Inauguration Message

GLOBAL LEADERS PROGRAM  Faculty of Economics  Koichi Tadenuma, Dean, Graduate School of Economics & Faculty of Economics (until March 2013)

Globalization has been progressing at every conceivable level in contemporary socio-economic systems. We need to think about not only enterprises active at the forefront of the international economy, of course, but also the future of local economy, in the context of the world economy. In this era of globalization, it is the vital mission of today’s universities to foster individuals both able to effectively function in society and able to contribute to the creation of better systems at each level of society, in community, enterprise, local society, Japan, and the world.

What Sort of Abilities are Required for a Global Society?

What abilities are necessary for such individuals? In terms of core abilities, first and foremost is the need to analyze social problems logically and find solutions. Also necessary is the possession of norms and morals enabling one to judge what is best for people, and the ability to propose better systems or policies based on these. Such abilities can be obtained through the process of learning one’s specialization both broadly and deeply. The foundation of this process is the development of concept formation skills and deep thinking in one’s first language through lectures, and small-sized, focused seminars, the latter of which is a long-established tradition at Hitotsubashi University.

On the other hand, it is also necessary to possess the ability to engage with people of different cultural backgrounds, seek solutions to issues with them, and undertake consensus building for forming new systems or problem-solving measures. In order to acquire such an ability, it is first essential to possess the English-language skill necessary to correctly understand the views of others, and to convey one’s own ideas accurately. If one obtains the capacity to understand and empathize with one’s own culture and the culture of others, and the ability to discuss on equal terms in the process of problem-solving, then one will be able to undertake consensus building with people from various backgrounds as well. In sum, what is required is a solid grasp of Japanese society, which serves as the foundation of our self-identity and frame of reference, and the ability to use English effectively as a tool of communication.

Our Global Leaders Program:
Equipping Students with Specialized Knowledge, Critical Thinking,
and English Communication Skills

The Global Leaders Program (GLP) in our faculty makes it possible for students to achieve English communication skills as well as specialized economics knowledge and critical thinking at a high level. The program is supported by our systematic curriculum that covers from introductory to advanced and applied economics, and by our faculty members, many of whom have either attained their Ph.D. degrees at universities overseas or have an abundance of overseas teaching experience (the number of faculty members who hold a Ph.D. degree is currently 30).

The Faculty of Economics and the Graduate School of Economics have from early on taken steps to internationalize our curriculum. We introduced a class numbering system broadly practiced at many universities in the West, and formulated a 6-year integrated education curriculum covering from undergraduate through to the masters level, enabling students to take classes according to their own level of acquisition. Moreover, we have been offering courses by foreign faculty members to improve students’ academic writing and presentation skills, and some of our specialized economics classes have been conducted in English.

Our Global Leaders Program is designed based on these achievements. For students in their first and second year, we offer our Faculty’s own specialized English skill classes, on top of the regular university-wide English classes. Introductory classes in economics will be conducted in both Japanese and English (the latter of which are carried out by foreign faculty members). Students will be able to acquire specialized knowledge in Japanese first, and then develop the same level of familiarity with the content in English as well. Thus, students will be able to take classes in English without difficulty. While establishing concept formation and critical thinking abilities in their first language, at the same time students will broaden their thinking through the acquisition of specialized knowledge in different languages, leading to a much deeper understanding and application of such knowledge.

Polishing Real-World Skills Observing the Global Economy:
Short-Term Overseas Fieldwork and a Year Studying Abroad

As for introductory seminars in English, both seminars which focus on English skills and seminars which focus on learning specialized knowledge will be offered. Both types of classes will emphasize interactive and integrated learning. Furthermore, by participating in short-term overseas fieldwork in newly-developing countries or Europe, students will be able to refine their real-world skills observing the global economy. At the same time, through conducting detailed research in practical seminars before and after their fieldwork, and by writing English reports, students will be able to acquire ways of thinking and analytical skills conducive to addressing various issues around the world.

In their third and fourth years, students will be able to undertake a one-year study abroad program under the careful guidance and support of a foreign program coordinator. Moreover, through taking numerous specialized economics courses offered in English including classes at the graduate level, students will be able to improve both their English-language skill and specialized knowledge and abilities at the same time. Students who meet all the program requirements, such as taking more than 60% of their specialized classes in our faculty in English, will receive a special Global Leaders Program Certificate as their Honors Degree.

We expect many ambitious students will be eager to dedicate themselves to pursuing our Honors Degree, and go out into the world as individuals able to make a meaningful contribution to society in the future.

Koichi Tadenuma,
Dean, Graduate School of Economics & Faculty of Economics (until March 2013)
February 2013