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Campus Now

Early Spring Issue (Apr.)

SPECIAL REPORT

Striving for a bridge between theory and practice - "Professional Graduate School"

With the aim of creating workers with a high level of professionalism our university has established professional graduate schools.
Here we will present the significance of the united theoretical and practical curriculum that can only be seen in the professional graduate schools, and the educational effects it plays on undergraduate education.

President
Kaoru Kamata

Part.4

Possibilities of professional graduate schools

We asked President Kamata about his vision of the future for professional graduate schools.

Professional graduate schools have an important existence for Waseda University to accomplish its mission

President Kaoru Kamata

A two-pronged approach with researchers and business professionals

From the beginning, our university has stressed the importance of "practical education" as its founding spiritual legacy. The school song even contains the line "never forget the eternal ideals of this world," and the words "Waseda University is committed to carrying out its main principle of practical utilization of knowledge, research theory as theory as well as creating tools to practice that theory, resolve to contribute to the progress of time", is written in the Waseda University Doctrine. Thus, with the aim of nurturing high-level professional workers who can meet the needs of society, professional graduate schools have important existence in order to realize the founding ideals of the university.

Professional graduate schools have the characteristic of being a bridge between theory and practice in education. Primarily, the two aren't that far apart, but there is a difference in the approaches taken by researchers and businesspeople. There are many instances when researchers use inductive methods by discovering general solutions to various phenomena and attempt to make them abstract, whereas businesspeople tend to use deductive methods when trying to find a conclusion to concrete issues that stem from general and abstract theories.

A synergy effect is created at the professional graduate schools by having businesspeople and researchers with these different styles of thinking come in contact with each other and exchange opinions on a daily basis. The students also, by studying while encountering these two types of thinking, can broaden their views and raise the effectiveness of their study. At Waseda, we take pride in building a system which attempts to faithfully embody those characteristics, a result of accumulated effort, and have the results of the merger of theory and practice spread and established among students and faculty.

Raising the quality of education and promoting the reasons for existence

Another function of professional graduate schools that I pay attention to is educational methods. At the professional graduate schools, lessons are conducted using the Socratic Method, where teachers and students, or students among each other, debate about a certain topic while trying to find a solution, and then give an oral or written presentation to convince others. This educational method does not only strengthen a student's thinking power, but also stimulates the teachers themselves, also leading to improvements in faculty education. I think that this kind of accumulation will raise the educational research level of the university as a whole.

Since the inception of the professional graduate schools, the number of graduate students has skyrocketed. It has become common for businessmen to return to university to study, and if we can produce even more excellent human resources, the public awareness of graduate school education, including traditional research graduate schools, will also change. To further strengthen this flow, at the same time as raising the quality education at professional graduate schools, we need to put in efforts to gain wide public understanding of the reason for the existence of professional graduate schools. I hope that all graduates will use what they learnt at graduate school as a foundation and continue to brush up their skills, and aggressively get involved in solving the various topics that modern society faces.