Inaugural Greeting Upon Taking Up the Post of President 2007.5.22

Inaugural Greeting Upon Taking Up the Post of President 2007.5.22

I have recently been appointed the 11th President of Hiroshima University, succeeding the previous President, Professor Muta. I hope that you will all offer me your guidance and support in my new role.

As we enter the knowledge-based society of the 21st century, the role of universities as institutions of higher education is growing in importance; in particular, the social responsibility of national universities, which have been incorporated as national university corporations, is increasing. Through liberal arts education, medical care, and research based on academic-industrial collaboration that makes a contribution to society, we are required to achieve substantive outcomes in such areas as the cultivation of outstanding personnel to whom we can hand over the baton for the next generation, scientific research that can contribute to the development of mankind, and dealing with the challenges of environmental problems and a super-aging society of a kind that humanity has never previously experienced.
In this globalized age, the degree of sophistication and specialism is growing in our diverse, information-driven society. As society becomes increasingly internationalized, it is necessary for the personnel who will function therein to develop a richness of spirit and acquire a good balance of knowledge. We must strive to cultivate students imbued with a richness of spirit through a liberal arts education and a good balance of knowledge, and then provide them with a specialist education in order to foster dignified, outstanding members of society who can make a valuable contribution, both within Japan and overseas. In order to do so, I would like to endeavor to run the university with a focus on students, revising the systems for selecting entrants and operating substantial educational programs.
While Hiroshima University is one of Japan's key universities, it is also a world-leader in terms of the social contribution that it makes through education and research performance. While fulfilling its duty in terms of nurturing personnel who can serve as leaders in various fields in the region, it has also played a role as a worldwide hub for education and research and has made a contribution to the development of scientific research aimed at the society of the future. Moreover, it has endeavored to build mechanisms to elicit the potential of students through bringing them into contact with such sophisticated, advanced research, and to further develop and extend their latent abilities. Based on these achievements, we must build up a good record of output in the arena of basic research and develop this into applied research that can contribute to society, thereby striving to become a global research hub.
As a result of incorporation in 2004, national universities were granted discretionary powers over their running. I believe that the test is how attractive an education and research environment we can develop by making these discretionary powers function effectively. At the same time, I believe that we must not forget the fact that we have a heavy burden of accountability, in terms of ensuring that all members develop a renewed awareness of the fact that large sums of taxpayers' money are invested in the running of national universities, and that the populace adequately understands the role of national universities. Accordingly, I believe that it is necessary for Faculty Members and clerical and technical staff to unite, and to cooperate with the alumni of this university and people in the local community, in order to clearly define and strive to achieve our goal, namely the development of this university and, consequently, that of the region and the country as a whole. In order to do so, I believe that we must strive to develop an environment in which students, staff and faculty members can devote themselves to classes and find sufficient for education and research.
Competition between universities in terms of education and research, as well as social contribution, is already developing into international competition. However, I believe that there are no ingenious schemes that can act as a short-cut for achieving educational outcomes. This is the most important task that students, staff and faculty members must tackle head-on, with enthusiasm. At the same time, a strategic response is required in terms of research. Recently, in Japan, the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy, the Education Rebuilding Council, the Council for Science and Technology Policy, and the Innovation 25 Strategy Council have all highlighted the importance of university and graduate school reform. Universities must respond to these environmental changes and social demands, but I would like to ensure that we fulfill our mission as an institution of higher education by ensuring that we do not adopt a short-sighted approach to this, but look to the future, so that we can avoid any mis-steps in terms of the direction that we should take.
Based on the long-term vision for Hiroshima University that has already been presented, I intend to formulate an action plan over the next three or four months, and to present this to the members of the university. In addition, based on clearer targets, I would like to aim to achieve the development of Hiroshima University, based on its five guiding principles.

I hope that you will all grant me your understanding and support in this endeavor.

May 22, 2007
Toshimasa Asahara
President, Hiroshima University