This article was contributed by Mitsuo Ochi, President of Hiroshima University.
Hiroshima University (HU) has signed an agreement with Arizona State University (ASU) to launch an international branch of ASU’s Thunderbird School of Global Management on HU’s Higashi-Hiroshima campus in October 2020. Students will be admitted starting in August 2021. This will mark the first time for a national university to host a campus of a foreign university. The media widely covered our reporting of the launch to Minister for Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Koichi Hagiuda.
The Thunderbird School offers undergraduate degrees in addition to graduate degrees. The international branch of the Thunderbird School will be established in HU, to be jointly managed by both institutions. We are considering two possible tracks, one where students study at the Higashi-Hiroshima campus for all four years, and another track where students study at Hiroshima for the first two years and at the ASU campus in the U.S. for the last two years. Students will be able to earn bachelor’s degrees in Global Management and International Trade.
We will recruit students from Japanese high schools as well as international schools in both Japan and other countries, particularly Southeast Asia. We would like to attract students by noting that [Japan] is “safe compared to the U.S. and has a low cost of living” and that it is “easier to take trips home [from Japan].” Enrollment will be limited to 35 students per class in the first year. We aim to increase the enrollment to 250 students within three to four years, depending on the COVID-19 situation.
As president of HU, I believe the collaboration between our institutions will have three benefits.
One is that the collaboration will accelerate HU’s efforts to globalize. HU already has about 2,000 international students. With the addition of ASU students, the campus will become even more globally oriented. HU students will not have to go outside Japan to interact with youths from a wide range of countries and regions. This is “globalization from within,” which has become increasingly necessary due to the spread of COVID-19.
Next, we will be able to absorb innovative management methods from ASU to build a new management model for national universities. In 2004, ASU had 50,000 students and annual research budget of 150 million dollars. These figures had increased to 120,000 students and 640 million dollars as of 2019,15 years later. Through joint management of the international branch campus, we think we will be able to incorporate ASU’s strategic planning, fundraising, and marketing methods as well as the effective use of the college campus that made such growth possible.
Lastly, we can expect to enhance our finances based on increased revenue from tuition. A part of ASU’s tuition revenue will be paid to HU in return for providing classrooms and libraries as well as dispatching faculty. HU could receive over several billions of yen in ten years, which will become a valuable source of funding for developing new programs.
One reason we decided to collaborate with ASU is its “town and gown concept,” under which the university works with the city of Tempe to develop the local area. HU also works with Higashihiroshima City to solve local issues and to foster innovation. In fiscal 2020, we established a Town & Gown office at HU.
Using ASU as a model, I would like to build a sustainable city centered around Hiroshima University where entrepreneurs and researchers gather from around the world. (Abridged)