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Long-Term Vision of Hiroshima University

Long-Term Vision of Hiroshima University

Hiroshima University 10 to 15 Years from Now

June 23, 2009
Hiroshima University

To present the future directions of Hiroshima University, this Long-Term Vision has been prepared by envisioning the state of Hiroshima University 10 to 15 years from now.

Immediately after the incorporation of national universities in Japan (in 2004), Hiroshima University adopted its first mid-term plan, which has now reached nearly the final stage. In June 2009, the University will prepare the draft of its second mid-term plan. In this situation, we at Hiroshima University believe it significant and important to prepare and present a long-term vision, envisioning the state of Hiroshima University 10 to 15 years from now. We believe that this Long-Term Vision will provide guidelines for further developing Hiroshima University as a higher educational institution. At the same time, we believe that the Vision will help us recognize challenges that might prevent the University from achieving its goals, and then conduct campus-wide efforts to overcome these challenges.

Over the past decade, Japanese universities have undergone radical environmental changes. Especially, the trend of deregulation accelerated after the incorporation of national universities, resulting in intensified inter-university competition. Consequently, Japan’s modern university systems and structures, established during the 19th century, have begun to collapse. On the other hand, a new system that replaces the old system is yet to be established. In this environment, individual universities are expected to establish new frameworks and systems for their respective institutions. Hiroshima University is also expected to establish its own system, based on a concrete future vision. To prepare this future vision, however, sufficient consideration should be given to both external and internal aspects. External aspects include changes in financial sources, including governmental grants for management expenses; the rapid decrease in the 18-year-old population, and the influence on local national universities of ongoing decentralization and possible shift of Japan’s administrative systems from the present prefecture-based one to a broader, regional system. Internal aspects that must be considered include distinct roles and functions of respective universities, establishment of unique characteristics of individual universities, inter-university partnerships, guarantee of educational quality, formation of educational and research hubs, and university internationalization.

Moreover, given the decreasing amounts of national subsidies, Hiroshima University must seek out new financial sources while striving for even more effective use of the limited resources it now has. Taking advantage of the educational and research assets that the University has accumulated up to now, Hiroshima University must reinforce its fundamental research programs so as to fulfill the primary mission of higher educational institutions. At the same time, the University must also concentrate its resources in priority areas, to be selected based on fair evaluation.

1. Directions of Hiroshima University’s Future Development

– “Comprehensive Research University”* and a National & Regional Academic Center –

Adhering to the Five Guiding Principles of Hiroshima University, we staff and faculty members of the University will work to fulfill the primary mission of all universities: contributing to society through those activities. At the same time, we will determine the roles unique to Hiroshima University as a regional hub of education, research, medical services and community development programs. Moreover, we will work to expand the reach of our activities, particularly those in the University’s strong disciplines, across the nation and the world.

(1) Confirming and Carrying Out the Five Guiding Principles
Inheriting the founding principles aspiration to establish ”a single, unified university, free and pursuing peace”, all members of the University will work to fulfill the goals stipulated in the Five Guiding Principles: pursuit of peace; creation of new forms of knowledge; nurturing of well-rounded human beings; collaboration with local, regional and international communities; and continuous self-development. As a national university, we believe that Hiroshima University should be a knowledge center that plays a leading role in building a knowledge-based society.

(2) Determining the University’s Roles and Promoting its Unique Characteristics
Hiroshima University has a role as a global (and national) academic center, as well as of a regional academic center in the Chugoku & Shikoku region. As a regional center, the University will reinforce its general education so as to fulfill its basic mission as a comprehensive research university. As a global and national center representing Japanese universities, Hiroshima University plans to become a global hub of education and research in the University’s strong disciplines and play a leading role in these disciplines.

(3) Upgrading Education and Research Levels
Graduates of Hiroshima University to date have gained reputation as being down-to-earth, earnest and cooperative. The University will continue to produce such human resources, as well as those having a global perspective, by introducing practical studies and improving the levels of undergraduate and graduate course programs. At the same time, the University will work to develop human resources who will contribute to building societies that ensure freedom and originality of all residents.

While maintaining the University’s system of supporting fundamental research, the University will also select world-class research projects and extraordinary researchers, and concentrate its resources to support these projects/researchers, so as to fully develop the potential unique to Hiroshima University.

(4) Building Flexible Education & Research Systems through Reorganization of Educational and Research Structures
Hiroshima University will reinforce its function of promoting fundamental research, which is an essential mission of all universities. Moreover, the University will develop applied research programs so as to meet social needs. In response to the advancement of studies and fusion of the sciences, the University will reinforce educational programs in undergraduate and graduate courses and develop new research areas and multidisciplinary research programs. To this end, the University will reorganize its educational and research structures and build more flexible systems.

(5) Innovative University Management
To become a knowledge center whose members are actively committed to academic programs, the University will seek to build an innovative management method.
* “Comprehensive research university” is defined as a university that has a graduate school of advanced curricula as well as undergraduate programs in a wide variety of academic disciplines, a university that produces high percentages in conferring of doctorate degree, and a university that achieves outstanding research results.

2. Direction of Educational Reforms

– Nurturing of Well-Rounded Human Beings and Upgrading Education Quality –

Hiroshima University will work to develop human resources with well-rounded character who can think and act autonomously. The University will provide international standard, high-level education, so as to guarantee the quality of outcomes of education.

(1) Reinforcing General Education
The University will foster students’ attitudes of studying on their own initiative, along with creativity and ability, to resolve problems with their own academic knowledge. At the same time, the University will build students’ capacity to understand findings in disciplines other than their major, to foster diverse viewpoints and ways of thinking, and to communicate with other people with excellent skills. To this purpose, the University will reinforce general education in both undergraduate and graduate courses.

(2) Guaranteeing the Quality of Diplomas
The University will clarify its principles and criteria for admitting students and granting diplomas, as well as principles regarding curricula organization. Through these efforts, the University will guarantee the quality of its bachelor, master and doctorate degrees. Meanwhile, the University will clarify interrelations between undergraduate and graduate courses.

 ⅰ. Review, evaluation and improvement of the University’s educational programs, and providing students new programs based on their targets to be achieved  <Undergraduate courses>
After reviewing and evaluating the University’s educational system and individual educational programs, the University will improve the system and programs. At the same time, the University will reinforce its original “program system,”* which guarantees the quality of the University’s education and diploma.

 ⅱ. Systematic reorganization of educational programs <Graduate courses>
The University will systematically reorganize the curricula of individual graduate courses in accordance with the goal of individual courses concerning human resource development: to foster researchers, educators and professionals in specific disciplines. In response to social needs, the University will also foster human resources who will be able to take active parts in global society.

(3) Promoting International Partnerships in Graduate School
The University will promote partnerships with overseas universities that have signed an International Exchange Agreement with Hiroshima University. While receiving many more international students, the University will reinforce its system to dispatch Japanese students to overseas universities, so as to develop human resources who will be able to play active roles in the international community.

(4) Student Support Programs
To help students achieve self-actualization, the University will improve its counseling system regarding students’ daily life on and outside the campus, and support students’ career development. Considering extracurricular activities as essential for developing well-rounded character, the University will reinforce a system to support extracurricular activities. Moreover, the University will reinforce financial aid programs, particularly the University’s original scholarship systems.

* “Program system” is defined as a system to provide students with lists of subjects to take according to their career plans and concrete educational goals, so that students can autonomously select subjects to take according to their needs. Some programs comprise subjects across several departments/faculties, while others comprise subjects in only one department/faculty.

3. Invigorating Research Activities

– Developing the University’s Original Research Programs –

As a comprehensive research university, Hiroshima University will work to contribute to the inheritance and development of the cultures and sciences that underpin the current knowledge society. The University will make particular efforts to promote widely fundamental research programs. In response to intensifying inter-university competition, Hiroshima University will work to establish its status as a world-class research university. To this end, the University will concentrate its resources in promising research areas unique to the University.

(1) Reinforcing Fundamental Research Activities
As a comprehensive research university, Hiroshima University will continue its commitments to fundamental research activities. Through these commitments, the University will seek to contribute to the continuous development of knowledge based culture in Japan.

(2) Developing the University into a Global Educational and Research Center
Based on a rigorous evaluation by external parties, the University will provide even greater support to research groups and researchers who produce world-class achievements. Through partnerships with other universities, Hiroshima University will seek to develop into a world-class educational and research center. As part of partnerships with other universities, the University will consider the founding of graduate schools in joint efforts.

(3) Invigorating Research Activities
To invigorate educational and research activities, the University will introduce a new head researcher system and reinforce an existing fixed-term system (under which faculty members serve only a limited period). The University will provide support to faculty members in accordance with their efforts and achievements. Moreover, the University will seek to increase the number of faculty members who will play leading roles in forming an educational and research center.

4. Promoting Global Strategies and Social Contribution

– Contributing to the Region and World in the University’s Strong Areas –

The University will work to contribute to the region and the world in the University’s strong areas through international exchange/cooperation programs and partnerships with regional communities.

(1) Reinforcing International Networks among Universities and International Educational Programs
The University will promote internationalization of its educational programs, provide various educational programs in English and other foreign languages, and prepare attractive curricula for international students.

(2) Promoting International Cooperation
The University will seek to resolve global challenges through international cooperative projects. To this end, the University will seek effective use of its professional knowledge and achievements.

(3) Forming an Educational and Research Center for Hiroshima Peace Building
In efforts to internationalize the University, particular focus should be on peace studies, which have been released from Hiroshima. Considering possible partnerships with related organizations in Hiroshima Prefecture, the University will become a world educational and research center in studies of peace building.

(4) Sharing Outcomes of Educational and Research Activities with Regional Communities
The University will share the outcomes of its educational and research activities with regional communities. To this end, the University will actively disclose related information and reinforce networks between industry, government and academia in knowledge-based creativities. The University will also promote collaboration projects between industry, government and academia, in order to contribute to regional development.

5. Future Directions of Medical Education and Research Organizations, and the University Hospital

– Forming a Regional Medical Education Center in the Chugoku & Shikoku Region, and World Medical Center –

The University will continue its commitments to multidisciplinary studies involving advanced medical sciences, dentistry, pharmaceutical sciences and health sciences, so as to be a world-leading research center of clinical medical technologies. The University will also play a leading role in human resource development by fostering leaders in medical, public health and welfare services in the Chugoku and Shikoku region, leaders who will influence regional medical policies.

(1) Providing Comprehensive Medical Services
To provide comprehensive medical services for treating physical and mental disorders in an integrated manner, the University will reinforce its medical education and research activities.

(2) Developing Original, Advanced Medical Sciences and Cutting-edge Medical Services
The University will develop advanced medical sciences and cutting-edge medical services in those areas where Hiroshima University has been accumulating expertise, most notably in radiation and disaster medical science. At the same time, the University will seek to build partnerships between staff members engaged in medical sciences with those in other sciences, so as to become a research and clinical center in its strong areas, such as regenerative medicine and cancer treatments.

(3) Human Resource Development
Taking advantage of the University’s capacity to integrate medical sciences, dentistry, pharmaceutical sciences and health science, the University will establish a brand image as a regional center of medical staff development. In addition to serving as a regional center in the Chugoku and Shikoku region, the University seeks to extend its reach to other Asian countries.

(4) Improving the Functions of Hiroshima University Hospital
As a leading hospital in the region, Hiroshima University Hospital will strengthen its networks with other hub hospitals in the region. In the long-term perspective, the Hospital will upgrade its facilities and equipment so as to develop into an Asian medical center.

6. Role Differentiation and Administration of University Management

– Managing the University to Ensure All Members Can Achieve High Performance Levels –

The University will work to create an ideal environment that enables students to dedicate to their studies and faculty members to educational, research and medical services. The University will cultivate the awareness that all staff/faculty members participate in University management, and reinforce its financial basis so as to enable autonomous management.

(1) Reinforcing Support for Students and Faculty Members
To enable students to dedicate to their studies and faculty members to educational, research and medical services, the University will foster staff members who have professional knowledge, and will reinforce services to assist students and faculty members.

(2) Creating a Reward System for Efforts of Staff/Faculty Members
The University will establish adequate personnel systems that meet social demands along with fair evaluation systems. To staff/faculty members serving in the areas of education, research, medical services, along with social contribution and University management, the University will offer incentives in accordance with the levels of their efforts and achievements.

(3) Realizing High-level Gender Equality
The University will work to realize a gender-equal campus environment, where both male and female workers understand the principle of gender equality, respect diverse opinions and values, and assist each others’ self development.

(4) Solidifying the University’s Financial Basis to Ensure Independent and Autonomous Management
To solidify the University’s financial basis in compliance with relevant laws and regulations, the University will maximize its efforts to increase its funds, secure its own financial sources and promote effective use of its funds and other limited resources.

(5) Creating Universal-Design Campuses
The University will implement its plans to use its facilities effectively as well as long-term programs to improve its facilities based on the grand designs of individual campuses. The University will also introduce universal design aspects into its campuses from users’ viewpoints, so as to ensure that students and staff/faculty members of different abilities/disabilities can dedicate themselves to studies, education, and research activities without feeling that they are different.

(6) Improving the IT Environment
The University will improve its IT environment so as to realize innovative and efficient management of the University. 

On Preparing the Long-term Vision of Hiroshima University

To date, Hiroshima University has prepared several plans and visions to fulfill fundamental missions of higher educational institutions in response to changing social demands and expectations. In line with these plans/visions, the University has been striving to reform and improve its educational and research systems. To name a few, in 2000 we prepared the “Master Plan and Vision of Hiroshima University in the 21st Century” in consideration of changes anticipated at that time regarding the state of Japan’s national universities; in 2003 we compiled Hiroshima University’s first long-term vision, based on which we have reformed various systems to address great challenges resulting from the incorporation of national universities in 2004. At present, all these plans and visions are either completed or in the final stage.

We have prepared this (second) Long-Term Vision, in recognition of the need for a new future vision that reflects our experiences in the past five years following the University’s incorporation as well as recent changes in the University’s environment, including changes on and outside our campuses. To prepare this Long-Term Vision, we have asked staff and faculty members, as well as students, for their views and opinions regarding the future state of Hiroshima University. In addition, to hear opinions from people outside the University, we held discussions with external councilors of the Administrative Council. We have made utmost efforts to incorporate the views of all these people in this Long-Term Vision. In preparing the Vision, there have been heated discussions concerning two possible approaches: to depict ideal state of the University that encourages its members to embrace dreams, and to realistically analyze the present state and feasibility of suggested plans and ideas. The Long-Term Vision is the product of these heated but sincere discussions about the future of Hiroshima University.

It is my sincere hope that based on this Long-Term Vision, all members of the University will make their utmost efforts to forge a path leading to a bright future for our University. I expect that practical action plans of this Vision will be prepared in campus-wide organizations based on sincere and lively discussions.

Finally, I would like to ask all staff and faculty members for their generous understanding and support for this Long-Term Vision. I would appreciate their efforts in achieving further development of Hiroshima University.