Background to the establishment of the Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Liberal arts and sciences education

After eliminating the Faculty of Liberal Arts in 1994, Nagoya University launched, in April 1995, a new education program that replaced the traditional general education program with a liberal arts and sciences educational program that integrates liberal arts and sciences and basic education. This program is the same for all university schools. The goal is to foster advanced expertise and cultivate well-rounded individuals. An All University Four-Year Integrated Committee made up of members from throughout the university was established to manage the program. It was subsequently reorganized as the Liberal Arts and Sciences Committee with members selected from the various schools and other university groups. A Four-Year Integrated Education Planning Committee and a General Education Operating Committee were set up to work under this management body. (These two committees were subsequently merged into the General Education Committee.)


Nagoya University Academic Charter and Organizational Reforms

The Nagoya University Academic Plan was created with the aim of establishing the University as a core comprehensive university for the twenty-first century and to develop academic activities appropriate for a new era. The Nagoya University Academic Charter, which is based on the basic principles of the Academic Plan, was adopted in February 2000. In addition, it was decided that the organization and administration of Nagoya University would be based on a two-dimensional organizational structure consisting of a vertical detailed axis (department system) and a horizontal comprehensive axis (university-wide organization). The department system is composed of academic departments that continue to engage in and further develop education and research activities in existing academic fields. They are also expected to function as a unified body to create new academic fields as needed. The Graduate School of Environmental Studies was newly established in April 2001 as a graduate school that integrates the humanities and sciences. The Graduate School of Information Science was established, and the Graduate School of Languages and Cultures was expanded and reorganized in April 2003. In December 2001, the Institute for Advanced Research was established as a university-wide research organization suitable for a research university, and the Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences was set up to guide liberal arts and sciences education, which is stressed at Nagoya University.


Shift from a committee system to headquarters system

To further expand and develop its liberal arts and sciences program in a manner appropriate for a university that stresses liberal arts and sciences education, the Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences began operating as a strong headquarters organization to oversee the administration of liberal arts and sciences education. The Institute is responsible for devising plans, overall planning, and conducting, and evaluating this educational program. Although the traditional committee format worked well as a means of inspecting and ensuring proper management of the general education program, it had only functioned as a coordinating body. The Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences was established as an independent organization to manage liberal arts and sciences education in order to improve and invigorate the program.



Composition of the ILAS

Organization

Composition of the ILAS

Liberal Arts and Sciences

Taking into consideration the spirit underlying the Nagoya University Academic Charter, Nagoya University defines liberal arts and sciences education as "education that the whole university is responsible for and includes both liberal arts and sciences education and basic education to develop creative, independent intellectuals with unique abilities.


Objectives and goals of liberal arts and sciences education

The Nagoya University Academic Charter states the following: Nagoya University maintains a free and vibrant academic culture with the mission of contributing to the well-being and happiness of humankind through research and education in all aspects of human beings, society, and nature. In particular, it aspires to foster the harmonious development of human nature and science, and to conduct highly advanced research and education that overlook the broad sweep of humanities, social, and natural sciences. The charters also sets forth the following basic educational objectives.


Nagoya University, through an education that values initiative, shall cultivate courageous intellectuals endowed with powers of rational thought and creativity.


In order to realize the basic concept of the academic charter, Nagoya University adopted a four-year integrated education system that extends from liberal arts and sciences and basic education to specialized education at each university school. A distinctive characteristic of Nagoya University's liberal arts and sciences education is that it has adopted a system in which the whole university, not a particular department or group of instructors, is responsible for the program. This approach assures that education of the highest possible quality will be provided.


Basic objectives for liberal arts and sciences education
  • To cultivate comprehensive decision-making and thinking abilities
  • To foster students' initiative and desire to study
  • To cultivate communication skills that contribute to character development
  • To nurture an inquisitive mind and cultivate fundamental academic abilities that are required in all schools

Liberal arts and sciences courses and course content

Liberal Arts and Sciences courses at Nagoya University are divided into basic courses and liberal education courses in accordance with the philosophy and objectives of the program. Course categories and contents are given in the following table.


Basic Courses Basic General Education Courses

Courses taken by first year students introduce them to university education, help them develop basic capabilities and the ability to independently engage in academic pursuits, and acquire the skills needed to work in either the humanities or the sciences.

First Year Seminar

Courses designed to develop students' capabilities in the basic disciplines of reading, writing, and speaking through wide-ranging intellectual training and to help students learn how to pursue the truth and how interesting such an effort can be.

Language and Culture

Courses intended to boost capabilities in foreign languages as a tool for specialized academic pursuits, to enhance understanding of foreign cultures, and in doing so, to help students prepare themselves for international society.

Health and Sports Science

Courses that promote communication and leadership abilities through sports by teaching students how to manage their own health and training them in the basic skills required for a lifetime of physical activity.

Basic Courses in Humanities and Social Sciences

Courses designed to promote an understanding of the study of humanities and social sciences and to foster independent decision-making capabilities.

Basic Courses in Natural Sciences

Courses designed to promote an understanding of the study of natural sciences and to foster independent decision-making capabilities.

Liberal Education Courses Liberal Education Courses in Humanities and Social Sciences

Courses that provide students with the skills required to analyze and understand the phenomena in the humanities and social sciences in an interdisciplinary, comprehensive fashion and that promote an understanding of their relationships to other fields of study.

Liberal Education Courses in Natural Sciences

Courses that provide students with the skills required to analyze and understand the phenomena in the field of natural sciences in an interdisciplinary, comprehensive fashion and that promote an understanding of their relationships to other fields of study.

Liberal Education Courses in Interdisciplinary Fields

Courses that help students of all specialties to develop well-balanced characters and comprehensive decision-making skills.

Open Courses

Courses in specialized fields offered at the various schools that are open to students from other schools since they are considered important and respond to students' desires for independent and diverse learning.


Role of the ILAS

Primary work of the Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Serving as headquarters for planning, devising, conducting, and evaluating liberal arts and sciences education at Nagoya University, the Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences is responsible for managing liberal arts and sciences education.

  • Develop curriculum and guidelines for liberal arts and sciences
  • General administration of faculty registered at Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Design liberal arts and sciences program and create organizations to carry it out
  • Manage and operate liberal arts and sciences education
  • Evaluate curriculum and instruction
  • Promote cooperation between departments
  • Provide educational support and maintain, improve educational quality
  • Create a learning environment

System for conducting liberal arts and sciences education

The departments are responsible for specific liberal arts and sciences courses, and all faculty ranked as lecturers or above are equally allotted teaching responsibilities. The following principles have been established to smoothly promote liberal arts and sciences education at each school.


The liberal arts and sciences education system is based on the following:

  • Full university participation based on effective numbers of educators on hand
  • Fair allocation of responsibilities
  • Clearly established departmental responsibilities and assistance to be provided by other units
  • Evaluation of contributions to liberal arts and sciences education

The executive organization was created based on the policies outlined below.

  • Nagoya University faculty members ranked as lecturers or above are assigned to one of eleven groups, centered on a department or school.
  • For each group, the number of educators that can be effectively used for liberal arts and sciences education is calculated. This becomes the quantitative basis for each group's responsibilities for liberal arts and sciences.
  • Members working solely at the University Hospital and faculty involved in clinical work at the School of Medicine are not included in the calculation of numbers of faculty members that can be effectively used in liberal arts and sciences education. At research centers and labs, the number available is calculated as one-half the number of faculty members.
  • The numbers of basic courses in the humanities and sciences and liberal education courses that each group is responsible for are set after taking into consideration the number of faculty members available and number of who can teach the courses.
  • The number of first year seminars each teacher will lead is determined by proportionally allocating courses to all available faculty members in the group, with adjustments made to balance responsibilities among the groups.
  • Funds needed to cover expenses related to cooperating with liberal arts and sciences education are distributed to the groups according to the contributions each makes to the liberal arts and sciences education.

The Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences and liberal arts and sciences education

The Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences and liberal arts and sciences education