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March FY 2016 Degree Conferment Ceremony

March FY 2016 Degree Conferment Ceremony was held at Cultural Hall of Tsurugi Cultural Complex (Crain) on March 24 (Fri), 2017. A total of 196 students: 166 students in the Master's program (School of Knowledge Science; 55 students, School of Information Science; 56 students, School of Materials Science; 55 students) and 30 students in Doctoral program (School of Knowledge Science; 6 students, School of Information Science; 12 students, School of Materials Science; 12 students) received their diplomas.

Each student received their diplomas from President Asano and shook hands with the Dean of School and supervising professors.

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Commencement Speech of the President

Dear graduates, congratulation on your graduation. I would like to offer my congratulation to your friends, family, and professors, too. It is my best pleasure to be here for the celebration of this very special day. Dear graduates, I am truly proud of your accomplishment today, receiving a graduate degree from JAIST after years of hard work to satisfy all of the requirements. All of you should pride yourselves on this accomplishment. I also know that equally proud of you are your family without whose support you could not have been here today.

As everyone knows, the world today is facing changes of unprecedented scale. Intellectual and practical leaders with advanced skills and knowledge in science and technology are urgently needed, in order to truly enrich human society by solving problems and creating new value. Today you are joining the rank of such leaders, and moving on to the next stage in your life to meet these new challenges.

According to the Fifth Science and Technology Basic Plan released by the Japanese government last year, the recent progress of modern science and ICT is "ushering in a revolutionary era where the structure of our economy and society goes through significant change on a daily basis." In view of this situation, the plan emphasizes "the ability to predict what will come, and act accordingly in strategic fashion, as well as the ability to respond appropriately to any changes taking diversity and flexibility into consideration." This is precisely the direction that JAIST has taken. At the Entrance Ceremony, I spoke about the importance of "intellectual toughness" In the conventional education, it has been considered important to be able to understand things. Accordingly, most assessments were designed to test your understanding, and your grades were determined on the basis of your examination scores alone. However, in this new era, your social competencies should hold primary significance. There is still no definitive way to assess social competencies, but I believe development of some rubrics may serve this purpose.

My current job as the President of JAIST takes me to very different places compared to the time when I was a professor. For example, three years ago, Ishikawa Technical Senior High School was designated as a Super Professional High School, and it has since been conducting activities using the government fund. The school aimed at developing a way to have their students direct their own learning, so that they can acquire a spirit of spontaneous learning.
Several JAIST faculty members and research labs took part in the project and helped to teach the high school students. The professors gave lectures and the high school students were invited to JAIST to conduct experiments. In addition to that, the guidance provided by our graduate students also led to excellent results. The high school students formed groups of about six people and held study meetings about topics that they decided by themselves. They asked questions to our graduate students when they did not understand and received advice from them about how to approach their studies. In the group study meetings, the students took turns in playing the role of lecturer, and this method was extremely effective. Taking a position of a lecturer in this practice, the students learned that lecturing requires more than understanding something. This is exactly the kind of learning that takes place in graduate school lab seminars. The efforts of the high school students, who also prepared research plans and produce a final research outcome, might embarrass ordinary graduate students. I also heard that they eventually gave excellent presentations using an overhead projector at a nation-wide symposium.
The Ishikawa Technical Senior High School was also promoting active learning from an early stage. Every time I attended the Super Professional High School Steering Committee, I was impressed by how serious the teachers were about education, and I realized that the teachers here at the Graduate School could also learn a lot from them.

Before long, you will also step out into the real world, and you will likely recognize that it is not enough to simply do what you are told and get through without experiencing difficulties. In the coming age, we must set our own goals and develop the ability to consider what kind of efforts we need to make in order to achieve those goals. Setting goals is surely important, but I also suspect that many of you may focus on the area of attention on your primary interests only. No need to deny the importance of working hard toward a single goal. However, focusing too closely on one thing may cause you to lose a room in your mind to appreciate many other things surrounding you, and this may even take you further away from your goal.

You have studied here at JAIST. So, you know what you should do. You conducted research not only on your main theme but also on a sub-theme. At that time, some of you may have questioned why you had to carry out this separate research, but in fact, on the questionnaire that we send out ten years after graduation, more and more of our graduates are telling us that their sub-theme proved useful to them. In other words, working on a sub-theme means creating a room in your mind. I am sure you will face many challenges in your life from now on. In order to prepare for those challenges, I recommend that you hold that extra room in your mind. In concluding my speech, I strongly wish that all of you become aware of having obtained qualification as a leader of the new society and take great leadership in society or industry to bring them the highest level of development.

Thank you very much.

March 24, 2017

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