International Educator - January/February 2013 - 49
International Enrollment Up at Some Universities
Hiroshi Ota, director of the global education program at Hitotsubashi University, said its international enrollment, which fell from 652 in 2010 to 623 in 2011, rebounded to 677 in 2012, or 10.5 percent of the student body. Most are graduate students recruited from language schools or from other Japanese campuses where the students earned bachelor’s degrees. Ota derided the Global 30 initiative as “a spoon feeding fund for elite and large comprehensive universities” that has “just added small and isolated programs” on those campuses rather than taking a strategic approach to internationalization. Ota believes Japan’s universities should hire more non-Japanese faculty and staff, offer more rigorous courses and programs taught in English and change the April-toMarch academic calendar to bring it in line with the fall-spring schedule followed in the United States, Europe and most of the rest of the world.
“A Wake Up Call” to Ramp Up Recruitment
Yuichi Kondo, dean of admissions at APU and a founder of the Japanese Network of International Educators (JAFSA), thinks the March 2011 disaster burst the “bubble” of rising enrollment of students from China and South Korea. “We had seen some downward trend already,” said Kondo. “In an ironic way, the disaster was a wake-up call for us. Our university, as well as other Japanese universities, relied too heavily on China and Korea.” The size of APU’s cohorts of newly admitted international students fell from 523 in September 2010 to 437 in September 2011, then rebounded to 496 in September 2012. Eighty percent of its international students come from China, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and Taiwan. Kondo suggested other universities follow APU’s example and step up recruiting in other countries with professional staffs and admission counselors who speak the language of prospective students. Half of APU’s students come from overseas, and it has offices within eight countries, China, Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, India, and Canada. “We have been doing what most other ‘Western’ universities would do” to recruit students overseas, he said. Doshisha University in Kyoto, which is among the Global 30 (or 13), saw its international student enrollments rise from 875 in May 2011 to 1,178 in May 2012, drawn in part by aggressive recruiting and scholarships for all (20 to 50 percent for undergraduates and 30 to 100 percent for graduate students). Doshisha, which has a long history of internationalism—its founder, Joseph Hardy Neesima, an 1870 graduate of Amherst College, was the first Japanese person to earn an academic degree in the West—has doubled to 165 its number of partnership agreements with universities in other countries. It created an Institute for the Liberal Arts that now offers an undergraduate degree taught entirely in English. The private university has conducted entrance examinations in Korea, Taiwan,
J A N + F E B . 13
Challenges of Recruiting U.S. Students to Japan
Eric Korpiel, a corporate recruiter in Tokyo and former student recruiting manager for Temple University, Japan, and director for Laurasian Institution, believes most Japanese universities fall down on the job when it comes to seeking U.S. students. Lots of Americans “feel Japan is ‘cool’ and would love to come” for the culture and advanced technology, he says, but for decades elite universities thought it beneath them to engage in salesmanship. “They had a 100-year-plus history of feeling, ‘Why should we actively attract students? That’s not what an elite university does,’” said Korpiel, who attended Waseda University on an exchange from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Many other institutions don’t know where to start, he said. “They say, ‘We know how to make a test that is a barrier for students to enter. But now you’re asking us to attract more of them, from overseas, in languages we don’t speak, and in countries we don’t understand?’ That’s a daunting task.”