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attached file : PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE_JUNE 2020.docx

Dear Deans, Members and Schools,

This is the 3rd President message in 2020. The past 2 messages were about the new corona virus. The situations don’t allow me to draft something unrelated to the pandemic. Hopefully this will be the final one.

In the case of APU where I have been working for more than 20 years, the epidemic had a big impact on our education system: they are “online education” and “impact on international students.”

APU has made an enormous shift toward online and virtual courses in the past few months. While the ability to do this so quickly is impressive, the effects on teaching and learning has been very mixed. APU that didn’t possess a viable online course system in place before the crisis has been struggling to adapt to an entirely virtual program.

Faculty and staff transitioned all learning to online and virtual in a very short period of time and this will undoubtedly impact the success and retention of students. If fewer students are successful in their courses and fewer students re-enroll for summer and fall semesters, APU will see their retention rates and tuition revenues decline. However, APU may be able to avoid the situations.

The negative aspect of on-line education is that campuses that emphasize an intimate college experience like APU have lost a lot of opportunities for our students to develop themselves. What’s more, with campus closures, APU has lost the opportunity to actively engage with potential students through on-campus experiences, such as admitted student days and open houses. APU can mount a ton of webinars, but the fact remains that on-campus events are the most impactful events for students who want to get a visceral feel for a particular campus.

For a large number of international students who attend APU, there are many unknowns as we plan for the fall semester. More than a half of the students are outside of Japan. They cannot enter into Japan, since there are severe entry restrictions. Luckily, some had stayed in Japan without going back to their home countries during the last spring break. However, many international students need to stay in their home countries. On-line education will be a must for them even after APU has implemented the face-to-face education. It implies that APU should maintain a kind of hybrid education between face-to face and virtual educations for the time being. When the epidemic began, APU like other universities needed to change our teaching completely into on-line. That eventually turned out to be a big success like other institutions. On the other hand, APU is now facing how APU should adapt a hybrid education.

I attended several Webinar meetings and conferences, where attendants focused on on-line education as one of the hot issues. APU should propose further topics, “what is hybrid education like?”, “how equally should we handle face-to-face students and virtual students?”, and how are the same tuitions justified?” I look forward to having in-depth discussion about these topics with you at the coming meetings and conferences.

Best Regards,




Prof. YOKOYAMA, Kenji, PhD.

Executive Dean & Vice-President

Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU)