Message from President

For Further Evolution!

President Seigo Kitano

Oita University was established in 1949 under the national government’s new educational system reform with the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences (currently the Faculty of Education) and the Faculty of Economics. Due to integration with Oita Medical University in 2003, the University now consists of 5 faculties (Education, Economics, Medicine, Science & Technology, and Welfare & Health Science) and 5 graduate schools (Education, Economics, Medicine, Science & Technology, and Welfare & Health Science) with about 5,400 students studying at both the Dannoharu and Hasama Campuses.

The many challenges Japan faces include an accelerating decline in the birthrate, an increasingly aging population, the impact of global environmental issues, and disparities between urban and rural areas, all of which have created a severe environment for our university. These issues, in addition to changes in international conditions and the breakout of COVID-19, have impacted our education, research, and the life of our students.

Against this background, Oita University has continued to work on a wide range of approaches to achieve our missions as a national university with the strong resolution that “Tomorrow will never come without revolution.” In 2021, the university established the Research Center for GLOBAL and LOCAL Infectious Diseases, our first nationwide joint-use facility, and the Institute for Research Management to reinforce the university’s research capabilities. In April 2022, we also established the Crisis Management Organization, which works to make all regions safe, secure, and sustainable by improving responses to the diverse risks and hazards of unpredictable crises, including pandemics and natural disasters. Furthermore, significant organizational reform is underway throughout Oita University, which includes establishing the Faculty of Medicine Department of Translational Medicine and Sciences (application pending) scheduled to begin accepting students in April 2023; restructuring the Faculty of Science and Technology into one department; and increasing the number of seats for new students in the Faculty of Education.

In the area of research, joint research on artificial satellites between the Faculty of Science and Technology and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has been attracting increased attention. In addition, principal investigators in the Faculty of Medicine have adopted research for “Translational Research Programs (Hashiwatashi-kenkyu programs)” hosted by the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED), and we have achieved consistently outstanding results. Finally, in July 2022, we established a new department funded by external sources through the extension of joint research with private companies, and promoted further fulfillment in our research structure.

In the area of education, from April 2020 to March 2022, a large percentage of our classes was held online due to COVID-19. We are now shifting back to face-to-face classes, but will continue to use the experience of the past two years to utilize the advantages of online instruction.

In terms of education results, Oita University has achieved remarkable success. The employment rate for Faculty of Education graduates seeking full-time teaching positions for the past six years has remained the highest among all national universities in Japan. In 2022, the percentage of Faculty of Medicine students who passed the national examination for physicians was No.1 among national universities in Kyushu, and in the field of nursing, the rate of students who passed the national examination was an impressive 100%. Furthermore, in the Faculty of Welfare and Health Science, the rate of success on national certification examinations (physical therapist and psychiatric social worker) was No. 3 in Japan.

Among other universities in Japan, Oita University is a leader in the effort to create a nonsmoking environment. Smoking has been prohibited on all of our campuses since April 2011. Moreover, we have a specially-appointed advisor to the president for the promotion of a smoke-free university. In 2021, the 15th annual meeting of the Japan Society for Tobacco Control was held in Oita, and I served as the president of the meeting. These efforts have increased the awareness of our student body on the topic of smoking: the student smoking rate decreased significantly from 7.0% to 4.0% on the Dannoharu Campus and from 3.2% to 1.2% on the Hasama Campus.

The University Hospital celebrated its 40th anniversary this year, the Faculty of Economics celebrated its 100th anniversary and the Faculty of Science and Technology celebrated its 50th anniversary. During this time span, we have steadily progressed as a base of regional intelligence. Taking into account the needs of the times, we have also established “Oita University Vision 2040 – Passing knowledge to the next generation, and creating the future” to illustrate pathways that we should follow in the fields of education, research, medical care and welfare, and regional contribution.

We keep a watchful eye on changes in social conditions and structures, and continue evolving with the hope of contributing not only to regional development as a core base, but also to addressing global issues, with a strong recognition of our roles and goals, today and in the future.

Seigo Kitano