Design Academia - 国公立デザイン系大学会議

Internationalization of the Faculty of Design and the International Office

Establishment of International Office, Faculty of Design
In April 2020, the Faculty of Design established the “International Office” to strategically promote internationalization (Fig. 1, Fig. 2). Previously, internationalization was done through individual faculty members, organically linking internationalization operations that were scattered among various departments. The purpose of establishing this office is to systematically promote internationalization and provide a single point of contact (one-stop) for internationalization.

The logo of the International Office (IO), Faculty of Design. It is designed to represent the many students and faculty members who will spread their wings to the world through the IO and gather at the Faculty of Design.

The Coronavirus Pandemic
Right after we had opened our office, a state of emergency was declared. We began this office under difficult circumstances, with restrictions on various activities such as dispatching and accepting faculty and students to and from the country. Although we have expanded our collaboration in new ways, such as joint workshops with overseas universities using online platforms, we have been unable to engage in most of the activities we originally wanted to. On the other hand, it is precisely because of this situation that we have invested our time and budget in various issues that we have been putting off. In particular, we are actively working to improve our website, convert documents to English, computerize various applications, and simplify various procedures. We are also studying and preparing internationalization strategies for the case when overseas travel resumes.

The New Subject “Design in Japan”

One of the new initiatives during the coronavirus pandemic is the launch of a new subject called “Design in Japan”.
Japan has many designs that it is proud to present to the world, and each faculty member will introduce and explain them in English in an omnibus format. This class is made possible because the Faculty of Design handles a wide variety of content.
The main target of this class is all international students, including exchange students, but we also accept Japanese students. This class aims for international students to learn about the characteristics and background of Japanese design and apply it to their design work and for Japanese students to communicate the strengths of Japanese design in English.
In the second semester of 2020, which was the first time the course was offered (15 sessions of 90 minutes each), 46 students from 12 countries and regions took the subject (Fig. 3). The subject was offered in a hybrid format so that international students who could not enter Japan could also take the subject. A tour of traditional Japanese design was also planned. The class was so well received that it will become a regular subject offered in the graduate course in 2022 and expand to two subjects (Japan in Design A and B).

“Design in Japan” class

“Design in Japan” Poster

Internationalization of the Graduate School
The Master and Doctoral Programs of the Graduate School of Design will be renewed in 2022. As one of the significant reforms, we will introduce a system in which classes will be taught in English and entrance examinations will be conducted in English, so that mastery of Japanese will not be a condition for obtaining a degree. The goal is to create a campus where international students from various countries are accepted and where Japanese and international students can share learning space and time daily, thus fostering internationalism. In addition to recruiting activities, the International Office of the Faculty of Design is also making various preparations to ensure that our new international students can enjoy fulfilling university life.