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Creating a Future Beyond Borders

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Professor perspective:new college - new English-based dual degree program


Prof. Kanayama and Dr. Youde talk about the new College of Global Liberal Arts opening in April 201…

Next spring, Ritsumeikan University (RU) will open its 16th undergraduate college, the College of Global Liberal Arts (GLA). The GLA curriculum, which will provide global-standard education, features a dual-degree program with The Australian National University (ANU).

What kind of college will GLA be and what can students expect to learn at RU and The ANU? We asked RU Professor Kanayama and ANU Associate Professor Youde, both of whom have been heavily involved in the planning of GLA, to look back on the process until now and discuss their expectations for the new college.

It’s official! The College of Global Liberal Arts (GLA) will open in April 2019.

Prof. Kanayama: It’s a great honor for Ritsumeikan University to work with The Australian National University (ANU) to build a bridge between Australia and Japan and establish a global standard of quality education. Higher education is tremendously significant in today’s globalized world, and we strive to provide the highest quality of education.

The partnership with ANU is not just a dual-university program. Each of the two universities represents their country, and everyone who is involved in higher education is looking at this project. Our duties and responsibilities are sky-high, so I'm a bit overwhelmed but highly motivated.

Dr. Youde: This is the first dual degree program between an Australian and Japanese institution at the undergraduate level. We’re not trying to homogenize two systems into one. Students will get a chance to study at both the Australian and the Japanese universities, and will benefit from these two countries’ higher education systems.

In 2014, ANU and Ritsumeikan University signed a Memorandum of Understanding, pledging to work together to create a dual-degree program. Over the next four years, we met repeatedly to design a program and negotiate a whole host of details, like how to ensure that credits could transfer back and forth between the institutions. These are tricky issues, but it’s a testament to our collective commitment to collaboration that we were able to sort out these issues and create this exciting program.

Prof. Kanayama: This is a fruitful result based on our very intensive but productive cooperative work. It could be called a real globalized collaboration in higher learning. We were delighted when ANU said they wanted to send their students to Japan. Ten ANU students are going to study at Ritsumeikan University for two years and will go back to Australia for their fourth year.

From GLA, some 90 students will study at the ANU campus in Canberra for their second or third year and come back to Japan for their third or fourth year. Graduates will obtain two degrees from the two universities. We call it a dual-degree program.