Nippon Institute of Technology (NIT) celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017. In 1967, at the height of Japan’s economic boom, NIT opened and was the only university where technical high school students could enroll. At that time technical high school students were not even entitled to take a university entrance exam because they could not obtain the general subject credits they needed at technical high school. Our mission was, and still is, to raise outstanding engineers who can utilize theoretical concepts of engineering in the frontline of industry. NIT offered students from technical high schools technical research, practical, and design subjects right after entrance. We developed our unique teaching method using “practical engineering”, making the best use of what students had learnt in technical high school. Although today many universities accept students not only from general high school, but also from technical high school, it is not exaggerating to say that NIT is one of the few universities where those students can study unconstrained without feeling disadvantaged. NIT has splendid state-of-the-art facilities for conducting research and practice in each and every department. Today half of our students are from a technical high school background and the other half from general high school background. Technical high school graduates are often good role models in practical subjects such as design, while general high school graduates are often role models in subjects such as mathematics, English and so on. NIT is a wonderful setting for students to respect each other’s abilities and to strengthen each other’s weaknesses.
This year, in the first year of another half-century, we have restructured a major overhaul of NIT’s faculties. Whereas the current NIT has only the Faculty of Engineering, the new NIT will have three faculties.
・Faculty of Fundamental Engineering
・Faculty of Advanced Engineering
・Faculty of Architecture
Our university motto, “inheritance and development”, underlies this reorganization. We found it necessary to renew NIT so as to better raise engineers who are able to adjust swiftly to changes in today’s fast-moving society, while also inheriting our valuable “practical engineering education” foundation.
We have also launched a dynamic reinvention of the liberal arts curriculum along with the reorganization of the courses it offers and the study path for students. Every freshman student will take a placement test after their admission to gauge their academic level. They are then divided into classes according to their abilities for mathematics, physics and English, all fundamental subjects for engineering. A quarter system has been introduced for these three subjects. At present, NIT has two separate curriculums, one for students from technical high schools and the other for students from general high schools. Students spend up to a year and a half to reinforce their weaker skills while making use of what they have already learnt in high school. However, we have found that both technical and general high schools tend to have implemented various programs in recent years, and their graduates now have different combinations of skills and abilities through those programs. It became difficult to accommodate the mixed ability of the students. The reorganization will develop and restructure our curriculums so that every student, despite their type of high school, can start at their most suitable level of classes and acquire the necessary skills step by step, overcoming their weaknesses. It will also require students to attain a certain academic level in each subject in order to maintain academic quality, and to pass the lower level of study to continue to the next level. This will provide students a difficult, but beneficial challenge in which they can take a class repeatedly to attain the required level, in other words, it is a battlefield for their growth. At the same time, we will strengthen the students’ educational safety net by increasing the number of staff at the Learning Support Center and having all the staff and teachers well prepared to help students attain their goals.
In addition, we have renewed our diploma policy to reflect the academic quality of students. By further deepening the students’ practical engineering education, NIT trains students to be engineers of ingenuity in their field and fosters inventors to find unknown value to contribute to an ecological society. By “ingenious engineers in their field”, we mean “inheriting” our valuable tradition of “practical engineering education”, while the latter phrase, “inventors to find unknown value” means “developing” innovations that can move with societal changes.
NIT will complete the construction of a new building in December 2018 that also provides an open space where students can either self-study or study in groups, as well as another new building with laboratories of the soon-to-be-launched Department of Applied Chemistry in July 2019. Through the further extended “practical engineering education”, NIT will continue to further develop in order to nurture engineers who learn incessantly through life.
© 2018 NIPPON INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY