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Campus Now

Midsummer Issue (Jul.)

From the classroom window

Here we will introduce high quality education being practiced and fitting of the name "Educational Waseda"

At Waseda University, in order to promote Faculty Development (FD), the FD Promotion Center was established in 2008 and is working to improve quality of education. This article features a discussion with Professor Norikazu Kawagishi of the Faculty of Political Science and Economics, an Associate Dean who is responsible for conducting FD. Professor Kawagishi discussed why he became interested in FD and the techniques he uses in his classes.

*Faculty Development..General term for the systematic approach of faculty to improve lesson content and delivery.

Implementing FD which utilizes experience studying abroad
Seeking to form a university which has a strong presence in the world

Norikazu Kawagishi
Professor, Faculty of Political Science and Economics

What I learned from foreign students

Beginning from this September, the School of Political Science and Economics began offering a Global 30 program which allows foreign students to acquire credits through courses conducted solely in English. Although slightly late, this was a major step towards the globalization of our university. Once again, I am impressed by the culture and social diversity introduced by foreign students.

For example, the majority of foreign students from countries and regions with different political systems consider a constitution to be a tool for ruling. It is necessary to thoroughly explain to such students the essence of a modern constitution as a vehicle for regulating government power. Many lessons can be drawn from the successes and failures of modern Japan. The question is how to convey such lessons in an easy-to-understand manner.

Foreign students study at our university with the clear goal of posting an outstanding academic record and then entering graduate school or finding employment at an outstanding corporation. Therefore, foreign students seek clear explanations regarding how academic records are affected by keeping submission deadlines or attending class. This makes instructors responsible for explaining areas which have been left vague in the past.

As a result, instructors have reviewed rules and class procedures which have been considered as normal until now. This led to FD.

Working to revise class contents based on experience studying abroad

Teaching while valuing dialogue with students

In 1992, I studied abroad at Yale University in America. This was the impetus for my interest in FD. I was particularly surprised at how no instructors came to class late, as well at how teachers provided instruction from the phase of deciding report themes.

At that time, Japanese corporations didn't expect students to acquire additional knowledge at university and universities tacitly approved of student's lack of study. However, in America, students need to post good academic records in university in order to obtain employment at prominent corporations. Instructors also taught classes with a high level of consciousness. I was greatly shocked at the fundamental difference in the role that universities play in American and Japanese societies.

After returning to Waseda and assuming the position of Full-Time Instructor, I distributed a student questionnaire about class. By incorporating the opinion of students who desire to study, I have attempted to revise my classes in terms of themes addressed and method of explanations.

Seeking to heighten the teaching ability of instructors and become a prominent university

The School of Political Science and Economics has implemented FD actions since three years ago. Instructors responsible for teaching the 1st-year class Comprehensive Fundamental Exercises meets several times every year to present their respective teaching methods and share good examples. In particular, young instructors implement a variety of techniques based on interesting ideas. Such techniques are of great reference. By standardizing these kinds of actions, I would like to further heighten the teaching ability of instructors and raise the standard of class quality.

If we conduct high-quality lessons, then a greater number of students with high goals will naturally gather at our university. I believe that stimulating interaction between instructors and students will establish the presence of Waseda in both Japan society and internationally.

Norikazu Kawagishi
Professor, Faculty of Political Science and Economics

Graduated from the School of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University, in 1987. After graduation, entered the Graduate School of Political Science in the same school. In 1989, became a Research Associate in the School of Political Science and Economics. Studied abroad at Yale University Law School from 1992 and acquired LL.M. (Master of Laws) certification in 1993. After returning to Japan, served as Fulltime Instructor and Assistant Professor at the Waseda University School of Political Science and Economics. Became Professor at the school in 2002. Acquired J.S.D (Doctor of Laws) certification in 2004. Has concurrently served as a Professor in the Waseda Law School since April 2004.