A Message from the Institute Director

Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences was established on April 1, 2008, for the purpose of implementing one of the ideas for “improving the quality of our liberal arts education, which is the heart of a university education,” as was stipulated in Tohoku University Action Plans (Inoue Plan 2007) by Akihisa Inoue, the 20th President (November 2006 to March 2012) of Tohoku University. Its mission is stated in the third clause of Establishment Plan for Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences as follows: “The purpose of Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences is to provide a liberal arts education in collaboration with Center for the Advancement of Higher Education to have students develop a broader range of general knowledge, and to advance the cultivation of students with abundant creative capacities and higher problem-solving abilities who can also take a leadership role in society.” Since April 2014, the Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences has been reallocated as a division of the new organization, the Institute for Excellence in Higher Education (IEHE), assuming survey and development of education of higher liberal arts and sciences.

Since its foundation in 1907, Tohoku University has been committed to the “Research First” principle, “Open Door” and “Practice-Oriented Research and Education” policies. We have promoted two basic philosophies of the cultivation of talented individuals through educational activities and the creation of knowledge and innovation through research activities, which are inextricably linked like the two wheels of a cart. On the basis of these spirits, we have been contributing to the development of society and human beings in the world. In the field of education, we aim to foster students who can enter into new international scenes. Globally active students should acquire more breadth of knowledge and more powerful capacities for profound reasoning and judgment, and challenge themselves to solve a myriad of problems in the world. To accomplish it, they are required to improve their communications with others to enhance the abilities to make a general observation about various problems around the world, to grasp their causes, and furthermore, to acquire specialized expertise indispensable in problem-solving. General education helps students grow their capacities in each of these areas.

After Tohoku University dismantled the Department of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 1993, the tradition of liberal arts education was incorporated into a new philosophy of general education. Since then, Tohoku University has pursued broad-scale reform of the general education program. In 2019, a new College of Challenging Creativity was created to help students tackle contemporary issues on their initiative, and in 2022, a new General Education program was launched. “Introduction to Academic Learning” for all first-year students beyond the faculty and field of study, followed by “Seminar on Each Discipline for Academic Learning” for small-group education, as well as modern liberal arts education courses for upper-year students and graduate students are also encouraged.

Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences is a further step toward rounding out the general education at Tohoku University, which should be designed to respond to rapidly changing educational situations. The institute now consists of six Extraordinary Professors appointed by the president and a specially-appointed professor. The Extraordinary Professors are chosen out of emeritus professors who have achieved outstanding educational and academic performances, while the specially-appointed professors are selected out of Tohoku University professors who have superior insight into, as well as genuine enthusiasm for, general education. There are many courses and seminars offered by them in the General Education curriculum. We hope that everyone could enjoy their attractive lectures.

We will continue to make a relentless effort to address issues on general education in order to get our students to develop their abilities to flourish on the international stage.

Hirotsugu TAKIZAWA, Director
Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences