Sophia Magazine vol.1 / SUMMER 2015

9ing world that the liberal arts have become more important than ever. We need leaders who can critically think about the world and how we can shape it. We must question the status quo and ensure that the world changes for the better. The FLA’s rigorous, well-balanced curriculum and distin-guished professors prepare students to be global citizens able to make a difference wherever they go. If I were to charac-terize our students, I would call them inquisitive and inde-pendent, and fully capable of participating in the globalized world. Making full use of the opportunities given to them at the FLA, our graduates move on to some of the world’s most prominent companies, academic institutions, NGOs, and other top organizations. The FLA’s international reputation has been established through the caliber and scholarly contributions of our fac-ulty, all of whom are highly active in their respective aca-demic elds. The FLA is particularly renowned within the eld of Japanese studies due to our publication of Monu-menta Nipponica, the leading academic journal on Japanese culture and society. The editors of Monumenta Nipponica are members of the FLA faculty, and our professors also con-tribute articles for publication. The FLA stands out in the Japanese academic commu-nity due to its diverse faculty, with professors hailing from all over the world. Almost all of our professors are active in English language publications that reach global audiences. For example, Professor Koichi Nakano specializes in com-parative politics and political theory, and has written a book and numerous articles on contemporary Japanese politics. Professor Noriko Murai specializes in Japanese art, and her publications include work on American perceptions of Japanese art and ikebana. Professor Matthew Strecher helps bring the works of Haruki Murakami to the English speaking world while Professor Parissa Haghirian inquires how Japa-nese corporations operate in the globalized world. In addition to being leaders in their respective elds, our professors also take on leading roles in our students’ lives by serving as mentors. We have a low ratio of students to profes-sors and encourage students to attend ofce hours and speak up in class. We remember our students, and eagerly follow their careers and accomplishments after they graduate. The FLA is structured to follow the standards of interna-tional liberal arts institutions, which makes it a very unique program in Japan. Our admissions process incorporates each student’s GPA, references, essays, and test scores, rather than the traditional Japanese method of an entrance exam entirely determining one’s fate. Our students can enter the school in the fall, which is common around the world. Dur-ing their rst year, they go through a rigorous Core Program that trains them in writing, speaking and critical thinking. In their sophomore year, students choose from among three ma-jors: Comparative Culture (art history, literature, philosophy-religion), International Business and Economics, and Social Studies (anthropology-sociology, history, political science). Similar to other international liberal arts institutions, classes at the FLA are lively and emphasize student expres-sion and creative thinking. Students are encouraged to speak up in class and present their opinions in their assignments. Personally, I truly love teaching at the FLA. I only wish I had more time so I could add more classes to my schedule! Our students include a diverse mix of Japanese nation-als educated abroad, students from international schools in Japan, Japanese students who have excelled at English as a second language, and students from all across the globe. Japanese nationals educated abroad make up the majority of our students and bring their wealth of experience from around the world, adding to the international atmosphere of the program. Sophia University also welcomes between 300-400 exchange students each year, and about 90% of them choose to study at the FLA. The FLA places great value on helping students nd fulll-ing jobs, focusing on the unique characteristics of each stu-dent. As the global economy recovers and top international companies look to hire new employees, many of them turn to the FLA to nd new talent. This year, I have received numer-ous calls from companies that are interested in nding new employees from among our student body, including Google, Bloomberg, and KPMG. We invite these companies to hold workshops and seminars on campus. The FLA’s spirit of creativity also extends to entrepreneur-ship and many of our students have founded and been active in startups. Many of our students are also interested in orga-nizations that make positive changes in local communities and the world, and nd work at leading NGOs, local non-prots, and global institutions such as the United Nations. About 10% of our students move on to top graduate pro-grams after the FLA. I am proud to say that many students who choose to continue their studies decide to attend one of Sophia University’s graduate programs. The FLA is a liberal arts program that awakens and nur-tures in students what I call global intelligence, or intelli-gence that will enable them to prosper and make a difference in a globalizing world. For over 60 years, our program’s ex-cellent faculty and rigorous curriculum have fostered gradu-ates who have been active in shaping Japan and the rest of the world. I look forward to seeing the roles our alumni as-sume as they take on new global challenges.The FLA’s Exceptional Professors and International ReputationThe Academic Structure andStudents at the FLAA World of Possibilities: Life after the FLAMy Final Message to Readers Approach

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