An Update from the Dean Stronach
April 6, 2010
You may have noticed in Temple Today (Temple University's e-mail magazine) that a new Senior Vice Provost for International Affairs was announced. He is Hai-Lung Dai, the Dean of the College of Science and Technology.
I have known Dean Dai for the past couple of years, he has been to TUJ, we have had the opportunity to speak at length about TUJ, and I know that he, President Hart and Provost Staiano-Coico are all committed to TUJ and the internationalization of Temple University. Temple University's commitment to internationalization is manifested by its two major overseas campuses in Rome and Tokyo and 112 agreements with universities in 43 different countries. These overseas programs enhance educational opportunities for all Temple students and enhance research opportunities for all Temple University faculty members. Given this commitment it is not surprising that 28 years ago Temple University was the first American university to create a branch campus in Japan, and is the only one of the nearly 40 American institutions here in the late 1980s that is not only still here, but thriving.
Indeed, lately I have been thinking more and more about TUJ's place in American higher education, Japanese higher education, and its role as a model institution of truly international higher education for the rest of the world. In the US, Japan, China, Europe and all over the world, the new buzzwords in higher education are "international" and "global." In the United States there is a growing consciousness that large foreign student populations and a large number of students going on study abroad are an essential part of the undergraduate educational experience. In Japan there is much talk about developing internationalization through increasing the number of foreign students in Japanese universities to 300,000, increasing the number of courses taught in English, and stressing critical thinking and communications ability in Japanese universities' curricula. Of course when I hear this I say we at TUJ have been doing exactly that for many years; providing a truly cross-cultural education by blending the best of American higher education with the benefits of being in Tokyo and Japan.
It is obvious that TUJ should be a model for Temple's further internationalization, but it should be a model for higher education internationalization throughout the US and Japan. There are very few, if any, overseas campuses of any American university that are like TUJ. We are as large as many liberal arts colleges in the US, 85 percent of our students are recruited by TUJ and graduate from TUJ, we offer Temple University degrees because we offer the same content and quality as the main campus, and yet we also offer programs, experiences, and a diversity that comes from having students from approximately 60 different countries.
April marks the beginning of my third year as the Dean of TUJ and I am feeling more energized than ever. Looking back at what I wrote at this time last year, it is clear that we were all concerned about the effects of the global economic recession. We are still experiencing many problems caused by the recession, but I also think that there are signs of real recovery ahead. But it is not simply the usual economic indicators such as stock markets, employment and housing markets that make me optimistic; it is the international educational mission of TUJ and the way in which I know we fit the needs of the world and the world's students.
We are 28 years young and just beginning to truly fulfill our mission.
With best regards,