The Annual Board and Advisory Committee Meeting Held

Front row: From left: Nobuko Sakurai, Fumiko Tamura, Masako Egawa, Sumiko Ito, Masako Osako Rear: Shuta Kobayashi, Kishioka, Hisashi Kobayashi, Masaaki Yamada, Yuichiro Kuwama

Front row: From left: Nobuko Sakurai, Fumiko Tamura, Masako Egawa, Sumiko Ito, Masako Osako
Rear: Shuta Kobayashi, Shunichiro Kishioka, Hisashi Kobayashi, Masaaki Yamada, Yuichiro Kuwama

FUTI’s Annual Board of Directors meeting was held in the morning of September 21 (Sat) 2013 at the Community Resource Exchange (CRE) Office’s conference room at 42 Broadway, New York, NY 10004.
After President Kobayashi’s welcome greeting, Dr. Masako Egawa, Executive Vice President of UTokyo and Director of FUTI reported on recent news and developments at UTokyo (see below for a summary of her report). Then, Dr. Yuichiro Kuwama, Treasurer, reported on the results of the 2012-2013 fundraising campaign. The total amount of individual donations remain nearly unchanged, i.e., $ 61,320 (73 individuals) in FY 12/13 compared with $62,005 (77 individuals) in FY 11/12. The dividends from Shintech’s Trust Fund, however, went down as much as 9% from last year, i.e., from $77,155 in FY11/12 to $70,076 in FY12/13. Consequently an overall revenue decreased by 5%, i.e., from $139,160 in FY11/12 to $131,396 in FY12/13 (For details see a related article in this newsletter). He expressed his concern about the bleak forecast of dividend income of next year.

From left: Geeta Mehta, Kishioka, Ito, Sakurai and Tamura.

From left: Geeta Mehta, Kishioka, Ito, Sakurai and Tamura.

Dr. Masaaki Yamada, Director of University Relations, reported on the 2013 summer scholarship programs, and research grant programs (For details see related articles in this newsletter). Dr. Masako Osako, FUTI staff, reported on the following three programs that UTokyo has recently introduced as part of its effort for globalization: PEAK(Programs in English at Komaba), UTokyo Innovation Summer Program, and “Taiken” Program. A majority of the Board members felt favorably about these programs, but their opinion is divided whether or not FUTI should provide financial support to participants in these programs. As for PEAK, most Board members felt that more information concerning the number of applicants from the  U.S. and their quality ought to be obtained before we can start evaluating the program.
In the afternoon, a joint meeting between the Board and Advisory Committee (AC) was held. Following the report by Dr. Masaaki Yamada on the summer scholarship and research grant programs, Mr. Benjamin Frandsen, a Ph.D. student showed the video presentation of the Columbia-UTokyo curriculum development on “Frontiers of Condensed Matter Physics” prerecorded by Prof. Yasutomo Uemura (see video below).

Message to Friends of UTokyo, Inc from Prof. Yasumoto Uemura
The rest of the joint meeting was spent in briefing the AC members on the topics reported by Dr. Egawa, Dr. Kuwama and Dr. Osako at the Board meeting in the morning. In addition Mr. Shuta Kobayashi, Secretary, reported on the revised Bylaws, which defined the roles of the Advisory Committee and Special Committees (e.g., the Award Committee).
In the final session the Board reappointed the current officers and directors and advisory members (including the newly appointed Dr. Tamura) for another year. Dr. Shigenori Matsushita was appointed as a new member of the Award Committee.

Postscript: Summary of Dr. Egawa Masako’s report

The following topics were reported by Dr. Masako Egawa at both Board meeting and at the Joint Meeting with the AC members:

  1. The original proposal by President Hamada to move the start of an academic year to September has been scrapped, and a “quarter- system” will be introduced, instead, starting in April 2015. This will easily accommodate UTokyo students’ plans to study abroad in the summer. It will also facilitate foreign students to come to UTokyo, since the third semester will begin in September. Switching from the current semester system to the quarter system will require a complete overhaul of the curriculum, and the University plans to place more emphasis on education, whereas in the past the University’s culture has been such that research is given priority over education.
  2. “UTokyo” has been chosen as the official abbreviation or acronym of “The University of Tokyo.” Currently such abbreviation as “Tokyo University” and “UT” are often used. The former is undesirable because it may not be clearly separated from Tokyo University of Science, Tokyo University of the Arts, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, etc. The acronym UT is used by the University of Texas and the University of Toronto. The acronym “UTokyo” can be confusing to non-Japanese. Foreigner sometimes misuse it as in “UTokyo University.” In Google search “UTokyo” appears as an international restaurant chain.
  3. As part of UTokyo’s globalization effort, various “Taiken Katsudo (Activities for experience) Programs” and the “UTokyo Innovation Summer Program” have been recently introduced. This is the second year of the Taiken Programs: this year there are 51 Taiken programs implemented in Japan and 24 programs overseas, including five in the U.S. Typically UTokyo’s local alumni groups provide arrangement to host UTokyo students (see a related article in this issue). This year the Taiken Program in India was very popular and drew many applicants.                                                  UTokyo Innovation Summer Program” was initiated by Professor Hideyuki Horii of Civil Engineering. The program is  two week long, and accepts 30 UTokyo students and another 30 students from abroad. This summer program offers three components; design, discussion and field experience. There were 900 applicants from abroad for the 30 slots.
  4. The UTokyo-Princeton Strategic Partnership program announced earlier this year will fund three projects: “astrophysics”, “Japan study” and “sensor technology.”
  5. The University of Tokyo now participates in MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses). “From the Big Bang to Dark Energy” by Professor Hitoshi Maruyama began on Sept 3rd and “Conditions of War and Peace” by Prof. Kiichi Fujiwara will start on October 15.
  6. The Alumni office wishes to establish a UTokyo alumni group in the Boston area and is searching core people who can help the effort.

Articles in this newsletter: