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|2011年||2011: Sawako Hanyu, Ph.D.President, Ochanomizu University
My tenure as representative of the consortium began in January 2011, taking over from Dr. Oyama from Tokyo Medical and Dental University.
I believe that well-trained individuals who receive superior secondary education in Japan are a vital resource in a country that has so few natural resources. They are the key to sustained growth and the ability to thrive in a global age. From that perspective, the university has a significant role to play and must try to respond to the mandate of the country’s citizens. One effective strategy is collaboration among universities wherein mutual contributions are made through the strengths and complementary academic areas of each university.
|2010年||2010:Dr. Takashi Oyama, President of Tokyo Medical and Dental University
The life sciences have seen explosive development since the last century, and their importance continues to grow in opening up new interdisciplinary areas and as a foundation for promoting new industries. Graduate school education in the life sciences provides the chance to acquire advanced knowledge, but researchers must learn to be aware of what scopes of research can be useful to society. Also, within a single university specializations are limited by the available areas of study. For these reasons it is necessary to have collaboration among universities in order to produce trained individuals who have the broad range of knowledge that is needed in society. The cooperation of regional research institutes and industry is also needed. The Tokyo Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Consortium was launched to take advantage of the complementary characteristics of four universities in the field of interdisciplinary life sciences and to provide coordination and crossover in four broad areas of research—the material life sciences linked to basic physical chemistry at Ochanomizu University; biomolecular science at Gakushuin University; biopharmaceutics geared toward drug discovery at Kitasato University; and disease prevention sciences linked to clinical medicine at Tokyo Medical and Dental University. Additionally, to create an exceptional “neighborhood” research institute and achieve collaboration with industry, the consortium is promoting the following four pursuits.
Improving the Level of Education
Efforts to Improve the Level of Education by the Education Improvement Team
Dr. Tetsuyuki Kobayashi, Professor, Ochanomizu University
Japan today faces a turning point as significant to society qualitatively as the Meiji Restoration. Reform is required in secondary education from the ground up to meet growing societal demands. The four graduate schools in this consortium each bring to the table special features and unique histories, which contribute unique characteristics to the life sciences and to interdisciplinary education and research. The cross-disciplinary educational system we are creating takes advantage of the special features of each university and transcends the existing framework of a public or private university in Japan. The system will provide a new kind of graduate school education offering complementary components in the field of interdisciplinary life sciences. The Education Improvement Team aims to produce life scientists who are flexible in meeting the needs of society and have acquired specialization across a broad range of fields. Utilizing an effective collaboration among the four universities, we have focused specifically on the following three core areas to expand the complementary components of graduate school education.
1. Development of a common curriculum and improvement through credit exchanges
Graduate programs tend to lack a structured syllabus in comparison to undergraduate programs. To improve this situation, we identified common subjects that draw upon the individual strengths of each university and implemented a system of credit exchange to allow students of the four universities to take classes at each other’s universities. The four universities thus developed a common curriculum of complementary courses in the life sciences and created a syllabus, including courses related to the life sciences, elective courses in the humanities and the social sciences, and classes taught in English, whether by Japanese or non-Japanese instructors.
2. Joint implementation of faculty development (FD)
Graduate school education today is undergoing change around the world, particularly in Europe. In the graduate school programs related to this consortium, it is important for faculty to acquire skills and knowledge in line with international faculty development standards. The aim of this effort is improve the capabilities of individual faculty members while working to deepen exchanges among faculty of the four universities. It is also designed for the sharing of information and skills related to research and education that form the foundation of graduate school education. To accomplish these things, we plan to host many kinds of FD training sessions and seminars for faculty from the four participating universities, including seminars to study the realities and problems facing graduate school education systems both inside and outside Japan, and seminars to improve skills in giving lectures in English.
3. Standardization of degree requirements
Many problems are recognized today with regard to degree requirements in graduate school programs. By standardizing degree requirements among the four universities related to interdisciplinary life sciences, the consortium is working to make requirements both stricter and more transparent. We also plan to establish an effective system among the four universities that will enable faculty to provide individualized research guidance to students across university boundaries depending on the student’s research topic. As an extension, a system is being set up whereby faculty from other participating universities can participate in setting degree requirements.
■Common Curriculum: 94% of participating students agreed, “Taking a class at another university was worth it”!
A common curriculum was implemented in April 2010 that allows credits to be obtained by graduate students in the Master’s program for specific classes at any of the four universities participating in the Tokyo Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Consortium (Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Ochanomizu University, Gakushuin University, and Kitasato University). Improving graduate school education also relies on a system of credit exchange among the four universities, providing common courses within complementary subject groups in the life sciences and related research areas.
■□ From a questionnaire of students in the program (first semester, 2010) □■
• “I found a new interest by taking a class at another university.”
• “It was exciting to interact with students from another university studying in the same field.” (Further results of the questionnaire to be published.)
Common Curriculum (credit exchange)
Graduate students of the four universities participating in the Tokyo Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Consortium, viz. Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Ochanomizu University, Gakushuin University, and Kitasato University, may take Master’s program classes at any of the other graduate schools within the common curriculum and obtain credit for the course.
The effective use of a system of individualized guidance to be established among the four universities will enable faculty from one university to provide research guidance to a student attending another university, depending on the student’s research topic. As an extension, a system is being set up whereby faculty from other participating universities can participate in setting degree requirements.
Many kinds of FD training sessions and seminars will be held for faculty from the four participating universities, including seminars to study the realities and problems facing graduate school education systems both inside and outside Japan, and seminars to improve skills in giving lectures in English. Your participation is awaited.