Oct. 26, 1995
Vol. 15, No. 4

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    Humanities program in Japan starts second term

    Program a first for major American research institutions This month marks the start of the second term of the University's Master of Arts Program in the Humanities for students in Japan. Based in Tokyo, the two-year program represents the first time a major American research institution has offered a graduate-level degree program in Japan.

    More than 30 students spent July and August in the part-time evening program studying with James Redfield, the Howard L. Willett Professor in the Committee on Social Thought and Classical Languages & Literatures, and Joseph Williams, Professor in English Language & Literature. This fall, the students will take courses with Herman Sinaiko, Professor in the Humanities.

    In late November, President Sonnenschein will travel to Tokyo to celebrate the official opening of the program, which is housed in space rented from the International Education Center in Tokyo. As part of the opening ceremonies, Sonnenschein will moderate the symposium "Translating Culture." Symposium speakers will include Nobel laureate Merton Miller, the Robert R. McCormick Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Graduate School of Business; Philip Gossett, Dean of the Humanities Division and the Robert W. Reneker Distinguished Service Professor in Music; and Philippe Desan, Director of the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities-Japan, Master of the Humanities Collegiate Division and Professor in Romance Languages & Literatures.

    The Master of Arts Program in the Humanities for students in Japan was established in response to the growing demand by young Japanese professionals for highly disciplined graduate-level education. The program has been an immediate success and has received favorable press in such major Japanese newspapers as Asahi Shimbun and the Japan Times.

    Designed to span just over two years with course instruction taking place both in Tokyo and in Chicago, the program offers a core component of required courses, and a focus on cultural studies. Students in the program's first class will spend five weeks in Chicago next summer. Overall, the academic requirements for this new A.M. degree are similar to those required for earning other A.M. degrees at Chicago.

    As the University begins accepting applications for the 1996-98 class, administrators are projecting that the number of applicants will be twice that of the first year.

    "The program offers exactly what professionals in Japanese society are looking for -- an intensive focus on the development of critical, analytic and writing skills," Desan said. "The success of the program is proof that we have accomplished one of our goals -- to attract the best among Japanese professionals."

    -- Jeff Makos