Made by 15 Wise Persons from Across the World
The 12th meeting of the President’s Council was held at the Ito International Research Center on the Hongo Campus on November 25, 2016, with the participation of 15 members. After the keynote speech by UTokyo President Makoto Gonokami, titled “The University of Tokyo in a Changing World,” participants proactively discussed the roles to be played by the University on the world stage as well as industry-academia collaboration. Here, we introduce some of the recommendations made by the participants to the University. What measures should the University of Tokyo take to adapt and contribute to this changing world?
What is the President’s Council?This advisory board to the President of the University of Tokyo is composed of experts invited from around the world. Since its incorporation in 2004, the University has been facing the necessity of further elevating its position in the international community. Amid these circumstances, the Council was established in November 2006 to discuss the future direction of the University and use the results to improve University management. The Council members meet once or twice a year, with the 12th meeting held in 2016. At present, the Council has 25 members from 17 countries, including business leaders, academic experts, and those with ties to international organizations.
Program of the 12th Meeting of the President’s Council
|9:30||Opening of the meeting and keynote speech: “The University of Tokyo in a Changing World: Its Mission, Reform, and Challenges” by Professor Makoto Gonokami, President of the University of Tokyo|
|9:45||Discussion Point 1: What distinct contributions can the University of Tokyo make to our global society?|
|11:15||Discussion Point 2: How can the University of Tokyo further expand global private sector collaboration?|
|13:30||Presentation: “Reinventing Graduate Education” by Professor Toshihiko Koseki, Executive Director and Vice President of the University of Tokyo|
|13:45||Presentation: “Initiatives from the Social Sciences/Humanities” by Professor Akihiko Matsui, Vice Dean, Graduate School of Economics, the University of Tokyo|
|14:40||Presentation: “Initiatives from the Sciences/Engineering” by Professor Kaoru Yamanouchi, Vice Dean, Graduate School of Science, the University of Tokyo|
|15:20||Discussion Point 3: How can we train graduate students to function effectively in the global public domain? What concrete strategies should be in place to enhance the international aspect of graduate education?|
Council Members Who Participated in the 12th Meeting
Discussion Point 1: What distinct contributions can the University of Tokyo make to our global society?
The University of Tokyo should...
...transcend national boundaries and foster cooperation with other educational institutions to solve problems. 1
...be a place that provides students with opportunities to think about what kind of life they would like to live and what contributions they can make to the world. 15
...encourage students and faculty to participate in important social and political issues. 15
...consider how to engage in collaborations with others, as universities cannot solve global issues on their own. 13
...attribute importance not only to research to solve defined issues, but also to basic research that could lead to momentous findings. 2
...establish a research institute focusing on future society. 8
...serve as a bastion of freedom of speech and research in this age of dispersed knowledge. 4
...increase the number of female students and help more women take on roles in academia. 2
...take a step forward from a base for creating and sharing knowledge to a base for solving problems. 7
...place emphasis on ethics education, undergraduate education, and education that receives support from society. 13
...promote cross-disciplinary projects. 11
...also play a significant role regarding the issue of climate change. 10
...participate proactively in international research projects that are prioritized by funding agencies. 12
...foster inclusion, not exclusion in working towards accomplishing SDGs, and engage industry in non-profit areas. 3
...combine knowledge across multiple fields to address the urgent issue of climate change. 3
...seize opportunities in the “silver market” of rapidly-aging Japan. 5
...strengthen the contributions of its Faculty of Economics as protectionism becomes more prominent. 14
Discussion Point 2: How can the University of Tokyo further expand global private sector collaboration?
The University of Tokyo should...
...construct frameworks that support continuous coordination, such as those related to budgeting and staffing. 6
..., through public relations efforts, cultivate an atmosphere in which work with industry is valued. 6
...create an open environment, like those seen at great business schools which open their doors to industry. 6
...focus not only on education and research, but also on innovation. 5
...connect the relevant parts (schools and labs) of the University to multinational companies in Japan, and then expand these connections to outside of the country. 7
...be aware of cultural gap between universities and industry: universities use money to make knowledge, while industry players use knowledge to make money. 12
...create an ecosystem for cooperation through socially meaningful projects (e.g., those related to sports science). 3
...increase the exchange of faculty members, not only that of students. 9
...share knowledge about globalization and entrepreneurship with the private sector. 11
...make innovations to inspire the private sector to get involved with universities. 5
...have a range of exchange programs at various levels, including one like the program between MIT and Lamborghini. 7
Discussion Point 3: How can we train graduate students to function effectively in the global public domain? What concrete strategies should be in place to enhance the international aspect of graduate education?
The University of Tokyo should...
...nurture T-shaped persons who have a broad understanding across multiple fields. 2
...provide graduate students with opportunities to learn about ethics, in order to “educate” them as human beings rather than “train” them to become full-fledged members of society. 6
...provide them with opportunities to acquire skills for critical evaluation. 12
...give advice to the government to support evidence-based policy making. 12
(the President of the University should) ...act as a representative of Japan and clearly show the future path towards which society should orient itself. 11
...reexamine the appropriateness of existing programs by conducting student surveys, and expand graduate programs. 2
...provide more education on corporate management and public services. 15
...teach students how to practically use and apply the specialized knowledge they have obtained, as specialization itself is just one part of the process of science. 3
...have students participate in multidisciplinary projects and give them responsibility. 4
...let some of its many outstanding students participate in future discussions. 7
...conduct a survey on student needs and behaviors, in light of the fact that expectations for public institutions are changing rapidly on a global scale. 5
Overview and Results of the 12th President's Council Meeting
At the 12th meeting of the President’s Council, participants engaged in serious discussion on what contributions the University of Tokyo could make in the context of the tremendous changes facing the international community, including the rise of terrorism, Brexit, and the birth of the Trump administration. In particular, the issue of climate change was mentioned by multiple participants as an urgent problem. At the end of the meeting, an action plan comprised of five items was set based on the recommendations made by the participants. The University will make efforts to implement the plan with an eye to becoming a “base of solutions” for the world. The meeting was the last one for the President’s Council, which will be reborn with new members as the UTokyo Global Advisory Board in AY 2017. We expect that the new organization will contribute to creating a better future for the University and the entire world.
Action Plan for the University of Tokyo
- We will be nominated as a “Designated National University.”
- We will increase (substantially) the number of female members in our next advisory committee and make additional efforts to achieve gender balance in our classrooms and our faculty.
- We will consider how to increase contact points with the private sector for innovation and joint learning.
- We will improve our communication strategy and channels to let the world know what we do, and make better use of existing alliances or form new alliances to address urgent issues.
- We will cherish our students (more) and educate them for the future challenges they will face around the globe through increased exposure to international opportunities.
* This article is a translation of an article that was originally printed in Tansei 34 (Japanese language only). All information in this article is as of March 2017.