An Update from the Dean Stronach

Back to the Basics

April 6, 2009

On April 1st it was just one year since I took over my duties as Dean of TUJ. In many ways it seems like only a month rather than a year because, as we say, time flies when you are having fun. Much has happened over this past year, not the least of which has been the dire global economic crisis and the election of President Obama in the United States. As Dean I should not take political sides or make political statements but I do believe that for many people around the world these two events have been the cause for anxiety and optimism. The anxiety is not just about the economy, it is also a concern for how we let ourselves get into this condition. What is it about the human mind and human emotions that allows optimism and perhaps greed as well, to overcome rationality and reasonableness? On the other hand, it is not just an optimism about President Obama the man, it is also an optimism that government can step in and fix the problems we have created.

This balance between caution and optimism, between narrow concentration on the "now" and having a future vision is no less necessary for TUJ than it is for the world economy. There is no doubt that the world economic crisis is having an impact on TUJ in many ways. Of course, our students and their parents bear the greatest economic burden as they are the ones who have to pay the bills. We also feel it in the impact of the high yen, the reduction of corporate education funds, and the reduction of donations. This means that we have to be conservative in our budgeting, we have to watch every yen and make sure that our spending isn't more than our revenues. Yet on the other hand, an institution of higher education needs a vision and we cannot lose that vision. I grew up walking in the woods and while you have to watch where you are walking, if you don't lift your eyes once in a while you never see the beauty of the forest around you.

The good thing about times like this is that they can bring about a great deal of clarity of purpose. It is important to get back to the basics and ask ourselves, what is the mission of TUJ? What goals are we trying to accomplish? You may have noticed that we now have a new mission statement and the bottom line is to provide our students a superior education, with a commitment to student services, appropriate to our Tokyo location, and in a truly international environment. There are certainly other missions and goals we want to accomplish, such as partnering with Japanese universities or supporting our local Minato-ku community, but, in the end, everything we do should be in support of our primary educational mission. I promise that as long as I am Dean, that will remain my policy.

With best regards,