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Campus Now

Early Spring Issue (Apr. 2015)


University reform continues.
Toward a global university which is diverse, open and fluid

Upon our selection to the MEXT’s Top Global University Project Type A (Top Type), we would like to once again introduce reform being enforced by Waseda University. Two years have passed since the formulation of Waseda Vision 150. How is reform progressing? What is the goal of the newly created Waseda Ocean Initiative? This article answers these questions and more.

“Waseda Vision 150”

Four Visions
Vision 1
Students of the highest caliber and character who show promise in being able to contribute to the world
Vision 2
Research that will ultimately contribute to real world peace and happiness in human society
Vision 3
Graduates (alumni) who will contribute to the public good as global leaders
Vision 4
Asia’s premier model university adaptable to a changing world
Example of Activities
Establishment of the Entrance Examination Development Office
Develop new entrance examination methods and reform the existing entrance examination system in order to acquire diverse and outstanding students.
Opening of the Waseda International Student House WISH
One of the largest dormitories in east Japan, WISH houses about 900 Japanese and international students. WISH provides an environment for mutual growth by overcoming differences in nationalities and culture.
Establishment of the new research organizations the Advanced Collaborative Research Organization for Smart Society:ACROSS and the Research Organization for Next Generation Vehicles
As organizations representing the “Waseda of Research,” these organizations contribute to the formation of a rich future and prosperous society through research which fuses fields utilizing the strength of a comprehensive university.
Creation of the most diverse campus in Japan
Waseda has partners with more than 700 affiliated schools, one of the highest numbers in Japan. For five consecutive years, Waseda has accepted the highest number of international students in Japan. For two consecutive years, Waseda has sent the highest number of Japanese students overseas (according to a JASSO survey).
Completion of construction of a New Building No. 3
This building actively incorporates the most advanced and newest forms of education. Examples include small-group seminar classrooms, distance learning with overseas schools, and tutorials for report writing, mathematics and statistics.
Pick Up

Model bases for changes in education and research

From among the six model bases which are invested intensively in advance on the Top Global University Project, this article introduces the two models of “Japanese Culture Studies” and “ICT/Robot Engineering.”

Japanese Cultural Studies

Executive Director (Cultural Affairs)
Professor Lee Sungsi, Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences(right)
Base Leader
Professor Hirokazu Toeda, Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences(left)

We consider Japanese culture within global culture at Waseda

The many years of research in Japanese literature and culture at Waseda University is about to enter a new chapter of broad expansion with people throughout the world. As seen in the works of Haruki Murakami, Japanese culture does not belong to Japanese people alone; indeed, it is a subject of interest to many people throughout the world. In order to encourage further acceptance of Japanese culture globally, it is necessary to actively convey our culture outside of Japan. The same holds true for research. It is now necessary to consider Japanese culture from the new perspective of being part of global culture. In particular, the field of literature places priority on the uniqueness of research themes. In addition to research ability and personal character, individuality is also prioritized. An effective way to enrich one’s individuality is to interact with researchers who come from different backgrounds and have diverse perspectives.

Ever since Shoyo Tsubouchi founded the Department of Literature, Waseda University has focused on humanities research including literature, history, philosophy and theater. Our university has cooperated with Columbia University to conduct high-level joint research on Japanese culture. In 2008, we started a Double Degree Program with Columbia University for doctoral students in the Japanese literature course. Our universities are cooperating to cultivate outstanding young researchers who support the future of international research on Japanese culture. In 2014, Waseda University formed a partnership with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and started a project for the globalization of Japanese literature. We plan to form a consortium with outstanding educational and research institutions from throughout the world. In January 2015, in honor of Ryusaku Tsunoda, we opened the Ryusaku Tsunoda Center of Japanese Culture as a bridge for cooperative research between Waseda University and Columbia University. Our goal is to create an open international base which facilitates the interaction of outstanding researchers of Japanese culture in the field of humanities. Furthermore, studying in such an environment will enable students to constantly consider Japanese culture through global consciousness. We expect this to lead to positive internationalization.

As future initiatives, we are considering the establishment of the “Global Japanese Studies Course,” a five-year integrated educational curriculum at the Graduate School of Letters, Arts and Sciences, as well as the establishment of an English-language degree program. We will strive to expand the value of potential research ability at Waseda University.

The Waseda University Ryusaku Tsunoda Center of Japanese Culture and the Columbia University Donald Keene Center are working to form an agreement related to educational and research activities. On January 6, Director David Lurie (the one in the middle) of the Donald Keene Center made a courtesy call on President Kaoru Kamata.

ICT/Robot Engineering

Base Leader
Professor Shigeki Sugano, Faculty of Science and Engineering

Expanding a network of colleagues across fields from Waseda to the world!

International cooperation is an important theme in ICT and robot engineering. The reason is that Japan must establish global standards in order to raise required ICT and robot engineering from the automobile industry to other basic industries. Furthermore, from the research stage, it is necessary to hold thorough discussions with researchers from Western countries, sharing ideas related to concepts and designs. Failure to do so will result in isolation of Japan, regardless of the high level of technology conceived. Universities, researchers and students are capable of promoting global partnerships.

In the 2014 academic year, we started the Graduate Program for Embodiment Informatics as a degree program with a five-year integrated curriculum. This program seeks to connect information technology with mechanical engineering. The program provides academic stimuli through joint educational facilities known as “ateliers.” In these ateliers, students engage in experiments and manufacturing which goes beyond the scope of their individual departments and laboratories. Ultimately, the program seeks to unify academic and research fields through such mutual stimulation. This culture of active cooperation is a feature of the science and engineering field in which research is conducted in teams. Such cooperation is especially prevalent at Waseda University. When I was a graduate student, I participated in the WABOT Project and was greatly stimulated by the partnership between four laboratories at the three departments of Applied Mechanics, Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics. Our goal now is to expand this network of colleagues—networks which go beyond the boundaries of individual fields to achieve fusion—from Waseda to the world. By doing so, we seek to cultivate and produce leaders who will perform in industry both in Japan and overseas.

Currently, we have already formed partnerships with research institutions such as the Technical University Munich (Germany) and SSSA (Italy). An environment of cooperation among non-Japanese researchers and students is being developed at Waseda University. The Top Global University Project is aimed at accelerating overseas cooperation. The establishment of an annual salary system and joint appointment system will make it easier to attract top-level research teams from across the globe. By conducting broad joint research with such teams and conveying results to the world, we shall further improve the research ability of ICT and robot engineering at Waseda University. Moreover, such success will also lead to improved research ability in other related fields such as human engineering and bioengineering. We believe that this positive cycle will raise the research capability of Waseda University to a world-leading level.

Ateliers: Places of learning filled with academic stimuli

Ateliers are joint educational facilities that are independent from the laboratories of instructing professors. Every day, students from different backgrounds cooperate in learning and research activities at ateliers. Within an atmosphere full of academic stimuli, a transparent and interactive environment is realized for ideas and research content. This supports the formation of joint research with other fields.