A New History of Value Creation Toward the 60th Anniversary of the Founding


Masashi Suzuki President Soka University
President Masashi Suzuki
At this time, I will be succeeding former President Yoshihisa Baba as the next president.
There is no other university where faculty, staff, and students are as united and serious about developing a university like Soka University.

In order to pioneer a new history for our university, we are determined to do our utmost to realize the goals of the "Soka University Grand Design 2021-2030" by working together with faculty, staff, alumni, supporters, and above all, with our students. Aiming to boldly implement initiatives to resolve each and every issue facing the University, my aspirations are presented in this year’s President's vision.

The university celebrated its 50th-anniversary last year and made a start towards the next 50 years. As in FY2020, this year was affected by the novel coronavirus infection, but with the cooperation of students, faculty, and staff, education and research continued tirelessly and significant results were achieved.

In education, while taking measures against COVID-19, we provided sufficient education online. The Distance Learning Division received the "Online Class Support Special Category Award" from the e-Learning Awards. The SATREPS-EARTH Project, an international joint research project with universities in Ethiopia, was launched. A memorandum of understanding was also signed regarding the "The Human Glycome Project" in which the Glycan and Life Systems Integration Center participates. Furthermore, in the education building of the University of Nairobi in Kenya, Africa, "Soka University Nairobi Office” was established, adding to the internationalization of the University.

On the other hand, students' success was also remarkable. 12 people passed the bar exam in 2021, 
ranking Soka University 5th amongst private universities with 10 or more students passing. Also, students won the Grand Prize at the Campus Venture Grand Prix Tokyo, and won the RoboCup Asia-Pacific 2021 Aichi Japan,  achieving excellent results. In club activities, the Ekiden Team finished 7th in the 98th Tokyo Hakone Round Trip University Ekiden Race, earning the right to be seeded for the 3rd straight year.
In addition, the Pioneer Wind Orchestra participated in three consecutive national tournaments and won the silver medal.

Furthermore, in community contribution activities, the Faculty of Letters Inter-Seminar Soto Project developed a project to "Revitalize businesses through Schliemann” becoming a hot topic in the media. I hope that students will play an active role in a variety of fields this year.
The 50th-anniversary project was also a great success as planned. Last April, the university published "50 Years of Soka University",
and in his contribution, the founder wrote three “Treasures of the University to be inherited”, 
1. the inexhaustible font of compassion that is human education.
2. the sun of a creative life force that can triumph over all adversity.
3. our vast network of global citizenship that unites humanity. 

In October the 50th-anniversary exhibition "The History of Soka University" opened in the entrance hall of the Central Tower, which conveys the history of humanistic education. From June 5 to 14 last year, the "SDGs × Value Creation" serial event under the theme of "Global Citizenship Education" and on October 23rd and 24th, the 11th Daisaku Ikeda International Philosophy Academic Symposium was held. 
In the QS Asia University Rankings 2020, the university ranking rose to 351-400 overall (ranked 58th in Japan). Within Japan, the University received a high appraisal in its third certification evaluation by the University Standards Association last year.

Although there are still aspects of the university's internal quality assurance system that need to be improved, we will steadily implement a cycle for improving education and research activities by promoting constant reforms based on the three policies of "Degree Awarding Policy," "Curriculum Development and Implementation Policy," and "Admission Policy," and by collecting and utilizing digital information mainly through the IR Office.

Now, the university has begun work on a new mid-to-long term plan for the next 10 years towards 2030 called the “Soka University Grand Design 2021- 2030”. We will steadily implement each of these items so that the University can achieve even more rapid development as a global hub for humanistic education. Under the theme of " “a university that fosters ‘global citizens’ that can create value,” the plan sets many goals in the four areas of education, research, SDGs, and diversity, of which "education for world citizenship" is very important. In today's world, where nations and ethnic groups are increasingly divided, Soka Education is attracting attention and longing around the world as an education that opens the possibilities of young people and realizes a peaceful future.

The University, which bears the name "Soka" as in Soka (or Value-Creation) Education originated with Dr. Tsunezaburo Makiguchi, has a mission to lead the world in the education of global citizens. To this end, we will actively promote international joint research, centering on the Ikeda Research Institute for Soka Education (IRISE) and the newly established Graduate School of Teaching Education, to establish the academic value of Soka education and produce many talented world citizens as a global center of human education. The PASCAL entrance examination, a comprehensive type of selection introduced in conjunction with the reform of university entrance examinations by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, has attracted attention as a new entrance examination that incorporates active learning methods and measures students' qualities for university study.

This year, we will increase the number of applicants by expanding the "PASCAL Entrance Examination" to 150 students, and introduce a "Challenge Program" to help high school students understand the educational philosophy of the university from an early stage, in order to admit more students with high qualities as creative world citizens. Since its founding, the university has advocated "students first" and "a university for students".
University management with student participation, as represented by the university-wide council, is still a proud feature of the university, and was highly evaluated in the accreditation evaluation. I hope that all the students who have gathered at this school will demonstrate their abilities to the fullest, without omission, and let their "creative lives" blossom in the compassion of human education. We would like to make this year a year of great progress in developing the three treasures that our Founder has indicated, as we continue to send out such global citizens to the world one after another.

2022 Soka University President’s Vision

1. Education

(1) Enhancement of curriculum to foster global citizens
This year, the Faculty of Nursing and general education courses will start with a new curriculum.
In the general education courses, in addition to enhancing subjects to learn about the founding spirit, we will divide the World Citizenship Education subject group into "Peace, Human Rights, the Environment, and Development" and "Service Learning and Leadership" subjects to help students select classes that best fit their studies. For the other seven faculties, we are preparing a new curriculum for next year. Furthermore, a curriculum map will be developed that systematizes relevant subjects from the perspective of global citizenship education.


(2) Development of education to promote the SDGs

From this year's syllabus, the relevance of the subject matter to the 17 SDGs is described.
Curriculum mapping will also be conducted to ensure that students know and plan to take courses that are strongly linked to the SDGs. A working group consisting of representatives from each faculty will discuss the possibility of an SDGs minor for next year.


(3) Systematization of data science education

Establish "Mathematics, Data Science, and Natural Sciences" as a general course from this year, and make "Introduction to Data Science" required for all students. Furthermore, in response to MEXT's accreditation of our university last year for the "Program Accreditation System for Mathematics, Data Science, and AI Education (Literacy Level)", we will create a system that allows students to learn in stages from the introductory level to the data-based practice level to earn a minor in data science.

(4) Initiatives aimed at improving educational skills and student growth

Promote the teaching portfolio, which has been deployed throughout the university as a three-year plan since last year, to enable faculty members to look back on their classes and improve their teaching. At the same time, we will grasp and examine the educational issues of each faculty member that emerge through the creation of teaching portfolios, and strive to improve our educational capabilities in each department. In addition, the use of student learning portfolios and "learning compilation" will be promoted by each faculty in order to promote the visualization of learning outcomes.


(5) Revising of the diploma policies and assessment indicators

Review the diploma policies of the entire university and the individual faculties and graduate schools to ensure that they are clearly worded based on student input. In line with this, we will also review assessment indicators for measuring the achievement of learning outcomes. In addition, the University will establish a self-inspection cycle starting with accreditation evaluation, and the entire University will work together to further improve education.

2. Research

(1) Promotion of priority research

Establish the "Soka University Priority Research Promotion Project" to support distinctive and outstanding research and interdisciplinary research that contributes to the achievement of the SDGs, with the aim of creating priority research themes at the university. In addition, the "Soka University Priority Research Center System" will be newly established as a core center for increasing the number of international academic papers to three and for obtaining competitive research funds. A framework will also be developed to support research facilities that promote original and cutting-edge research. In addition, with the aim of widely spreading the University's research activities inside and outside the University and stimulating exchange among researchers, we will strengthen the linkage between the "research map," the national research achievement system, and the University's website, faculty performances entry system, and other systems.


(2) Strengthening international competitiveness

Accelerate large-scale research projects being conducted in collaboration with domestic and overseas research institutions, leading to the broad dissemination of research results and enhancing international recognition. In addition, we will promote discussions toward the implementation of the "Establishment of the Soka University Fellow (tentative name) System" to organize a network of researchers, and the "Support for International Joint Research by Accepting Visiting Faculty Members" to invite researchers who have experience abroad, as stated in the "Soka University Grand Design 2021-2030".


(3) Strengthening acquisition of external funds

In order to encourage larger-scale research, a new system will be established to provide grants to researchers who apply for the large category of Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research programs (Kakenhi). In addition, with the aim of obtaining strategic competitive research funds, the function will be strengthened by enhancing seminars, strengthening checks of application documents, etc. In addition, we will take all possible measures to improve the government's system for competitive research funding, and improve the environment in which researchers can apply for these eligible projects with high motivation. To enable researchers and research organizations in the humanities to actively apply for medium and large research grants, other environmental improvements, such as institutional design will be established.


(4) Strengthening research infrastructure

The criteria for calculating individual research expenses and the sloping allocation system, etc., which have been in place since this fiscal year, will be checked and reviewed to improve the effectiveness of the system. In addition, in order to secure research time, we will prepare for the hiring of URAs (research administrators), which we are considering introducing, in accordance with the research environment of our university. Furthermore, we will promote the development of a system for the management and utilization of research data.


(5) Promotion of appropriate research activities

In order to prevent misconduct in research activities, all full-time faculty members will be encouraged to take the research ethics education material "eAPRIN" on a regular basis, and their participation will be monitored. In addition, with the aim of fostering an awareness of the ethical standards of researchers, we introduced a compulsory course in research ethics education using e-learning materials for all graduate students (excluding those in professional graduate schools) in the master's programs from April of this year. At the same time, we will reconfirm who is eligible for compliance training and strengthen awareness-raising activities regarding the prevention of improper use of research expenses within the university.

(6) Acceleration of research on the founder’s philosophies, practices, and Soka Education

The Ikeda Research Institute for Soka Education (IRISE) shall promote the following activities in order to promote the ideology and practice of the founder and academic research on Soka education.
① The 1st Global Citizenship Education Symposium (Theme: Restoring Learning to Daily Living: Global Citizenship and John Dewey").
② Promotion of international joint research on global citizenship education.
③ Promotion of translation, etc. for publications related to Soka Education.
④ Preparing the founder’s “To my dearest students” to be available on the portal site

Furthermore, we will systematically collect, organize, and preserve records of the founder's thought and practice, as well as the practice of Soka education, and utilize them as research materials.

3. SDGs

(1) Promoting university-wide SDGs related projects

To promote the achievement of the SDGs, Soka University will adopt and support initiatives with a high degree of contribution and promising future prospects as "Soka University SDGs Good Practices. In addition, we will conduct the SDGs Questionnaire to survey the level of recognition of the SDGs within the university, and publicize our efforts to achieve the SDGs through the university website, the university PR magazine "SUN", the SDGs Report, and other media outlets.


(2) Fostering human resources who will contribute to the achievement of the SDGs, and establish a network of SDG students, experts, and practitioners

Aiming to expand the human resources network and roster system that will contribute to the achievement of the SDGs. In addition, the 2nd Dialogue and Networking Meeting of Practitioners, Students, and Teachers for Achieving the SDGs will be held to foster human resources who will contribute to the achievement of the SDGs and to build a network with experts and practitioners.


(3) Strengthening cooperation with UN agencies

Promote cooperative projects such as internship programs and peace courses at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). In addition, the program will promote the acceptance of the Refugee Higher Education Program (RHEP) and career support for those who complete the program. In addition, the university's Research Institute for Peace Studies will launch a refugee research project and organize workshops in cooperation with the UNHCR. The activities of the UNESCO School Support Committee include strengthening cooperation with UNESCO schools overseas, holding regular SDG lectures and other events open to the local community, and holding the UNESCO School Kanto Area Conference at the University. In addition, to strengthen information aggregation and dissemination, we will build a platform to aggregate information on UN Academic Impact's SDGs promotion activities.


(4) Formulation of SDGs and energy plans for the campus

Last April, a climate emergency declaration was issued and the goal of becoming a carbon-neutral campus by 2050 was set. This year, with the aim of establishing a roadmap by 2025, we will study policies and roadmaps to achieve carbon neutrality. In addition, the University's efforts to collaborate with local governments and businesses in the region will also be evaluated.

4. Diversity

(1) Promotion of globalization

This year, in cooperation with domestic and overseas organizations, we plan to hold "Value Creation x SDGs" Week (June), a series of lectures by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in Tokyo (spring semester, common subject "Area Studies B"), "Global Citizenship Education Symposium" (October), and others. We would like to offer online Japanese language education to students living abroad as well as to meet the needs of overseas exchange schools.


(2) Continuation and Development of the Top Global University Project

Following the "S" evaluation received in the second interim evaluation, this year, the ninth year of the program, we will actively promote educational exchange for the next and final year by recruiting and accepting students from other countries and dispatching our students through the use of the online "Collaborative On-Line Learning (COIL) Program". This COIL project was formed last year by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and began offering modules (subject groups) together with Kansai University as part of the "Forum for Promoting Internationalization of Universities" project, in which the University participates in several projects. In the project "Development and Dissemination of Objective Evaluation Tests for the Effectiveness of International Exchange Programs," our university has been selected as a partner institution (Hiroshima University is the lead institution), and plans to develop a wide range of cooperation with universities and other institutions in Japan and elsewhere.


(3) Gender Equality Initiatives

To date, various efforts have been made at the "Soka University Gender Equality Promotion Center" to promote gender equality projects at the university and to strengthen its research capabilities. In the future, this center will be reorganized as the "Soka University Diversity and Inclusion Promotion Center. We would like to work on creating a more diverse campus environment.

(4) Promotion of acceptance of working adults, etc.
According to various surveys, industries have high expectations for advanced education provided by universities for working people. In our university, we will utilize the results of online education cultivated by the Correspondence Division, consider programs that will be required in the future society, such as "Japanese language education," "data science," and "AI," and establish a system of recurrent education.