This study explored the implementation of social science English-taught undergraduate degree programs in Japanese universities and investigated the challenges they face. As higher education institutions in Japan seek to become more competitive, many institutions are introducing undergraduate degrees taught exclusively through the English language. Existing research in non-Anglophone countries has shown that programs differ in their rationales for implementation and in their design and characteristics, and therefore, experience different types of implementation challenges that inspire varied responses. However, in Japan, studies in the English language focusing on the implementation of English as a medium of instruction in higher education are few and concern only short-term and graduate programs. This study used a qualitative multiple-case study design to examine four-year social science undergraduate programs at three universities from the perspectives of those involved with the implementation process. Data were generated via 27 interviews with senior administrators, faculty members and international education support staff.
The results indicate that the rationales for implementing the programs at the case-study institutions are grounded in a desire to increase competitiveness, with a focus on developing the international competencies of domestic Japanese students. Program design is oriented towards international and Japanese students in the same classrooms and is influenced by the understandings of key program implementers. Structural challenges were found to be the most significant obstacles to program implementation. In particular, institutions struggle with issues relating to program coherence and expansion, student recruitment and program identity. Structural challenges are so prominent that the study proposes a new typology of challenges facing the implementation of English-taught programs in Japan. This typology includes challenges related to the constructed understandings of the programs as institutions within the university. Practical responses to the challenges consist of discrete actions with little movement made that affects the university more broadly. Five salient elements that play an important role in the implementation of all of the case-study programs were also identified. These comprise the presence of committed leadership, implementer orientation regarding the English language, the position of the program within its institution, student recruitment, and the clarification of outcomes and goals.
|Advisor:||Williams, James H.|
|Commitee:||Cummings, William K., El-Khawas, Elaine|
|School:||The George Washington University|
|Department:||Educational Administration and Policy Studies|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||DAI-A 76/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Higher Education Administration, Multicultural Education, Education Policy, Higher education|
|Keywords:||English medium instruction, International students, Internationalization of higher education, Japan, Program implementation, Student mobility|
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