Message from the Dean

Professor Yukio MIYATA

Dean, School of International Studies

In April 2010, the School of International Studies (SIS) was established as the eleventh school at Kwansei Gakuin University. Kwansei Gakuin University has a tradition of international studies and education. The founder of the school, W. R. Lambuth, was a missionary who devoted his life to improving the health and education of people in many countries. He was a “World Citizen” who was willing to take responsibility for making the welfare of individuals and regions better, regardless of the national borders. Kwansei Gakuin University established the SIS to enhance the tradition of training “World Citizens.”

The aim of the SIS is to allow students to nurture their internationality. We expect students to become able to develop the school motto “Mastery for Service” on a global stage. Students should not only be familiar with international affairs, but also be willing to understand and to sympathize with various people and communities and to find and solve their problems. The former needs a warm heart with a sense of ethics, and the latter needs a cool head with knowledge and skills, both of which are necessary for the “World Citizen.” In particular, SIS assigns four competencies for students to acquire: the ability to solve problems, the ability to accept multicultural coexistence, the ability to behave ethically, and the ability to communicate with people in different languages.

The SIS curriculum consists of three academic fields (“Cultures and Languages,” “Societies and Politics,” and “Economics and Management”), as well as two regional courses (“North American Studies” and “Asian Studies”). Since the academic discipline of international studies is not well-established, unlike economics and mathematics, these fields and courses are designed to guide students’ study plans toward graduation. Each junior and senior student at the SIS must take a Research Seminar class in which he/she has to write a graduation thesis. Each research seminar class belongs to a specific field and course, so students can study specific research topics in depth. On the other hand, fields and courses are designed to have flexibility, and that students are expected to take classes from various fields and courses. The three academic fields are interrelated. To be successful in international business, knowledge of culture and language, as well as law and politics, is necessary. Even non-profit organizations for helping the poor in developing countries will need to minimize their costs for long-term success, which requires the knowledge of economics and management in order to minimize operational expenses.

As the three academic fields indicate, the SIS is based on humanities and social science disciplines. Although natural science, technology, and engineering are important to solve global problems, the SIS believes that technical knowledge is effective for neighbors and communities if it is supplemented by the wisdom of humanities and social sciences. You may be concerned that the SIS only covers North America and Asia for regional courses. However, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to study every nation and region in four years. The SIS believes that the four qualities mentioned above will help SIS graduates to discover, understand, and solve the problems of any neighbors and regions. As long as they have acquired these four qualities through the SIS programs, they can make their own way in the world, even if they are dispatched to work in a country they are unfamiliar with.

Kwansei Gakuin University has developed a long-term strategic plan called the "Kwansei Grand Challenge 2039” which envisions the university in 2039, the 150th anniversary of its founding. According to the plan, the ultimate goal of Kwansei Gakuin University is to make it possible for graduates to have fulfilling and meaningful lives. The first step of this goal is "high-quality employment." This does not necessarily mean that graduates obtain jobs at big or well-known corporations, but that they are satisfied with where they end up, and get off to a good start in the real world.

However, job placement is just the start. It is important to continue studying throughout one's career and lifetime. Practical knowledge is useful for placement, but such knowledge quickly becomes obsolete. People have to continuously study to obtain new knowledge. Continuous lifetime learning requires intellectual curiosity, which makes learning interesting and enjoyable. I hope SIS students will nurture their intellectual curiosity through four years studying in the SIS programs.

As mentioned above, the SIS is a rather new school. While faculty and staff members at the SIS will help students in their studies, I hope each student will be willing to write a new page of history at the SIS. A strong tradition of the SIS will have to be built on the joint efforts of faculty, staff members, and students. The following is from the inaugural speech by President John. F Kennedy in 1961: “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”
Please replace “your country” with "SIS."