Message from the Dean

Concepts behind the establishment of the Faculty of Arts and Science

Dean:Shun-ichi Maruno

The world of education is rapidly changing and developing with the ongoing internationalization of the education sector and globalization of society. This is accompanied by a dwindling population of 18-year olds due to Japan’s decreasing birth rate and the onset of an era in which all candidates will be able to successfully gain a place at university. These various developments have raised expectations and hopes from within Japan and overseas that universities will welcome student diversity and seek to reassess the needs for university education from new perspectives.

One of these expectations is for the creation of new knowledge through engaging in creative discussion on conceptualizing the differing views, concepts and values of people from different cultures as one theme or challenge. By doing so, it is hoped that skills relating to communication, self-expression, creative and critical thinking and collaboration and cooperation will be developed, all of which are essential for identifying issues and then going on to implement solutions.

A second expectation is that a response can be made to the need for gaining diverse knowledge in areas that are not necessarily of a deeply specialized nature, but that are nonetheless required if we are to engage vigorously in an ever-changing knowledge-based society. For these, the most essential requisites are skills to appropriately gauge various situations and settings, and to have the intellectual inspiration and strength to respond in an adaptable manner. In addition, it entails developing open-minded sensitivities that can identify the various meanings and value inherent in various social issues.

A third expectation is for the cultivation of “learning that finds joy in finding the answers to the unknown, and the creation of attitudes focused on the joy of learning,” which should be at the very foundation of university education. This means engaging in learning that does not rely merely on the volume of knowledge, nor which takes great bodies of documentation or knowledge on faith alone. Rather, it signifies learning that seeks to consider issues with a deeply critical and reflective eye from multiple perspectives. In this way, it is possible to develop an insatiable spirit of challenge and bold attitudes that continually seek to open up new possibilities, as well as find ways of solving problems and phenomena that were previously thought unsolvable.

What all of these hopes and expectations share in common is the desire to develop mindsets and attitudes inclined towards mature “active learning,” on both human and intellectual levels, which transcends the confines of each era or specific circumstances and promotes continuous, independent lifelong learning. It is a desire to see the “creation of benchmarks for morals and value judgments in intellectual, social and personal terms” that are an essential requirement for living in society, imbued with the expectation that strong, free-thinking and flexible human resources will be developed.

At Kyushu University, our goal is to educate individuals capable of leadership in a diverse range of fields in Japan, and who are willing to assume an active role on the world stage. Our Education Charter emphasizes the principles of humanity, social responsibility, global citizenship and advancement of knowledge, and it is these principles that have informed education policy across the entire university. However, in response to the above-mentioned expectations and hopes of society from within Japan and around the world, in order to develop human resources who are capable of truly taking a leadership role in our globalizing international community, which is beset by multiple challenges, it will be necessary to enhance the educational content we have provided to date in an even more structured, wide-ranging and quality-oriented manner. The Faculty of Arts and Science was established in October 2011—our centennial year—based on the conviction that, heading into our next century of existence, we needed to restructure our education system so as to provide a consistent and integrated structure, from general education through to specialized education and on to graduate education.

Kyushu University

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