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Friday, Feb. 1, 2002

Temple U. dean seeking larger enrollment


Staff writer

About 30 American universities established branch schools in Japan during the 1980s and early 1990s, and although many of them have since departed, the new dean of Temple University Japan is seeking to expand enrollment.

"We have roughly 1,700 students now, and I'd like to more than double that," Kirk Patterson said.

The Philadelphia-based university's Tokyo campus, established in 1982, has over the years faced challenges attracting enough students to allow it to stay in business. But Patterson said those problems are now sorted out and the school is concentrating on meeting the needs of students who want to study in English and pursue international careers.

According to the Association of American Colleges and Universities in Japan, there are currently only four schools operating in Japan as branches of American universities that offer undergraduate courses.

Before joining the university in January, Patterson was regional vice president of corporate communications at American International Group in Tokyo.

He wants to bring a business focus to his position, emphasizing the need to make the school profitable and meet the needs of students, whom he considers his "customers."

"I believe strongly in the academic mission of training, education and research," he said. "But at the same time, I am also a businessman. I understand the importance of having a marketing-oriented approach."

Patterson said competing with other Japanese colleges is not crucial because there are opportunities to expand the school by targeting students who want an "American-style" education.

Temple offers undergraduate and graduate courses as well as noncredit programs. Students can earn the same credits and degrees as those offered at the university's Philadelphia campus, allowing them to transfer there if they wish. But the school has not been recognized by Japan's education ministry as a college.

Aimed at fulfilling the "unmet needs" of students who want to study in English and are interested in international careers, Patterson explained that the university offers classes in English, including undergraduate courses in nine majors and an intensive English-language program.

"Our English-language program is focused on helping students prepare to be successful students in English," he said.

While stressing the importance of undergraduate education, the university is also offering education for professionals, the dean said.

The Tokyo campus launched its master of business administration course in 1996. It currently caters to 50 students.

The law school was established in 1993, and today has about 80 students.

The Temple program will be important in relation to the development of the legal system in Japan, Patterson said, because needs to have more lawyers to help the legal system function more smoothly and efficiently.



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