Matthew J. Wilson, dean of Temple University, Japan Campus (TUJ), has announced the appointment of Dr. Yasuko Taoka as TUJ’s new associate dean of academic affairs, effective October 1, 2021. Dr. Taoka is currently the dean of the School of the Arts and Humanities at Wayne State College.
As TUJ’s chief academic officer, Dr. Taoka will oversee all aspects of the institution’s academic enterprise, including day-to-day operations of TUJ’s 10 undergraduate majors, two 2+2 programs (based partly at Temple’s Main Campus in Philadelphia) and three graduate programs; faculty affairs, research, and faculty hiring; application of university academic policy; academic advising and support; the registrar’s office; accreditation and assessment; inter-university relations, and the development of new academic programs.
“We are delighted that Dean Taoka is joining our team,” said Wilson. “When we set out on an international search to find a new associate dean of academic affairs, our goal was to find an experienced administrator with a total commitment to academic quality and helping students become global leaders. That’s what our students deserve, and that’s what we’ve found in Dean Taoka.”
Dr. Taoka has served as dean of the School of Arts and Humanities at Wayne State College (WSC)—a public, four-year institution with more than 4,000 students founded in 1910 in the state of Nebraska—since 2017. As dean, she oversees the School of Arts and Humanities’ five academic departments representing 20 majors in the areas of art, design, communications, journalism, history, political science, geography, language, literature, theater and music. Dr. Taoka supervises 40 full-time equivalent, tenured/tenure-track faculty members and manages three academic buildings that include specialized facilities for the fine and performing arts, broadcast and print journalism, and the media arts.
In addition to her responsibilities as dean, she has overseen WSC’s Honors Program, Interdisciplinary Studies Program, Rural Law Opportunities Program, Service Learning Program, Study Abroad Program and Holland Academic Success Center, home of the college’s centralized advising and tutoring services.
“To join a community with Temple University Japan’s quality, reputation and momentum is the opportunity of a lifetime,” Dr. Taoka said. “TUJ has so much to offer its students: faculty who are both international leaders in their disciplines and eager to engage with students; the intimacy of a small school and the resources of a large research university; an extraordinarily diverse student body and faculty; the city of Tokyo, a buzzing hub and a learning lab for students; and Japan, a country that offers a rich culture and tradition.”
Taoka is returning to the land of her birth. She left Japan in 1982—the year TUJ was founded—to move to the United States.
A respected scholar in the areas of ancient Greek and Latin language and literature, Dr. Taoka was an associate professor of classics and chair of the Department of Languages, Cultures, and International Trade at Southern Illinois University (SIU) Carbondale prior to her arrival at WSC. She also edits the journal Teaching Classical Languages. Dr. Taoka joined the faculty at SIU, a large public research university, in 2007. She earned master’s and doctoral degrees in classics at The Ohio State University and a bachelor’s degree in classics at Grinnell College.
TUJ continues to add strong academic leadership and experience to its campus. Dr. Taoka is the second new associate dean hired since Wilson was appointed dean in 2020. She joins Leslie A. Tirapelle, TUJ’s associate dean for library and learning innovation—a new position—who was hired from Pasadena City College.
“We’re committed to bringing more leading administrators and scholars from around the world,” Wilson said. “It’s part of our transformation as we take TUJ to the next level.”