Okayama University


Okayama University Future Sessions in Academic Year 2020 Was Held Under the Main Theme "Diversity and Inclusion"

February 15, 2021

Okayama University has been holding the “Okayama University Future Sessions(Miraikon)” series since academic year 2017 to provide a platform for young faculty and staff members who will lead the next generation to think freely about sustainability at Okayama University. This year's session was held online on February 9 under the theme of “Expanding Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) at Okayama University in Meaningful Ways”.

Okayama University President MAKINO Hirofumi outlined his expectations for the session and greeted participants with the following remarks: “In order to build a strong framework for university management, it is necessary to identify and nurture the next-generation of highly-skilled individuals who take D&I into consideration. Consequently, I encourage you to use this opportunity and not limit yourself to departmental issues, but rather to recognize your role as a member of a research university for the advancement of SDGs and discuss various issues from a wider perspective while considering long-term outcomes”. Following this, Diversity and Inclusion Planning Promotion Committee Chairman and Vice President for Legal Affairs, Compliance and Diversity & Inclusion KANREI Yasuhiro explained the history and trend of D&I policies at universities. Vice President Kanrei impressed the importance of forming a mindset that is open to D&I and asked participants to discuss what can be implemented at Okayama University to expand D&I from a broad perspective.

Participants were divided into 3 groups to discuss current circumstances and issues at the university relating to the themes of “gender”, “people with disabilities” and “foreign researchers and students”. The lively discussions were facilitated by Vice President Kanrei, Vice President for Global Engagement Strategy YOKOI Atsufumi, Vice Executive Director KANO Mitsunobu, Vice Executive Director INO Hideo, Vice Executive Director AOO Ken and Institute for Education and Student Services Associate Professor MATSUI Megumi.

Afterwards, representatives from each group reported on the contents of their discussions. Faculty and staff shared their perspectives based on their relative experiences, and proposed solutions on how to overcome current obstacles limiting D&I.

Finally, President Makino closed the session by stating that he would like to incorporate the ideas exchanged during the meeting into university management and indicated that he would make a presentation to the executive board in the near future.

Okayama University understands that the “feasibility” of the ideas and opinions expressed at the Future Sessions is of upmost importance when considering reform. Going forward, we will clarify our reform plans in the short, medium, and long term to ensure that Okayama University will be chosen by many people 10 years from now.