent his college years actively participating in school clubs and the student council, as a professor. Let’s meet Professor Lee, who says that he will be faithful to education and research by maintaining communication with students at his alma mater.
 
▲ Professor Lee Gun-woo in the Department of Transportation and Logistics Engineering (Department of Transportation Engineering, Class of '96)

Looking forward to meeting his students as his juniors and as pupils


Professor Lee Gun-woo, who was appointed last March is an alumnus of the ERICA Department of Transportation Engineering, class of '96. After graduating from MIT and finishing his studies at the University of California, Irvine, he has been responsible for research in shipping, harbors, and international distribution for five years at the Korea Maritime Institute (KMI). In 2007, he worked as a professor in Chung-ang University's Department of International Logistics and came back to his alma mater this year as a professor in ERICA's Department of Transportation and Logistics Engineering.

“The Department of International Logistics is affiliated with the College of Business and Economics, which has economics as its base. Because my academic background is in engineering, there were some disparities. There have been limits to practicing 100% of what I have studied until now. Just in time, I was able to transfer thanks to a request from my alma mater, Hanyang University.”

His goals are unique as it is his first year working as a professor at his former school. Although working at the university he graduated from feels comfortable, there is more pressure from the thought of needing to lead his students, who are both his juniors in school and his pupils. Unfortunately, however, he is not yet able to have face-to-face classes with his students due to COVID-19. Even though his teaching is being done online, he simultaneously felt both comfort and anxiety when conducting his first lecture.

“I could not foresee to what extent students would be able to follow along. There was also the problem of online lectures. The saddest thing is that I do not get to meet the students. It is unfortunate that I cannot meet them in person, communicate with them, get feedback on what they do not understand, and help them understand better. After all, there are limits to listening to what students think through email and phone calls.”

The preparation process for online lectures is also quite burdensome. It takes about twice as long to prepare materials, record the lectures, edit, and upload them. There are sometimes situations when errors occur, such as his voice not being heard due to microphone errors. While this is not familiar work, he is gradually adapting to it through trial and error.
 
▲ Professor Lee Gun-woo is leading a research project in Transportation and Green Logistics through the Sustainable Transportation and Logistics Laboratory
 
Concentrating on sustainable transportation environment and green logistics

Hanyang University's Department of Transportation Engineering was first established in Korea in 1988. The pride of the alumni are so great as well. It was reorganized into the current Department of Transportation and Logistics Engineering by emphasizing the role of logistics in 2012.

The subject which Professor Lee Gun-woo teaches is in the field of logistics. Similar to transportation, logistics has multidisciplinary characteristics. Perspectives change according to the point of view. In humanities logistics expands on the basis of trade, and in industral engineering and transportation engineering it expands into the field of engineering. Professor Lee is lecturing in the current department on "Transportation Logistics Economics" and "Sustainable Transportation and Green Logistics" in graduate school. From the second semester, he will provide lectures on "Logistics Management Engineering," "Logistics Systems Design," and "Special Lectures on Logistics."

In the "Sustainable Transportation and Logistics Laboratory" that he is operating, students conduct research on the transportation environment and green logistics. Public health research includes atmosphere pollution emission estimation research, atmosphere diffusion analysis research, research on the effects of air pollution on humans, public convenience and ripple effects of transportation management techniques, and transportation logistics eco-friendly policies. It also includes effect analysis research on the introduction of new technology in the transportation and logistics field, such as eco-friendly transportation systems like electric cars and autonomous vehicles. According to Professor Lee, “It is research favored by the public but not government officials or businesses.” However, the interest and importance of this field will increase as international societies emphasizing eco-friendliness such as green-house gas reduction.
 
Professor Lee’s most memorable achievement among all his research is receiving the Pyke-Johnson Award which is awarded in the transportation planning and environmental field as one of the five academic awards givem by the US Transportation Research Board. At the end of his PH.D program in 2010, he was awarded for his first SCI paper. He said that “it was the result of the help of Professor Stephen G. Richie who led his doctoral program, an excellent education provided by the department professors, and his fellow colleagues who participated in the doctoral program.” The Pyke-Johnson Award is the oldest award and has the highest authority in the transportation field, which can even be called an honor to one’s family. At that time, his award became a big issue in his college because it was the first award in the 30 years in the department.
 
▲ Professor Lee Gun-woo, who set his first step as a professor, senior, and teacher this year in ERICA showed his unique goal

Educating the right expert with skill and humanity

The changes to the ERICA Campus are truly amazing compared to when he first came to the school 24 years ago. To a great extent, the changes could be called "convulsions of nature." Professor Lee was amazed at the scenery and said, “The campus landscape is well organized, with many new buildings,” and that he "can feel the school’s enormous development in my skin.” Then, what was his most memorable experience when looking back at his college years? He choses "treet cafes" as the answer. The first words of his colleagues was the same when they heard he was appointed as a professor at his alma.

“It has become a memory that I cannot forget now. When I was in school, there were lots of potholes on concrete pavers in front of the main entrance because it was a time when school peripheries were not yet developed. There, we collected branches and made campfires. Then we drank, sang, and debated with colleagues and our seniors.”

One strength of Hanyang members that he has experienced and observed is their diligence. There is a tendency to overcome difficulties instead of running away from them. This is one of the reasons why numerous alumni are actively working in unimaginable fields all over the world. What he emphasizes to his students as their school senior and as their professor is humanity. Professor Lee underscores that he wishes "to educate proper experts with great humanity” and that “one can be responsible for their position if they were told that they have a great capacity for humanity.” That is why he helps students with etiquette and manners that are needed in social lives such as writing emails that do not convey rudeness.
 
 “Sometimes, I receive two-line emails without indicating one’s identity like sending a text message. Most of the time, it would be the case that students do not know how, but in real society that should not be done. In the past, I have shown students' emails as examples of etiquette. Since then, the students’ emails have changed. I try to teach these small but important factors to students whenever I have time.”
 
He plans to talk more about students’ future careers. That is because of what his professor told him was of great help when he was a university student. “I want students to have their own dreams. While in university, I want them to find what they like and live a life that does not make them give up their dream.”

Professor Lee highlights that he will be more faithful to education and research as a new professor. He plans on making opportunities to contribute to society when professional advice or an opinion on the transportation and logistics field is needed. We look forward to his future achievements and are cheering for his new start at his alma mater.
 


Written by Oh In-sook  Photo by Ha Ji-kwon

 
This article is published in the ‘HY ERICA’ 2020 Summer Edition

Click to see HY ERICA 2020 Summer Edition (Volume 95)

Click to see ‘HY ERICA’ in [[Hanyang Wiki]]







Global News Team
global@hanyang.ac.kr
Translation by: Park Gyeong-min

 
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