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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.


Bringing happiness to people throughout the world
In order to cultivate global leaders

Specifically, what kind of professionals are the global leaders that Waseda University seeks to cultivate?
A conversation was held between Professor Takahiro Ono (Dean of the Academic Affairs Division), who participated in the formulation "Waseda Vision 150", and Professor Kate Elwood (Faculty of Commerce), who was born in the U.S. The two held a passionate discussion regarding onsite educational themes and goals for cultivating global leaders.

Professor Takahiro Ono (Faculty of Science and Engineering) ×
Professor Kate Elwood (Faculty of Commerce)

Professionals who will help others even at the cost of self-sacrifice

Ono: "Waseda Vision 150" is composed of 13 core strategies for cultivating global leaders. In the first place, in 1904, about 20 years after the founding of our university, Waseda University established the Shinkoku Foreign Students Division. The division made an organized effort to accept numerous foreign students. At one time, the number of foreign students from Asia accounted for more than 20% of all students. In recent years, Waseda started the Graduate School of Asia Pacific Studies in 1998. This school implements a bilingual educational system in Japanese and English. In 2004, we established the School of International Liberal Studies, where all classes are held in English. Also, since the 1980s, we have continued to increase agreements with overseas universities. Currently, we have conducted about 500 such agreements.

Elwood: In other words, since our founding, Waseda University has cultivated professionals who will serve as global leaders. That tradition has been passed down throughout our school's history.

Ono: Exactly. Through "Waseda Vision 150," Waseda University seeks to cultivate global leaders who put the happiness of others first. Shigenobu Okuma once said the following: "When people acquire knowledge, they also become selfish. We must not give priority to ourselves. It is important to conduct character education at universities." Shigenobu Okuma taught that acquired knowledge should not be used for personal benefit; rather, it should be applied to help others. This teaching is the tradition of Waseda University. One example is the foreign diplomat Chiune Sugihara, a Waseda University graduate who was known as "the Japanese Schindler." During World War II, Sugihara was stationed at the Japanese Consulate in Lithuania. In order to save the lives of refugees who were persecuted by Nazi Germany, Sugihara ignored orders from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and issued approximately 6,000 visas. The conviction to do what is right, even if it means sacrificing one's self. This is the type of global leader which Waseda seeks to cultivate.

Elwood: Global leaders can perform either overseas or in Japan, right?

Ono: Since long ago, Waseda has gathered students from regions throughout Japan and produced countless professionals who, after graduation, work in their hometown for the good of the community. Today, students gather from throughout the world and return to their home country to perform. In other words, the term global leader doesn't refer to becoming a global citizen. Instead, it refers to a professional who is a leader in his or her community. Such a professional can be active anywhere globally (the world), regionally (Asia), nationally (Japan) or locally (the community). However, in these times, a global perspective is necessary no matter where you are. I hope that our graduates will constantly view the world through a global perspective and mind in order to lead others.

Elwood: That's wonderful! Professor Ono, I was touched upon hearing your passionate discourse. Recently, it is said that Japanese students are introverted. However, compared to America, I feel that Japanese students are more focused on the world as a whole. I don't think that Waseda students are very introverted.

Ono: Students first come to our university with the intention to study in order to lead a comfortable life. Then, they realize at Waseda that they must study in order to bring happiness to others. If such students spread throughout the world, I believe that peace will be brought to the world. I want to have such lofty aspirations when cultivating students.

Elwood: I totally agree. Giving priority to the happiness of others is the most important aspect of humanity. It also brings fulfillment to one's own life.

Ono: It's wonderful to be someone who can rejoice at the smiles of others. Waseda has lots of students with good hearts. Numerous students participate at WAVOC (the Hirayama Ikuo Volunteer Center, Waseda University). As of today, about 3,000 students have participated in support for reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake. As a university, we must implement measures for harnessing the power of our students' hearts.

Making Waseda's campuses into a global environment

Even 20 years from now, Waseda's mission will be the same.

Ono: In order for universities to cultivate global leaders, we must provide opportunities for introverted students to come out of their shells. One such measure is our plan to increase the number of foreign students from the current 4,000 to 10,000. I want to globalize Waseda's campuses. I heard something interesting about a Japanese student who had become friends with a foreign student from Tanzania. The Japanese student told his friend, "I want to visit your country," and selected Tanzania as the location for his own foreign study. But for his encounter with the Tanzanian student, the Japanese student might never have become interested in Tanzania. I want to create many such situations. I envision an environment in which every day is a global experience and students feel the desire to travel overseas. When looking at all of Japan, the number of Japanese students studying overseas peaked at 80,000 in 2004. Currently, the number is a little under 60,000. However, when viewing Waseda alone, the number of students studying abroad has continued to increase. Today, about 2,500 students participate in long-term or short-term foreign study programs every year. I believe that this increase is the result of our steady movement towards realizing a global campus.

Elwood: That's right. I work in Building No. 11, which we share with the School of International Liberal Studies. I hear a variety of different languages every time that I ride in the elevator. The ideal situation is to become friends with a foreign student. Even the smallest encounter can lead to interest in another person's country.

Ono: It is essential to accumulate real experiences throughout the world. Young people today are satisfied with the understanding that they get from information on the internet. However, such information doesn't reveal the essence of things. Therefore, I want to create a positive spiral of theory and actual practice as university. For example, consider a student who engages in actual practice through short-term foreign study. That student may realize that, in addition to language skills, he or she has nothing to be proud of or contribute. Upon returning to Japan, that student will undoubtedly study theory on that. Then, the student will study abroad again and feel tangible results, gaining confidence before entering society. I would like to create this kind of positive spiral.

Elwood: Waseda's goal is for all students to study abroad in 20 years.

Ono: When the number of students traveling between Japan and overseas increases, our university must provide thorough follow-up in terms of both risk and cost. Currently, there are 10 overseas offices staffed by faculty from Waseda University. These offices provide detailed support. In terms of cost, we provide 1-month short-term foreign study programs for about 100,000 yen, including air tickets.

As a system to promote short-term foreign study, we will begin full-scale implementation of a quarter (4-term) system at 17 undergraduate schools and graduate schools from April 2013. This will further reduce the hurdles to studying abroad. In the case of faculty, combining summer vacation with the proceeding and following quarters will make it possible to form a longer research period than currently possible. It will also make it easier to travel for short-term overseas research.

Develop thinking ability required for life

Ono: In the future, instead of only faculty contributing to the development of a single student, I believe that staff members, members of the community and corporate employees should also be involved. In the past, children grew through involvement with various adults in the local community. I would like to create a similar environment for the 4 years of university. In the future, people from various age groups will study at university. I think it would be interesting to create within our university a community which brings together young people and the elderly. In my vision, that community would envelop the entire neighborhood of Waseda.

Elwood: Waseda's expression of a "gateless university" is truly wonderful. The possibilities really increase when considering education dynamically throughout the entire community. While at university, I hope that students will have a variety of encounters which help them to develop the thinking ability.

Ono: Even if they possess knowledge, today's students have poor thinking ability. It's most unfortunate.

Elwood: There was a student who persevered reading a difficult book in preparation for an oral examination. However, the student was unable to answer the teacher's only one question: "Why was this book written?" The student had never considered the reason for the book's existence.

Ono: In the future, instead of classes which cram knowledge into students, I would like to construct a curriculum which devotes more time to discussion and group work.

Elwood: Although it seems like a long time, 4 years is actually a very short period of time. Therefore, from their 1st year, I want to make students think about why they are studying at Waseda. The School of Commerce has a popular subject called professional seminar (a practical course in the general education subject). Students can enroll in this subject from their 1st year at university. I believe that offering more seminar classes is an effective way to help students quickly discover themes which interest them.

Ono: Many of our undergraduate schools are starting to require seminars from the 1st year of university. In small-group seminars, highly motivated 1st-year students are given the opportunity to debate familiar themes. Through such seminars, I hope that students will realize that their arguments lack substance and therefore feel the need to study.

Elwood: Discussion makes it possible to learn each other's way of thinking. It is also an opportunity to think about why knowledge exists and how knowledge should be used.

Realizing a Happy-Happy world through "Waseda Vision 150"

I want to teach true communication which enables students to be useful to others.

Elwood: In order to become a professional who is useful to others, it is necessary to thoroughly understand others. In other words, communication skill is of the utmost importance. Often times, communication is reduced to pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary. However, these are nothing more than elements which support communication. True communication skill lies in the ability to listen to the thoughts of others. At the same, the ability to convey one's own thoughts is also important. Sometimes, when speaking with what you consider to be common sense, the other person will have no idea what you are saying. For example, you may intend to apologize, but the other party doesn't recognize what you say as an apology. I hope to teach students communication skills which are useful in a variety of situations.

Ono: Listening ability is essential for leaders. A leader is someone who, after hearing the opinions of others, is capable of acting according to his or her own beliefs. Incidentally, I believe that an outstanding leader is also someone who can become an outstanding follower.

Elwood: Someone who doesn't pander to others and who doesn't press his or her opinion on others, right?

Ono: If after 20 years, the world doesn't require the leaders which our university considers to be ideal, then the vision of Waseda University as created by Shigenobu Okuma will be finished. However, such a result is unthinkable. I want to create agreement among even more people and spread our philosophy to other universities.

"Waseda Vision 150" contains the desire of Waseda to save the world. Waseda wants to cultivate global leaders and move closer to a society in which everyone feels happiness. I don't care much for the phrase win-win, since it is based on the concept of winning and losing. Instead, we seek to create a happy-happy society. We envision a society with a variety of happy values, but also a society in which everyone can become happy. During the next 20 years, let's cultivate professionals who will lead the world toward a variety of happiness!

Takahiro Ono
Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University

Graduated from the School of Science and Engineering, Waseda University. Completed the Doctoral Program at the Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Waseda University. Holds a PhD in engineering. Served as an assistant professor at the School of Science and Engineering before becoming a professor in 1995. Appointed as Director of International Affairs in November 2006. Appointed as Dean of Academic Affairs in November 2010.

Kate Elwood
Professor, Faculty of Commerce, Waseda University

In 1983, came to Japan as a foreign student from the University of Pennsylvania. Transferred to International Christian University and majored in Japanese history. After graduation from the university and employment at a Japanese corporation, completed the Master's Program in English language education at Columbia University Teachers' College. Served as an assistant professor at the School of Commerce, Waseda University since 2002. Became a professor at the Faculty of Commerce in 2009. Her research theme is cross-cultural pragmatics.