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Early Spring Issue (Apr.)


Life-long learning at Waseda provides various ways to study

In recent years, creating an open educational atmosphere at universities has become important due to heightened needs for learning among the general public.
Ever since shortly after our founding, Waseda University has worked to return academics to society by actively promoting university extension (opening the university to the general public) through publication of lectures and holding lectures in various regions of Japan. These activities were led by Shigenobu Okuma and were known as extracurricular education. This article reflects on our university's history of life-long learning to respond to needs of the general public, and also introduces the rich environment for life-long learning that currently exists.

Witnessing the desire to learn

We talked with two professors who teach classes related to life-long learning. The professors discussed what they feel through their relationship with life-long learning students.

An important place for solving the problems of working professionals and individuals

Professor Emeritus Taizo Kato
Waseda University
Classes Taught: Psychology for Self-Reflection, Emotional Influences, etc.

I teach several classes related to psychology at the Extension Center. The classes are organized into a system that starts by addressing the fundamental theme of the unconscious and then proceeds into classes where students learn specific methods for interacting with psychoneurosis. The majority of students have the clear goal of applying knowledge gained from the class towards their daily lives. As a result, students are never late for class and some students are even waiting in their seats an hour before class starts. Such punctuality is unthinkable for normal students. This strong desire towards learning leads to a high level of expectations towards the class. I am always focused when it's time to teach the class.

I have always felt that life-long learning has the important role of solving social problems and problems held by individuals. In other words, life-long learning has a different function than school learning. For example, the abnormal rate of more than 30,000 suicides annually has continued in Japan for a long time. However, school education does not teach methods for responding to emotional problems. Such abnormal circumstances can be somewhat improved if life-long learning spreads and many individuals are able to gain knowledge required for important phases of life.

I hope that Japanese people will recognize that school education is not all-encompassing and that life-long learning can supplement what is learned at school. The combination of school education and life-long learning will improve individual lives and thus have a positive influence on overall society. This is something that I have reaffirmed by witnessing the serious study of students and the associated results.

Professor Emeritus Taizo Kato/Waseda University

Completed the Master's Program of the Graduate School of Sociology, University of Tokyo. In1970, appointed as Full-Time Instructor at the Waseda University School of Science and Engineering and Full-Time Instructor at the Waseda University School of Letters, Arts and Sciences. In 1972, appointed as Assistant Professor at the School of Science and Engineering and Assistant Professor at the School of Letters, Arts and Sciences. In 1997, appointed as Professor at the School of Science and Engineering. Served as Director of the Extension Center from 1986 to 1990. Appointed as Professor Emeritus in 2008.

Both professors and students work seriously. It's a good kind of tense relationship.

Professor Kazunari Uchida
Faculty of Commerce
Classes Taught: Leadership Theory, etc.

In the Leadership Theory class at Waseda Business School (WBS), we invite guests such as executives and business managers who work as leaders in actual businesses. These guests discuss their own perspective regarding business. Afterwards, the guest speakers and students engage in discussion which allows students to gain a first-hand experience regarding the form of leadership. Such opportunities are a feature of the class.

At the WBS, students enrolled in evening courses work during the day and take classes at night. The majority of these students pays their own tuition and has a strong sense of awareness regarding issues. No students are absent from class unless there are extraordinary circumstances and no students sleep during class. This creates a very serious atmosphere during classes. I sometimes feel that I, the instructor, will be argued down if I am not attentive and solely focused on teaching. In this respect, I have a good kind of tense relationship with students.

If instructors continue to teach the same material, classes will lag behind the times and students will realize that material is antiquated. Therefore, I renew and update portions of the class every year in an effort to match the needs of actual society.

The value of WBS is not the knowledge and skills learned during class. Instead, it is the opportunity to study different perspectives and philosophies, as well as to engage in role-playing for decision making. As a result, I structure my classes so that students will actively participate in class discussion and will grow by making mistakes.

I do not dispute the quality of statements made in my class. Furthermore, I tell students to value the network made in classes because it is a relationship that will last a lifetime.

Professor Kazunari Uchida
Faculty of Commerce
Classes Taught: Leadership Theory, etc.

Graduate from the School of Engineering, University of Tokyo. Earned his MBA at Keio University. After working at Japan Airlines, entered employment at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in 1985. President of Japan branch from June 2000 to December 2004. In April 2006, appointed as Professor at the Waseda University Faculty of Commerce. In addition to teaching classes in competitive strategy theory and leadership theory, also gives lectures in the Executive Program and conducts corporate leadership training.