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学長からのメッセージPresident's Position Paper for 2021

Ⅰ.Basic Position

In the Bible, in the Letter to the Romans, we can find the following words: "We know that all things work together for good" (Rom 8:28, NRSV). If we look back at the previous year, we cannot help but recall this verse. As a result of the covid-19 virus a state of emergency was declared and other measures have had to been taken which, in the end, have limited our lives in numerous ways. However, even amidst these depravations, the experience of the past year has served to reconfirm what is really essential. We have learned that, no matter how bad the situation is, there are always things that can be discovered, which will work for our personal good as well as for the good of the whole of humanity. We have realized that the human person is not merely an individual, but rather that all of life is deeply connected. In my Position Paper for the last academic year, I proposed the key phrase "global concern, our contribution". Accordingly, let us work together to help those who suffered from the experience of this past year, overcome hardships, and strive towards the development of future scholarship and education at our university.

During the previous academic year, Nanzan University received an accreditation evaluation by an external evaluation institution, the Japan University Accreditation Association. Many members of the university spared no efforts to advance the preparations for this evaluation. To all of them, I'd like to express my sincere gratitude. The evaluation has been on the whole positive, however some areas for further improvement have also been pointed out. Besides that, we completed the mid-term evaluation of the Nanzan University Grand Design, which indicated that there are some issues that still have not been sufficiently resolved. Furthermore, because of the covid-19 virus, we haven't been able to sufficiently achieve some of the goals proposed in last year's President's Position. All of this gives us indications for the reforms to be carried out this coming year.

Finally, this year, we will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the foundation of our university. Due to the influence of the covid-19 virus, the launching of the celebration of this important milestone has been delayed, and we have been forced to curtail plans to some extent. Nevertheless, during this historic year I'd like to give thanks for the development of our university so far, and at the same time, to think together with all of you about the kind of university that we would like to create as we head towards the centennial of its foundation. On the occasion of this 75th anniversary, I have proposed creating an award provisionally called the "Nanzan University Human Dignity Award". By honoring people who have contributed to the realization of our educational motto, "For human dignity", let us return to the foundational principle of Nanzan University and continue to work towards the fulfilment of our mission as a university.

Ⅱ.Response to the Pandemic

1.Preventing the Spread of the Covid-19 Virus and Endeavors to Restore In-Person Classes

Last academic year was a time when we all faced the emergency caused by the spread of the covid-19 virus and were forced to take various measures in order to prevent the spread of this infection on the campus. At our university, we have established a board for responding to and taking measures against the spread of the covid-19 virus and we have also created an online class management working group. In this and other ways, we have taken prompt action to decide about the form of carrying out classes, of implementing the entrance examinations, and so on. As a result, in addition to the WebClass system we had used previously, by introducing Zoom and our own server for downloading materials, our university was able to maintain interactive classes online since the first quarter. This new system, used by almost 800 teachers and around 10,000 students, was kept stable thanks to the efforts of many university staff. Moreover, the slogan "Efforts to avoid catching the virus, consideration to prevent the spread of the virus – for human dignity", proposed by the Health Center, in addition to periodic information concerning the prevention of the infection, has also fulfilled an important role in guiding the behavior of each and every member of the university.

Regarding the form of classes for this academic year, after careful consideration we have decided to "carry out, in principle, all classes in-person, except for large-scale lectures". However, there is a limit to the number of seats in the classrooms, and hence it is possible that courses in which the enrollees exceed a certain number will have to be conducted online. Furthermore, depending on the situation of the spread of the infection, a switch-over to online classes isn't excluded either. Every entity organizing courses, such as faculties and graduate schools, should sufficiently understand the basic guidelines, consider above all else the preservation of health and safety, and take adequate measures to prevent the spread of the infection.

2.Improving Online Educational Activities and Working Duties

Due to Covid-19, it has become difficult for students to come to the Student Affairs Office or the Office for Academic Affairs to make various applications, and for the teaching and administrative staff to submit and process various documents related to their work. As a response to that, our university has decided to make administrative procedures paperless and to further move away from the practice of putting one's seal on those documents. Although these actions were taken as a response to the virus, they also serve to promote efficiency in our work. In addition, although the basic form of classes will be in-person, our university has already earned results in progressive online education such as NU-COIL. In order to accelerate this process, please discuss measures to anticipate the social change by the recent digital transformation and to advance even more the high value-addedness of education and efficiency in office procedures.

Ⅲ.Future Planning

1.Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Foundation

Our university will reach the 75th anniversary of its foundation this academic year. In order to give value to the award tentatively named "Nanzan University Human Dignity Award", which I pointed out in the Basic Position, it is important to search for candidates from the wider society so as to realize the idea of a "global concern" and to lay down criteria for the selection of candidates with a view to concretize the idea of "our contribution". Please make efforts so that this award that extols the educational motto of our university, "For human dignity", may become known not only to members of our university but also to a broader audience.

Further, aiming at the project provisionally named "Reiners Central Library Design", which is part of the commemoration of the 75th anniversary, it has been decided to raise financial contributions for 5 years starting from this coming April. In addition to Pache Square and Flatten Hall, by bestowing on the library the name of Fr. Joseph Reiners, the founder of the Nanzan School Corporation, it is an important means for publicizing among the students as well as in the wider local community the history of our university and the role that the Catholic Society of the Divine Word played in its establishment. The library isn't used only by our university's members but there have been increasing occasions of it being used by high school students from within the School Corporation as well as by people from the local community. Therefore, please endeavor to earn wide-ranging support for this effort.

Moreover, more than 200 people will participate in the project of editing the "75-year History of Nanzan University". By looking back at the past of our university, please make this an opportunity for all its members to deepen understanding of the "characteristics and attractiveness of Nanzan University" and to share our university's identity. Also, please begin discussions about an attractive future vision with the goal of reaching the centenary of Nanzan University's foundation.

2.Construction of a Stable Financial Basis

The Raymond Renovation Project that accompanied the merging of campuses in the 2017 academic year has been successfully completed in the 2020 academic year. This project has been appraised highly by society, winning, for example the award of the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology named "The 4th Infra-maintenance Grand Prix (under the auspices of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport)" and "The 30th BELCA Award". I am deeply grateful to all who contributed to fund-raising for the Raymond Renovation Project.

In order to preserve and advance our university's attractiveness, it is indispensable to build a stable financial basis and to work for the enhancement of education and research. In the 2021 academic year, the students' school fee is going to change. In addition to this, while making efforts to maintain the student numbers, please continue to discuss measures to cut expenses, etc. in the sub-committee for reduction of expenditures and consideration of school fees revision, and put the results of these discussions into practice. Also, regarding financial contributions, please advance discussions about an effective method of diversifying our fundraising and making it known to graduates and companies.

3.Establishment of the Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Graduate Program in Data Science

This academic year the Faculty of Science and Engineering has been reorganized and restructured, as a result of which there will be four departments: the newly-established Department of Data Science, the Department of Electronics and Communication Technology, and the Department of Mechanical Engineering and System Control, along with the existing Department of Software Engineering. Please examine ways to link this reorganization to the enhancement of the Graduate school. Data Science is an academic field for which there is a strong demand in society. In order for the education of undergraduate and graduate students to yield maximum results, please consider the foundation of a Graduate Program of Data Science within the Graduate School of Science and Engineering.

Ⅳ.Promoting Internationalization

1.Acceptance of Exchange Students in Faculties and Graduate Schools and a New Program in the Center for Japanese Studies

In order to explore the needs of ever diversifying learners of Japanese and of those studying abroad, as well as to seek new partner schools, from September 2021 we will start accepting exchange students into faculties and graduate schools. Please begin active discussions in faculties and graduate schools so that ever more courses (seminars included) can be made available for registration to exchange students who are in possession of a high working knowledge of Japanese (corresponding to N1-N2). The Center for Japanese Studies will also be reorganized and in addition to the present Intensive Japanese Program [hereafter, IJP] (enrollment capacity: 120 students), a new program, the Modern Japan Program (hereafter, MJP), will commence, whose enrollment capacity will be 45 students. The IJP is a program aimed at students who want to study Japanese intensively, whereas the MJP is a program consisting of studying basic Japanese while at the same time taking high-quality courses in Japanese area studies, conducted in English, together with Japanese students. Through the establishment of the MJP we aim at promoting educational and cross-cultural exchange between the students of our faculties/ graduate schools and CJS students. With the same purpose in view, in the respective faculties and graduate schools please actively organize "open subjects" so that CJS students can take them.

2.Invigoration of International Exchange through the New International Student Dormitory

In February 2022, the new international students residence (hereafter, new international dormitory) will be completed and, from April of the next academic year, we will start accepting students for it. This new international dormitory that is located at the northern side of the campus bears the name of the founder of the Society of the Divine Word, St. Arnold Janssen, thus called "Nanzan University Janssen International Residence". The new international dormitory is a crucial part of our university's promotion of internationalization and, therefore, it should be a place for ever stronger advancement of the acceptance of foreign students. Moreover, through the enhancement of educational functions, the new international dormitory will offer a chance for Japanese students to learn alongside foreign students. In other words, the goal of the new international dormitory is to "provide a place for residents of different value systems to live and work together and to educate people capable of being active across borders".

In order to realize this goal, new educational programs will be needed. For that reason, we will create a program aimed at all students residing in the dormitory, which can be carried out by cooperating between international and Japanese students. In order to guarantee the quality of the educational program, under the lead of the Center for International Affairs there will be a person in charge, tentatively called the Janssen International Residence Advisor, or other resident assistants who will give advice to the participants and perform feedback. There aren't many international education programs of this type in the Tōkai region, hence, please publicize actively the educational aspect of the new international dormitory, not only towards those who are interested in international education, but also among applicants to the university and parents who look for personal growth through extracurricular activities.

3.Strengthening of the COIL-type Classes

During the previous academic year, affected by the Covid-19 crisis, movement throughout the world was severely restricted. In this regard, our university has maintained a vital international exchange through the project adopted in the 2018 academic year called "The Inter-University Exchange Project: Support for the Formation of Exchange between Universities especially in the U.S. Using a COIL-style of Education". In fact, I recently also had one COIL-style course conducted together with the University of Denver. The discussions between students of both universities were animated, and in that way I could fully realize the possibility of COIL-style classes. Looking towards the future, please further develop this initiative. Particularly, we have adopted the goal of increasing the number of COIL-style courses to 48 subjects by the 2022 academic year. Since the characteristic COIL-style subjects contribute also to admission promotion, aiming at achieving this goal, please take advantage of the help of the NU-COIL support team and actively introduce COIL-style classes in the various faculties and graduate schools.

4.Further Promotion of International Cooperation between Universities

The number of universities and institutions with whom we have concluded agreements on exchange of students has reached 115 universities in 33 countries/regions as of the end of the 2020 academic year. The "Vision for Internationalization of Nanzan University" drawn up in the 2015 academic year foresees reaching agreements with around 130 universities by the end of the 2027 academic year, which is the final year of the Grand Design. During the previous academic year, due to the influence of the Covid-19 crisis, we haven't been able to increase the number of partner universities as intended, and so please strive to search for more partner universities, while at the same time invigorating the university's characteristics as well as the distinguished features of the region, and continuing to develop programs that appear attractive to partner universities.

5.Continuation of Internationalization by Obtaining External Funds such as the Project for Strengthening the Universities' World Development Power

The "Project for Strengthening the Universities' World Development Power [Latin America]" (LAP: Sophia-Nanzan Latin America Program) that we were carrying out in cooperation with Sophia University was concluded last academic year, and it received an extremely good evaluation from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. The platform that has been created through LAP will continue as the LAP (Late August Pre-sessional) course of the Center for Japanese Studies summer program. For the future as well, please advance our university's internationalization through acquisition of external funds such as the "Project for Strengthening the Universities' World Development Power".

Ⅴ.Education and Research

1.Flexible Response of Education/Research amidst the Covid-19 Crisis

The 2020 academic year saw an enormous change in operating methods of scholarly conferences and symposia due to the global pandemic. Many academic conferences were held online and the opportunity for the teaching staff to attend them physically decreased markedly. In addition to that, the use of budget for research trips also decreased considerably. By diverting research funds for other purposes, please use the budget effectively.

Since libraries outside the university were closed, it became difficult to consult materials, traveling abroad was restricted, and the whole of research activity faced obstacles. In regard to classes as well, since overseas fieldwork and other short-term training programs abroad were all cancelled, please actively introduce COIL-style classes. Research activity in the graduate school has also greatly suffered. Through understanding precisely what kind of impact is being experienced in various faculties and graduate schools, please endeavor to keep this impact to a minimum.

2.Reflecting on the Results of the Accreditation Evaluation

In the 2020 academic year our university received an evaluation by the Japan University Accreditation Association. Its results were positive, however, some points that need improvement have been indicated. Therefore, all members of the university should share an awareness of these problems. Also, under the guidance of the Committee for Internal Quality Assurance, please draw up a plan for improvement and dedicate yourselves to the reform oriented towards 2024, which is the year in which we have to submit an Improvement Report to the Japan University Accreditation Association.

3.Introduction of 100-minute Classes

From the 2021 academic year, 100-minute classes will be introduced; therefore, discuss in FD sessions and on other occasions the best way for students to participate even more actively in classes. One of the points to be discussed is also how to utilize the experience of e-learning which has been accomplished thanks to online classes. By introducing 100-minute classes, each subject will consist in principle of 14 sessions, and the school year will thus have more time to spare. Therefore, use it effectively, for example, by participating in short-term study abroad, internships and extracurricular activities in the case of students, or by putting the time towards the engagement in investigation and research in the case of the teaching staff.

4.Promoting the Open-access System

In the 2020 academic year, our university established the "Nanzan University Policy of Open Access". This policy has been developed so as to contribute to further scientific advancement through guaranteeing free access to research results from within and outside the university, and at the same time, to promote disclosure of information as well as to fulfill the responsibility of explanation towards society, and to effectively and actively return research results to society. Degree theses are already made publicly accessible, but please make efforts so that past research findings published in journal articles are also made widely available.

5.Development and Strengthening of the "Nanzan International Certificate"

In our university there are around 70 subjects that can be studied in English and that are called "International subject category". As is generally known, if one obtains 24 or more credits from among these subjects, the Nanzan International Certificate is issued as a proof that the person has acquired international skills at the university. Until now we have put effort into the development of this certificate, with the Office for Academic Affairs playing a central role. In cooperation with various faculties, the Office for International Affairs etc., please strive even more for the enhancement of this system so that the Nanzan International Certificate can be attractive to students, as, for example, a university-approved qualification that may be effectively used in job hunting and going on to graduate school.

6.Continuous Engagement in Obtaining External Research Funds

External research funds such as the Scientific Research Grant-in-aid are an indispensable basis for accomplishing solid research. This academic year too, please continue aiming to actively obtain such funds. Especially through collaboration with various researchers and institutions within and outside the university, try to make that research a foothold for interdisciplinary research projects that would correspond to the demands of society.

7.Review of the Harassment Consultation System

Our university has for a long time attempted to respond systematically to the problem of harassment. In recent years, the types of consultations have become more complex, and from June 2020, strengthening of harassment prevention policies in the workplace has been stipulated by law. In order to respond to this situation, please enhance even more the harassment consultation system and construct a mechanism for classification of cases and giving adequate advice.

Ⅵ.Entrance Examinations and Public Relations

1.The 2021 Entrance Examinations

First of all, I'd like to express my joy over the fact that we were able to carry out without any problem the whole schedule of entrance exams by implementing measures for the prevention of the spread of the covid-19 virus. In the 2021 "General Entrance Examination" and the "Unified Entrance Examination" (Individual Academic Ability-type & Combined with the University Entrance Common Test-type), the total number of applicants was 17,362, which represents a decrease of 1,358 with respect to the 18,720 applicants from the previous year. Combined with the number of applicants through the University Entrance Common Test-types (first application period: 3-subjects & 5-subjects type, and second application period), the overall number of students applying for admission through these 3 principal test-types decreased by 505 in comparison with the 2020 number, which was 22,396, resulting in a total of 21,891 applicants. Although one can imagine that the main factor was the covid-19 virus, it is our urgent task to analyze in detail the causes for this decrease and to link the results to an appropriate response.

2.Covid-19 and Public Relations

Admission promotion activities have been severely restricted due to Covid-19. More than half of the planned expositions and consultation sessions for high school students were cancelled, and also the Open Campus, which is the biggest event to transmit the attractiveness of our university, had to be realized online. On top of that, explanatory meetings aimed at high school teachers and tours through the campus were cancelled, and dispatching of lecturers for high school visits was also carried out on a much smaller scale. Since we have publicized so far the attractiveness of our university focusing on direct in-person contact, it is a fact that we haven't had sufficient know-how as to how to perform promotion activities online oriented towards a large, indefinite number of high-school students. Since we cannot expect the Covid-19 crisis to finish any time soon, please discuss effective admission promotion activities using online tools.

At the end of the previous academic year, the final report of the "University Strategic Promotion Working Group" was submitted and the flexible usage of budgets due to cooperation between various offices and sharing of information, as well as the results of the slimming down of office work and optimization of labor have been confirmed. Also the division between the University PR and Admission promotion, which was ambiguous in the past, has been made clear. Please reflect thoroughly on the proposals of this report and, looking to the future, actively advance the publicizing activities of the whole university, while cooperating closely among various offices.

3.Expansion of the System of Acceptance to the Graduate School

Through the globalization of human activity and technological innovation we are facing many different new social problems, such as world-wide environmental issues and issues of infectious diseases. In order to cultivate people capable of contributing to resolving these problems, it is necessary to improve even more the quality of school education, including the university, and for that reason we must also further enhance research and education in the graduate school. Especially considering our university's educational goal, in each graduate school it is necessary more than ever to strengthen cooperation with various institutions outside the university, not to mention other graduate schools, research institutes and centers within the university, and at the same time, to raise interest in these social problems through research and to cultivate wide-ranging human resources that will be able to contribute to problem-solving. Therefore, in the graduate school, please actively engage in accepting new students not only from within faculty graduates but also from among international students and members of society. For example, actively consider also in other graduate schools the possibility of introducing the acceptance of students from faculties with an early-graduation system, which has been practiced in the Graduate School of Law and in the Graduate School of Social Sciences (Graduate program in policy studies). Further, discuss the system of accepting working adult students as credited auditors and to make them able to complete the master's program in 1 year.

Ⅶ.Career Support

Last year, just when job-hunting activities were reaching their fullest extent, the state of emergency was officially declared and major restrictions were imposed on the student's job-hunting, as well as on the guidance and support from the Career Support office. Students had limited opportunities to gain information about the business world and the selection of applicants, and the announcement of unofficial decisions about employment in the companies was also delayed. In order to respond to students who were experiencing anxiety because of this irregular situation, in June the Career Support Office checked the situation of all fourth-year students regarding their job-hunting activities by phone. On top of that, the on-campus explanatory session about companies that was planned for March 2020 could not be realized and, therefore, after ascertaining the schedules of employment in individual companies, this information was made known directly to the students. On the other hand, by implementing on-demand broadcasts more students than in previous years were able to participate in various on-campus events, such as the job-hunting courses that were carried out online. Moreover, we could see that students who had experience with internships began to collect information on the business world and companies at an early stage, with the result that they could proceed with their job-hunting activity relatively smoothly. This academic year too, it can be expected that the difficult situation is going to continue, and therefore please examine even more effective ways of support for job-hunting activities.

In the 2019 academic year, the Career Support Committee and Job Search Committee were united, and the Career Support Committee was established. By means of this, a consistent career-forming program has become realizable, lasting from the early years of university up to graduation. Looking towards the future, please explore how and what kind of a medium- to long-term career support plan to create that would include strengthening the relationship between graduates and alumni, as well as what the cooperation should look like with academic advisors in the various faculties who spend much time with students, how to promote the use of IR, and so forth.

Ⅷ.The University's Role in the Local Community and the Strengthening of Various Means of Cooperation

Contributing to the development of the regional and local community is an important step towards solving world-wide problems, precisely what we mean by "global concern, our contribution". Until now, our university has engaged in coexistence and collaboration with various stakeholders such as research institutions inside and outside of Japan, with the industrial world and municipalities, etc. Regarding the industrial world, within the Nanzan Challenge Project inaugurated in the 2017 academic year, since the last academic year an "industry-university cooperation project" has been initiated, and through cooperation with Ieda Confectionery Company, Inc., whose CEO is one of our graduates, we have been involved in developing and selling so-called "pongashi", a kind of puff candy that uses foodstuffs from Ethiopia. In the last academic year, due to Covid-19, activity in Africa had to be postponed. However, this academic year, the plan is to continue this activity. Further, in cooperation with the Nagoya Tax-Accountant Association, from the 2021 academic year the creation of a new endowed chair is planned.

As far as cooperation between universities is concerned, in the 2021 academic year the School of Law (Graduate Program in Legal Practice), together with the Graduate Program in Law of Nagoya University, will co-organize one subject. Our university is also the presiding school of the Japan Catholic University Federation and currently is the representative of Japan on the board of trustees of the Association of Christian Universities and Colleges in Asia (ACUCA). Also, through the Association of Southeast and East Asian Catholic Colleges and Universities (ASEACCU) and the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU), please deepen the cooperation between Christian universities all around the world.

As I suggested in the 2020 Position Paper, the Nanzan School Corporation had announced in the 2008 academic year the "Climate Declaration of Nanzan School Corporation" and thus paid close attention to environmental problems from an early stage. Through research and educational activity in our university, I would like every member to think about what can be done in order to put those ideas into practice.