Inauguration speech

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Video message from the Dean to the School community

Message from the Dean to community of the School of Engineering

Takao Someya

I would like to take a moment to express my sincere appreciation to all the community members of the School of Engineering in the extraordinarily challenging times caused by novel Coronavirus. I would like to deliver a video message to address you directly.

To begin the new academic calendar, we have to take a serious step in responding to the threat of Coronavirus. The latest reports suggest that the risk of the new Coronavirus rises sharply in people with reduced immune function and the elderly. We must protect vulnerable members and families as well as high-risk individuals in society. We must make all possible efforts with the global community to reduce the spread of the virus.

For this reason, face-to-face classes will be switched to Internet-based distance lectures until circumstances change. As one of the faculty members, I perfectly understand how difficult it is to change teaching styles with which we have been familiar for many years. In such a difficult circumstance, all faculty members and staff have started immediately preparing online lectures without hesitation. I want to share my gratitude and appreciation for everyone who is working hard to maintain our outstanding teaching level.

I also understand that students will be distressed because the environment is rapidly changing. If you take distance lectures in a single apartment for many days, you may feel lonely. The Faculty of Engineering has a mentoring system. We will promote various types of care while reinforcing such mechanisms. Seeking employment is also largely affected by the Coronavirus. We will make all the necessary efforts to enable you to search for employment by fully utilizing our network.

I know that students feel worried because situations in the future seem uncertain. When you feel uneasy, do not forget that many faculty members and staff are trying their best to support you. Please be aware that there are administrative staff who are dedicated to preparing visa documents so that international students can come to Japan on time for the new semester, and technical staff who are preparing new equipment so that they can conduct the exercises remotely. It requires enormous effort in order to fulfill work responsibilities without any interruption in such an emergency. I hope that all the students keep moving forward together with the dedicated faculty members and staff.

Engineering has solved numerous difficult problems. In particular, it is the most important task for engineers to create a society where people can live safely without disasters or accidents. Our lives are now at risk of viral infections. To fights threats from viruses, we must promote digital innovation and utilize engineering knowledge in addition to medicine and pharmacy knowledge. Major engineering challenges include technology to detect the dangers of invisible viruses and reduce the risk to the elderly, town design that is resilient to not only natural disasters but also infectious diseases caused by viruses, and the realization of infrastructure for a remote society such as a fully automatic logistics system.

While globalization of the economy and the aging of society are accelerating, multiple serious problems occur simultaneously around the world. The situation is changing faster than we can imagine. When society divides in the midst of a radical change, vulnerable individuals tend to get left behind. It is the most important challenge for modern engineering to realize an inclusive society where nobody is left behind. It is important for engineers to protect global commons in order to realize an inclusive society.

I am proud to work with faculty members and staff who are willing to fulfill their duties at a time of increasing social confusion. I also look forward to working with students trying to overcome the difficulties with us. It is our responsibility to keep creating the best engineering knowledge in any situation. We encourage all members to share ideas to fulfill this responsibility. As the Dean, I will actively promote new attempts. Trial and error will continue, but I want all the members working together to create the best engineering possible. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.