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学長からのメッセージPresident's Position Paper for 2022

Ⅰ.Basic Position

Last year, Nanzan University celebrated its 75th anniversary. Although the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to make changes and scale back planned commemorative events, we had a productive year thanks to everyone's flexibility. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your cooperation. Let us continue to work together with a mission to create a new vision for the university as we approach our 100th anniversary.

Over the past two years, the entire world has been gripped by the effects of the corona-virus outbreak, making it very difficult for us to implement our scheduled (and projected) plans. During these times, I am reminded of the following Bible verses: "Behold, I make all things new" (Rev. 21:5). This year, it looks like we will finally enter the post-corona-virus world. And it will not be a return to the pre-corona-virus state, but a new beginning for humanity. This year, as a New Year's greeting, I introduced a new work by a young American poet, Amanda Gorman, in my "Epistola" of January. In one of her passages, she wrote, "So let us not return to what was normal, but reach toward what is next." Thus, our task is to strive to realize a better world, worthy of human dignity, after the COVID-19 pandemic period.

Considering current realities, I recall the words of St. Arnold Janssen (1837-1909), founder of the Congregation of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD), the founding body of the university, which accurately reflect the current times. He stated that "We live in a time when much is collapsing, and new things must be established in their place." The founders of the university, which was born in the chaotic times immediately following the end of the war, embodied the spirit of Fr. Janssen, which continues to guide us today.

Here, I would like instead to focus on two new projects of the university. The first is the establishment of the Nanzan University Janssen International Residence, named in honor of Fr. Arnold Janssen. We hope that the new dormitory, to be opened this academic year, will become an important place for the formation of young people who can play an active role in the international arena. The second new project is the establishment of the Nanzan University Human Dignity Award, which will serve as the finale to the university's 75th anniversary celebration and will be presented in conjunction with the university's foundation ceremony at the end of May to honor those who have made special contributions to the cause of furthering human dignity. These two projects aim to further develop the internationality that is a prominent feature of Nanzan University and deepen its educational motto, "Hominis Dignitati [For Human Dignity]."

As matters stand today, this year can be expected to be a very eventful one requiring us to reconfirm various plans and tasks that have been significantly delayed due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and push forward in realizing them. United with the "global concern, our contribution" in mind, which has been our motto since the 2020 academic year, we will work together for both a better university and a better world. Let us reach forward to what is next.

Ⅱ.With/Post-Corona

The previous year was another year affected by the corona-virus. However, we continued to conduct face-to-face classes whenever possible, while paying close attention to the health and safety of our students and faculty members. In addition, we held in-person events in lieu of the March 2020 graduation ceremony and the April 2020 entrance ceremony, which could not initially be held due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From the fall onwards, then, we resumed actively sending students abroad based on inter-university agreements and exchange programs.

Equally, we gained much experience in overcoming the various difficulties we faced in effectively running meetings and classes in 2021 due to health restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the area of class management, in particular, we gained a wide range of knowledge on the pertinent questions of how to conduct large-scale lectures, how online classes should be conducted, and how online tools can be used. Based on this knowledge, I would like to ask you to proceed with positive discussions and insightful suggestions on the effective use of online resources in university administration. In addition, while keeping abreast of the situation in Japan and abroad, please consider further deepening international exchange, such as developing programs that link online communication and study abroad.

Looking ahead to the post-corona world and the 100th anniversary of the founding of the university, it is also important that we continue to take new steps together toward realizing a better world worthy of "human dignity."

Ⅲ.Vision for the Future

1.Toward the 100th anniversary

With the cooperation of many people, a monograph on "75 Years of Nanzan University" was compiled in the previous year. Looking back at the history of Nanzan University, one can clearly recall that from the establishment of its predecessor, Nanzan Foreign Language College, our university has been characterized by its internationality. In addition, under its educational motto, "Hominis Dignitati," the university has endeavored to nurture individuals who can play an active role in diverse societies, and, in turn, contribute to building a world in which the irreplaceable value of all people is protected. In this context, the opening of the Nanzan University Janssen International Residence, with its distinctive educational programs, and the establishment of the Nanzan University "Human Dignity Award" are nothing less than steps toward fulfilling our university's mission. Looking ahead, I cannot but look forward to working with all our constituent members toward the further development of the university as we move toward our 100th anniversary.

2.Reiners Central Library

February 2023 will see the completion of a renovation work on the Reiners Central Library, a library renewal project commemorating the 75th anniversary of the university. The purpose of the new "Reiners Central Library" is to continue the noble, faithful, and good intentions of Joseph Reiners (1874-1945), the founder of Nanzan Gakuen, by dynamically and proactively connecting people to others, books, knowledge, and society, hence, promoting the creation of an integrative, and interactive environment. Thus, the renovated library is required to provide various forms of support to realize innovations by "meeting," "connecting," and "changing" as a unique entity. Only in this way can the power of the individual understandably become the power of the world. Acutely aware of the importance and function of the catalytic action that brings about the chemical reaction of true innovation, our library will certainly be reborn as the "Reiners Central Library," translating into a special place where users can "meet," "connect," and "change." In addition, it entails a place that demonstrates its presence as the salt of the Earth and the light of the world. In this respect, I encourage everyone to strive to publicize and actively utilize the library such that it becomes a true center of intellectual innovation.

3.Stable financial management

In order to maintain and enhance the appeal of the University, it is essential to build a stable financial base. Thus, I would invite you to continue making many efforts to obtain grants to enhance education and research. The year 2021 saw the revision of student fees. Evidently, in this area as well, we need to become more aware of the necessity to continually implement measures such as the revision of student fees and expenditure reductions, to be discussed by the Subcommittee for the Formulation of the Expenditure Reduction Plan, while simultaneously taking care to maintain full enrollment capacity. Regarding donations, Nanzan University is currently promoting the Nanzan University 75th Anniversary Fund, the Anti-Corona Student Support Fund, the Graduate School Doctoral Course Scholarship Support Fund, and the Nanzan University Education and Research Support Fund. Please make efforts to widely publicize these Funds to alumni and companies, and also consider further diversification of donations in this regard.

Ⅳ.Promotion of Globalization

1.Developmental continuation of the NU-COIL program after the completion of the university's Capacity to Expand Globally Program (U.S).

The university's Global Development Capability Enhancement Program (U.S.), which began in the 2018 academic year, will end this year. In our interim report to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), we have set forth a project plan that can be continued beyond the 2023 academic year for further development of the program. To this end, I would encourage you to make efforts aiming to further expand COIL-type classes in each faculty and graduate school, including pre- and post-classes for short-term study abroad programs. In addition, we aim to develop the university into a hub for global COIL education in cooperation with the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU), and we will continue to promote online exchanges between students from abroad and the university using platforms, such as the CJS Online Cafe "Nagomi" and the Modern Japan Discussion Table. Please continue to promote such a framework. In addition, I would encourage everyone to keep on promoting the globalization of our university by applying for new external funds, such as the "Project for Strengthening the University's Global Development Capability."

2.Further revitalization of international exchange within the university in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic

The implementation of international exchange was also severely affected by the corona-virus outbreak. Under these circumstances, international exchange within the university has become even more important. In this regard, the opening of the Janssen International Residence in April 2022 is of great significance. It will implement an educational program called the "Diversity and Inclusion Practical Skills Development Program," which will ultimately provide a place where Japanese and international students can work together to foster the ability to play an active role across borders. Thus, I would invite you to intensely collaborate with faculty and staff across the organization to further enhance the Janssen International Residence and its educational program in the future. In addition, please make further use of the Multicultural Lounge (Stella), the World Plaza, and the Japan Plaza to promote international exchange and learning on campus by, for example, implementing programs that not only go beyond mere international exchange, but that are also linked to the promotion of education.

3.Expansion and deepening of internationalization through inter-university collaboration

In recent years, joint programs in cooperation with domestic universities have been attracting attention as a way to promote globalization. In the 2021 academic year, our university was selected for two such programs. One is the "Sustainable Global Innovation Human Resource Development Project Utilizing COIL" under the "Forum for the Promotion of University Internationalization" project of the MEXT, with the Ryukyu University as the lead institution. The other is the Tongali Project, adopted by the "2021 START Program for the Creation of New University-Based Industries (START): Formation of a Startup Ecosystem Support System for the Promotion of University Ecosystems," which aims to foster next-generation entrepreneurs and build a global innovation system in cooperation with universities in the Tokai region. Through these projects, please promote mutual offerings, including, of course, online classes.

We also need to continue to promote collaboration among overseas universities with a view to continuing work with or after the coronavirus pandemic. We have concluded student exchange agreements with 116 overseas universities and institutions in 33 countries and regions as of the end of the 2021 academic year. The "Nanzan University Internationalization Vision," aims to conclude agreements with approximately 130 universities by 2027, the year when the Grand Design will have been completed. We ask that you continue your efforts to develop new partner universities and devise attractive programs for them. On the other hand, the external environment has changed dramatically between the 2015 academic year, when the "Nanzan University Internationalization Vision" was formulated, and today. In this regard, please begin revising the vision accordingly.

4.Measures to promote student mobility during the Coronavirus disaster

Please actively promote sending students abroad and accepting international students after ensuring their safety even during the Coronavirus crisis. Regarding sending students overseas, students should be carefully informed and briefed on the policies of the host country/region, which may require a quick response depending on their policies. From the early stage, such as guidance at the time of enrollment, faculties and the International Center should collaborate to conduct efficient explanatory meetings. It is also effective to utilize Nanzan University's project called "NaSIP (*)," in which students and faculty members with international experience support students studying abroad. In this vein, I would invite you to also consider a flexible system that allows graduate students to conduct research abroad through an exchange program.

Moreover, I would encourage you to adopt diverse measures to accept international students. This entails an appeal to further promote educational and cultural exchanges among undergraduate, graduate, and international students through the acceptance of exchange students into the undergraduate and graduate schools, which started last year, and the new Modern Japan Program for international students. In addition, I ask you to consider developing a long-term internship program to increase the appeal of the university as a place of study for international students.

* The SIPS (Staff & Student Initiative for Promoting Study abroad) is an initiative of the MEXT promoting the study abroad program through the "Tobitate!" initiative. It is a project sponsored by the "Study Abroad Japan" office, and is a platform for students who have studied abroad and faculty members to work together as one team to support many students in studying abroad. The initiative at Nanzan University is called NaSIP.

Ⅴ.Education and Research

1.Implementation of the accreditation recommendations

In the 2020 academic year, the university underwent an accreditation evaluation by the Japan University Accreditation Association (JUAA). As is common knowledge, the evaluation was generally positive, but improvements were requested in areas such as the method of understanding learning outcomes and the fulfillment of the graduate school's capacity. The Internal Quality Assurance Committee should take the lead in formulating an improvement plan. In addition, each faculty and graduate school should work on reforms toward 2024, when we will submit an interim improvement report to the JUAA.

2.Development and enhancement of the Nanzan International Certificate

Students who earn 24 or more credits from international courses are issued a Nanzan International Certificate (NIC) as proof that they have acquired international competence at the university. However, the NIC is not widely recognized by society, with few requests from students for its issuance. To improve this situation, courses offered in languages other than English (Spanish, French, and German) have been added to the international courses in the 2022 academic year. To make the NIC more attractive to students, we must also interview current students, alumni, and corporate personnel to examine this system from a broad perspective. Internally, the positioning of the international subject group in the faculty curricula and the content and structure of each subject have not been sufficiently discussed. Please organize and develop these issues from a university-wide perspective.

3.Promotion of open access

The university established the Nanzan University Open Access Policy in the 2020 academic year and the Nanzan University Open Access Implementation Guidelines in the 2021 academic year. In accordance with this policy, works published after September 25, 2020 will be open access in principle. In order to contribute to the further development of academic research by guaranteeing free access to research results from inside and outside the university, as well as to promote information disclosure, fulfill accountability to society, and effectively and positively return research results to society, we further need to work collectively to make a wide range of past university research results open access as well.

4.Inspection and evaluation of educational methods

The diversification of the various tools that make online teaching possible is one of the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. When this epidemic is under control, please begin to consider in detail how to utilize these tools.

In addition, to deepen independent learning, the use of student seminar rooms began in the 2020 academic year. However, due to the health associated distance restrictions related to the spread of the corona-virus, these rooms are not being fully utilized. Here, I would encourage you to discuss again the use of the seminar rooms to better clarify their basic purposes. Equally important will be your attempts to inspect and evaluate the 100-minute class, the most significant change from the previous year, in each department.

5.Ongoing efforts to obtain external research funds

External research funds, including Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI), are an indispensable foundation for conducting substantial research. I would encourage you to actively apply for various external research funds this year and aim to obtain research funding accordingly. I also ask that you make a conscious effort to share, through publications and reports, the results of your research with the academic audience and society.

6.Collaboration among the three research institutes and graduate schools

The university has three independent research institutes (Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture, Anthropological Institute, and the Institute for Social Ethic), which are separate from the undergraduate and graduate departments. Each institute conducts research activities in accordance with its own mission and has significant achievements to date.

However, due to their unique nature, they do not have strong ties with the undergraduate and graduate departments. In order to make better use of the university's resources, a cooperative framework between the three institutes and the graduate schools could be explored more extensively. Please consider creating a framework to realize collaboration between the research activities of the three institutes and their respective graduate schools.

7.Transition to a new structure for the Committee on Harassment Issues

As of June 2020, the strengthening of measures to prevent harassment in the workplace has been legally stipulated. In addition, the content of the consultation tends to become more complex every year. In order to cope with this situation, we have decided to establish a harassment consultation system for the entire Nanzan School Corporation from the 2022 academic year. Please work to ensure a smooth transition to the new system and steady performance of your duties.

Ⅵ.Admissions and Public Relations

1.Admissions and public relations

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we took measures to prevent infection and successfully met all the deadlines for the 2022 entrance examination. A total of 18,515 students applied for the general and university-wide standardized entrance examinations (individual achievement and common test types) in 2022, an increase of 1,153 students compared to 17,362 in the previous year. In addition, the total number of applicants for the three main entrance examinations, including the one using the Common Achievement Test (with the first part involving three subjects and the second, five subjects), was 23,444, an increase of 1,553 from 21,891 in the previous year.

Last year, we held open campus events in a hybrid in-person and online format, created videos introducing each faculty, utilized web-based advertising, and participated in university exhibitions and college counseling sessions to conduct public relations activities despite the impact of the spread of the infection. Thanks to these efforts, the number of applicants for the 2022 entrance examination has recovered to a level close to that before the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic (i.e. the 2020 entrance examinations).

Nevertheless, continued efforts will be necessary to attract more students to apply to the university in the future. As in the past, each faculty and department should offer attractive programs and simultaneously consider revising the entrance examination system. At the end of last year, the final report of the "Working Group for Examining the Admission System" proposed the diversification of entrance examinations with recommendations for students who have studied abroad for a long period of time and those who have high-school-university cooperation agreements. In addition, it is important to promote the acceptance of applicants from overseas by expanding the number of designated overseas schools.

In terms of publicity related to entrance examinations, please consider, from the perspective of prospective students, the forms of the media that would be the most effective in communicating information related to the entrance examinations.

For Nanzan University to develop into a more attractive university, it is essential to enhance research and education not only at the undergraduate level but also at the graduate level. Please consider a possible refined system that would allow us to justifiably accept early graduates from the undergraduate into the graduate school, following the example of the Faculties of Law and Policy Studies. In addition, a scholarship support system for doctoral students in the graduate school will be launched in the 2022 academic year. This system was established to provide higher–achievement graduate students with opportunities to study. Please make efforts to widely publicize this system and encourage its active use.

2.University strategic public relations

Public relations activities provide opportunities to make the university known to a wider audience. In particular, the dissemination of the research results and educational activities of faculty and staff, as well as the activities of current students and alumni, have a significant impact on the university's social reputation. Thus, I invite each member of the University to be aware of the fact that they play a significant role in public relations and ask that related departments and offices work together more closely to conduct strategic university public relations activities. In particular, as we approach the 100th anniversary of Nanzan University, we need to further enhance the appeal of our university. The Nanzan University Human Dignity Award, which will be presented for the first time this year, will be of great significance in communicating the university's philosophy to the world. I hope that you will strive to strengthen the branding of Nanzan University based on its distinctive internationality and educational motto of "Hominis Dignitati."

3.International strategic public relations

Strengthening the university's branding is not limited to the domestic market. To become a university of choice for outstanding international students from around the world, we should further strive to develop international public relations strategies by leveraging the internationality of our university. For this purpose, continued efforts will be necessary in this area to strengthen the system in which related sections and offices cooperate, and faculties and graduate schools should mutually collaborate to enhance public relations activities for international students. In this process, there is clearly a need to become acutely aware of the necessity to make further efforts to disseminate the internationality of the university through visits to local high schools using the International Student Alumni Association and overseas offices, as well as the active use of SNS and other means.

Ⅶ.Career Support

The coronavirus outbreak has also brought about changes to the job hunting process. The best example of this is the introduction of online interviews. Although some companies are reverting to face-to-face interviews this year, students must still be prepared for both online and in-person interviews. Although the percentage of student job offers is recovering, the number of companies that have stopped hiring due to the coronavirus pandemic is increasing and cannot be predicted. In this context, I propose that the Career Support Division makes further efforts to provide guidance and support to students. In addition, in order to encourage more international students to apply to our university, it is essential to provide them with substantial career support.

In recent years, "externships," which are distinguished from "internships" tied to job hunting, have been attracting attention. Most essentially, externships are learning activities for university students that place more emphasis on work experience compared to internships. Incidentally, the university's Graduate School of Law incorporates externships and grants credits in this area. Thus, I encourage everyone in this area to start initiating constructive discussions with host companies to continually allow various forms of externships and to broaden the range of options for students.

Ⅷ.Contribution to Society and Strengthening of Various Types of Cooperation

Contributing to the development of communities and society is an important step that contributes to the "global concern, our contribution," as stated in the Basic Position. Last year, in commemoration of our 75th anniversary, we established the Nanzan University "Human Dignity Award" to honor those who have made significant contributions to the realization of our philosophy of "For the Dignity of Human Beings." Through the awarding of this prize, let us fulfill our mission as a university in society while returning to our philosophy.

In addition, Nanzan University will be an official partner of "Ghibli Park" for four years starting from April 2022. This venue, embodying the spirit of Expo 2005 Aichi Japan, which was held with the aim of communicating the direction of solutions to global issues and the way of life of human beings, will be a "natural campus" that embodies the university's educational motto. Through this space, the constituent members should cooperate and develop specific programs to establish a system that provides learning opportunities to not only the students, faculty, and staff of the university, but also society and, more broadly, people worldwide.

As an industry-university collaborative project in the Nanzan Challenge Project, the university has been working, since the 2020 academic year, with Ieda Confectionery Co., Ltd. with an alumnus serving as president, to develop and market a "Pongashi" confectionery. Although we were not able to access the site directly last year, we worked together with the company to devise a new way to sell the confectionery and ultimately decided to use a portion of the proceeds to purchase and transport the machines for the pongashi to be donated to Ethiopia.

In terms of inter-university cooperation, we concluded a collaboration agreement with the Aichi University of Education last year regarding the advancement of teacher training. This provided good news for students aspiring to become teachers, as the agreement established a special selection process for the graduate school of the Aichi University of Education to train teachers as highly specialized professionals with practical educational skills. In addition, I would invite you to continually deepen our partnerships with Christian universities around the world through the Association of Christian Universities in Asia (ACUCA), the Association of Southeast and East Asian Catholic Universities (ASEACCU), the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU), and other organizations.

Finally, let us also work together on environmental issues. Nanzan Gakuen announced the "Nanzan Gakuen Environmental Declaration" in 2008 and has been concerned with environmental issues from early on. As part of this effort, Nanzan University has joined the "Coalition of Universities and Other Institutions Contributing to Achieving Carbon Neutrality," which was established last year, and is in the process of formulating a concrete plan to carry out efforts in this regard. Through the research and educational activities of our university, we hope that we can create and foresee a better future together by sharing and discussing ideas for addressing environmental issues.