From the Dean
Toward the "future"
It has been two years since I took on the role of Dean of the Graduate School of Media and Governance in the fall of 2019. Unfortunately, I have spent most of my term at the mercy of the COVID-19 pandemic, and have had very few opportunities to meet with students and faculty and staff members on campus. Although there were also many inconveniences, this period was an excellent opportunity for us to rethink the campus and the Graduate School.
For example, in the Spring Semester of the previous academic year, we decided to offer all of our classes online. It was fortunate that we had the background to move online with courses and meetings already taking place online. In addition, the SFC spirit of constantly confronting and overcoming such difficulties head-on helped make the semester a meaningful one, despite the anxieties. Also, we are putting in place a system to allow document preparation and administrative procedures to be completed online to the extent this is possible. In addition, this period represented an opportunity for us to reaffirm the potential of online communication through attending online-format conferences both in Japan and abroad and interacting with researchers from overseas universities and organizations.
Even while the freedom to travel 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 in our attitude and methods, which emphasize experimental trials. Following diverse themes, we nurture and share
orientation toward "practical knowledge" closely connected to the field, including making things, experiments, fieldwork, interviews, workshops, and social practices. As we understand the importance of direct experiences, our mission now is to contemplate and put into practice the "future" of academia based on the experiences over the past year and a half.
Over this period, I also came to the realization that inertia and compromised functionality characterized many conventions and systems of the past. Thus, we are presented with an opportunity to reconsider, as a whole, how we study at the Graduate School. This will include the modification of the structures of courses and timetables and the process of obtaining a degree. We will make use of our sensibilities and imaginations rather than being constrained by long-established systems and conventions.
This fall semester, in my continued role as Dean of the Graduate School of Media and Governance, I will continue to ponder, alongside each of you, the "future" of the Graduate School and, further, of academic research. I will endeavor to avoid unconsciously relying on the "past," and bring to this process a spirit of constant experimentation and a mindset of curiosity and exploration.
October 1, 2021
Fumitoshi Kato, Dean of the Graduate School of Media and Governance