Long vision into the future to transform the whole university administration paradigm is an important strategy for stepping into the new challenging and competitive world.
The idea in producing personnel with advanced technological skills has always been talked about, for this will go side by side with the governmental development policies and will concretely add to the values of the graduates so that they are required in the technologically advanced job market. The structural reform and establishment of a new organization was discussed for the first time at the meeting of the University Council members. Dr. Narongchai Akrasanee, Chairman of the University Council is the initiator of this concept. Khon Kaen University should set up an institution that is able to produce research work, prepare efficient graduates and human resource with expertise in digital technology, according to requirements of the future employers and the New S-Curve. This mission also responds to Thailand 4.0 policy. Thus, a committee was appointed to conduct a study and set the guidelines for founding a College of Computing (Khon Kaen University Announcement 3051/2564, which was dated April 8, 2021. Prof. Somchat Sophonronnarit, an Honorary Member of KKU University Council was appointed the Chairman of this Committee, along with two other honorary members, Khun Khurujit Nakornthap and Assoc. Prof. Thanachat Numnon. The other members of the committee included Assoc. Prof. Charnchai Panthongviriyakul, M.D., KKU President, Vice President for Digital, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Dean of the Faculty of Sciences, and Vice President for Administration as a member and committee secretary. The mission of this Committee was to propose the “Platform for Founding the College of Computing” and “Developmental Plan for Excellence in Founding the College of Computing”. The Committee was continuously working on this mission and met 4 times during April – August, 2021. Now, the platform and the plan were completed and approved by the Khon Kaen University Council at the 8th /2021 meeting on September 1, 2021. The result has been announced in the Khon Kaen University Announcement No. 1793/2564 on, “Founding an Institution of Khon Kaen University”.
The 8/2021 KKU University Council Meeting on September 1, 2021, when the plan for founding the College of Computing was approved
The College of Computing is a new organization, with an equal status to a faculty. It has been upgraded from the Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Sciences to a new institution so that the administration according to the new mission will be efficient. The college will produce research work, prepare graduates and human resource in digital technology. The college meets the policy of the university as well as the national development direction. In addition, the new college is expected to hold Khon Kaen University’s identity in terms of digital technology.
Prof. Somchat Sophonronnarit, an Honorary Member of KKU University Council and Chairman of the Committee for Setting Guidelines for Founding the College of Computing proposed a concept in the study plan as follows: “The College of Computing will be a new institute with specific expertise in advanced computing. It will offer programs in computing, life-long learning programs in digital technology for people of all ages, and will produce research work, digital innovations and advanced computing works. The college will be the service resource in advanced technology. It will have the mission to expand collaboration with digital industry, expand competency in technology and digital innovation for the society and economy of the country, and promote digital entrepreneurship that will lead to development of bodies of knowledge in the country and in Asia.
Prof. Somchat Sophonronnarit added about the goal of the college, “The College of Computing is an institution that supports and promotes other institutes in computation sciences and artificial intelligence. This will lead to co-programs with other faculties and multi-disciplinary research collaboration as well as cross-disciplinary research. More importantly, the college will develop strength in computation science and artificial intelligence and will become the first or second of its type in the country and one among 200 institutions in Asia within 5 years.”
The organizational structure of the College will be as follows: 1) Administration Division of College of Computing, 2) Institutions according to specific mission or strategy such as the Northeast Geo-Informatics Center, Center for Excellence in Artificial Intelligence Innovation, Digital Innovation Center. For the academic administration, there will be two departments: Computer Sciences and Information Technology (CS & IT) and Geographic Information System (GIS). The undergraduate and graduate programs include the former programs and the new ones, namely, Non-Degree programs in Data Science & AI, Data Engineering and Data Science, Computer Programming, Photogrammetry and Aerial Survey, Internet GIS for Spatial Data Analytics, IoT and Smart Farming, which are open this academic year. For the next academic year, 2022, the following programs will be offered: Business Intelligence (BI) / Smart Process, Mobile / Web Applications, AI & Machine Learning, Internet of Things (IoT) / Wireless / Security and Geo-Informatics.
Moreover, the College of Computing will open multidisciplinary programs in Digital Entrepreneurship, under collaboration with the Faculty of Business Administration and Accountancy of Khon Kaen University; Graduate program in Digital Governance under collaboration with the College of Local Administration and Smart Cities program under collaboration with Naresuan University, Mahasarakham University and Thammasat University.
The College of Computing is an important step in the development of Khon Kaen University with expectation by the University Council to transform the missions of KKU through new research work, graduate preparation and development of human resource in digital technology. The University Council has given suggestions for the implementation of the college in many aspects, including the foundation which is not only upgrading the former department but also being a new potential institution with clear direction of operations in a leaping style. The administration and management of revenue should be efficient so that the college can stand on its own. It also has to build up the strength and at the same time build up perception by students and the outside society. The teaching and learning should be truly related to computing and technology and should be directed to students’ and market’s needs. These are really challenging to the administrators.
Today, the College of Computing, the newest institute of Khon Kaen University has been screened by honorary committee members and has been announced as a legitimate institution of Khon Kaen University. It is only waiting to be officially announced in the Government Gazette.
News: Udomchai Supannawong
With thanks to the Office of Khon Kaen University Council