Introduction of the International Strategy by the President
“Hokkaido University Global Vision 2040” has been prepared as a long-term strategy in the context of realizing my future prospects as expressed in “President’s Policy: Aiming to be an Incomparable University – Towards the Fourth Period of Mid-Term Goals and Mid-Term Plan” on a global scale. Building upon the achievements earned in fostering internationalization of Hokkaido University, it intends to serve as a guideline in reexamining our positioning at home and abroad so that our efforts can be united in tackling global issues. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the faculty and staff members involved in the university for their precious contributions in formulating this strategy.
As is commonly known, “internationalization” of the university is no longer limited to a small number of specialists in international sections in the university. In an increasingly globalized society, it matters to every one of us in the university, including faculty/staff members as well as students, and it is something we deal with everyday throughout our activities on campus at all levels. However, it may not be the most efficient way to pursue “internationalization” if we were to tackle global issues individually and separately. To this end, this strategy is designed in such a way that everyone involved would understand where Hokkaido University is heading to and what it is determined to achieve in the long-term, so that the efforts of all members of the university can merge and become a driving force to strengthen internationalization of the university.
It is my belief that Global Vision 2040 shall be considered as a guideline in order to further enhance the internationalization of research and education at Hokkaido University. While target goals and main activities to be focused on are explicitly indicated, the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are purposely not mentioned. More efforts are dedicated to show the direction of the road ahead in a qualitative manner, as I believe that it is our role to build a meaningful “virtuous cycle of knowledge” through which diverse people can collaborate with each other and foster activities as flexibly and creatively as possible, especially in a period of great uncertainty.
In this strategy, quantitative target goals of each theme and how those can be achieved are not necessarily specified in detail. Rather, it is my expectation that the each of us concerned, together with diverse parties, would broaden the view and make creative innovations, and tackle the issues in a more flexible manner, so that the target goals can be pursued and realized while making necessary adjustments when needed. I hope that it would serve as a foundation in executing our activities during the Fourth Period of Mid-Term Goals and Mid-Term Plan and eventually guiding us to formulate further target goals for the Fifth Period. It may not be an easy process, however, with the “strategic patience,” let’s move forward together.
“Hokkaido University Global Vision 2040” intends to illustrate the strategic direction of the university for the medium- to long-term future until 2040, taking into account the achievements earned in “Hokkaido Universal Campus Initiative” (hereinafter referred to as “HUCI”), a university-wide action plan that forms the core of the “Future Strategy for the 150th Anniversary of Hokkaido University” to foster internationalization. In formulating the strategy, approximately thirty focus discussion groups have been held with the Faculties/Schools and Research Institutes/Centers of the university in order to listen to and compile their first-hand experiences and views in the classrooms and laboratories, and efforts have been made to apply their suggestions as much as possible. Through this process, it became clear that the current situation and target goals of internationalization differ depending on fields of studies, therefore issues need to be tackled specifically in each field. Having this situation in mind, the strategy has been formulated to clarify a common direction to aim for, and at the same time, to solve specific tasks. In that sense, I am confident that it has been successfully summarized with a focus on the practical and highly effective initiatives.
Global Vision 2040 firstly defines three future visions which Hokkaido University aims to pursue as the year 2040 approaches and describes the practical initiatives necessary in realizing them. To achieve those visions, the modalities to promote internationalization in the post-HUCI era in the university have been redefined, and two new sets of directions have been explicitly presented. The first of which is the shift from “quantitative expansion” to “emphasis on quality” in promoting research and education of the university so that achievements of HUCI shall be maintained in a sustainable manner. The second direction relates to the advancement of digitalization in education which has rapidly expanded around the world due to the spread of Covid-19.
Under those two new directions, the following four pillars of strategic goals have been formulated and practical initiatives have been set for their realization. The first pillar relates to the promotion of a “virtuous cycle of knowledge” which aims to increase enrollment of international students in various degree programs. Strengthening development and research capabilities of students at the university by fostering this cycle is in fact the cornerstone of this international strategy. The second pillar revolves around the advancement of sending students and researchers overseas for study and research. More innovative study abroad programs utilizing online education and diverse intercultural co-learning education opportunities will be developed and promoted. The pursuit of sustainability makes up the third pillar. Given the history of the founding and its unique development, the university has gained strength in contributing to the achievement of sustainability and positioned it as the ultimate goal for the university in the Fourth Period of Mid-Term Goals and Mid-Term Plan. The fourth and last pillar relates to internal management issues of the university and the solutions designed to achieve the target goals described in pillars one to three. To maximize the appeal of the university as a comprehensive research university of the new era, the university is determined to develop an internal environment and organization to effectively and sustainably support promotion of global activities such as recruitment of international students for various degree programs.
As is the case of HUCI, this strategy also covers comprehensive issues including education, research, and community outreach. In this regard, it is my expectation that everyone involved in the university will refer to this strategy as a guideline and utilize it for the purpose of advancement of a university that contributes to resolution of global issues.