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  • 【President's Choice】Current progress of Chiba University's Global Program -Three initiatives of the "ENGINE" plan-

P5140308_s.jpgWelcome to "President's Choice"!

I am Toshinori Nakayama, President of Chiba University.
Here, I would like to introduce our activities and highlights of the month!

"President's Choice" February 15, 2023

Current progress of Chiba University's Global Program -Three initiatives of the "ENGINE" plan-

In AY2020, Chiba University launched the Chiba University Global Program "ENGINE (Enhanced Network for Global Innovative Education)." ENGINE is known as "Study Abroad for All Students" for many of you, but did you know that "Study Abroad for All Students" is just one of the three pillars of ENGINE?
ENGINE is a plan to advance our strategy of global leadership development based not only on "Study Abroad for All Students" but also on two other pillars, that is, "Enhancement of Global Education" and "Promotion of Smart Learning." Three years after its start, the ENGINE plan is now on track. Today, I will give you a brief explanation of the progress and the attraction of the three pillars of ENGINE.

The first pillar, "Study Abroad for All Students," requires all undergraduate and graduate students to experience studying abroad at least once before they graduate. We have faced various unforeseen events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine crisis since we started the ENGINE plan. However, about 2,000 students have participated in the online study abroad programs even during the outbreak of COVID-19. These programs are designed and implemented with strong support from our overseas partner universities, endeavoring to realize the contents offered in on-site programs as much as possible. For example, online programs employ synchronous interactive classes by faculty members of the overseas university. Also, we make sure to incorporate interaction with local students and online host families, virtual tours to various sites related to the program theme, and the like.

We have received many positive comments from students, such as: "I am still in touch with my host family," and "although I had doubts about online programs before the participation, I found it very fruitful, and the experience encouraged me to participate in the on-site program overseas next time." Initially, online programs were started as alternative measures in response to the COVID-19 emergency, but we will continue online programs for students who want to study in areas to which it is difficult to travel even in normal times, or those who want to participate in the study abroad program during the academic term while taking Chiba University's regular classes.

In AY2022, we resumed some on-site programs, and more than 700 students have already experienced studying abroad overseas. We are engaged in the on-going development of study abroad programs with overseas partner universities so that students can choose the program that best suits their goals. According to participant questionnaires, 89% answered that they could increase their confidence when speaking English. We also hear many comments such as: "I was inspired by interaction with overseas students, and my desire for learning has developed," and "my motivation towards English study has increased a lot". We will continue to expand on-site programs while strengthening our crisis management system for studying abroad so that students can be assured of a safe trip.


Study abroad program at the University of Alberta (Canada)

The second pillar is the "Enhancement of Global Education." To enable students to acquire a high level of English proficiency in four skills: listening, reading, writing, and speaking, and use English as a communication tool for scholarly activities, we introduced a completely reformed curriculum for English education in AY2020 and increased the number of English courses for communication and specialty areas. We also offers various lessons at English House and out-of-class learning tools. In addition, we are strengthening our English education by increasing the number of native-speaking English instructors.


Activities at the English House

The third pillar is the "Promotion of Smart Learning," a teaching system that employs e-learning. We provide an environment by which students can take Chiba University's courses through distance learning from their study-abroad destination. This enables students to experience long-term study abroad without needing to repeat a year. Chiba University is becoming a "Sleepless University," where students can study anytime, anywhere through smart learning and earn Chiba University's credits even while they are at an overseas university. There were situations where students hesitated to study abroad for long term before, but this concern is being resolved through smart learning.
Originally, we planned to set up 100 online courses in four years. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, we have created approximately 7,000 online courses across the university. We have launched the Smart Office as an organization to enhance support for setting up online courses. We have also increased the number of faculty and staff with specialized knowledge, strengthening the educational information systems, and improve Wi-Fi on campus to provide a stable online teaching environment.

Chiba University will continue to strive to foster our students' global competence under the ENGINE plan.

*For more information about the Chiba University's global education, click here.
*For more information about the Chiba University's study abroad program, click here.
*To see Study Abroad Guidebook 2022-2023, click here.

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