麗澤大學 學長 徳永 澄憲

Presidents Address at the Entrance Ceremony for the 2021 Academic Year at Reitaku University

On behalf of the Reitaku University, I would like to offer my warmest congratulations to all those who are marking the occasion of the 2021 Entrance Ceremony.

In extending sincere congratulations to all our new students, I take great pleasure in being able to welcome you to the entrance ceremony here today on our campus in the midst of spring. I likewise extend my heartfelt congratulations to the families and guarantors who have supported you to this point and who, I feel sure, are also very happy. In addition, I must record how indebted I feel to the supporters' association, the Reitaku Alumni Association, and to the many others who have demonstrated their deep understanding of our mission by supporting our educational and research activities. In order to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, I regret very much that you are not able to attend today's meeting, and will be watching a live broadcast of it in various locations, but I hope you will allow me this vicarious opportunity to thank you again.

The total number of new students this year is 583; there are 579 undergraduates from the three faculties of Foreign Languages, Economics, and International Studies, and 4 graduate students from the three graduate schools of Language Education, Economics, and School Education. On behalf of Reitaku University, I would like to extend a hearty welcome to all of you.

We find ourselves today members of a global society undergoing major upheavals. With the revolutionary development of information communication and transportation, and the emergence of mega free trade agreements, the globalization of business and the economy has progressed rapidly, and we have entered an era in which people, goods, money, and information can move freely across national and regional boundaries. In December 2019, an outbreak of the new coronavirus infection occurred in Wuhan City, China, and the global movement of people meant that it quickly spread to the United States, Europe, and the rest of the world. Ironically, as we all know, the spread of this infection has restricted people's movement both overseas and within Japan, hurting the global and local economies. But longer-term transformations have not ceased as a result: digital technology continues to advance rapidly; we still face a society with a declining birthrate and aging population, and the ICT revolution and the fourth industrial revolution unfold before our eyes. The present age is one in which rapid globalization and digital transformation are occurring simultaneously, making it difficult to envision the future. So today's crisis is also a new beginning, and in such times, new human resources are required.

Eighty-six years ago, in 1935, at a time when Japan was experiencing a series of economic crises, including the Showa Depression and the shift to a bloc economy, the founder of our university, Dr. Chikuro Hiroike, a doctor of law, contended that human beings possessed of both knowledge and morality are useful to society. Our school's forerunner, the Moralogy College, was established in Kashiwa City, Chiba Prefecture, surrounded by greenery, and has produced many talented students.  Our educational policy remains very unique: first, an education based on the "unity of knowledge and virtue" and the "unity of morality and economy," in other words, an education based on the "sampo yoshi" principle of making the best use of oneself, others, and third parties; second, practical English education using original books and special lectures by experts from Japan and abroad; and third, the adoption of a boarding system as a place to put "sampo yoshi" education into practice.

Today's Reitaku University has inherited these innovative and practical studies, and we are taking initiatives to meet the needs of globalization and digitalization. In the Faculty of Foreign Studies, students acquire not only language skills but also cross-cultural understanding through interaction with native teachers and foreign students and acquire the resilient mindset needed for participation in a multicultural and multilingual society. The Faculty of Economics and Business Administration is based on the principle of unity of morality and economy and has established a group of AI and data science subjects with the aim of developing business leaders with a high sense of ethics. All of its students engage with AI and information science, as well as acquiring expertise in economics and business administration that will enable them to survive in the times to come. The School of Global Studies, which was established last year with the goal of promoting coexistence in a world of diverse values and the mission of "connecting different cultures and values" to help students understand world events, explore new ways of using English as a resource, and develop the ability to create new value in the world.

In addition, the three faculties and the centers for global education are working together to provide three types of learning that are essential in our global digital society.

The first is a response to globalization that we term "Global Specialized Education," through which students can acquire practical language skills via the Center for English Communication (CEC), a group of English education specialists on the iFloor. Here they develop global skills through online study abroad programs, international exchange with overseas partner schools using online, and real exchange programs that will enable them to work at the forefront of the world economy. Our approach to global education has been highly evaluated and we have been ranked 18th in Japan and 1st in the prefecture for 5 consecutive years in the international category of "THE World University Rankings Japan 2021."

The second type of learning we offer is "moral education." This is based on our founding principles of "unity of knowledge and virtue" and "unity of morality and economy," and introduces students to the concept of "sampo yoshi," which means to make the best use of oneself, others, and third parties, from a broad perspective. We believe that moral education based on this founding principle moves in the same direction as SDGs, aiming to realize a prosperous and vibrant society where "no one is left behind." We encourage all new students to take up this challenge.

The third is a response to digitalization we call "data science education" and it opens up new areas for our students by making full use of big data. Although our university is a liberal arts university, foreign language students, for example, can master the language skills they are good at and also acquire global marketing, AI, and information skills in the economics department by using the enrollment system of other departments, and become "global leaders with moral character" who work for the happiness of people.

However, in this era of rapid globalization and digital transformation, where the future is unpredictable, we always need to review and change the ways we learn. So, in addition to the conventional classroom-based educational model taught by teachers, we have introduced active learning and PBL (Problem-Based Learning). Here students take the initiative in identifying a problem, collecting data, information, and knowledge, creating and verifying hypotheses, presenting solutions, and making presentations, while teachers act as facilitators and providers of advice. Our university has already implemented a PBL-type "Reitaku Community Collaboration Practicum" with Kashiwa City for first-year students, and it has been very successful. We hope you will participate in this program.

I would like to draw your attention to a booklet entitled 100 Books We Wish All Reitaku University Students Would Read, which was created by the faculty and library staff in order to encourage students to acquire the habit of reading widely and accessing a rich culture as part of their independent learning. I hope you will make good use of this too.

Finally, as our school song says, "Every day you must be born anew." I would like to conclude my address by wishing you all a fulfilling campus life as you take a new step forward from today.

April 2, 2021
Suminori Tokunaga, Ph.D.
President of Reitaku University

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