KUMIKO ONO AND TAN TUANG JOO THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN
February 27, 2010
Japanese undergraduate enrollment at Harvard lagging (Mar.13 The Yomiuri Shimbun)
Harvard University President Drew Faust said during a recent interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun that the presence of Japanese undergraduate students is “not substantial” at her university, when compared with those from China and South Korea, encouraging more Japanese students to come to the university at all levels.
Faust, a 62-year-old American studies scholar, assumed her post in 2007 as the first female president since the prestigious university was founded in 1636.
During a five-day stay in Japan, which began Friday, she was scheduled to meet with university presidents and other officials and with Japanese-American studies scholars, and is looking forward to seeing “some of Japan’s wonders,” particularly Kyoto.
“Harvard has had long ties with Japan since the 19th century when some students arrived to go to the law schools, so we have had many exchanges of students and faculty, we have many alums, we have 3,000 members of the Harvard Club of Japan,” said Faust, emphasizing the long-standing and close ties between her university and Japan.
“We have only about five students in the college [the undergraduate course for the 2009-2010 academic year],” she said, and when we met with the students from Japan, one of the things they reinforced was that they wanted me to go and to give a strong message about how we would be eager to have more students from Japan in the college, in our graduate programs and professional schools. So I’ll send that message of welcome and encouragement.”
According to the university, the combined number of Japanese students studying at undergraduate and postgraduate courses was 151 in academic 1999-2000, but the number dropped to 101 in academic 2009-2010.
During the same periods, the number of students from China soared from 227 to 463, while those from South Korea rose from 183 to 314.
Asked about what distinguished Harvard and where its power lay, Faust said: “It rests in the excellence of our students and our faculty and that is something of a self-perpetuating reality in that outstanding students bring outstanding students. One of the things our undergraduate students say is that they learn so much from each other and so part of the attraction of coming here is that the other students are just so remarkable.”