What I hope to offer students in my class is an experience that is no different from what they would get from a top liberal arts college in the United States. So I don't simplify any of the readings, slow down the pace of the class or my normal speaking speed. I don't mix in any Japanese with my English lectures or discussions. I'm able to do that with ICU students--offer an English economics class of global standards.
When students finish a few years of my international economics coursework, they are absolutely ready for studying abroad anywhere in the world. It is being able to keep up these high standards in my classes that makes teaching at ICU so rewarding for me. And, although I know that some students really have to work hard to keep up, after completing ICU's English Language Program (ELA), they are all able to meet the standards I expect.
One thing I like about ICU is that it's not a top-down situation, where I'm supposed to be the expert and they listen to me. It's more of a shared responsibility and a shared journey. And that egalitarian relationship between faculty and students is important for developing distinction. From day one, I take the students and what they say very seriously. I convey to them that I have high expectations of them and that I expect excellence from them. And if that's the environment in which they are taught, they do live up to that.
I treat the students as adult members of society, who want to be here who want to learn, who want to make a difference in the world. They need to have the tools that will enable them to do that. I think that attitude characterizes most of our students. The students really do their best. And they have such a thirst for knowledge.
Another strength of ICU's approach to education is that it gives students the ability to direct their own education. They're not put into a category when they arrive. They take their time and find out where their passions and strengths lie. They can choose what they want to major in. They can study exactly what they want to here, and they need to take responsibility for those decisions. And that also develops distinction because it allows the students to make a plan for themselves, think about who they are and who they want to be when they finish.