New Year Greeting from the Representative Director and Chair of the Board
I wish you all very happy holidays and much success in the New Year.
Last year, we experienced severe spread of COVID-19, with the number of people infected per day in August exceeding 5,500 in Tokyo alone and 25,000 nationwide. Although we saw a rapid decline in infections toward the end of last year, presumably due to widespread vaccinations, we still must remain cautious as we approach the time of entrance examinations. COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the education and research activities of the University.
Although the online classes introduced to ensure students’ learning opportunities can be partly a burden to students and faculty, it is also true that they have opened up new horizons in the world of education and research. Online classes will enable us to continue meeting the needs of students through effective combinations with face-to-face classes. Based on our experience so far, I would like to focus on how university education will evolve in this “Corona era.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hakone Ekiden qualifying round last year was again held without spectators, but our Ekiden team was able to qualify by placing second. Also, in the Japan Collegiate Ekiden Championship, which we participated in for the first time in nine years, our team was seeded by placing eighth. We can see that the team is steadily becoming even stronger. The Hakone Ekiden at New Year may once again be held without spectators, but please offer your support by watching it on television. I hope all the team members will give their best efforts toward an excellent performance.
In addition, the Olympic and Paralympic games were held last year, a year later than expected despite controversy, and a total of 14 of our current students and graduates were able to participate in the games. I would like to express my heartfelt praise to all the athletes who competed in the games, despite very unusual conditions, and I would also like to express my appreciation to all those involved for their hard work.
Chuo University’s mid- to long-term institutional plan, “Chuo Vision 2025,” will enter its seventh year in 2022. Following the opening of the Faculty of Global Management and the Faculty of Global Informatics in April 2019, the Global Gateway Chuo, the International Residence Chuo, and the Forest Gateway Chuo opened on the Tama Campus in 2020 and 2021. As a result, the area around the monorail station, which serves as the main entrance to the Tama Campus, has undergone a major transformation.
In downtown Tokyo, construction is underway on our new Myogadani Campus for the Faculty of Law relocation, where new approaches to legal education are planned, through collaboration with the Faculty of Science and Engineering and the Faculty of Global Informatics. At Ochanomizu, construction of the Surugadai Campus, which will replace the Surugadai Centennial Hall and make it taller, is also seeing steady progress, and the new building will house the Law School and the Business School, while serving as the central hub for alumni activities. In addition, a decision has been made to replace Building 1 on the Korakuen Campus, and construction will begin in 2022. With these changes, the University will consist of the Tama Campus, our largest campus, and the other newly expanded campuses in central Tokyo. From AY2023, the downtown Tokyo campuses will accommodate nearly half (45%) of all Chuo students, which means greater attention will be paid to these downtown campuses. Taking this opportunity, we will further promote Digital Transformation (DX) in our education, as well as various supporting services to enhance cooperation among campuses.
In addition to the mid- to long-term plan, “Chuo Vision 2025,” described above, it is time to start planning for the next mid- to long-term plan (2035). Needless to say, the most important policy issue in the next plan will be the future of the Tama Campus. We will begin preparatory discussions in AY2022, while respecting the opinions of the President and the faculty.
Furthermore, I am feeling the need to strengthen the identity of Chuo University, and to do this, I am wondering whether it would be possible to set up a museum-like facility (room) in one of the buildings on campus, where students and people outside the University can learn about the achievements of the founders of Chuo University, as well as the graduates who have made great contributions to the advancement of Japan and the world. This is another issue to be discussed this year.
Finally, I am convinced that promoting the advancement of research and education and industry-academia-government cooperation, through steady day-to-day efforts of the faculties, as well as enhancement of cooperation among the members of the University community, will enrich students’ learning, boost their satisfaction, and, further, raise Chuo University to the level of a “university with a global presence.” We, the members of the Board, will make every effort to contribute to this goal, and I ask all faculty, staff, and alumni across Japan and abroad for your cooperation and support.
I hope the situation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic will improve, and I wish you all a fulfilling and successful year ahead.
Chair of the Board
January 1, 2022