Japanese University Expands Presence at UC Riverside

$10 million grant will allow Tohoku University to open center at UC Riverside and expand the number of students it sends to the campus

Ofificials display banner signed by UCR community

Officials from Riverside and Sendai display a banner signed by hundreds on the UC Riverside campus following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — A Japanese university that is one of the University of California, Riverside’s strongest international partners is expanding that relationship by establishing a center at the UC Riverside campus.

Officials from Tohoku University, which is in Sendai, Japan, one of Riverside’s sister cities, will be in Riverside on Feb. 11 to open the Tohoku University Center at UC Riverside Extension. The officials include the president and executive vice president of Tohoku.

The center is funded by a $10 million grant that Tohoku, one of Japan’s top universities, received from the Japanese government to develop global skills for its students by expanding international education opportunities, said Bronwyn Jenkins-Deas, associate dean of UC Riverside extension and director of international educations programs at the university. Tohoku University plans to send approximately 160 students to UC Riverside each year for training.

The effort to expand Tohoku’s international education opportunities is in part modeled after the international programs offered at UC Riverside Extension, Jenkins-Deas said.

Founded in 1975, the UC Riverside international program is one of the oldest and largest in the nation. It annually serves 5,000 students from about 65 countries who take English language, academic and professional programs. Data suggests that the economic impact of UC Riverside’s international programs in the Riverside community was $61 million in the 2011-12 fiscal year.

“Our experience and expertise in international education was a key feature in Tohoku choosing to include UCR as its main partner for the grant submission” Jenkins-Deas said. “We can provide them with a range of programs that help students develop critical English, cross cultural and job readiness skills.”

Kazuko Suematsu, an associate professor at Tohoku University, speaking at UC Riverside in 2011.

Kazuko Suematsu, an associate professor at Tohoku University who will be traveling to UC Riverside this month, speaking on campus in 2011.

The first 44 students, who will come to UC Riverside at the beginning of February, will be enrolled in three programs. The first, in environmental sciences, will have students doing service learning projects with Riverside community and government groups. The second program will be for economics students, who will spend five weeks learning English and spend a week visiting Japanese-American companies in the Los Angeles area. The third program will introduce engineering students to alternate energies, including solar, wind and geo-thermal, important future energies for Japan to consider as it faces critical issues with nuclear power.

In addition to opening Tohoku University Center, and sending its students to UC Riverside for training, the grant money will allow:

  • Twenty UC Riverside students to participate in a 10-day study abroad experience at Tohoku each year. With the money UC Riverside will receive for the Tohoku Center at extension, UC Riverside Extension will reinvest the money to support 20 UCR students to undertake a short study abroad experience at Tohoku. In the past two years, 40 UCR students have enrolled in this program whereby extension provides the airfare and Tohoku covers all land transportation and housing costs. The students attend classes, visit local schools and engage in tsunami relief activities.
  • Send 30 Tohoku University employees to UC Riverside Extension to learn how to set up international education programs and provide support services to students. The first group of 30 will come to UC Riverside in May.
  • Hire a part-time student exchange coordinator/liaison to facilitate the relationship between Tohoku and UC Riverside. Reiko Sato, who teaches Japanese at UC Riverside and in the past has escorted UC Riverside students to Tohoku, will fill that job.

Riverside and Sendai have been sister cities since 1957. More recently, faculty members from Tohoku and UC Riverside have engaged in research partnerships in areas ranging from solar energy to social stratification and inequality. And, following the earthquake and tsunami in 2011, the city of Riverside raised more than $500,000 for Sendai.

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-4756
E-mail: john.warren@ucr.edu

Additional Contacts

Bronwyn Jenkins-Deas
Tel: 951-827-1702
E-mail: bjenkins@ucx.ucr.edu

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