Akita University opened the Center for Regional Development in April 2011. The center’s goal as an organization is to ‘create the knowledge needed for regional regeneration.’ Full-time teachers, promoters and 9 members of staff from the Regional Development Division have been allocated to the center, all of whom work under the auspices of the Center Director. New kinds of regional development are needed to achieve regional revitalization, and academia has a major role to play in this. The kinds of roles that academia might play include the initiation of activities that will have noticeable benefits for the region, the training of leaders in regional development who are blessed with practical abilities, the promotion of regional revitalization based on academic frameworks such as regional sociology, and the generation of ripple effects from such initiatives into educational and industrial activities. One of Akita University’s basic principles is “To facilitate regional co-existence in which the university develops and grows alongside local communities.” Akita University has a history of organizations charged with making contributions to society. When Akita University became a national university corporation under the National University Corporation Law in the 2004 academic year, it established the Center for Public Contribution/International Exchange Center; after a series of changes, from the 2009 academic year, these functions came to be performed by the Center for Promotion of Educational Research and Affairs, Public Contribution Promotion Division. The establishment of the Center for Regional Development aims to promote activities that are even more rooted in the local community based on this legacy. For example, we are considering issuing what we call ‘local proposals from a global perspective.’ Our goal is to turn Akita University into a source of power for regional development while making contributions and issuing proposals to the local area. Furthermore, one of the center’s missions is to assist in helping students and staff actively learn from local communities, and to develop human resources with the ability to contribute to the region. By creating opportunities to venture out and conduct activities in the region, it will help students face the social realities of the area and make it possible for them to learn from the region. The center aims to foster regional regeneration and revitalization that draws on the university’s inherent strengths, and to promote initiatives in regional development in which the university and local communities act in unison while sharing information and opinions together.
Center for Regional Development Director