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Mesage from Dean

Establishing a Creative Campus of Wisdom,
Passion and Openness to the World

MURAYAMA Nobuki, Professor
Dean of the Faculty of Engineering

I was appointed to serve as Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, along with the appointments of Vice-Deans Kazuhisa Iki and Shoshi Mizokami, as of April 1, 2013. It is my desire to further enhance the local and international visibility of our faculty by increasing the quality of our education and research. For this, I would like to ask for everyone’s cooperation.

Since the faculty was founded 116 years ago, as the Fifth High School Faculty of Engineering under the old educational system, we have produced well over 30,000 graduates. Many of them are playing active roles in the industrial world and elsewhere, both at home and abroad. Currently, the faculty consists of seven departments that provide education linked to Master’s and Doctoral Courses at the Graduate School of Science and Technology. Some 250 faculty members and more than 2,500 students are engaged in study and research on campus.

The mission of engineering lies in monozukuri?the planning and realization of products and services that contribute to society and improve people’s lives. The demands on engineering from society have become diverse, and include considerations of safety, soundness, comfort, convenience, and economic efficiency, as well as regional uniqueness, originality and beauty. Although we have often met with economic crises, our engineers have always brought their knowledge and passion to create technical innovations that have supported Japan’s manufacturing industry, one of the best in the world. The growing demand in recent years for a reduced environmental load and conservation of natural resources makes us realize yet again the significance of the challenges facing engineers. As an engineering university, it is also vital for us to maintain close cooperation with foreign institutions in our educational and research activities.

Responding to these needs, our faculty has been striving to establish a creative campus of wisdom, passion and openness to the world?a campus where both faculty members and students exercise their creativity by utilizing their wisdom and passion through active international exchanges. The following are the three specific tasks we have set for ourselves to reach this goal.

1. Nurturing Creative and Globally Competitive Engineers and Designers

Thanks to the efforts of each department of our faculty to refine their educational programs and learning environment, all departments have been authorized by either the Japan Accreditation Board for Engineering Education (JABEE) or the International Organization for Standardization (ISO14001: Environmental Education) as institutions that provide an education that meets international standards (the new department is currently preparing for acceptance). For these achievements, the faculty received an award from the Japanese Society for Engineering Education in 2006. In addition, since 2005, the faculty has been implementing pioneering educational programs for creative engineering and design education, such as the introduction of various laboratory projects and problem-based learning classes, as well as student design contests and proposal contests. (These programs were adopted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology as part of its educational reform project).

In addition to these programs and events, there are abundant opportunities for students to demonstrate their passions and cultivate their creativity. One of these started in October 2008, when the Faculty of Engineering Student Union revived athletic meets after a nine-year interruption, to encourage communication among faculty members and students, who are generally separated within the boundaries of their departments. Additionally, the Dream Science Adventure, an annual event in November that exhibits research results to the public, has drawn many visitors from outside the campus who wish to see the elaborate works of the students in displays and demonstrations.

While enhancing our educational programs, we will continue our efforts to increase opportunities for students to build on their enthusiasm and demonstrate their creative abilities.

2. Establishing a Globally-Prominent Academic Base to Lead Society

The accumulation of quality teaching results is vital to enhancing both the faculty’s educational power and its level of contribution to society. Research projects such as the Global Initiative Center for Pulse Power Engineering and the High Profile Magnesium Alloy Project have been adopted as advanced research projects by the national government and have already produced solid results.

As engineering issues become increasingly diversified and complex, curricula are increasingly required to entail broad subject areas. This is achieved through multidisciplinary and multinational efforts, as well as through close cooperation with society. At the same time, fundamental studies that allow technological dreams to become reality and community-based studies designed to solve practical problems are also indispensable. Through fund-raising efforts and deepened ties with companies and research institutions both at home and abroad, we are pursuing an amenable environment for faculty members and students. This is an environment where they can focus their passions on their studies, a place that creates new academic bases and nurtures the researchers that will lead future generations.

3. Promoting Academic Exchange That Connects the Campus to the World

When I visit Asian countries, I can sense the close attention being paid to Japanese universities. Western people are also looking at Japan, with special interest given to the traditional culture and spiritual climate that has generated outstanding craftsmanship. In addition to academic exchange among teachers, we seek to facilitate international exchanges among students in foreign countries. We also seek to invite top researchers and students from abroad to join our faculty and take part in academic activities. To start with, we will promote short-term foreign study programs with affiliated universities around the world. We will also provide opportunities for foreign engineering students and young researchers to learn about Japanese technology and culture right here in Kumamoto, with a view toward promoting the internationalization of our campus and enhancing the faculty’s global presence.

With shrinking annual budgets for national universities, it will take enormous persistence to achieve these goals. However, our faculty has already achieved various noteworthy results under restrictive conditions. By turning this pride into a positive force, all the faculty members are determined to work together to make this big leap forward.