First, allow me to thank you all for making your way through this oppressive heat to join us here at the Ochanomizu University Open Campus. Although your time here today may be too short to explore everything we do, I hope you can get a sense of what the campus feels like and how we go about our educational efforts.
One of our graduate students recently received a highly competitive award given to exceptional female scientists in doctoral programs. The award review board, famous for its selectivity, chose two recipients in the material sciences and two recipients in the life sciences and one of those four extraordinarily gifted women students right here on campus. This is actually the second year in a row that an Ochanomizu University student has taken home the award. Some of our undergraduate students are even using the results of their research to develop new products in collaboration with different companies.
While our current students are doing some amazing things, our graduates are also charging ahead on a truly diverse array of life paths. Data shows that the most popular destinations for our alumnae are positions in education, public service, academic research, IT-related industries, and manufacturing areas where they can drive the formation of our communal knowledge base, help construct important government policies, and make other valuable contributions to the core components of society.
Ochanomizu University students are also extremely inquisitive, cultivating interests in a multitude of fields and constantly aspiring to try new things. In many ways, this spirit is part of what defines the Ochanomizu University tradition.
Our alumnae and past faculty include Japan's first woman to earn a doctorate of science, first woman to obtain a doctorate of agriculture, and first female researcher to play an active role on the international scene as both a student and a professor. Many of our graduates have also helped establish universities and other educational institutions such as Tokyo Women's Christian University, the current Kyoritsu Women's University, and Japan Women's College of Physical Education, just to name a few, while the Oinkai Alumni Association, always a dynamic member of the wider community, established Oin Gakuen the year after the Great Kanto Earthquake.
Ochanomizu University has continually worked to fulfill its obligations as a national institution of higher education by giving women the refined education and qualifications they need to stand at the vanguard of society.
The history of Ochanomizu University stretches back 137 years to 1875, the year the Tokyo Women's Normal School was founded. The campus of the Tokyo Women's Normal School, an area now occupied by the Tokyo Medical and Dental University, was situated near Ochanomizu Station, which provided the basis for the institution's new name when Japan modified its educational system. After the Great Kanto Earthquake destroyed several school buildings, administrators decided to move the campus again. Ochanomizu University thus eventually made its final move to its present location in Otsuka, completing the main building in 1932. Given the school's firsthand experience with the devastation that earthquakes can wreak, the architectural team behind our main building worked diligently to ensure maximum earthquake resistance. In addition to being extremely safe, our main building also features prominently in Japan's cultural fabric along with the school's auditorium, main gate, and affiliated kindergarten. It is registered as one of Japan's tangible cultural assets. From the exquisite granite used for the front entrance to the tiling around the building, which was made using methods that were revolutionary at the time, this building and all of its elegant features serve to symbolize the high hopes that Japanese society placed in its first institution of higher education for women.
Ochanomizu University, a national women's university committed to leading the way in higher education for women, focuses on three educational principles: knowledge, critical thinking, and tolerance.
The cultivation of good, solid knowledge is the fundamental requirement and primary objective of an Ochanomizu University education, but knowledge is not everything; students also need to know how to apply that expertise toward making informed decisions. This is what critical thinking is all about drawing on stores of specialized knowledge to look at things objectively and act accordingly.
Tolerance or the ability to be open-minded and receptive to different ways of doing things plays a vital role in both expanding one's knowledge and living a good life. We know that a diversity of perspectives not an adherence to one-dimensional sets of values is what will drive the future development of our larger society. One of the best ways to nurture tolerance is to venture boldly into international environments, which is why Ochanomizu University is putting such a strong emphasis on sending its students abroad.
Guided by these educational principles, we have made a ceaseless effort to reform and improve our educational offerings over the years. Our Vice President and director of educational activities will have much more to say about some of the things we have done, but I want to highlight three of the things that set the Ochanomizu University education apart.
First are the educational advantages of being a relatively small school. Our close-knit community makes faculty members much more accessible to students and helps instructors forge productive relationships with each other, as well. Thanks to our low student-to-teacher ratios, students maintain a significant presence on campus, have more opportunities to speak out, and learn in an environment where students and teachers alike can benefit from friendly competition.
The second distinctive point about our university is that our small size facilitates closer relationships between disciplines, a benefit that has enabled us to create our "21st-century liberal arts education," a progressive liberal arts system that transcends the conventional humanities/science framework. The proximity between academic areas at Ochanomizu University has also been instrumental in creating our "Multiple Program Elective Course System," a new system for specialized instruction that began last year.
These educational systems are designed not to blur the distinctions the distinctions between existing fields of study but rather to enhance our students' abilities to better identify problems and devise appropriate solutions through stronger bases of specialized knowledge.
What makes these systems possible are the direct involvement our esteemed researchers have in educating our students and the fact that almost every faculty member here is an active member of the same graduate research course. Although Ochanomizu University comprises three undergraduate faculties, the actual faculty members all belong to the Graduate School of Humanities and Sciences; regardless of whether professors specialize in the humanities, the sciences, or any other field, they all communicate with each other on a daily basis. In addition to our regular educational offerings, we also boast 11 competitively funded educational programs that testify to the high quality of the education Ochanomizu University provides its students.
Third is our effort as a national women's university to promote leadership education. At Ochanomizu University, we focus our leadership education on cultivating sophisticated expertise, building social infrastructures with deep insight, and training women to be leaders. "Knowledge is power," they say, and we too are well aware that reliable, refined know-how forms an invaluable support structure on which students can construct their lives. I want our students to gain that wisdom here and use it to flourish in society. Our graduates continue to take advantage of their skills in the working world companies have learned to rely on Ochanomizu University graduates, trust in their abilities, rest assured in their sense of responsibility, and understand that handing the reins to one of our graduates puts any project on the fast track to success.
One of the courses in the leadership education framework is called "Introductory Seminar: The History and Mission of Ochanomizu University," a class created in response to student demand. Throughout the class, we invite graduates to come back to campus and tell students about what they learned during their time here and what they are doing now as full-fledged members of society. I also visit the class to give students insight into the history of our institution, our approach to education, and our perspective on research. Here are some of the things students wrote about my class.
These words are a testament to our students' determination and a constant source of pride for me as an educator. The Introductory Seminar: The History and Mission of Ochanomizu University course never fails to show me that the students here are developing and cherishing the "intelligence, respect for others, and supple strength" that lie at the heart of our leadership education.
Although our campus is by no means extravagant in its geographical footprint, it is home to around 2,000 undergraduate students, 1,000 graduate students, 220 international students, and approximately 3,500 other people, young and old, who live and learn with us every day. Our ideal location also blends the convenience of the big city with a surprisingly placid and peaceful learning environment a campus that allows our students to pursue their intellectual goals to the fullest and hone their unique talents and personalities together.
Ochanomizu University strives to be a place where all women who are motivated to learn can realize their earnest dreams. I hope to see you all again in this auditorium for our entrance ceremony the day each of our students embarks on a mission to make her dreams come true.
In closing, I extend my sincere gratitude to all of you for being here with us today.
President, Ochanomizu University
Ochanomizu University Homepage Steering Committee
2-1-1 Otsuka, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112-8610, Japan
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