About Tokyo Tech

Two Years On - Interview with President Mishima

Becoming  a world-class university

Two years have passed since President Yoshinao Mishima's inauguration on October 1, 2012, and he turned the halfway point of his tenure. On this occasion, we asked him about current Institute initiatives and his vision for the future of Tokyo Tech.

Moving forward with education reform

Tokyo Tech's education reform will be fully implemented in April 2016. The details of the education reform has become clear in the past year and you are exercising solid leadership in advancing the reform. Please tell us about the progress of Tokyo Tech's education reform and its challenges.

Interview with President Mishima

We are earnestly engaged in preparing for the implementation of the education reform in April 2016. It's important to note that the reform will not be achieved merely by changing the curricula or the course numbering system. We need to implement the new education system effectively so that students get motivated to learn at Tokyo Tech for their future. Tokyo Tech faculty and staff are working as one to implement a substantive reform.

Most of all, I want to create an environment where students take interest in their studies and enjoy learning proactively. To that end, it is also necessary to devise new curricula and teaching methods. We will establish a committee that oversees the implementation of the reform across the Institute and addresses any issues that may arise.

A university is a place where individuals of all kinds can flourish. Is it a challenge to coordinate with Tokyo Tech faculty members who have such unique personalities?

I am pleased that our faculty members truly understand the objectives of the education reform and are working hard toward its implementation. The quality of the new curricula that they are developing is exceptional. I appreciate their enthusiasm for education. Various reform efforts are still underway, and I intend to speak directly with related parties as much as possible and exchange opinions along the way.

What message do you have for prospective undergraduate and graduate students regarding the education reform?

Your goal should not be to get into a certain university or graduate school, nor should it be to gain employment upon graduation. What's important for you as a student is finding your passion, expanding your capabilities, and envisioning what role you will play in society. You can do these things at Tokyo Tech if you are motivated to work hard.

Enhancing the Institute's research capacity

Along with the education reform, Tokyo Tech has embarked on a research reform after it was selected to receive support under the Program for Promoting the Enhancement of Research Universities in 2013. Could you tell us about the progress of the research reform and its future development?

Interview with President Mishima

As a first step, I am articulating our philosophy and goals on making social contributions through research. I would like to show what we aim to accomplish through research and how our research will make a difference in the world. Discussions regarding the research reform has already started and its basic outline will be finalized by the end of fiscal year 2014.

Creating an appropriate research environment is also important. We still need to overcome various challenges such as developing an approach for conducting new research that is unique to Tokyo Tech, organizing the Institute's research units, and providing support to faculty members to allow them more time for research.

We need to think about what the ideal environment is for promoting cooperation among different academic fields to develop new ideas. In this sense, I am looking forward to the future development of Tokyo Tech's Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI), where world-class researchers have gathered to conduct joint research toward the goal of establishing a world-class research hub.

Stepping up Tokyo Tech's presence in the world

Immediately after your inauguration, you set a long-term goal for Tokyo Tech to become one of the world's top 10 research universities by 2030, a year shy of the Institute's 150th anniversary. In concrete terms, what does it mean to become one of the world's top 10 research universities, and what should such a university aim for?

Interview with President Mishima

My vision of for the future of Tokyo Tech can be summarized as follows:

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The campuses have an atmosphere that encourages proactive learning across various disciplines and trying new things. The Institute has credit transfer agreements and joint-degree programs with the world's top sci-tech universities, attracting outstanding students from around the globe, and faculty members provide exceptional support to international students.
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Tokyo Tech's world-class research is developed further. World's leading researchers come to conduct research at the Institute, and our faculty members are recognized internationally. The Institute has the appropriate research environment to accommodate active cooperative research efforts.
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The Institute continues to advance its internationalization process. All staff members speak English, and Institute announcements and documents are available in English. Dormitories and housing are available for international students and researchers.

I believe that a university should be a lively place. If the vision that I have for Tokyo Tech can be realized, I firmly believe that we will have a vibrant campus.

2030 seems a long way off, but what should Tokyo Tech do for the next 15 years to become one of the world's top 10 research universities?

The impact of the education reform may not be immediately obvious. I don't know whether we will be actively collaborating with students and researchers from the world's top sci-tech universities within the next 15 years. However, this will never happen unless we carry out a reform now. We just have to move forward with our goals.

The next 12 months

Lastly, please tell us what you hope to accomplish in your third year.

Interview with President Mishima

I am grateful to those who have contributed to the progress of the education reform in the past two years. I believe this progress was due to the administration's earnest response to the faculty's constructive ideas. Looking forward, I hope to prove the value of this education reform.

I have a strong desire to make Tokyo Tech a world-class university. I want Tokyo Tech students to be passionate about academic as well as extracurricular activities. I also hope to work toward establishing a flexible work environment for the faculty members.