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Beyond the Blackboard: A Journey into Professors' World

When we think of teachers, we usually envision them at the front of a classroom, dishing out wisdom and herding students through the academic wilderness. But have you ever wondered what these guardians of knowledge are like outside the classroom? Today, we're going to take a journey into the lives of two awesome professors: Professor Jin Suk Park from the College of Business and Management, and Professor Stephen Lindhorst from the College of Arts and Sciences. Buckle up, take a seat, and prepare to be amazed by the fabulous tales from beyond the lecture halls.

Let's kick things off with our charismatic Professor Jin Suk Park. If you've ever strolled the halls of VinUniversity and met him, you'd recognize him instantly.

Professor Jin Suk Park

Good morning professor! So to start with, could you please share your first impression of VinUniversity?
My initial impression of VinUniversity was amusing: students are always late for class.

And are there any cultural differences that you noticed between VinUniversity with the universities you taught or studied in before coming to Vietnam? How did you adapt with the change?
Adapting to cultural differences has been an interesting journey for me. In my five years teaching MBA courses in Tokyo, punctuality was impeccable, and tardiness was virtually nonexistent. However, joining VinUni introduced me to a different context, and I had to emphasize the importance of timeliness. And remember, it's not about right or wrong; it's about cultural quirks. Every culture is a unique puzzle piece, and we get to assemble our global jigsaw puzzle one piece at a time.

What is your favourite dish in the VinUni dining hall?
In the VinUniversity dining hall, my favorite dish is none other than the legendary Vietnamese classic, pho. I reckon my appreciation for local cuisine is like a love story that begins with a hearty bowl of noodles and ends with exploring the entire culinary culture!

What's the most memorable or amusing excuse a student has given you for missing a class, missing assignments, or plagiarism?
Recalling a humorous moment from my time at the University of Hawaii, I received a message from a student stating, "Dear Professor, as today is my birthday, I regret to inform you that I will not be able to attend class." Ah, the lengths students will go for a day off!

Professors often have a signature "professor look” outfit. Can you describe yours, and do you think it would make for a fashionable runway collection?
My signature “professor look” might not win me any fashion awards, but it's definitely a head-turner. I'm talking about the “sneakers without a belt” style. Surprisingly, this trend has taken off in major Korean companies like Samsung and LG. Who knew that my laid-back style would become a corporate sensation?

If not business, which subject do you think you would be a professor in?
I'd probably find myself in the realms of philosophy or psychology. I'm always up for exploring new intellectual territories!


Now, let's change lanes and venture into the world of Professor Stephen Lindhorst. Get ready for a wild ride through the life of this tech-savvy professor!

Professor Stephen Lindhorst

Hi Professor Lindhorst! Would you mind sharing some of your areas of expertise outside of your teaching career?
I'm currently on the journey to earn my master's degree in Instructional Systems and Learning Technology. It's like a superhero training montage, but with books and computers. This complements my teaching well and combines my interests in teaching with technology. I feel that instructional design is the future of education and that it will experience a positive trend in the upcoming years. Imagine the amazing courses possible with pedagogical experts (instructional designers) connecting with content experts (professors) to build and teach high quality courses!

Beyond your academic pursuits, what personal interests or hobbies do you have that contribute to your overall well-being and work-life balance?
I'm a big tech nerd. I built my first PC in middle school and I am obsessed with laptop gaming now. I have my own VR headset and have been learning how to program and create apps in Unity for it. I spend other time playing my ukulele or creating Anki flashcards for learning Korean. My wife is from South Korea, so I want to keep improving my Korean to be able to speak comfortably with my in-laws. I am particularly fascinated by the use of VR to learn languages. I've been studying Japanese lately.

What aspects of VinUniversity do you particularly enjoy or find inspiring?
VinUni’s students’ desire for knowledge keeps me on my toes and striving to be a better teacher every single day. I am also so happy that the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) has its own major and that I have been able to play a minor role in its founding by interviewing and now mentoring CAS students. But the real cherry on top is the close relationship I’ve been able to develop with my fellow faculty members. It's so stimulating to be around other like-minded faculty who are truly passionate about their research and teaching!

What's the most unusual or bizarre question a student has ever asked you during a class or lecture, and how did you respond?
During my teaching practicum in the United States, I popped a question to a student about the lecture. Their response? "I don't know. Are you single?" Talk about an unexpected plot twist! I'm still not sure if that was a compliment or a curveball, but it sure brought some comic relief to the classroom!

We've all had embarrassing moments. Can you share a funny, embarrassing story from your academic career that still makes you laugh today?
Back in South Korea, I once taught an entire class talking about a homework assignment that students were told to do the night before. Three hours later, my students told me that they had no clue what homework I was talking about. It turned out that I forgot to assign the homework! But that's not all – in a morning lesson, I accidentally ripped a hole in my pants while picking up a whiteboard marker. Little did I know about it, and I kept teaching five classes until someone finally spilled the beans!

Just so you know, our professors aren't just about textbooks and lectures. So next time you see your favorite teacher, remember, there's more to them than meets the eye. They're on a never-ending quest to, together with us students, make life at VinUni fun and unforgettable!




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