Kyoto University, one of Japan’s top universities, has revealed that it will for the first time consider candidates from outside of Japan for the next president of the university, this according to reports in a leading Japanese newspaper. Such a move was done to further attract the world’s top researchers and students, as the university realized that it needs a leader who will be free of the politics and impositions coming from the different departments at the university.
According to Japan’s Ministry of Education, this will be the first time a national university has publicly declared that it will look for presidential candidates abroad. Educators and experts have said that a move like this by Kyoto University, one of Japan’s most respected educational institutions, would likely set a precedent and would have a great impact on other universities in Japan. The university’s current president Hiroshi Matsumoto is set to step down from his office when his term expires on Sept. 30. The Kyoto University’s presidential selection committee will ask for recommendations from the presidents of top academic institutions from all over the world such as Harvard University, the University of Cambridge, the University of Tokyo and others. Homegrown faculty and administrative officials of the university can also be nominated as candidates if they meet requirements. They also need to have recommendations from more than 50 people in the university.
In 1919, Kyoto University chose its president by a vote of faculty members and administrative officials, the first academic institution in Japan to introduce this system. At the inception of the National University Corporation Law, a presidential selection committees now chooses the university’s presidents. Candidates are usually narrowed down to a shortlist of 10 via preliminary voting by all full-time teaching and administrative staff. From the shortlisted candidates, six are chosen by the selection committee for another round of voting that usually results in the new president being selected from the number of votes.