1-4 Sophia University Global Features


Sophia University Global Features

1-4-1 Progress in the Top Global University Project

In 2014 Sophia University was selected as a Top Global University (Type B) by MEXT. In order to achieve its vision of “creating a global campus with multiple hub functions and supportive governance,” based on past achievements, Sophia seeks to become an entity that can lead in the globalization of Japanese universities as well as Japanese society by making pioneering efforts in development of new educational programs, promotion of student exchange, promotion of internal internationalization, and governance reform.
Many of the plans set up under the Top Global University Project are in line with the concrete action plans for globalization and governance reform promoted under Sophia’s long-term plan “Grand Layout 2.0.”
The project requires designated universities to set up both common and individual indices to measure their performance. Common indices include numbers concerning globalization of faculty and staff members, number of inbound and outbound students, and number of courses taught in a foreign language. Individual indices unique to Sophia include the number of double degrees, the number of special advancement partnerships with overseas graduate programs, and the number of cooperative relationships with foreign high schools (designated schools overseas).
The progress of the main figures is as follows.
✽ Figures for AY2023 in graphs below represent Top Global University Project targets.

・Number of foreign faculty members and faculty members with a foreign degree or overseas research/education experience
Faculties and departments have actively employed persons of foreign nationality and Japanese with degrees from institutions abroad or those who have a career in education and research for a given period overseas as new faculty members based on the medium-term personnel plan in accordance with the long-term plan “Grand Layout.” Regarding the employment of faculty members necessity of considering internationally recognized achievements and reputation in applicants’ research and educational activities is shared and well established university-wide. In the actual value (percentage) in AY2019, the University has already exceeded its target which was supposed to be reached in its final year, and is seeing a steady change.

・Courses taught in a foreign language (number of courses & percentage, full-year)
The number of courses taught in a foreign language has exceeded the final target, and the percentage is also nearly reaching the target, showing a steady change. Developing human resources who are capable of thinking and expressing their views in a foreign language as well as having high language abilities is widely shared as the University-wide goal. The number of students who study these courses actively is also steadily increasing.

・Percentage of Japanese students with study abroad experience (full-year)
The number of Japanese students with study abroad experience has increased, mainly due to the study abroad counselling program continued since this project was adopted; the steady growth in the number of partner institutions sharing student exchange programs; and the enhancement of overseas short-term programs and internship courses, and is 1,000 students in AY2019. Establishment of a system that allows appropriate recognition of credits by outside organizations utilizing parallel semester quarter system introduced in AY 2019 and programs that can attract students who have not been likely to take interest in studying abroad will become an issue.
✽ The number of full-time Japanese-national students who have earned credits during study abroad (regardless of duration).

・Percentage of international students to all students (full-year)
The number of overseas students accepted throughout the year remains at a high level owing to the expansion of partner institutions sharing student exchange programs; summer sessions/programs which were reorganized after the project was adopted, the hosting of short-term programs mainly targeting China/Oceania; and customized programs dealing with Japan’s latest developments, environmental issues, etc.
✽The number of overseas students includes both overseas students with “study abroad” residence status as well as those of short-term programs without “study abroad” residence status.

・Number of inbound and outbound students under students exchange agreements
Sophia University has annually added approximately 20 partner universities through student exchange agreements. As of the end of AY2019, the university has 322 partners in 59 countries. The number of overseas students accepted exceeded the interim target in AY2019. Although the number of exchange students dispatched were little below the target, the student exchange is going fairly well. By the region, the number of the partner universities in the United States and European nations accounts for approximately 70 percent, and the numbers in the other regions are also increasing. Accordingly, the regions of the partner universities are being diversified.

1-4-2 Outbound exchange students

The figures show the number of exchange students dispatched to overseas partner institutions and its transition by region. In AY2019, the number of exchange students dispatched was 343, and the total of 386 students including 43 students under the Integrated Study Abroad program studied abroad. Regarding regions, dispatch to Asia slightly increased, but overall distribution of dispatched students did not particularly change. Furthermore, students dispatched belong to more diverse faculties than before, and the increased number of students who belong to the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Economics were dispatched abroad in AY2019.
The university’s Re-Inventing Japan Project reached the final academic year, and the number of its outbound student dispatched to Latin American countries (LAP) was showing steady growth.
After the AY2015 launching of the Integrated Study Abroad program of the Department of German Studies in the Faculty of Foreign Studies, which offers students a half-year of study abroad at a partner institution in Germany, the Department of German Literature also launched the same program. Accordingly, the number of outbound students to Europe continued to increase. On the other hand, North America is also a popular destination where over 100 students have studied annually since AY2011.
The COVID-19 forced many students who started studying abroad in the second half of AY2019 to shorten their study periods. From the viewpoint of travel restrictions and safety management, it is expected to have an impact on foreign students in and after AY2020.

1-4-3 Inbound students from Overseas Partner Institutions

The figures show the number of inbound students from overseas partner institutions by region. The number of students accepted is increasing year by year in proportion to that of partner institutions (a drop in 2011 was due to the impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011). In particular, the number of inbound students from Europe shows considerable growth—partly due to the increase in acceptance from German-speaking regions owing to the Integrated Study Abroad program inaugurated by the Department of German Studies in the Faculty of Foreign Studies in AY2015, and partly due to an overall increase in inbound students from Europe made by the increasing number of new partner schools in Eastern Europe and Central Europe. In addition, thanks to the effect of the promotion of academic exchange by the SAIMS (ASEAN region) and the LAP (Latin America) adopted for the Re-Inventing Japan Project*, which is a project subsidized by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, there have been ongoing successful results in overseas student acceptance from the European region.
Moreover, student acceptance has been realized from various regions from which no student was accepted before, such as Africa and the Middle East.

1-4-4 Student Exchange and the Number of Partner Institutions

Sophia University has made a particular effort to increase the number of its partner institutions in order to foster student and academic exchange with universities abroad. Since AY2012 the number of partner schools has increased at the remarkable rate of 20 to 30 schools a year. Accompanying this increase, the number of inbound and outbound students has shown corresponding increases. In the last five years there have been positive results for over 90% of the partner institutions and exchange activities. Over 400 inbound and outbound students are being mutually exchanged annually.
By region, partner institutions have recently shown growth in Europe and Asia. In Europe, many new partner schools from German-speaking regions were established due to the Integrated Study Abroad Program instituted by the Department of German Studies in AY2015. Further, partner schools were actively sought out in previously untouched regions such as East and Central Europe, resulting in broader options for students seeking to study abroad. In Asia, thanks to the one-term exchange system of SAIMS program for Southeast Asia inaugurated in 2014, the number of partner institutions grew, and in China the establishment of many partner institutions led to a considerable increase in student exchange.

1-4-5 International students

A temporary decrease in the number of international students was observed shortly after the Great East Japan Earthquake due to study abroad cancellations, but with the exception of AY2011, the number of international students has trended upward. Significant increases from the previous year have been observed since AY2014.
By region, international students from Asia have more than tripled compared to a decade ago. Although not as dramatically as Asian students, inbound students from Europe, Latin America, and Africa have also increased greatly during the past ten years.

1-4-6 Number of Enrollees in Foreign Language Courses

In AY2012 the Center for the Teaching of Foreign Languages in General Education was reorganized as the Center for Language Education and Research, and the language curriculum has been overhauled. To the 18 languages for which courses were offered from AY2014 onward, four more languages—Swahili, Turkish, Vietnamese, and Hindi—have been added, for a total of 22.
The data given here reflects the situation from AY2016 onward, when the overhauling of the curriculum system had been more or less completed.
While the number of students enrolled in English-language courses usually depends on the number of the university enrollment, it is noted that the number of CEFR B2 level students at university entry was increasing in the past several years. It is partly because the number of students who try to earn credits by taking tests instead of English courses has grown. Decrease in the number of students who enrolled in Italian in AY2019 is due to the curriculum change in the number of lessons per week from one to two. On the other hand, the cumulative number of enrollment in Italian slightly increased. Among first foreign languages, many students enroll in German, French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, and Korean, but it is also noteworthy that a certain number of students study Asian and African languages, with Arabic and Indonesian at the top of the list.
✽ Excluding short-term studies and intensive courses.

1-4-7 Participants in internship programs

Since 2015, Sophia University has offered an internship course in which a student is given credits for accepting an internship at a training firm with which the University has entered into an agreement and for taking lectures or submitting assignments before or after the internship. The purpose of the internship course is to deepen students’ learning and raise their motivation to learn through their work experience by understanding the structure and actual conditions of global society; improve their necessary competency for society; and connect their study in class with real-world experience. Training firms include our domestic and overseas partners in various fields, such as the global business field (e.g. global companies), the international cooperation field (e.g. international organizations and international cooperation institutions), the global media field (e.g. news media), and the global politics field (e.g. embassies in Japan and research institutes). The number of training firms is increasing year by year.

1-4-8 Participants in Short-term Overseas Programs

The figure below shows trends in the number of students participating in programs held during summer and spring recess by region of destination. In AY2019, establishment of new programs mainly increased the number of students who went for study to Europe and Southeast Asia. The number of participants in the social engagement program offered in Africa has also been steadily increasing since its launch in AY2015.
In AY2019, the program was held twice, in Cameroon in summer and in South Africa in spring and a total of 28 students participated, the largest number to date. The record high number of students participated in Short-term Overseas Programs in AY2019. However, Covid-19 outbreak forced some programs to be canceled or to be shortened during spring recess (February to March in 2020). It is anticipated that program operation will be subject to change owing to the Covid-19 from AY2020 onwards in the light of travel restrictions and safety management.

✽Total number of participants in Short-term Overseas Language Programs, Short-term Study Abroad Programs and Social Engagement Programs
✽Figures for AY2016 and beyond include participants of the Cambodia Exposure Tour (currently named the “Cambodia Service Learning Program.”
✽Total number of participants in Short-term Overseas Language Programs, Short-term Study Abroad Programs and Social Engagement Programs
✽The AY2017 Universities of Global Leadership Program for the Five Jesuit Universities of East Asia program (GLP) was hosted by Sophia University in Japan and
six Sophia students participated, but they are not included in the above.
✽The AY2018 AJCU-AP Service Learning Program (SLP) was hosted by Sophia University in Japan and nine Sophia students participated, but they are not included in the above.

1-4-9 Participants in inbound Sophia Short-term Programs

Sophia University has offered a short-term international program called Summer Session in Asian Studies for the past 50 years, attracting large numbers of international students. In AY2018, the form of the program was altered, and the University provided it as the Summer Session in East Asian Studies and Japanese language twice in June and July. Regarding short-term programs as a whole, about 700 students participated in 10 acceptance programs.

✽From AY2018, the programs “Summer Session in Asian Studies” and “Summer Session in Japanese Studies” have been formed into the program “Summer Session in East Asian Studies and Japanese language.”