Educational Features

Features of the School of Regional Design

The goal of the School of Regional Design is to promote the education, research and regional contributions to the sustainable development of regional communities, and to contribute to the development of prosperity. To this end, it cultivates “specialists who understand regional issues and support community development by making the most of regional resources and characteristics,” and enhances the university's function as a “core center for regional revitalization,” with this faculty at the center. The main features of the school's initiatives based on this idea are as follows.

Regional Educational Practice that Integrates the Arts and Sciences, Albeit With a Focus on the Sciences

Most existing programs related to regional communities at universities and faculties focus on the humanities (e.g., sociology), but this faculty cultivates architectural design and social infrastructure design engineers who have also been trained in sociology, as well as community design specialists with scientific skills who carry out regional analysis. In this way, a major distinctive feature of this faculty is that it is a regional faculty that integrates the arts and sciences, but keeps the sciences at the center.

Cultivating “Regional Responsiveness” Across the Entire School of Regional Design

With the aim of equipping students with the ability to take practical action to solve regional issues, which is a necessary skill for professionals who support community development, we cultivate "community responsiveness" through the School of Regional Design’s common educational program. In particular, in the "Community-Based Learning” course (third year, required course), groups of five students representing all three departments enter the field in cooperation with local government organizations, private companies, and other organizations, and engage in discussions and practical collaboration in areas such as research and analysis from their respective fields of expertise. This truly brings about an improvement in the practical skills that integrate the arts and sciences.

All specialized subjects to be 100% converted to active learning and spread to the entire university

This faculty will run all of its specialized courses as active learning courses. In addition, our goal is to build on the results of these efforts and make all courses in the entire university active learning courses during the third period of the planning period (FY 2016 to FY 2021). This will reinforce independent and active study with the goal of deepening learning and enhancing communication skills and other practical application skills. To achieve these goals, active learning-related FD (faculty development) and SD (staff development) are important, so we will build up support for the teaching staff, for example with university-wide training programs.

Holding Student-led “Regional Debriefing Sessions”

We will hold “regional debriefing sessions” in order to publicize the School of Regional Design’s educational activities and their outcomes. Students will take the lead in all aspects of these debriefing sessions and workshops, from the planning to preparations and the events themselves.

Comprehensive Selection Process

The core of this faculty’s educational program is to develop specialists who solve regional challenges by supporting community development through practical learning. In order to develop such talent, it is important to select not only students who have the fundamental academic ability necessary to study at the university level, but also those who have a strong interest in and desire to work with regions in the future, and who are willing to continue their studies. To this end, the School of Regional Design uses a comprehensive selection process.

Strengthening Regional Cooperation and Educational Support through the Center for Regional Design

An important point for the curriculum of this faculty is the question of how to enhance active learning and cooperation with the local community. Therefore, we established the "Center for Regional Design," which is affiliated with the faculty and has the main purpose of strengthening cooperation with communities (such as by accepting students and dispatching lecturers) and leading FD/SD related to active learning, in response to the educational programs of the faculty. It became a university-wide center in 2018, and as an affiliate of the Institute for Social Innovation and Cooperation, it supports active learning and the strengthening of cooperation with regions in collaboration with the School of Regional Design.

Features of the Department of Community Design

This department develops personnel that can design the social groups and institutions that make up regional societies.

The distinctive features of this department's educational program can be summarized by the following three points.

Interdisciplinary education that integrates perspectives on regional nature, culture, daily life and social systems

Regional society in this day and age is diverse and complex, and the challenges surrounding it are also diverse, complex, and multilayered in nature. Activities within such regional societies require a flexible response in accordance with local resources and characteristics. In order to cultivate such a response, it is necessary to develop professionals with sufficient expertise to understand local resources and furthermore to understand social systems and regional life. In light of this, this department focuses on three areas of specialization: social systems (public policy, local government, and social systems management), regional resources (landscape, tourism, and cultural management), and regional practice (social education, welfare, and multicultural conviviality). In particular, the program's emphasis on cultural and educational management in addition to the utilization of local resources and basic knowledge of social systems is a novel approach not found in previous regional education programs. For the purposes of this education, we have made it possible to obtain certifications for appointment as a social education supervisor and social welfare supervisor through this educational program.

Cultivation of practical regional problem-solving skills through active learning

In order to promote community development by solving problems in regional society, practical skills to work in regional communities are required. For this reason, we will emphasize active learning and focus on developing the qualities of practical problem-solving skills. We offer and require students to take courses that incorporate a variety of participatory learning in each of the basic education courses, common courses of the faculty, and courses offered by the individual departments. In addition, the Center for Regional Design provides practical education in the local community to cultivate the practical skills necessary to play an active role in local society.

Cultivation of the basic skills and social skills required of working adults

The realization of regional planning requires the ability to effectively carry out collaborative work, which in turn requires generic skills such as communication and consensus building. Although these abilities are also developed in the common program of the faculty, they are more important in this department because regional society is the place to demonstrate these abilities, and more flexible and diverse responses are required. For this reason, the department has decided to further enhance the development of basic skills and social skills required of working adults from our own unique perspective. To this end, in addition to requiring students to take basic career education courses as electives, the department offers courses unique to the department. These generic skills must also be built on a foundation of social research and regional analysis. For example, in order to conduct practical activities in the field as a member of local government, it is necessary to identify and analyze regional issues. To cultivate this ability, we offer courses to train students in social survey methods, regional survey methods, statistical methods, and information processing. For the purposes of this education, we have made it possible to obtain certification as a social researcher through this educational program.

Features of the Department of Architecture and Urban Design

This department develops professionals that can design living spaces based on practical architectural techniques.

The most important feature of this program is that it provides education and research on both hard and soft aspects of architecture and urban design in regional areas. Architectural education in Europe and the U.S. is conducted at the undergraduate level in schools of architecture, with a system that pursues architecture in a multifaceted and comprehensive manner, including architecture based on an understanding of people, society, history, and culture; architecture as information, art, and technology; and architecture in relation to politics and the economy. The system of education and research in this department takes these points into consideration and aims to construct a new system of architecture based on cities and regions. The method of viewing architecture within the framework of engineering, focusing mainly on the scientific and engineering aspects, is facing its limits under the future circumstances surrounding urbanism and architecture in Japan, and a restructuring of the framework is required. The integration of the arts and sciences and the expansion of active learning are essential approaches to achieve this goal.

The distinctive features of this department's educational program can be summarized by the following three points.

Comprehensive Curriculum in Architecture

In addition to the four traditional fields of architectural studies—building structure, building planning and design, building environment and equipment, and building materials and construction—two new composite fields will be developed. The first is architectural safety studies, which deals with responding to the aging society, accessibility design, environmental psychology, and architectural disaster prevention to create safe, secure, and sustainable living environments for the elderly. The second is architectural regeneration studies, which deals with history and culture, energy conservation and environmental protection, recycling, and longevity. With the addition of these new fields, an education and research system and structure will be established to pursue architecture in urban and regional areas in a more multifaceted and comprehensive manner.

Integrated Arts and Sciences Education Program

Conduct education and research on both the hard and soft aspects of regional architecture and urban design. In order to cultivate a wide range of knowledge about people, families, groups, society, legal systems, economics and culture, which are the subjects of architecture, we offer basic courses on psychology, sociology, economics, environmental studies, and partnership theory, and specialized courses on disaster prevention theory for the elderly and architectural recycling. Mainly in the first half of the course of study, students will study regional architecture from a multifaceted perspective that integrates the arts and sciences.

Practical Education Program

While the core of the department is architectural design and drafting, architectural environment experimentation, and building materials experimentation, which are practical skills and experiments inherited from the former department, active learning subjects such as architectural internships, regional design visits, and architectural regional design and drafting will be established continuously from the first to the third year. In addition, as the culmination of undergraduate education, including other specialized education courses (lectures and exercises), fourth-year students will conduct graduation design and graduation research, establishing a practical, four-year integrated education system.

Features of the Department of Civil Engineering and Regional Design

This department develops professionals that can design social infrastructure based on practical construction technology.

A region consists of people's lives and communities, the living spaces that become the loci of their activities, and the social infrastructure that supports them. Among these, this department will conduct education and research focusing on issues related to the social infrastructure of the region. Therefore, the content of the program is naturally comprehensive, and its interdisciplinary base is extremely broad. While it is important to educate students on the hard aspects of social infrastructure, the department also focuses on the soft aspects in order to develop human resources with the management skills to rationally deal with the declining birthrate, aging population, maintenance and life extension of social infrastructure, insolvency measures of business entities, and disasters that were unimaginable in the past. Furthermore, these efforts of regional society are expected to play an important role in the development of social infrastructure in other countries, especially in developing countries in Southeast Asia.

The distinctive features of this department's educational program can be summarized by the following three points.

Cultivation of a wide range of problem-solving skills through the integration of the arts and sciences

Students are required to take interdisciplinary courses that integrate the arts and sciences as common courses of the faculty. These courses are designed to provide students with an understanding of regional history and cultural climate, human psychology, community design, and regional management that was lacking in the hard aspects of traditional structural engineering knowledge. This will enable students to view local issues from multiple perspectives, formulate a roadmap for problem solving in collaboration with other fields, and accomplish missions together with personnel from many different fields.

Improvement of practical skills through the systematization of active learning

Efficient and systematic active learning is carried out in order to develop personnel who not only possess knowledge but also have the ability to take action. In the first year, students will learn a general overview of regional design and deepen discussions on regional issues by visiting actual sites of social infrastructure development in neighboring regions. In the second year, students develop problem-solving skills through regional design fieldwork based on their study of research methods related to regional issues. In the third year, students learn the process of consensus building in mixed-department groups and develop the ability to solve problems by collaborating with people from regional communities and a variety of different disciplines.

In parallel to the above, second-year students learn surveying and geospatial information, and third-year students learn disaster countermeasures in real areas, analysis of overseas case studies, and design and experimentation of social infrastructure. The students work in groups in order to develop the ability to use their specialized knowledge and to work as part of a specialized team. In addition, third-year students will have internships at government agencies and private companies to gain hands-on experience in regional design, as well as group discussions on ethical issues related to social infrastructure development, in order to develop their human skills as regional design technicians.

In the fourth year, students engage in research to further sharpen the knowledge and experience they have acquired in previous years, producing engineers with both practical and specialized skills.

Design skills from multiple perspectives attained via glocal education

The program will focus not only on domestic issues, but also on overseas projects and social capital development in other countries. Learning not only about one region, but also about the connections among regions and the existence of diverse regions, including those overseas, will cultivate the ability to see a region from multiple perspectives, and will lead to the development of specialists who can support unique community development that takes advantage of regional strengths (regional resources and regional characteristics), and will also greatly expand the students' own future visions.