Table Speech

Global Strategy of Waseda University ---Cultivating Global Leaders---

August 7, 2013

Professor Dr. Eng., Waseda University 
Dean of Academic Affairs,
Faculty of Science and Engineering,
Waseda University  

  My duties as a Professor of Faculty of Science and Engineering as well as a Dean of Academic Affairs require me to focus on the planning and administration of the future vision of Waseda University as a whole. Let me share with you our “global strategy” to which we attach paramount importance.

 Waseda University celebrated its 130th Anniversary last year and announced the mid- to long-term plan, “Waseda Vision 150”, in November. It serves as a roadmap towards our sesquicentennial anniversary in 2032 and establishes our future direction in the context of principles advocated by our founder, Shigenobu Okuma.

 We envision to “keep making contributions to the world as a leading University of Asia.” Our 4 key visions are 1) to cultivate global leaders with warm humanity and penetrating insight, 2) to enhance creative and innovative researches, 3) to reinforce life-long collaboration among fellow students and local communities, and 4) to establish a mechanism towards an evolutionary and dynamic University. 13 core strategies and 76 related projects are being duly implemented.

 “Globalization” and “innovation” are two key words we often come across today, which also underlie our initiatives. Due to time constraint, let me focus on some concrete measures our University takes to “cultivate global leaders” today. Our priority is to produce leaders, who can lead the entire organization, large or small, based on global perspective and problem-solving capabilities.

 Our founder Shigenobu Okuma once clarified the primary role of university education to be the “formation of one’s character, because over-emphasis on the acquisition of knowledge makes us egocentric and wanes the spirit of self-sacrifice.” Based on his ideals, we identify “wisdom, aspiration and executive ability” are the three essential faculties that make global leaders. Wisdom encompasses profound international education, cross-cultural understanding, high degree of expertise, analytical intelligence and thoughts, language and communication skills, as well as self-directive and critical thinking. We must also cultivate one’s “aspiration” to contribute to people around the world selflessly. “Executive ability” is also essential to pursue one’s aspiration and produce concrete results.

 Let me explain how Waseda University will cultivate these three essential faculties. We believe formulating a spiral mechanism of learning that links theory and its actual practice is the key. The so-called global issues, including food, population and energy, dominate the world that call for an interdisciplinary, cross-national or regional approach for their solution.

 Students receive lectures on theories and have extensive discussions first, then set out for field works or volunteer activities in and out of Japan to put learning into practice. This way, they get to find the limitation of desk theory and discover new issues to be addressed through real experiences. Such alternating accumulation of theory and practice will reinforce one’s problem-solving capabilities and build “wisdom, aspiration and executive ability.”

 Let me reiterate that having global experience is essential to get global perspective. This is why students of Waseda University are encouraged to study abroad at least once before graduation. Our University has a long history of foreign exchange program that dates back to 1905 when a group of students from the Qing Dynasty China were accepted through a systematic program. Today, as many as 4,500 foreign students study at Waseda, while 2,500 Japanese students are sent throughout the world for their study. We plan to increase the number of foreign students to 10,000 that will account for 20% of the total students. This way, students will get firsthand experience of the globalized world at our campus and come to feel affinity and interest in different cultures.

 Our extensive curriculums are based on the quarter system that guarantees small-group intensive lectures. Our courses are classified by numbering and go through the Rubric evaluation based on clear criteria. Such new initiatives further enhance educational effectiveness and also match with the academic calendar adopted by countries around the world that facilitates exchange of students.

 Our role is to make many students with inward-looking attitude to open their eyes to the diversity and vastness of the world and to make them realize that their future is full of exciting and promising chances through global experiences. We believe our innovative education will foster future generation with confidence to maximize their ability and become competent leaders. Let me show you some of our unique courses. We have “the University version reading, writing and arithmetic (3Rs)” as our fundamental education given to all students. “Math of 10,000 people” fosters logical thinking, while “Writing academic papers” assist students prepare their reports and thesis. “Tutorial English” is an intensive English conversation course where an English native speaking teacher is assigned to a group of four students.

 I am happy to talk about other courses, but as time is running out, let me close here. I hope my speech today helped deepen your understanding on some pioneer initiatives Waseda University has been taking to cultivate global leaders.