An Update from the Dean Stronach
Siempre Adelante…Ever Forward
September 10, 2009
The 2009 fall semester has officially started and we have a record number of undergraduate students. This is quite an accomplishment given the continuing economic problems in Japan, the United States and around the world, but it is also testimony to the need for quality international higher education and TUJ's ability to provide for that need. I'll report to you the breakdown of the student body after we have time to do the analysis but it looks as if we will be on track with our goals of maintaining roughly 50-50 splits between Japanese and non-Japanese students, female and male students. In addition it looks as if we will have students from about 50 different countries again this year.
Tokyo summer weather was not very good this year but I do hope that everyone had the chance to take a breather and get some rest before the fall semester started. I made my annual trip back home to Maine again this year and used the opportunity to reflect on what we want to accomplish in the up-coming year. The first on the list, as always, is to continually adjust our academic programs in order to keep current with changes in the social and economic environments and changes in the educational needs of our students.
This year we are beginning to introduce Foundation Gen Ed as a precursor to the full Gen Ed program one year after it was first introduced on the main campus. Gen Ed will replace the core curriculum, in place since the 1980s, as a new take on the liberal arts that will always be the foundation of our undergraduate education. In the words of the Gen Ed mission statement it will, "enable students to become knowledgeable and active citizens, equipped to judge critically aspects of the world and themselves, as they make decisions about their lives and their communities. This is especially important in this time of ever-increasing globalization, with its many local, national, and international consequences." The last phrase in the statement is particularly important to TUJ as it is a direct reference to us and what we do academically, and our importance to Temple University as a whole.
Other changes that are taking place this fall are the continuing replacement of the old Bachelor of Business Administration degree with the new Bachelor of Science in International Business degree, the phasing out of the Tourism and Hospitality management program and creating the foundation upon which the new Japanese major will be built next year. While I am on the subject of academic programs I should also note that Temple University, and its Japan Campus will be undergoing its ten-year review of accreditation by the Middle States Associations of Colleges and Schools. The Temple University self-study, which incorporates a separate TUJ self-study, is now in the final stages of completion and we are all on track for the review which will take place in the late winter/early spring.
Another important event that will occur this fall is the kick off symposium on October 21st to mark our relationship with Musashi Gakuen (Musashi University and Musashi Senior & Junior High School). The theme of the symposium will be the importance of the liberal arts to higher education in the United States and Japan. Keynote speeches will be made by Musashi Gakuen's Chancellor, Dr. Akito Arima, one of Japan's leading Physicists and a past Minister of Education, and myself, to be followed by a panel discussion and a reception. This program is one of a number of increasing partnerships between TUJ and other Japanese universities. This past summer TUJ ran joint programs for academic English preparation with the middle and high schools of Gakugei University, as well as running a joint program with Tohoku Koeki Bunka University in Yamagata.
Finally, the biggest event for Japan this summer was the victory of the Democratic Party of Japan in Diet election and the historic change of government. I think it is too early to tell whether this election was a positive choice of new leadership or a negative disavowal of old leadership; only time will tell. I do know that it will be important to watch the direction in which Japan is heading in order to insure that TUJ continues to play an important role in Japanese society.
Siempre Adelante…Ever Forward
With best regards,