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 投稿者:eaeeメール  投稿日:2011年10月29日(土)13時07分59秒
  Academic institutions, just like people,
can be ambitious. Ever since opening
its doors in 1876, Hokkaido University
has epitomized the pioneering spirit of ambition
instilled in it by its founding fathers. Now
in its 135th year, those ambitions are becoming
ever more global, yet the university’s
fundamental focus remains deeply rooted in
Hokkaido’s rich natural beauty and long history
of agricultural innovation.
For centuries, Hokkaido has been renowned
throughout Japan for its quality produce and idyllic
natural environment ? attributes that made the
region a natural choice for establishing the country’s
?rst agricultural college speci?cally for the development
of modern agricultural practices in 1876.
The charter of the Sapporo Agricultural College as
it was called, and which in 1947 would become
known as Hokkaido University, was to develop a
food supply system as part of the government’s desire
to explore and cultivate Hokkaido’s natural agricultural
resources, ful?lling a pioneering role in
Japan on many fronts. “Sapporo Agricultural College
was the ?rst modern academic institution in Japan,
and also the ?rst institution in the country to award
bachelor degrees,” says Hiroshi Saeki, president of
Hokkaido University.
As the Japanese government of the day lacked
experience in managing such institutions and the
country had little home-grown expertise in modern
academic practices, it looked to Europe and the
United States for help. In the US at that time, William
Smith Clark ? a former colonel in the country’s civil
war and a professor in chemistry, botany and zoology
? was championing the technological modernization
of America’s farming industry through
his innovative leadership of the Massachusetts Agricultural
College. Inspired by Clark’s zeal and ideas,
the Japanese government invited him to Japan to
help establish the Sapporo Agricultural College.
Clark readily accepted, regarding Hokkaido as Japan’s
equivalent of the American frontier, and in less
than a year founded the college, established the
?rst American-style farm in Japan and introduced
new crops and techniques in agriculture, ?shing
and animal husbandry. On his departure in 1877,
Clark famously addressed the faculty and students
of the college in the countryside outside Sapporo,
where in parting he shouted, “Boys, be ambitious!”
? words that to this day are taken as Hokkaido University’s
motto and guiding principle.
Over the last 135 years, the university has undergone
a number of transformations that have seen
it expand considerably from an institution with a
single agricultural faculty in 1876 to one of Japan’s
largest national universities with 12 undergraduate
schools, 18 graduate schools, 26 research institutes
and centres and a total of more than 18,000 undergraduate
and graduate students supported by
more than 3,800 sta.
A recent inux of international students has
given Hokkaido University the largest increase
in student numbers of any national university in
Japan. Saeki attributes this to Hokkaido’s comfortable
northern climate and the natural beauty and
ease of living in Hokkaido. The short walk or bicycle
ride from nearby dormitories and apartments to the
university is a stark contrast to the hot, humid and
crowded commute endured by students at universities
in Japan’s famously cramped metropolises. Yet
Hokkaido University’s countri?ed reputation does
not make it a sleepy hollow ? many of the facilities
on the campus, such as the library and cafeterias,
are open until late at night.
The rise in the number of international students
has helped Hokkaido University come closer to realizing
its ambitions of becoming a ‘university open
to the world’. To further develop this concept, the
university is focusing on expanding its researcher
development system to include international researchers
by advertising ?ve-year research positions
to applicants worldwide. “One of the major bene?ts
of this system is that any kind of research is possible,
which allows researchers a great deal of freedom,”
says Saeki.
The university’s core philosophies ? of frontier
spirit, a global perspective, practical learning and
all-round education ? resound throughout its academic
curricula. Practical learning has been emphasized
ever since its early days as Sapporo Agricultural
College, when academic learning was used as a
means of utilizing Hokkaido’s natural agricultural resources
for the bene?t for the rest of the country.
Much of the research conducted at the university
still focuses on the rich natural bounty that exists
on and around the island. Sustainable development
is an important core activity for the university, and
since 2007 it has held annual sustainability events
to promote research and education on sustainable
development. And to reinforce its message, the environmental
impact of the event itself is oset by
expanding one of the many forests throughout
Hokkaido that are owned by the university. “We believe
that the best way of demonstrating the importance
of sustainable development to students is to
take the lead ourselves,” says Saeki.


 投稿者:teacup.運営  投稿日:2011年10月29日(土)13時03分39秒