AIU Curricular Reform 2021
One Philosophy, Three Approaches
Faculty of International Liberal Arts
- Global Business Program
- Global Studies Program
From April 2021
Faculty of International Liberal Arts
Department of International Liberal Arts
- Global Business Program
- Global Studies Program
- Global Connectivity Program
Applied International Liberal Arts Education: Liberal Arts of the Next Era
Liberal Arts and the Limitations of Specialization
The strength of possessing a specialization is to have a deep understanding and outstanding skills in a specific field. Conversely, the majority of problems that we face in society cannot be solved only from a particular aspect. For example, imagine that your company decides to simplify product packaging as a measure against global warming—in this case, what kind of perspectives are required? First, it is necessary to verify whether or not the materials and packing methods used for alternative packaging can contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions that cause global warming. It is also necessary to take measures for maintaining the packaging strength so that products will not be damaged even when packaging is simplified. Furthermore, if society perceives these efforts as nothing more than cost-cutting measures, it could harm the company’s image. Accordingly, it is also necessary to formulate an appropriate public relations strategy. Moreover, since there will be a significant overhaul of the work practices and established efficiencies of workers involved in the packaging process, ethical consideration must also be taken into account. It is easy to see through this hypothetical but realistic case that having one specialty is not always efficient in our diversified modern society.
On the other hand, liberal arts aims to overcome the limitations that arise from the pursuit of specialization and to cultivate the ability to engage in multifaceted discussions of issues from various perspectives. Additionally, since the problems of contemporary society are intricately intertwined on a global scale, we have set our academic philosophy as International Liberal Arts to enable students to constantly discern the essence of matters from a broad global perspective.
Applied International Liberal Arts Education
The mission of AIU is to produce world-class leaders. Stated simply, a global leader is an intelligent person with an outstanding character who is capable of taking passionate action on a worldwide scale. Such individuals must possess, in addition to qualities related to learning (intelligence quotient (IQ) qualities), sufficient qualities of character formation (emotional quotient (EQ) qualities).
To take our International Liberal Arts education a step further, AIU has established the educational method that we call Applied International Liberal Arts (AILA).
In the emphasis on Applied lies the three applications that this new method nurtures:
- Application of knowledge to actual issues.
- Application of knowledge gained in a particular academic discipline to other disciplines, i.e., integration of knowledge.
- Application/adaptation of one’s total human ability to overcome difficulties and adjust to other cultures.
To realize these elements at a high level, it is essential to possess EQ qualities such as high ethical perspectives and compassion for others in addition to IQ qualities like knowledge and analytical ability.
Until now, AIU has offered the two curriculums of Global Business (GB) and Global Studies (GS). However, we will introduce a new curriculum starting from the academic year 2021. Specifically, we will add the field of sustainability to the GS program, and establish a new program called the Global Connectivity (GC) for examining how advancements in AI and IT technology will impact human society. The GC curriculum will go beyond the frameworks of natural sciences and humanities in order to cultivate the ability to solve problems by organically connecting multiple disciplines. The new curriculum will expand the range of applications by enabling a more comprehensive, interdisciplinary, and exploratory approach to the various issues facing society today and in the near future.
Moreover, to ensure the value of learning in AILA, the learning process will systemically improve logical thinking ability, expressive ability, and reflective ability that supports all other qualities.
During their freshman year, students will thoroughly acquire the four basic proficiencies of English. This year lays the foundations such as the ability to read and understand texts, to organize ideas into sentences, and to give effective presentations. Students are also required to live in an extremely diverse dormitory, where they will encounter many different cultures.
In their sophomore year, students will become aware of the relationships between courses through their studies in the Core Liberal Arts Courses. Students will eventually select one of the three programs of Advanced Liberal Arts Courses: Global Business, Global Studies, and Global Connectivity. This selection does not define a limited area of specialization; instead, it sets the axis of learning. Students’ learning experiences are guided by clusters, or groups of courses in various academic levels that make up specific disciplines. Students can take courses of a particular cluster or choose from different disciplines to enhance their interdisciplinary capabilities. Furthermore, through extracurricular activities and interaction with the local community, students will begin to consider their relationship with society.
Students in the junior year will integrate and organize the knowledge and experience obtained through rigorous studying abroad with the recognition and self-management techniques gained at AIU before going overseas. Through these efforts, students will form deeper ideas for their graduate thesis. The experience of living in a foreign country and overcoming various difficulties will equip students with solid confidence and a challenging spirit.
During senior year, students will write a graduation thesis as a culmination of their research themes. The basis for writing the thesis is the acquired knowledge, firm self-esteem, and high ethical standards formed by actual exposure to the diversity and contradictions existing in society through experiences such as studying abroad.
Through this process, students will also refine the EQ qualities of heightened character and social adaptability in addition to enhancing IQ qualities like the ability to logically integrate and apply knowledge. This parallel process of nurturing both the IQ and EQ qualities is what Applied International Liberal Arts education at AIU realizes.
AILA education will cultivate global leaders who are skilled at responding to the challenges and needs of the times, and who possess the ability to adapt with flexibility and integrity.
Three Domains: GB, GS, and GC
Global Business Program
Globalization in every aspect of our lives is making business activities ever more complex and diverse. In this era of rapid change and uncertainty, businesses must devise effective strategies based on accurate determination of both local and global needs to provide sustainable goods and services to society. This program is designed to equip students with creativity, critical mindset, and global perspectives as prospective leaders in such an environment through broad interdisciplinary studies rooted in business and economics.
Global Studies Program
The rapid flow of people, goods, and money has made the post-Cold War era increasingly complex. Issues such as the reorganization of the European Union, the growing number of refugees, the rise of protectionism, and environmental issues like climate change are all complex global problems that we human beings are experiencing for the first time. This program, from the perspectives of Global Society, Political Science and International Relations, and Sustainability Studies, aims to provide students with the broad knowledge, cultural sensitivity, and analytic skills necessary to face the challenges in this globalized world.
Global Connectivity Program
Throughout recorded history, humans have developed language as a means of communication and have built a large, complex society while increasing the number of interactions and creating diverse cultures. Meanwhile, technology is playing an ever more significant role in our lives, as seen in our reliance on the internet. The increasing applications of artificial intelligence are even changing our society and the way we live. This program aims to explore both humanities, as represented by studies of humans, culture, and communication, and the latest developments in technology, marked by the studies regarding the rise of artificial/extended intelligence, on common ground. By learning the connectivity of both fields of human wisdom, students will develop a better grasp of the implications of novel technologies on the future of humanity and its philosophical and social value.