It has been two years since I took on the role of the Dean of the Graduate School in the fall of 2019. Unfortunately, I spent most of my term at the mercy of COVID-19, and I had very few opportunities to meet with students, faculty, and staff on campus. Although there are still many inconveniences, it was an excellent opportunity to rethink the campus and the Graduate School.
For example, last year's spring semester, we decided to offer all of our classes online. It was fortunate that we had the background to move online because we have always had online courses and meetings. In addition, the SFC spirit of constantly confronting and overcoming such difficulties head-on helped make the semester a meaningful one, despite the anxiety. Also, we are adjusting to handle various documents and procedures online as much as possible. In addition, it became our chance to reconfirm the possibilities of online communication through attending conferences both in Japan and abroad and interacting with researchers from overseas universities and organizations.
Whereas the freedom to move has been taken away, our consciousness and the way we learn and work may be changing through this series of experiences.
Since its inception, the Graduate School of Media and Governance has advocated a cross-sectional and multi-disciplinary approach to various problem areas. Such orientation is reflected upon our attitude and methods, which emphasize experimental trials. Following diverse themes, we nurtured and shared orientation toward "practical knowledge" closely connected to the field, including making things, experiments, fieldwork, interviews, workshops, and social practices. As we acknowledge the importance of direct experiences, our mission is to contemplate and practice the "future" of academia based on the experiences of the past year and a half.
I also realized that inertia and slackness by the conventions and systems of the past. Thus, we are facing an opportunity to reconsider, as a whole, how we study at Graduate School. It includes the modification of the structure of courses and timetables and the process of obtaining a degree. We are to utilize our sensitivity and imagination rather than assume a system established for a long time.
From October 1, 2021, I will continue to serve as the Dean of the Graduate School. Without unconsciously referring to the "past," and with a constant experimentation and exploration mindset, I will continue to think with you about the "future" of Graduate School and, further, academic research.
(October 1, 2021)