Greeting from President NISHIO Shojiro
Today, I was appointed as the President of Osaka University by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. I’ll serve as president for the next 3 years and 7 months until my term ends on March 31, 2025.
Since its founding in 1931, Osaka University has inherited the civic spirit of Kaitokudo and Tekijuku, places of learning in Osaka, while valuing its relationship with the free and unfettered civic society of Osaka and nurturing the spirit of a “university in society, for society.”
On August 26, 2015, I became president of the university, and in the following year, the 3rd midterm goals period for national university corporations began. 2021-2022 is both the final academic year of this period and the target year of OU Vision 2021, the university vision centered on 5 pillars of “openness.” This vision aims to make Osaka University a leading innovative university that contributes to social change by the 100th anniversary of its founding in 2031 through co-creation with society. Collective efforts of OU community members over the past 6 years have laid a solid foundation with potential for accomplishing this goal.
Meanwhile, this period has seen big changes to the national university landscape: the Designated National University system was established, the allocation method of management expenses grants for national universities was significantly changed, and the National University Governance Code was formulated. On top of these changes, the COVID-19 pandemic forced universities to face even more new challenges. Surely, universities will be caught up in a storm of reform with high expectations from the government and society during the 4th midterm goals period, which begins in April 2022. We are working hard to respond to these urgent tasks imposed on universities.
I feel great responsibility to be reappointed to serve an additional term in these trying times. I’m also driven by a sense of responsibility to smoothly start the 4th midterm goals period and advance university management steadily and powerfully. I’m sure we can make it through the coming storm by establishing solid and stable management systems based on accomplishments of OU community members who have made efforts for achieving OU Vision 2021 over the past 6 years.
In assuming office, after much debate with OU community members, I have held a new vision for elevating the profile of academic success of the university, “Creating a Society in Which People Can Find Purpose in Life through Co-creation with Society.”
Now, Osaka University is expected to become a place to promote co-creation with diverse stakeholders in society in order to create a new society by coalescing the intelligence and wisdom cultivated at OU. This is essential for achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and for addressing global issues, such as green recovery and carbon neutral, as well as for building a sustainable and resilient society to protect human lives from disasters and infectious diseases.
Also, as its motto “Live Locally, Grow Globally” states, OU is expected to solve local and global issues and create a new society through co-creation with society. This new society will be one in which people can stay active longer (thanks to extended healthy life expectancy) and enjoy happy and fulfilling lives while respecting each other's individuality, that is, a society in which people can find meaning and purpose in life.
Osaka University promotes diversity and inclusion. Inherently, OU has a generous and open spirit and is blessed with high-quality research and educational capability, the strength generated from harmony between faculty and staff members, as well as power built on a solid foundation formed by the tradition and advantageous position of Osaka. Making full use of this latent potential as well as our individual strengths, I will achieve exponential development of the university and create a society in which people find meaning and purpose in life.
I think that the mission of universities is to respond to the mandate of society by presenting a vision of a new society, creating new value, and developing outstanding individuals who can give concrete form to that value.
Previously, universities’ primary missions were education, research, and social contribution. Moving forward, with the new mission of creating a society, which goes one step beyond the previous mission, I will tackle reform to make Osaka University an open university that is always by your side.
As the expression 不易流行 [fueki-ryuko] goes, change is inevitable, but I think that there are both things that are unchanging and things that must change with regard to the mission and role of national universities. It is vital for us to respond to the voices of citizens while maintaining the tradition at the university that respects the spirit of OU as a “university in society, for society.” I will do my best for the development of Osaka University and will serving out my term of office, while serving this spirit.
Today, I’m firmly committed to taking on this work together with you, the Osaka University community. Thank you!
August 26, 2021
18th President, Osaka University
A Message from President NISHIO Shojiro
An Interview with NISHIO Shojiro, president-elect of Osaka University (from Handai NOW, No. 145 [July, 2015]) (link in Japanese)
An Interview with the 18th President of Osaka University, NISHIO Shojiro (from Osaka University NewsLetter No. 69 [September, 2015]) (link in Japanese)