About Tokyo Tech

One Year On Interview with President Yoshinao Mishima

I would like to create a world-leading educational environment President Yoshinao MIshima

Noting that one year has passed since President Yoshinao Mishima's inauguration on October 1, 2012, we asked him about his experiences during his first year as president and the state of the Institute.

How was your first year as president?

President Yoshinao MIshima

This past year I have done everything I could to establish an atmosphere conducive to moving forward having achieved a consensus of faculty members and staff on a clearly defined goal for the Institute. Immediately after my appointment, Members of the Board and I attended every Faculty Meeting to convey our objectives and policies, and listened to the opinions of their members. I also held university-wide meetings to explain our current Education Reform Plan, and have been sharing information and discussing the future of Tokyo Tech with concerned parties while pushing ahead with reform. I have a growing collection of opinions from individuals both affiliated with and external to the Institute, and I can sense that Tokyo Tech has become more vibrant and focused as a whole.

Memorable occasions

I attended my first hearing as president shortly after my appointment in October last year. The selection of the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) at this hearing as a center in the World Premier International Research Center Initiatives (WPI) program for FY2012 was good news indeed. The ELSI is currently attracting top-level researchers from around the globe and is becoming an international hub for research into the origins of the Earth and life.

In April we were incredibly fortunate to have US Secretary of State John Kerry give a major policy speech at Tokyo Tech. This was undoubtedly an extremely precious experience for the students in attendance. April's visit was followed by a visit in July of US Ambassador to Japan John Roos who interacted not for the first time with our students. That the US government repeatedly chose Tokyo Tech for bilateral engagement is indicative of its recognition of the Institute as an international university and this gave me confidence.

You immediately embarked on radical reforms of Tokyo Tech's education system upon your appointment as president. What are the results to date?

Preparing for a major transformation of our education system in our 135th year

President Yoshinao MIshima

We are currently formulating a new education system in preparation for its launch in FY2016, the 135th anniversary of the founding of Tokyo Tech. Becoming one of the World's Top 10 Research Universities by 2030 is one of Tokyo Tech's goals. We have already achieved world-leading status in a number of research fields and we have many outstanding researchers. However, we cannot achieve our goal simply by conducting top-level research. Both research and education are integral to universities. Our goal only becomes achievable when we can offer a world-leading education as well. This is the objective of our Education Reform Plan.

Extremely talented high school students and examinees from all over Japan matriculate at Tokyo Tech each year. When considering the question "Does the education we offer do enough to develop the potential of these outstanding students," I determined that Tokyo Tech could do more. I would like to create a world-leading educational environment in which students are able to acquire both academic breadth and depth with an expertise in a desired field of science and technology while contemplating their futures.

Improving the quality of education

Our Education Reform Plan seeks to improve the quality of education at Tokyo Tech by comprehensively overhauling our curriculum, making syllabi (class content) accessible worldwide and improving teaching methodologies. I would like to establish an educational environment on a par with that of world-leading universities in order to facilitate the introduction of a credit transfer system with universities abroad. It is my hope that our students will experience studying abroad while they are undergraduates, if only for a short time, and then gain further international experience over a longer period of stay at the graduate level.

I would also like a large number of outstanding international students to study at Tokyo Tech, and to promote international exchange among faculty members. For example, I would like to invite Nobel-Prize-level faculty to Tokyo Tech to encourage international perspectives among our students through lectures and discussions, and engage in other initiatives geared toward creating a global atmosphere on all of our campuses. I look forward to working together with faculty members, staff and students to develop an education at Tokyo Tech that cultivates students with the mettle to change the world.

I would also like to create further opportunities to hear the opinions of all concerned parties. In particular, I would like to have more opportunities to engage in dialogue with students and exchange opinions about the future and the educational reforms being advanced by the Institute.