February 2, 2009
The number of students enrolled in the spring 2009 semester (starting in January) in the Continuing Education Program at Temple University Japan Campus (TUJ) reached 871 as of the 27t h January, exceeding 800 students for three semesters in succession. Including participants in the 1-2 day workshops scheduled in April, the number of students is expected to exceed 900.
TUJ’s Continuing Education Program works on a three semesters a year calendar. Although the number of students fluctuates each semester, after remaining in the 300-500 range up until 2005, the average has increased by approximately 100 students a year since 2006.
Studying “in” English to enhance communication skills
The Continuing Education Program at TUJ offers some 100 courses in a broad range of fields including language studies, academic skills, business skills, professional training, arts and culture. The most prominent feature of the program is the ability to receive instruction in specialized fields in English, provided by lecturers at the forefront of their respective fields. The students not only include English-speaking foreigners residing in Japan, but also a large number of Japanese. In addition to General English, the wide range of courses is popular among Japanese students, and they even form the majority in some classes in the program. This reflects a notable trend among Japanese adults to not only study English, but also to study “in” English.
Whereas language studies and computer skills courses were popular in the past, a notable change in the recent enrollments is the popularity of business-related courses, with more than half of the students enrolling in these courses. Among them, courses in communication skills, especially the ones that focus on “output” skills, are popular. For the Spring semester, the Business Meetings and Presentation Skills and Business Negotiation courses attracted more than double the class capacity in applicants, requiring some to go on a waiting list. There has also been a notable increase in applicants for 1-day workshops in Speak with Confidence, Self-Leadership and other classes.
Matching the demands of both companies and individuals
One of the notable drivers of the increase in student numbers and the popularity of business courses is that the program serves as a vehicle for companies to develop their employees’ business skills. TUJ introduced the Friends of TUJ special discount program in 2006, which enables employees of a registered company to receive tuition waivers, course discounts and other special benefits. The number of registered companies now exceeds 500 and there has been a marked increase in the number of applications from employees of these companies.
There has also been a significant increase in applications from adults who are aiming to upgrade their personal resumes in preparation for employment or career changes. Although the Continuing Education Program is a non-degree program, Certificates are issued upon request to students who complete designated courses (4-5 subjects, 100 hours), and students can also earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) that follow the guidelines set by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). For students wanting to continue on to graduate school to study for an MBA or other degree, these certificates offer an additional qualification when submitting an application.
In today’s business environment, marked by drastically changing economic and employment conditions, the need for continuing education for self-development is expected to increase in the future. As a university from the US, a country with a strong reputation for highly developed continuing education activities, TUJ believes providing high-quality education opportunities to adults in English to be one of its most important missions.