In April 2020 the Ehime University Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences was established. As the Dean of the school, I would like to explain the background of its establishment.
In recent years, Ehime Prefecture, or more broadly speaking, Shikoku has encountered various problems such as issues facing the local communities related to the declining birthrate and population and the need for industrial innovation. Adding new values to the conservation of cultural properties and traditional performing arts of the community; solving social problems by the community itself while vitalizing the local economy and improving the strength of local brands — these are essential measures for the survival of communities. The Graduate School of Law and Letters, established in April 1998 and consisting of two majors, Comprehensive Legal Policy and Humanities, has achieved success. The Comprehensive Legal Policy Major has produced talented master’s degree recipients, some of whom are government employees in Ehime or in the Shikoku or Chugoku regions, in-house licensed tax accountants, and clerks in charge of tax accounting, as well as students who have entered doctoral courses.
The Humanities Major has produced talented master’s degree recipients, some of whom are curators and museum personnel involved in excavation and conservation of local cultural properties, government employees in city halls or boards of education inside or outside Ehime, high school teachers with specialized certificates, academics in foreign universities, other government employees or business persons, and students who have entered doctoral courses. The Humanities Major has also been successful in the education of local government employees, international students, and continuing education students.
Twenty years have passed, however, since the Graduate School of Law and Letters was established. Under present circumstances with more sophisticated and complicated social conditions and deteriorating communities, it is more essential than ever to cultivate human resources. They will need practical abilities to design policies for future changes in local communities and to create new cultural values, based on the versatility and specialized skills to be gained in the areas of law & politics and humanities.
In addition, cultivation of talented people who are work-ready and can contribute to sustainable development of local industry, especially those who have abilities in solving economic and management issues, and the introduction of an education curriculum for that purpose are urgent.
In order to respond to the various problems of local communities, it is necessary to reform (restructure) graduate education, including the organizational framework, in accordance with the social needs of communities. For this reason, we have established the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Another reason is that in 2016 the Faculty of Collaborative Regional Innovation was established and the Faculty of Law and Letters was reorganized, in both of which, the first class of students graduated in March 2020.
The new Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences is the central graduate school for the humanities in Ehime. It will develop human resources who can cultivate in themselves the expert knowledge and ability to do research in law & politics, humanities, economics & management, and environment & resource management, and who, on this basis, have the ability to solve the problems facing local communities. The graduate school will develop education and research to enable diverse career development, through a curriculum that builds on the characteristics of each division on the basis of the baccalaureate degree programs in the Faculty of Law and Letters and the Faculty of Collaborative Regional Innovation.