Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology
It was my great pleasure to spend a "teaching summer" at Tokyo Tech. Thanks to a kind invitation extended by Professor Naoya Abe of the Department of Transdisciplinary Science and Engineering, I was able to spend the summer of 2016 teaching Tokyo Tech students. It was a joy teaching bright Tokyo Tech undergraduates, who impressed me with their intelligence and work ethic. From my perspective, perhaps the biggest difference between Tokyo Tech students and Georgia Tech students is that, on the surface, Japanese students tend to be more reserved and respectful than their American counterparts. Despite these and other cultural differences, however, I am convinced that commonalities far outweigh differences between Tokyo Tech and Georgia Tech students. In addition, through attending the weekly seminars of the Abe Research Group, I had the chance to interact with an energetic group of graduate and undergraduate students working together to pursue policy-relevant research. It was wonderful to have the chance to participate in intellectual and social life of a Tokyo Tech research group.
Summer teaching at Tokyo Tech afforded me the opportunity to work with Professor Abe in creating an innovative summer program. That program — the Japan Summer Program in Sustainable Development — is a collaborative venture between Georgia Tech and Tokyo Tech in which students from both universities will work together in multidisciplinary, cross-cultural teams to devise solutions to real-world sustainability problems. Students from both universities will take a common curriculum of four courses: Introduction to Global Development; Sustainable Global City — Tokyo; Energy, Environment, and Policy; and Global Development Capstone. Each of these courses will employ a pedagogical method known as "problem-based learning" in which students work in collaborative teams to apply theory and knowledge to complex problems. Professor Abe and I are excited to launch this innovative program, which will commence in the summer of 2017. We are confident that this program will contribute to building an even deeper and stronger partnership between Georgia Tech and Tokyo Tech.
I have nothing but positive memories of my "teaching summer" at Tokyo Tech. Although I lived in Japan for a number of years and have visited countless times, Tokyo Tech has become my second home. In that sense, Tokyo Tech has become my "Japanese university." My wife and I have truly enjoyed the warmth and generosity of the Tokyo Tech community, which has made us feel welcome and wanted. We look forward to greeting friends as we stroll across campus and enjoy all that the Ookayama area has to offer. Many members of the Tokyo Tech community have reached out to assist us in various ways, including vice presidents Toshio Maruyama, Tetsuya Mizumoto, Hidetoshi Sekiguchi, Isao Satoh and their staffs. I am also grateful to Dean Kikuo Kishimoto and Professor Jeffrey Cross for their support, and to Professor Abe, Ms. Yoshie Sakamoto, and all the members of the Abe Research Group. I am fortunate that serendipity introduced me to Tokyo Tech, and I look forward to building robust and enduring collaborative ties between my American and Japanese universities.
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