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New Year Issue (Jan.)


"Waseda Vision 150"

Existing as a university which contributes to the world

We have started full-scale implementation of the mid- to long-term plan "Waseda Vision 150" in order to firmly establish Waseda University as the leading university in Asia by 2032, the year in which we celebrate our 150th anniversary. This article introduces the plan's 4 visions and the 13 core strategies which fulfill those visions, as well as particularly important actions within specific programs.

Long Interview

Formulation of "Waseda Vision 150"
Seeking to become Asia's leading university

We spoke with President Kamata about the background behind formulating "Waseda Vision 150", as well as an overview of the plan and its goals.

President Kamata

A university which is constantly evolving

――Would you please discuss the background behind the timing for formulating this mid- to long-term vision which look 20 years into the future?

Amidst today's globalization, there are increasingly serious global issues such as environmental and energy issues, as well as poverty and regional conflict. As such, universities are facing higher expectations for advancing academic research and cultivating outstanding professionals who will perform on the global stage.

Through plans such as "21st Century Educational and Research Grand Design" and "Waseda Next 125," we have conducted reforms at our university from an early stage, seeking to further improve the quality of our education and research. In particular, we have implemented a variety of reforms for globalization under slogans such as "Glocal University" and "Worldwide Waseda." We have more than 4,000 foreign students at our university and accept the most foreign students of any university in Japan, creating a campus where many languages are spoken. The number of Japanese students sent overseas has also increased to more than 2,000 per year. We have steadily moved towards the realization of a global university. Now, we have formulated the mid- to long-term plan "Waseda Vision 150" in conjunction with completion of the 5-year plan "Waseda Next 125" which started in 2008. Following the establishment of the current Executive Board in November 2010, we discussed "Waseda Vision 150" in Executive Board meetings, meetings of Senior Deans, and meetings of Professors from each faculty. University-wide review has been held repeatedly.

――Please discuss the goals of "Waseda Vision 150."

Today, we are faced with a declining birthrate, an aging population, changes in the form of corporation employment, increased competition from domestic and overseas universities, and technological changes in education and research. When considering the state of Japan after the Great East Japan Earthquake, universities will not be able to function in the future by using conventional forms. Therefore, our university formulated "Waseda Vision 150," a plan which focuses on our ideal form when greeting our 150th anniversary in 2032. Through the plan, we shall make large-scale reforms at our university.

Our university seeks to realize the following form (vision): 1) to attract to Waseda University outstanding students from around the world who will contribute to the world, 2) to conduct research that will ultimately contribute to realizing world peace and happiness in human society, 3) to cultivate graduates (alumni) who, in all corners of the globe, and in every academic field, will contribute to the public good as global leaders, and who will continue to support an active and intimate collaborative network with Waseda University, 4) to establish an organizational and management structure that will transform Waseda University into Asia's premier "model university." In order to realize this vision, we have established 13 core strategies and projects (refer to the chart below). The 13 core strategies include many themes which will lead to fundamental reform for our university system. Some examples include "radical reform of the admissions system," reconstruction of the education system to develop global leaders," "disclosure of educational and academic content," "promotion of original research and enhancement of the ability to convey results internationally," "clarification for the role and evaluation of faculty and staff," and "strengthening of the financial structure." We have set specific numerical goals (refer to "Waseda University in 2032; By the Numbers: Waseda Vision 150"). By reaching such goals, Waseda seeks to contribute to the world as Asia's leading university.

Cultivating global leaders for society

――Please discuss the meaning of focusing on the cultivation of global leaders, a concept at the core of "Waseda Vision 150."

Today, society is facing a variety of issues. Amongst such circumstances, in order for Japan to lead the prosperity of the world, it is important for our country to cultivate professionals who perform with a global perspective regardless of their region or field. Our university has focused on cultivating global leaders for some time now. Waseda's concept of global leaders is not restricted to the narrow meaning of simply professionals who perform overseas. Instead, our concept includes professionals who, even in a corner of regional society, think autonomously, coordinate staff who possess diverse values, exercise leadership in a new direction and act with initiative. In modern times, the effect of globalization has spread to every corner of society. Even fellow Japanese people now possess diverse values. A global perspective and sensibility is required no matter where you may be.

In order to cultivate international sensibility, our university has already implemented spring and autumn enrollment, as well as established programs for obtaining degrees through English in 6 schools and 10 graduate schools. Furthermore, we plan to successively implement a quarter-term system beginning in the 2013 academic year. This will make it easier for our students to participate in summer programs held at overseas universities in June or July. In addition to leading to an increase in Japanese students sent overseas and foreign students studying at Waseda, it will also further invigorate volunteer activities and joint research with overseas researchers. Moreover, we plan to offer a full lineup of international education programs within the Nakano International Dormitory which will open in the 2014 academic year. In this atmosphere, foreign students and Japanese students from regional areas will study and live together with others who possess different values and cultural backgrounds. We expect that this lifestyle will foster mutual understanding, enhanced character and the formation of a network which will extend into the future.

――What aspects of education will you focus on in order to cultivate global leaders?

In global society, professionals require a broad education for understanding the different cultural/religious backgrounds and values of people with whom they communicate. There are two methods for cultivating such education. The first is fundamental education and existing liberal arts subjects. Our university has already prepared educational programs for improving basic skills. Such programs include Tutorial English*, academic writing ability, mathematical thinking, and utilization of IT technology. In the future, I would like to further enhance the contents of our university's liberal arts subjects. The second method is broad education cultivated in heightening expertise. For example, consider my specialty of law. Without a variety of knowledge in economics, sociology, politics and culture, it is impossible to interpret existing laws or to create new laws. In other words, broad liberal education is required as a base for fostering the insight, logical thinking and creativity required of global leaders.

Waseda University has held a total of 8 symposiums on liberal arts and has repeatedly conducted university-wide review for the form of liberal education. As one method, we have "established educational programs across different undergraduate schools." These programs cross the barriers between schools and departments. We also "utilize ICT (information and communications technology)" which enables new teaching methods. Moreover, we seek to "enhance an interactive, problem finding/solving style of education" which cultivates students' ability to think independently and debate. Furthermore, each student plays an important role in working together with faculty and staff in order to support and advance our university. Students can consider the ideal form of universities and society from a different perspective than faculty and staff. By actively participating in activities to support education and research, students become aware of the meaning of their existence at university. They also acquire a sense of responsibility for supporting society after graduation.

Additionally, our university provides opportunities for a variety of experience-based learning in society. Examples include domestic and overseas volunteer activities conducted through the Hirayama Ikuo Volunteer Center (WAVOC), professionals workshops* and internships. Such experience-based learning is part of a liberal education. We have prepared programs for all students to experience overseas learning such as foreign study, overseas fieldwork or international volunteering.

――When discussing the diversity of Waseda University, an increasing large role is played by adult students. What is your vision for programs intended for working adults?

In today's society, In addition to an increased number of workers who require high-level specialized knowledge, there is increasing movement of people who seek to refine their abilities and improve their career. As an educational institution for such people, universities have the social responsibility of providing an educational system and content which meets diverse needs.

Waseda University has always put a lot of effort into adult education. Our professional graduate schools have developed the most extensive educational curriculum in Japan, thus supporting the needs of adult students who require an even higher level of practical ability. Moreover, we are developing a broad acceptance system which includes increasing the entry of adult students into our normal graduate schools. Furthermore, we have established a Non-Degree Program* and short-term intensive seminars to respond to the need for increasing expertise without obtaining a degree.

By creating a university environment with interaction between people of different ages and areas of expertise, the cultivation of global leaders will enjoy a synergistic effect of 2 or 3 times. In the future, we will continue to enhance programs for adult students both in Japan and overseas.

Transmitting Waseda's appeal to the world and to the future

――What is the Waseda spirit which you hope to realize in 2032, the 150th anniversary of our university's founding?

The "Waseda spirit" is described as "anti-elitist philosophy, overcoming adversity, and enterprise." It is also described as "freedom, independence, and diversity." This tradition has been passed down since our founding. The foundation of this tradition is an altruistic spirit of actively working for the good of society. In turn, this spirit is based on the doctrine of "creating model citizens." The "Waseda spirit" is cultivated in an atmosphere of friendly competition between diverse students who possess rich individuality and an enterprising spirit.

Furthermore, "Waseda culture" consists of our doctrine, history, tradition and school ethos, as well as the collective of students who have studied at our university over the past 130 years. Waseda culture also refers to the spiritual value born from such tradition. This accumulation of history has fostered a Waseda culture which permeates the campus environment, cultural resources held by our libraries and museums, cultural events and student club activities.

Students who inherited this "Waseda spirit" and "Waseda culture" have graduated and performed in their own regions and fields, thus building trust towards Waseda. I hope to inherit this tradition and to further foster a sense of pride in Waseda.

――Would you please give a message to everyone affiliated with Waseda University?

Universities are a social presence. We exist through deepening partnerships with faculty, staff, students, corporations, government agencies, the community, alumni and parents. In order to realize our vision, in addition to forming strategic partnerships through education and research, we look forward to a broad range of aid such as wisdom and spiritual/material support from the perspective of developing our university together with stakeholders.

――Please express your enthusiasm towards the 150th anniversary of Waseda's founding.

Currently, the role of universities has changed greatly and society has a more critical view of universities. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has formulated a university reform plan which discusses the importance of cultivating professionals. Universities have also received a variety of recommendations from economic circles. In my opinion, the great amount of criticism directed at universities nowadays shows that there are now greater expectations for universities throughout all of society.

"Waseda Vision 150" recommends a direction for the university reforms which Waseda has performed, as well as for future progress. Our university's mid- to long-term vision is to cultivate global leaders who will contribute to global society 20 to 30 years in the future. This vision will undoubtedly spark debate regarding the kinds of reforms needed today at Japanese universities. Also, in addition to increasing the brand power of Waseda, I expect our vision to raise the standing of all Japanese universities within international competition between universities. This is Waseda's goal as a leading university of Asia.

*Quarter-term system: A system which divides the academic year into 4 terms, enabling credits to be acquired through intensive study. Many overseas universities use a quarter-term system.
*Tutorial English: A small group lesson consisting of 1 tutor and 4 students. The lesson aims to increase students' English "speaking" and "listening" ability.
*Professionals Workshop: A project conducted through a university-corporate partnership. Students work together with professionals (corporate employees) in order to solve corporate issues and propose a solution to corporate management.
*Non-Degree Program: An educational curriculum focusing on the acquirement of specialized knowledge without obtaining a degree.