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Coming of Age in Japan



TC's campus in Tokyo

On September 20, Teachers College's Japan Campus received the official designation of "Foreign Graduate School, Japan Campus" from Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).

The Japan site-'"established in 1987 and located in Suidobashi, Tokyo-'"is home to a master's degree program that is an extension of TC's TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) program in New York. Two new partial programs, International Education Development, and Comparative and International Education - were launched this year.

The TESOL program in Japan has produced more than 400 graduates during its 20 years, but because it was not accredited, those students were primarily people who already were teaching and wanted to improve their skills and their English.

"Graduates who have worked so hard for an M.A. degree in Japan can now use their hard-earned credits to apply for higher degrees in Japanese universities," says Terry Royce, Adjunct Associate Professor and Director of TC's Japan Campus. "For some years now, Teachers College has been fully integrated into the Japanese university inter-library loan system, so this designation represents another important step in the further integration of the campus into the Japanese educational system."

The new designation will also allow applicants from the East Asian region who apply to TC's New York-based programs to start in Tokyo and then finish in New York. In addition, the Japan campus now has the ability to issue visas to Chinese students.

Announcement of the accreditation was sent officially from MEXT to all Japanese universities, higher professional schools, boards of education, prefectural governors, and other ministries and public organizations. The news was also put on the Kanpo, Japan's official gazette.

TC Professor Emeritus John Fanselow, the faculty member most responsible for founding the Japan campus 20 years ago in collaboration with Professor Leslie Beebe, says that "though the TESOL program from the beginning was -'of age' academically and professionally as an extension of Teachers College in New York, the campus in Tokyo has now -'come of age' bureaucratically as well. The M.A. in TESOL has made this long and distinguished involvement real to hundreds of teachers of English in Japan." Fanselow, who received TC's Alumni Medal in November 2005, is a past president of both TESOL and the New York affiliate of TESOL.

Though TC has a gifted education program based in Long Island and a music education program in Taiwan, the Japan site becomes the College's only officially accredited branch campus. Because all students in the TESOL master's program in Japan must take at least six points outside their major, many TC faculty members from other departments have gone there over the years to teach. Present faculty members who have done so include Beebe, ZhaoHong Han, Gita Steiner-Khamsi, Celia Oyler, Lin Goodwin, Jane Monroe, Young Sun Lee, Michelle Knight, Cally Waite, Ruth Vinz, Nancy Lesko, Fran Schoonmaker and Graeme Sullivan.

"Having an accredited campus in another part of the world gets to the heart of a vision of internationalism in education and gives you new ways to make that a reality," says Sullivan, Professor of Arts Education, who chairs TC's Arts and Humanities Department, within which the TESOL program is situated. "For instance, in the Arts Education program, we've done some wonderful programs, such as our Cross Cultural Conversations, but for the most part that's consisted of bringing student artwork here to the U.S. Ideally, you don't want to talk for another culture-'"you want to let people from that culture talk for themselves, and provide an environment where that can happen. The Japan campus could allow us to do that with students from across East Asia."

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