Nobuo Mimura, President of Ibaraki University and CERF-JCR Regional Vice President, delivers a powerful message on the status of his educational institution.
Welcome to Ibaraki University! In this message, I would like to describe Ibaraki University as it stands today and its objectives for the future.
Ibaraki University has a 65-year history dating back to May 1949, when it started out as a national university under Japan's new educational system. It was formed through the integration of the former educational system's Mito High School, Ibaraki Normal School, Ibaraki National School for Youth and Taga Technical College. Today, the university has developed into a mid-size national university with five undergraduate colleges and four graduate schools. There are approximately 8,400 students studying at the university.
Ibaraki University has consistently aimed to develop outstanding human resources through teaching and research. In our modern age, the world is being rapidly transformed by ongoing globalization. In Japan, we face pressing issues such as a shrinking population and the aging of society, as well as disaster readiness and environmental problems. In our fast-changing society, I believe that it is crucial for Ibaraki University's students to continue growing even after graduation, and thereby succeed in their endeavors. To this end, Ibaraki University emphasizes "active learning," which is focused on developing practical knowledge and skills, and a liberal arts education that fosters an expansive perspective. In doing so, we are working to reform education (i.e. shift the quality of education) from "teaching" to "active learning." Going further, we are developing a diverse learning environment that supports the growth of our students by upgrading and expanding international exchange student programs, where students study abroad at universities in Asia and Western countries, along with short-term training programs.
Another feature of Ibaraki University is that we are firmly rooted in the local region and are helping to build sustainable regional communities. To date, we have built up an extensive track record in such areas as joint research with local corporations, environmental preservation and natural energy development, disaster readiness, and support for the town development initiatives of local governments. In fact, we have just initiated a project to make the university a new regional center of knowledge, with the launch in April 2014 of the Social Collaboration Center. Looking ahead, we intend to advance an even broader range of activities to expand our circle of collaboration with Ibaraki Prefecture, municipalities, corporations, civic groups and others. On the research front, Ibaraki University has produced significant achievements in many different areas, notably material sciences, atomic sciences, climate change issues, biofuel, environmental improvement of Lake Kasumigaura, and support for recovery from earthquake and radiation disasters. We seek to create distinctive fields by further strengthening our advanced research activities, as we strive to make Ibaraki University's research achievements widely known across Japan and the rest of the world.
Universities are vital organs of society that are crucial to building a sustainable regional society. They not only serve as institutes of higher education, but also help to advance research and solve a variety of issues facing the region. Keeping this firmly in mind, Ibaraki University will practice open management in order to contribute to the development of society through teaching, research, regional collaboration and internationalization. I hope that this will increase your understanding of Ibaraki University, and I look forward to your continued support.
Nobuo Mimura, D.Eng.
President, Ibaraki University
Ibaraki Prefecture 310-0056, Japan