Niigata JALT:

Numbers Game: How accreditation, Kakenhi and the Super Global program are changing Japan's universities

Date: Saturday, April 25th, 2015 Time: 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Speaker: Bern Mulvey

Rescheduled: Please note that this event was rescheduled from April 19th (Sunday) to April 25th, 3 PM to 5 PM. (Updated Feb 23, 2015)

As of 2004, all universities in Japan must submit to an external accreditation evaluation, to be repeated every seven years. The universities receive written assessments in multiple categories from one of four official accrediting agencies. These assessments are intended to provide detailed evaluations of curriculum appropriateness and teacher effectiveness, not to mention school/program effectiveness in meeting mission objectives. All reports are publicized. The universities also receive grades: pass, probation, or fail. In other words, at least in theory, university accreditation represents an unparalleled opportunity to achieve meaningful,lasting educational reform in this country--particularly (as stated prominently on the Ministry of Education's website) in the area of English language instruction.

Similarly, the movement (from 2012) towards requiring yearly Kaken-Hi applications, not to mention (from 2013) the recent Super Global initiative ostensibly designed to ensure Japan's research and educational competitiveness "on a global stage" seem equally well-intentioned. However, the ongoing lack of consensus (even within MEXT) regarding such things as desired learning outcomes, proper research outputs and appropriate measurement tools has resulted in a situation that is both increasingly complex and, especially with regards to EFL classes and their (often non Japanese) instructors, troubling.

This presentation examines the ramifications of, as well as the opportunities afforded by, these new policies. I focus particularly on the current problems (e.g., the unrealistic expectations (both of faculty and students), the resulting Faculty Development "monster," etc.) yet address as well the potentially very positive impact on EFL education and educators in Japan. Having served as Dean of a Japanese university undergoing accreditation, headed a university accreditation committee and authored major sections of the 100-page official accreditation report, my discussion will include first-hand observations not elsewhere available in English.

Organization: Niigata Chapter of the Japan Association for Language Teaching (Niigata JALT)

Cost: JALT Members: free
Non-members: 500 yen

Venue: Tokimeito meeting facility. Plaka 1 Building near Niigata Station, 2nd floor (map)

Location: Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture, Japan


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Contact Niigata JALT


Howard Brown
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