Our mission in the Junior Scholars Collaboration Initiative, Komaba Organization for Educational Excellence is to encourage students’ autonomous, active learning though group works and fieldwork, aiming for their growing skills to tackle with real-world problems with the background of firm academic knowledge.
I have run a series of educational project since 2011, the first theme was
“Study Worldwide Model of Sustainable Campus, Starting from the 21 KOMCEE.”
Back then, a new symbolic educational building, the 21 Komaba Center for Educational Excellence (21 KOMCEE) opened in Komaba campus. The building integrated three conceptual facilities; active learning studios, space design for comfortable gathering to exchange ideas, and the cutting-edge zero energy building systems. Participating students learned the background of these contrivances and received lectures from the professionals who got involved with projects of the construction or other related fields.
You can find a seminar blog with contents in English here.
At the end of the semester, we visited the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, and experienced the contemporary, sustainability-minded campus at the edge of the city and its nice contrast with faculties in the historic city center.
Our visitation is mentioned on the university website here.
The second project was “Sustainability―the Netherlands Seminar: Social Systems and Their Educational Bases,” in 2012.
We focused on the unique Dutch culture which has lead the adoption of innovative social systems to deal with current problems. Topics in details were as follows.
- Liberal and practical policies on sex education, legalization of soft drug use, and mercy death (euthanasia), and the educational/social systems which make such policies effective
- Work sharing/ work-life balance policies which revolved Dutch working environment drastically
- Various alternative schools, especially preschools which are bases for educating citizens capable of democratic decision making
At the end of the semester, we held a video-workshop on these topics with interested students in the University of Groningen.
In the third project “Sustainability Seminar 3—Measures to Promote Work-Life Balance/ Work Sharing and the Current Situation,” in 2013, we invited figures who have worked for promoting such a new life style in Japan, as researchers, public officials, workers for NPOs and a company, to make a talk and have discussions with students.
Students themselves made their research following their own interests and made a presentation. As a summary, we created a reporting leaflet of the seminar (in Japanese).
Our current seminar in 2014 Summer is entitled “Basic Science and Social Measures—Arguments and Approaches for Reversing the Birth Rate Decline.” As a psychologist, I focused on the generally accepted ideas regarding the importance of the first three years in human life for their development and the ideas’ hindering effects on social supports for baby nursing and mothers involved in infant raising. We invited scientists who have studied nursing behavior and dynamics behind the demographic transitions more in details, and also a prominent journalist and public officials who have worked for backing up women both earning outside of home and having a family. Students studied about the issue themselves, made a presentation, exchanged opinions with the invited professionals.
We will have a group work with the members of a interest group in Hakuhodo DY Co., Ltd., with regard to how to develop a society in which various people get involved with raising young generations.
Our next seminar to come in 2014 Winter will be “Sustainability―the Netherlands Seminar: the Promotion of Sexual Minorities’ Social Engagement.” I and a clinical psychologist, Dr. Keiichiro Ishimaru (the University of Tokyo) are planning a seminar to study and encourage sexual minorities’ social engagement. In Japan, the public attention to the existence of LGBT individuals is increasing, but the social support systems for them in working environments and daily life are well behind the standard of developed worlds.
We will invite figures from companies and lawyers etc. who are working to pave the way for sexually minority individuals to fully play parts in societies, and will go to fieldwork to experience the visibility of various sexual minorities’ expressions in town. We are planning a study tour in the Netherlands in March 2015, to lean social environments and systems encouraging LGBT individuals’ social engagements there. We are looking for those who are interested in our project and kindly accept our students’ visit!
Why the Netherlands?
The oversee country I firstly visited and where I firstly made academic presentation was the Netherlands. My academic interest has been in bio-psychological studies on human sexuality, and thus has been strongly attracted to the liberal atmosphere in which such research and education were eagerly pursued. I also has been attracted to safe, beautiful cities and friendly people. The more I knew about the country, the more I came to like its uniquness and want to know the foundation of such a innovative society.
Other Educational Projects
In collaboration with Toshiki Abe, the head of the study tour programming incorporated association (Ridilover), I have opened a seminar entitled “Project Management for Social Business: Team Building Aiming at Innovative Collaboration,” since 2012 Summer. We made a reporting leaflet of the seminar in 2013 Winter.
I am also planning a new seminar in 2014 Winter entitled “Designing the Children’s Growing Environment in 2020,” in collaboration with Hakuhodo DY Co., Ltd. We will have workshops and fieldwork on designing rich life environment accepting diversity, for the unconstrained development of children.