On the 20th of December 2011, I was sworn in as the new president of Nippon Institute of Technology (NIT). At first I would like to express my heartfelt sympathy to the people and families in hardship from the tragedies resulting from the Great East Japan Earthquake. Our students and staff mostly avoided the catastrophe, however some students returned to their hometowns in the affected areas and we did what we could to support them. NIT offered economic provision to effected students and supported foreign students who returned to their home countries. Furthermore, NIT extended support in more diverse ways such as providing 3D-CAD computers to high schools in the effected areas.
Many precious lives were lost in the disaster and aftermath and many families with strong bonds were forced to seek refuge, separate or live apart in temporary housing. This posed a demanding challenge on those in the engineering discipline. Does engineering make people happy? Where is the humanity in engineering? Should engineering have more localized convention? Although the answers to these questions is not easily apparent, I have found that facing adversity and our own anxieties and grappling with difficulties are important for finding rays of hope and bringing happiness to your loved ones.
My mission for Nippon Institute of Technology is that our students become respected engineers in their workplaces and their colleagues say to them “You are a valuable team member and we can complete this project together”. To ensure this, we as an institution need to pursue engineering knowledge and techniques necessary for an increasingly complex and competitive world. Even if we understand this in theory, without taking decisive action we will never be appreciated on site in the workplace. ‘Jitsukougaku’, is our motto, meaning ‘practice in engineering’. This educational theory developed over generations at NIT is producing leaders who are active in Asia and all over the world.
NIT has developed innovative and contemporary educational policies and programs to assist students to become accomplished graduates. The ‘dual system’ is a work-study educational program that incorporates experiments, practice, drafting and lecture-based theoretic study simultaneously. Before entering university, many young aspiring engineering students dream of creating and building things. When they enter university, if they study only theory before realizing hands on experience it could potentially erode their dreams. Through the dual system, satisfying student’s desire to produce while simultaneously providing the theory necessary to make products inventive and perfect will provide motivation towards enjoyable and productive study.
The ‘Yuugo’ study program is one of NITs hallmarks. The blended-style classes combine technical components of each discipline with mathematics, physics and English. Students develop motivation for other area study through studying their topics of interest in unison. For example students may study mathematics because they want to evaluate machine performance in numbers or students learn English to study and appraise modern American architecture. I will never forget when one student smiled at me happily and said, ‘A class in English about wind power has helped me to understand the relationship between engineering and the environment better’.
NIT has developed a ‘workshop educational’ program. Students have the opportunity to work on projects such as the design and production of formula race cars to compete in foreign countries, students have built teahouses and other structures under Canadian supervision in English and students have entered a human powered aircraft in the ‘Birdman’ competition. Through developing team-working skills and completing technical projects in workshops the students can advance themselves.
Working closely with professors in graduate research projects students develop skills and experience through cooperation with industry and society. Students can experience leading edge technologies in architecture and engineering which will help boost their confidence and give them a life-long asset to treasure.
I am confident that since the foundation of NIT in 1967, the university has been developing as an example of excellence in terms of education and research. I feel we are in a superb position as a competitive and professional university contributing to modern society and the world, however of course we still have room to improve. Nippon Institute of Technology will grow and develop day by day by keeping our spirits high and reaching for our dreams. I thank you for your support to make this a truly great institution together.