Apr 2, 2018
Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU) and Ritsumeikan University both received ‘A’ grades on the Top Global University Project mid-term evaluation conducted by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). Covering the financial year 2017 (April 2017-March 2018 in Japan), ‘A’ is the second highest grade on the five-tier S-A-B-C-D scale.
The Top Global University Project was launched by MEXT in 2014 to enhance the international competitiveness of Japan’s higher education by providing funding for universities to:
A) Attract high-caliber researchers and students from around the world
B) Increase their presence in the world’s higher education market
C) Develop human resources with a global mindset
Both APU and Ritsumeikan University are currently a recipients of type B funding: aimed at ‘Global Traction Type’ universities – i.e. universities leading the globalization of Japanese society.
The team assessed APU, which has implemented its own Top Global University program: `Global Learning: A New Dawn for Higher Education’; wherein the round figure of ‘100’ plays a pivotal role as a target to aim for:
- 100% international dormitory: availability for both national and international first year students to take up accommodation in international dormitories, thus facilitating cross-cultural learning
- 100% of subjects: multicultural collaborative learning across all subjects
- 100% of Japanese students: to gain overseas experience during the course of their studies
- 100 countries and regions: a university student community made up of members from over 100 different countries and international regions
The team’s final assessment took steps taken towards these targets into account and was encouragingly complimentary: ‘APU has established a strong governance structure and is steadily working to achieve its “Four 100s” goals by implementing the initiatives outlined in its plan. Credit must be given also to its efforts to link the acquisition of AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) accreditation in 2016 to improvements in the quality of its international education and research.’
Comment from APU President Deguchi:
"Since our selection for the Top Global University Project in AY2014, we have made steady progress towards achieving the project’s stated goals and indicators. In particular, we have bolstered efforts, including what we call the “Four 100s,” to implement our trademark APU Global Education, which harnesses the strength of our unparalleled multicultural environment with students from 90 countries and regions. Focusing on student growth and success, we will continue striving to assure and improve the quality of our international education and research as we create a Global Learning Community capable of generating new value. Your continued understanding of and cooperation with APU's efforts is, of course, greatly appreciated."
Ritsumeikan University has set its own ambitious educational target:
‘It is our aim to ensure we produce graduates from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds, who are ready, willing and able to contribute to the Asian and global communities at large.’
The mid-term evaluation team were effusive in their praise for the university’s proactive approach, drawing attention in particular to:
- The creation of joint and dual degree programs with foreign universities
- The establishment of facilities to encourage interaction between international and Japanese students and promote self-directed language learning
- Innovative programs aimed at encouraging students to experience studying abroad
- The university’s liberal arts education reforms
- Implementation of The ‘Campus Asia Program’ and the ‘RiSE I≡J Project’ (collaborative programs with China, Korea and India respectively)
- Development of the ‘Ritsumeikan Model for Learning’ (a model which encourages self-directed study and peer support - designed to encourage life-long learning and proactive social contribution based upon core, yet adaptable knowledge and intellectual principles)
Comment from RU President Yoshida:
"The efforts of all our faculty and staff in coming together as one to drive the university forward has enabled such wonderful results. But our work is ongoing. April 2018 sees the start of the American University-Ritsumeikan University Joint Degree Program, as well as the opening on each campus of interactive, multifunctional spaces - ‘Beyond Borders Plazas’ – to serve as venues for interaction between international and Japanese students, and provide space for self-directed language study. The College of Global Liberal Arts, designed around an undergraduate dual degree program with Australian National University, is also set to open in April 2019. In this way our hard work continues in implementing the Top Global University Project initiatives to lead the internationalization of universities in Japan; at the same time creating a model for the development of other universities too."