Voice Message

KHAN Abu Baker Rafat

College of Global Liberal Arts, Ritsumeikan University (Apr, 2023)



Study Abroad: Ritsumeikan University, Osaka, Japan.

  1. Bachelor in Community & Regional Policy Studies, College of Policy Science (Sept 2013 - Sept 2017)
  2. Master’s in policy science, Graduate School of Policy Science (Sept 2017 - Sept 2019)
  3. Doctor of Philosophy in Policy Science, Graduate School of Policy Science (Sept 2019 - Mar 2023)

Employment: Ritsumeikan University, Osaka, Japan.

(Apr 2023 - present)
Course: Critical Thinking 1: Reason & Analysis (Lecturer)
Course: Critical Thinking 2: Rhetoric and Persuasion (Lecturer)
Course: Foundation of Research Skills 1 and 2 (Lecturer)

(Sep 2023 - present)
Course: Introduction to ArcGIS (Lecturer)
Course: Introduction to Statistics (Lecturer)

Job Description

Please explain why you chose your current occupation, company, or place of higher education.

During my time at the Graduate School of Policy Sciences for the Masters and Doctoral Programs, I acquired analytical and teaching skills. I learned to use software for conducting statistical and spatial analyses, which I applied to complete my research. Much to my delight, I was offered the opportunity to tutor courses in Statistics, and Research Design and Research Methodology in the College of Global Liberal Arts (GLA) during my doctoral program. This tutorship under an Associate Professor helped me enhance my skills in teaching, creating and marking assignments, and in the overall class management. Later, after completingmy Doctoral Program, I was offered the role of teaching courses including Foundation Course of Research Skills, Critical Thinking, Introduction to ArcGIS, and Statistics as an adjunct lecturer. Since these courses aligned with my experience of researching and teaching, I felt honored and gladly accepted the offer from GLA.

Please describe your current work (research) in as much detail as possible.

Currently I am working as an adjunct lecturer at GLA to teach the courses listed below.

1. Course: Critical Thinking 1: Reason & Analysis (Lecturer)
This course is designed to help students develop their critical thinking skills by learning the principles of good reasoning and argumentation. Through a combination of theory and practice, students learn how to identify, analyze, and evaluate different types of argument (such as deductive, inductive, and abductive arguments), and how to identify various fallacious forms of reasoning. Students learn to construct their own arguments, raise compelling objections to others’ positions, and anticipate objections against their own positions to develop and strengthen them. Students practice these skills by assessing arguments as they appear in a variety of disciplines and social and professional contexts. The course is delivered through a variety of teaching methods, such as lectures, discussions, presentations, and group work.

2. Course: Critical Thinking 2: Rhetoric and Persuasion (Lecturer)
This course is designed to help students develop their critical thinking skills by teaching techniques of rhetoric and persuasion. Through a combination of theory and practice, students learn how to identify common rhetorical devices (such as different framing techniques and appeals to emotion, character and ideals) and how to analyze and evaluate their effectiveness and persuasiveness. Students learn how to apply these skills across a variety of disciplines and media, and how to identify the context, objectives, motives, and intended audiences of persuasive communications. Students also learn about the effects of rhetoric on social, political, and academic discourses, and engage in their moral evaluation. The course is delivered through a variety of teaching methods, such as lectures, discussions, presentations, and group work.

3. Course: Foundation of Research Skills 1 (Lecturer)
This course is designed to help students develop skills and strategies to access and assess information from a variety of online and offline sources. Students will learn how to search for, locate, and organize information, as well as become familiar with different tools and methods for organizing sources. In particular, students learn how to navigate the library system; retrieve information from various sources; select and assess different information sources; and cite, reference, and organize sources. The course is delivered through a variety of teaching methods, such as lectures, group work, and other practical activities.

4. Course: Foundation of Research Skills 2 (Lecturer)
This course is designed to help students develop skills and strategies to understand different types of information (such as textual, numerical, and visual) and to organize, interpret, and present information effectively. In particular, students learn how to effectively take notes from a variety of different sources and media (such as oral, written, and visual); interpret and create different types of graphs and tables; use various application tools to organize information; and visually present information effectively. Students will also be apprised of the importance of ethics in academic research, by learning about such topics as plagiarism, consent, privacy and confidentiality, and academic integrity.

5. Course: Introduction to ArcGIS (Lecturer)
In this course, students are introduced to the basics of GIS and learn how to use ArcGIS desktop (the preeminent GIS platform) to conduct spatial (geographical) analysis for social science research. Students learn how to interpret and use geographical and social data to create different types of maps to understand various questions related to social issues. This course is delivered through a combination of lectures, in-class exercises, and discussions. Lectures provide theoretical and technical knowledge on key concepts; in-class exercises will allow students to apply their knowledge by working with ArcGIS Desktop; and discussions encourage the exchange of diverse ideas by utilizing critical thinking and research skills.

6. Course: Introduction to Statistics (Lecturer)
This course introduces students to the basic concepts and methods of social statistical analysis. Students learn various techniques that are often used as a means of understanding complex social phenomena—e.g., how to summarize numeric data, when to use which technique, and how to interpret and report the results from computer output. The course is intended to be practical, ensuring that the tools and skills students learn are applicable to their substantive courses, final year thesis, and potentially relevant to the real world. Therefore, I place less emphasis on the derivation and manipulation of mathematical formulas.
The course consists of lectures and tutorials. Tutorial sessions typically involve computer exercises and/or other research-related activities, either individually or in small groups. Lectures cover basic concepts derived from the textbook and other materials. I try to make it interactive to the extent possible to enhance students’ learning experience. Students are expected to study the textbook and review the course materials outside class throughout the term.

Relationship between university learning contents and the present

Please tell us why you chose the Graduate School of Policy Science from amongst a number of graduate schools.

Before advancing to Graduate School of Policy Science, I completed the bachelor’s degree in Community and Regional Policy Studies (CRPS) Major at Ritsumeikan University. During my third and fourth year of CRPS, I was in a City and Regional Planning seminar under Associate Professor SHIKI Kimiko, who also supervised my research and graduation thesis. Under her continuous guidance, motivation and support, I developed a keen interest in deepening my research in transportation policy and planning in Pakistan, and decided to pursue further studies at GSPS in the same field under the same professor.

In terms of financing, the university awarded me a 50% tuition reduction, and I was able to acquire Sato Yo International Scholarship for the whole program. With this financial aid in hand, I was able to focus more on my research and courses, which otherwise would have been extremely challenging.

Please describe your two years at the Graduate School (or three years if you are a doctoral student) what you put special effort into and which moments remain in your memory (learning, research, projects, undergraduate programs).

During the master’s program, I conducted research on the same topic and conducted multiple field research in Pakistan, while taking the regular courses. My research focused on the satisfaction of accessibility of bus rapid transit system in Rawalpindi-Islamabad, Pakistan. The courses and on-site research helped me develop necessary skills to become a decent researcher in the field of public transportation policy and planning. The courses such as Survey Analysis, and Policy Writing, enabled me to design the survey, collect data in Pakistan, analyze data, and then write the findings. I was also able to establish a substantive connection with Government of Pakistan with whom I exchanged my research findings with government reports and raw data from time to time. In the final year, I was faced with the dilemma of whether to start job hunting or continue to conduct research in Pakistan. Seeing that all the professors in my city and regional planning seminar guided me well, and the Pakistani government institutions facilitated me whenever I visited them during on-site research for data collection, I decided to advance to Doctoral Program in the same seminar but under a different professor.

Three and a half years of the Doctoral program were quite challenging but educational for me. I received a 100% tuition reduction for three years and was accepted by a prestigious grant from the International Research Fund for two consecutive years to continue conducting my research in Pakistan. Throughout this program, my supervisor continuously guided me and supported me in any means necessary until the completion of the degree. I have published four papers, three in domestic journals, and one in an international journal, and presented them at two international conferences during the doctoral program. No doubt, studying at GSPS enriched me with a set of skills and knowledge, rendering me a chance to become a good educator in the future. I have been honored and privileged to have received the prestigious Award of Best Paper

Overall, the past five and a half years of education at GSPS significantly developed me and made me a better person, researcher, and teacher. Currently, I am utilizing such experience to teach as an adjunct lecturer.

Based on the above, please explain if you feel that any of these experiences or acquired skills are being utilized in your current research.

During my time in GSPS, I learned to conduct quantitative and qualitative research mixed, statistical analysis using SPSS, and spatial analysis using ArcGIS. These skills significantly helped me secure a teaching job at GLA to teach students from first to third year.

Challenges for the future

My goal is to become an educator in the field of public policy. To achieve this goal, I have to create a substantial profile as a researcher and a teacher. Currently, in this era of aggressive competition, where esteemed researchers from all over Japan are trying to build their career in their respective fields, the biggest challenge is to get accepted for a research grant to conduct independent research to publish and to attend conferences for networking. At the same time, finding a teaching job at university is also quite crucial and time-consuming.

What is the most attractive feature of the Graduate School of Policy Science?

The faculty at the Graduate School of Policy Science (GSPS) at Ritsumeikan University (RU) is a remarkable and diverse group of experts who bring invaluable qualities to our academic community. Here are some of the most attractive features of our esteemed faculty in my opinion:

World-renowned Experts: GSPS faculty members are internationally recognized scholars and practitioners in their respective fields. They have a wealth of experience and expertise, ensuring that you receive the highest quality education and mentorship.

Interdisciplinary Approach: GSPS prides itself on its interdisciplinary approach to policy science. The faculty members come from diverse backgrounds, including engineering, economics, political science, sociology, law, and public administration. This breadth of knowledge allows for a holistic understanding of complex policy issues.

Cutting-edge Research: Faculty members are actively engaged in cutting-edge research, contributing to the advancement of knowledge in various policy areas. Their research informs their teaching, ensuring that you are exposed to the latest developments in policy science.

Accessible Mentors: Faculty members are committed to the success of their students. They are accessible, approachable, and dedicated to providing guidance and support throughout the students’ academic journey. Students feel extremely comfortable when approaching their supervisors and are warmly welcomed.

Real-world Experience: Many of our faculty members have extensive experience working in government, international organizations, The United Nations, and the private sector. This practical experience enriches classroom discussions and helps bridge the gap between theory and practice.

Commitment to Teaching Excellence: While their research is exemplary, the faculty members are equally dedicated to teaching. They employ innovative pedagogical methods to make complex concepts accessible and engage students in meaningful learning experiences.

Research Opportunities: As a student at GSPS, we have the opportunity to collaborate with faculty members on research projects, gaining valuable hands-on experience and expanding our academic portfolio.

Diversity of Thought: GSPS values diverse perspectives and encourages open and critical discussions. GSPS faculty members foster an inclusive learning environment where students are encouraged to challenge ideas, think independently, and develop their unique policy insights.

What is your message to prospective students of the Graduate School of Policy Science?

Dear Prospective Students,
We are thrilled that you are considering joining the GSPS at RU, a place where academic excellence, cultural diversity, and a vibrant learning environment converge to shape the leaders of tomorrow. As you embark on this exciting journey, I want to provide you with a comprehensive overview of what makes GSPS a truly exceptional institution for your graduate studies.

Theoretical and Analytical Courses:
At GSPS, we pride ourselves on our robust curriculum that equips students with the knowledge and skills necessary to address complex policy challenges. Our theoretical and analytical courses are designed to foster critical thinking and evidence-based decision-making. You will have the opportunity to delve deep into subjects such as policy analysis, public policy management, economics, survey analysis, and political science, among others. Our faculty members are renowned experts in their respective fields, ensuring that you receive top-notch education.

Multicultural Environment:
One of the standout features of GSPS is its multicultural student body. Our diverse community includes students from various continents, creating an enriching and global learning atmosphere. This diversity not only broadens your horizons but also encourages cross-cultural understanding, fostering friendships and networks that will last a lifetime.

Individual and Group Projects:
We believe that learning extends beyond the classroom. That's why GSPS emphasizes both individual research and collaborative group projects. You'll have the opportunity to work on real-world policy issues, honing your problem-solving and teamwork skills. Our faculty mentors will guide you through these projects, ensuring that your academic experience is practical and relevant.

Cultural Exchange Programs:
To further enrich your experience, GSPS offers a range of cultural exchange programs. Whether it's through study abroad opportunities, internships with international organizations, or participation in academic conferences and symposiums, you'll have the chance to immerse yourself in different cultures and gain a global perspective on policy issues.

Infrastructure and Attractive Facilities:
Our campus is considered one of the most modern structures in Kansai Regions, well-equipped with state-of-the-art facilities to support your academic pursuits. From well-stocked libraries and cutting-edge research centers to modern classrooms and comfortable study spaces, we provide an environment that fosters learning and creativity. Additionally, our location in Ibaraki, Osaka, a metropolitan city is rich in facilities such as malls, theaters, and necessary facilities to make the study abroad for international students quite pleasant. It is noteworthy to mention that we can reach Osaka downtown area by one train within 15 minutes.

We look forward to welcoming you to GSPS and embarking on this exciting academic journey together. If you have any questions or need further information, please don't hesitate to reach out to our admissions team. We wholeheartedly hope to see you in our GSPS program to achieve your dreams.