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Top>Education>Chuo University FLP international cooperation program


Chuo University FLP international cooperation program

Shunitsu Nakasako
Professor of Business Communication, Faculty of Commerce, Chuo University

1. Outline of Chuo University FLP international cooperation program

This program is executing and developing an international cooperation program in the interdisciplinary education platform called Faculty-Linkage-Program (FLP), which organizes a link between subjects in each faculty at Chuo University, which carries a tradition of applying a focus on practical science and practical education, in order to meet the needs in raising qualitative and quantitative personnel who can provide supporting leadership in international cooperation activities. This program, by working hard through independent exercises over three years, has enabled a multilateral and academic approach toward international cooperation issues, and has a goal to nurture personnel who can promote international cooperation activities from a diverse range of fields and standpoints.

2. 5 pillars supporting the education platform

(1) T-shaped professional education (headwork)

As a curriculum plan to guarantee educational results in this educational system, a series of lecture courses, (1) social development (letters, policy studies, law, economics), (2) economic development (letters, policy studies, law, economics, commerce), (3) international relations (letters, policy studies, law, economics, commerce), and (4) international business and communication (letters, policy studies, law, economics, commerce) has been set as a model revision course covering four areas, and by arranging each lecture subject in every course according to year as a central and developmental subject, we are providing systematic and structuralized education through these lecture subjects.

Each area has a vertical and horizontal axis with the vertical axis being the professional knowledge in the major of one's faculty, and the horizontal axis being education where one can gain a wide range of interdisciplinary and general specialist knowledge. Practical activities also have vertical and horizontal axes, becoming a salad bowl of students gathering with specialist knowledge gained in each faculty.

(2) International agency network

In this program, we have continuously maintained an environment in which human and material resources from international agencies and related organizations, and know-how and intellectual resources can be put to practical use. Furthermore, we have expanded our efforts to onsite social surveys. Organizations we have visited include, JICA, JETRO, APEC, National Economics University in Hanoi, Vietnam National University, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Management University, Cambodian Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, Institute for Khmer Traditional Textiles, Shanti Volunteer Association, NGO's such as Children Without Borders, Kawasaki Kisen, Honda, Shimizu Corporation, TAICHI HOLDINGS, PERODUA MFG. SDN BHD, Oji Paper, National University of Laos, Philippines Red Cross, ICAN, YOUNG FOCUS, Japan Water Research Center, Manila Water Company Inc., Maynilad Water Service Inc., Metropolitan Waterworks Sewerage System, Bantay Tubig, Nomura Securities, Bank of Nagoya, and Chiba Bank etc.

On top of that, this program actively presents opportunities for students to encounter role models. Starting with JICA, people with experience in international organizations are invited to conduct seminars as professors, promoting exchanges with a diverse range of role models through JICA lecture meetings, seminar lecture meetings, and end of term lecture meetings. (For example: chief editor of Nikkei Weekly, former general trading company employees, Institute of Developing Economies Research Support Department Manager, research staff from the Secretariat of the International Peace Cooperation Headquarters, Cabinet Office etc.)

(3) Onsite social surveys (footwork)

This, as integrated research, is an educational method in which you discover current issues, and strive to solve those issues onsite. As social survey methods, practical observations, hearings, questionnaires, and statistical analyses are mainly used, and by attempting to solve various problems in the real world, students cultivate their survey and analysis skills. By gradually introducing practical instruction centered on onsite social surveys, we aim to develop and sublime theoretical knowledge gained in professional education into practical knowledge. Countries we visit include India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand, China, the Philippines, Bhutan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Laos, etc.

(4) Dual seminars

This is a system, where as a rule, students in the FLP international cooperation program take revision courses by more than two different professors over three years. With this, in the three year period from the students' second to fourth years, we intend to systemize the knowledge gained in the lectures.

(5) International cooperation minds (heart work)

I think this area is the most important. Students bear a heart which can contribute to global society, based on their major. Namely, we aim to nurture people who have that heart.

3. Final targets

Final educational targets of this program are, (1) nurturing onsite knowledge and the ability to adapt to the environment, (2) discovering problems and instilling the ability to analyze, (3) acquire a basic professional knowledge system higher than the set standards, and (4) cultivate the ability to write survey reports and professional essays, and the ability to use these in presentations. Content researched in overseas survey pre-training, things learnt onsite, and post-study is summed up in an essay, and students are given the opportunity to orally present their findings, hopefully drawing even higher educational results.

4. Full picture of the educational program

As a system to improve the educational program, producing people with international cooperation minds able to respond to societal needs, from the second to fourth year, a combination of designated lectures made up from four fields and T-shaped professional education aimed to further integrate the professional education curriculum in each faculty is being practiced. In order to improve this educational program, there is an evaluation system, centering on enhancement factors and lecturers, consisting of a committee of students in the program, and FLP Supporting Student, etc.

5. Execution system of the program

Academic staff (for both practical exercises and lecture subjects) gathers monthly for a meeting. This is where administration and management of the program takes place. Specifically, maintenance and evaluation of the program takes place, with the aim to make improvements in the program. In order to do this, we verify educational goals through the results of program satisfaction surveys and CPU (Curiosity-Participation-Utility) surveys. These staff meetings and the Educational Affairs General Office, possessing a communal organization, was newly set up in April 2003, in order to realize this FLP program.

6. Program committee and FLP-Supporting Student (FSS)

The program committee and FLP-Supporting Student (FSS) is a system made up of students. The program committee plans, designs, implements and manages events such as state of conditions overseas survey report meetings (held every December), end of term exchange meetings (held every July and December), sports event (once a year), employment consultation meetings (twice a year), JICA lectures (twice a year) conducted by members of the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers, and special program lectures (at various times throughout the year), which take up issues related to international cooperation. Also, FLP-Supporting Student (FSS) is chiefly involved in older students giving advice related to study and future employment to younger students.

In this way, Chuo University's FLP international cooperation program, from giving consideration educationally in raising the level of student independence, sociality and motivation toward study that comes with running this program, is urging active participation in program planning and management. That is to say, promoting independent learning among the students has been installed as one of the programs more important elements. With this, students, teachers and staff alike, form a single entity, managing the program while cooperating with each other.

7. Selecting students for the revision program

For selection into the revision program, candidates submit a designated application form by the end of the first week of November of their first year. Students are given a multi-variant score based on experience, motives and desired study themes given on the application form, and along with the score from an interview (given in mid-November), a decision on successful applicants is made at a coordinators meeting (held in late November).

8. Educational results of the program

As a clear indicator backing up the educational effectiveness of this program, I can give a comparison in GPA scores between students in this program and those in the general university curriculum (six faculties). Detailed results show that in the general curriculum (six faculties) in 2006, students entering the university in 2004 scored an average GPA of 2.33, and 2005 entrants, 2.29. 2005 new entrants scored 2.31 in 2007, with 2006 entrants, 2.23. In 2008, 2006 entrants scored 2.35, and 2007 entrants, 2.33. In comparison, the average GPA score for students in this program was 2.74 for 2004 new entrants, and 2.95 for 2005 entrants in 2006. In 2007, 2005 entrants received 2.88 and 2006 entrants, 2.91. In 2008, 2006 entrants scored 2.91 and 2007 entrants, 2.90. On top of this, students completing the course in 2005 and 2006 were chosen as valedictorian. At Chuo University, a GPA score of 4.0 is awarded to students averaging 90% and over, 3.0 for over 80%, 2.0 for over 70%, and 1.0 for 60% and above. The type of entrance examination taken and examination results have no bearing on selection for this program, and there is no selection based on written work. The outstanding results provided by students on this program can be put down to the effort put in by these students, and the students stimulating each other.

9. Program satisfaction survey since 2006

Results from the program satisfaction survey (five point scale), which has taken place since 2006, are as follows. In 2006, students indicating satisfaction totaled 70% for lecture subjects, 96% for practical subjects, and 88% for international cooperation program as a whole. In 2007, satisfaction with lecture subjects stood at 73%, 91% for practical subjects, and 89% for international cooperation program as a whole. And in 2008, 79% of students were satisfied with lecture subjects, 89% with practical subjects, and 79% with international cooperation program as a whole. These results show us that students on the program have continued to rate it highly.

Shunitsu Nakasako
Professor of Business Communication, Faculty of Commerce, Chuo University
Born in Hyogo Prefecture in 1956. Graduated from Kwansei Gakuin University Faculty of Economics in 1979. Completed his Master of English Education degree from Saint Michael's College Graduate School in 1981. After working as lecturer and assistant professor at Osaka Kyoiku University Department of Arts and Sciences, he entered Chuo University Faculty of Commerce as an assistant professor in 1994, and his current position in 1997. His research topic is business communication theory and researches practical and education methodology.