Office of Global Strategies

Global Register

Professors Expand Mason’s Global Reach by Teaching Seminars in Japan

Posted 07 Aug 2015

George Mason University faculty members from the School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs spent two weeks in Japan teaching courses on the intersection of religion and politics in the United States and American national security policy, reinforcing the university’s goal of expanding the classroom to a global platform.

Acting Dean Mark Rozell with students from Akita International University in Japan. Photo Courtesy of the School of Policy, Government and International Affairs.

George Mason professor Ed Rhodes and professor and acting dean Mark J. Rozell taught seminars at Akita International University (AIU), one of Mason’s partner institutions in Japan, this summer. A grant from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology for the development of Global Human Resources made the lectures possible, helping AIU strengthen its curriculum by adding special intensive courses taught by visiting professors.

“Teaching at Akita International University was an ideal fit for a professor from a university that is ‘the best for the world.’ In Japan, AIU is a unique international university, drawing students from around the world,” said Rozell, professor and acting dean of Mason’s School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs.

“For me it was a pleasure to teach a class that featured students not only from Japan but also France, Norway and Sweden,” Rozell said. “For the students there, it was an opportunity to learn about a topic they would not be exposed to in classes taught by their regular AIU faculty.”

A week after Rozell’s visit, Rhodes was able to bring new insights to Akita students when he taught a week-long course on American national security policy.

“We’d very much like to see more of AIU’s best graduates come to Mason for masters- or doctoral-level work, and to see more AIU undergraduates coming to Mason for their required study-abroad experience,’ Rhodes said. “One of the immediate consequences of our visits is that we expect we will be hosting here at Mason one of AIU’s top young professors, where he’ll be able to work with our students on issues of Japanese-American relations.”

Acting Dean Mark Rozell lectures at Akita International University in Japan. Photo provided by the School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs

“We are always hoping to discover new global opportunities for our students, faculty and staff,” said Rita Rowand, Mason’s manager of global relations and protocol. Rozell and Rhodes were the first Mason faculty members to participate, but Rowand said she expects more to participate in the future.

Akita International University opened in 2004 as the first public ‘university corporation’ in Japan. In recent years, it has received growing attention for its unique approach to education—with all undergraduate teaching conducted in English, and with its provision of an international liberal arts curriculum. Mason has been sending students to Akita for several years for language immersion programs in the summer, and also receives students from the university.

By Denisha Hedgebeth