Purposes of Forming Our Project Basis
In the 20th century, despite the rapid progress that was achieved in science, technology and industry, conflicts relating to poverty, crime, terrorism, local conflicts, and wars, and environmental disruption became firmly entrenched as the major problems facing human beings. Unsolved tasks which are derived from the limitations of modern societies have been carried over to the societies of the 21st century at various levels, involving individuals, societies and the international community as a whole. In school settings, those who are involved in education, including parents and teachers have been suffering from such difficult challenges as bullying, violence and refusal of children to attend schools. These issues raise a serious question concerning the state of the human mind. Ideally, the human mind should be revitalized through social systems and organizations produced by human beings, but in reality, these social systems and organizations have sometimes tormented human beings and enfeebled our minds.
Through education and through the acquisitions of knowledge and skills, human beings obtain a sense of competence, and through connection with nature and society, we obtain a vital sense of life, or the feeling that we are living on earth. Further, when we direct these two senses to the same direction to the fullest amount, we obtain a sense of accomplishment that we have achieved something and in this, we can also feel a sense of happiness. Conversely, if a part of this interconnectedness does not function properly, various problems occur. In contemporary society, in which problems concerning the mind and education are prominent, it is urgently needed to envision an international research base that explores revitalizing education for dynamic hearts and minds from these perspectives and to foster researchers who are capable of addressing these challenging topics. Our project will challenge these goals.
An Outline of the Formation and Activities Plan for Our Project Basis
Based upon the results of the program, “Center for Excellence for Psychological Studies,” the 21st Century COE program of 2002-2006, our Global COE project center is to be established through dynamic collaboration between researchers in psychology and educational studies for the purpose of developing talented researchers who can demonstrate their achievements on a global scale. More specifically, in order to conduct research on what constitutes revitalizing education for dynamic hearts and minds and address the issue of how to advance practice in relevant fields, the Center will involve the participation of researchers in psychology and educational studies from the following departments: the Graduate School of Education (Departments of Education and Clinical Studies of Education), Institute for the Promotion of Excellence in Higher Education (Section I), the Graduate School of Letters (Department of Psychology), Graduate School of Human and Integrated Studies (Department of Human Coexistence), and the Kokoro Research Center, a center scheduled to be established in 2007. In a coordinated manner, we will promote high-quality research, centering on the following four research units: (A) Basic Processes Unit, which conducts research on the vital state of the mind, and conversely, the non-vital state of the mind; (B) Systems Unit, which conducts research into the design of the system necessary for revitalizing education for dynamic hearts and minds, and the scheme through which it is explained and applied to society; (C) Support Unit, which conducts research on the psychological support and educational commitments that are effective for revitalizing education for dynamic hearts and minds, and that puts them into practice; and (D) Development and Evaluation Unit, which conducts evaluation on the theory and practice proposed by each unit, and which has the task of implementing a project on “Cross-Cultural Research on the Sense of Happiness.”
We aim to develop researchers in psychology and educational studies who can think deeply, with high-level expertise and a broad perspective, about revitalizing education for dynamic hearts and minds; and who can publish in international, high quality academic journals and present papers at international conferences. To accomplish this task, an educational system will be developed that will enable graduate education programs in psychology and educational studies to be provided by the Center as a whole. At the same time the Center will reinforce its position as an international center for research and education through official academic exchange agreements with high-level research institutions abroad, including the University of Michigan, Lancaster University, the China National Institute for Educational Research, Beijing Normal University, the Free University of Berlin, and the Institute of Education at London University. The aim is to create at Kyoto University a meeting place for scholars in psychology and educational studies from all over the world.
The Center will also promote further support system for the career development of researchers, attracting especially those who can think deeply and broadly, who can contribute to the analysis and understanding of problems concerning revitalizing education for dynamic hearts and minds, and who can put solutions into practice, so that their career paths can be extended not only to universities and other research institutions but also to governmental organizations and business corporations.
The Center will encourage young researchers including doctoral students to get tenure through the following measures: financial support for graduate students through a competitive research fund; the employment of 5 post-doctoral researchers recruited through public advertisement; the employment of 3 assistant professors by world-wide general advertisement, and we will also offer research funding for young professors in their thirties who have not yet or only recently received tenure.
Through these activities the Center aims to create a new research and education field in which psychology and educational studies are integrated. Through this integration, it is hoped that (a) significant developments in the humanities discipline will be achieved within Kyoto University and in academia as a whole; (b) scholarly information and understanding will be promoted, which in turn will promote social reform and innovation; and (c) wider engagement in effective and fruitful educational practice will be facilitated.