Sophia School Corporation and Sophia University have formulated and will implement a new medium-to-long-term plan “Grand Layout 3.0 for 2030” starting fiscal 2023. President Terumichi will share his thoughts and the future being envisioned for Sophia University in this new plan.
Society Changes – so Should Sophia
Sophia is a single-campus university with all faculties located in one place. Sophia aims to harness the agility that is unique to us and that large universities may lack, constantly striving to respond to society’s expectations and needs. In a rapidly changing world, we cannot hesitate to embrace change.
The previous medium-to-long-term plan, “Grand Layout 2.0,” was updated midway through its 10-year implementation period to adapt to rapid globalization and advanced informatization. From fiscal 2019 onwards, the “Grand Layout 2.1.” has been in place. One year before the implementation period for Grand Layout 2.1 has concluded, we have newly formulated “Grand Layout 3.0.”
The global outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the worsening environmental situation, and the rapid advancement of digital technologies as represented by AI are developments that signal a shift in the societal landscape. We, at Sophia University, have determined that we too should shift our education and research from a point of view that takes these developments into consideration. Our early development of the new Grand Layout indicates that we, as an organization, are committed to continual adaptation and change.
Achieving Distinctive Excellence Through Five Sophia Initiatives
In the ‘Grand Layout 3.0,’ the University plans to undertake five initiatives looking towards 2030.
The first initiative is cultivating ‘Sophians’ who will go forth in shaping the future with a global perspective and local sensitivity. While universities tend to emphasize developing an expertise, we believe that every experience in a university environment shapes the qualities of a leader – a Sophian – who over all else, is an empathetic individual.
One representation of this effort is Sophia’s ‘Liberal Education and Learning,’ which we have been developing since fiscal 2022. This encompasses not only specialized subjects in each department but also University-wide General Education, communication with international students and faculty, study abroad, and a variety of programs such as volunteering. Through Sophia University’s comprehensive education, we aim to establish a foundation for lifelong learning even after students leave this campus. Creating this environment and providing this support for its realization is what ‘nurturing’ means to us.
In addition, we are also presenting a new campus vision that expands the scope of “nurturing” to include high school students and working professionals. For instance, if a high school student is serious about pursuing a career at an international organization, they should have the opportunity to participate in training programs offered by the Sophia Human Resource Center for International Cooperation (SHRIC) aimed at developing future careers with international organizations. We are on a mission to break away from conventional frameworks, and create a place that provides borderless opportunities for growth without arbitrary restrictions that dictate what a high school student should learn, and what a college student should learn.
The second initiative is the “Promotion of World-Class Research Contributing to the Global Society and Establishment of Research Hubs.” Sophia University has built a network of universities worldwide, including Jesuit universities, and has fostered research networks. Leveraging this environment for international collaboration, we will advance international joint research and strive to ensure that faculty members have dedicated research time available to them.
The third initiative is to “Establish a Global One-Campus focused on achieving a High Degree of Sustainability.” We will focus on the “quality” of the “Global One-Campus,” where approximately one out of every eleven students is of foreign nationality, approximately one out of every six faculty members is of foreign nationality, and various faculties from different disciplines coexist. We are not only bringing together diverse individuals but also constructing a campus where everyone, regardless of their background, is provided with an accommodating environment that is conducive to comfortable learning.
In the fourth initiative, “Enhancing Collaboration with the Global Community and Diverse Stakeholders,” we aim to address our admissions procedures to achieve our goal of increasing the number of applicants who understand our educational ethos of “For Others, With Others,” as well as the unique characteristics of Sophia University, such as the Global One-Campus. Simultaneously, we are planning to better disseminate information to prospective domestic and international students about our University’s characteristics and conduct admission from a different perspective than before to make our University more inclusive and attractive to a more diverse range of individuals.
The fifth and final initiative is the “Establishment of a Strong Organization and a Financial Foundation to Support Sustainable Development.” As society changes and education and research evolve, our organization must also undergo transformation. To do this, we are focusing on activating better internal communication. The “Grand Layout 3.0” includes the frequent convening of meetings open to all faculty members and staff , allowing us to gather input and insights from various stakeholders over the course of a year, and demonstrating that Sophia is committed to adaptation and growth.
Sophia: A Name Trusted Worldwide
Through this plan, all faculty and students will strive to bring ‘Sophia Quality’ to life – a level of quality unparalleled elsewhere and with high international recognition.
When we talk about international relevance, it’s easy to envision requisite skills, achievements, or meeting specific evaluative criteria—often thinking only in quantitative terms. However, at its core, the true meaning is in being a trusted resource and institution according to a diverse set of countries, organizations, and individuals. For a university, possessing qualities trusted by others, like humanity, is of paramount importance.
Fortunately, we currently experience this trust when conducting exchanges and collaborating with universities and institutions worldwide. This is in large part because our graduates and researchers are working earnestly all around the world and engaging sincerely with people from various parts of the globe. As society continues to evolve, I aspire to build a Sophia University that continues to be deserving of even greater levels of trust.