Monday, August 31, 2015


Japanese Universities, like their American counterparts, have committees. In my original position as the English department's 特任講師, I was not eligible to serve on committees due to the dedicated nature of the role. Since changing positions, I have been on two committees: the 国際交流・協力 committee and the committee for my program.

The committee duties for the two are similar in some respects and different in others. First, the two share that we get all the documents printed and provided by an admin staff. Second, the admin staff in both cases are from 学務グループ but it's a different admin staff for each person.

The program committee is very strongly top-down. We receive orders, and that's what we need to do. While there are topics in the meeting, it is rare for the topic to be a point of discussion. It's also quite common for the meeting to involve a document dump -- where a large number of Japanese-language documents appear in the nick-of-time.

The international exchange and cooperation committee is, in those respects, significantly better. We have some input into what will happen. But the are also some limitations. A further problem for me as a non-Japanese member of the committee is that I'm not always sure what my role is on the committee. By that, I don't mean that I don't understand what it is to be a part of the committee. What I mean is that sometimes there are just kind of gaps where we are waiting to see who will volunteer and I am not sure if I should do so or not.

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