Japanese absorb American college experience at Knox

From the Register-Mail:

A team of Japanese educational researchers were Knox College students Tuesday, dining in the Hard Knox Cafe and checking out the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house.

The group of researchers stopped at Knox for the day as part of a study tour through Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. The team members are observing American liberal arts universities in an attempt to understand more about institutional research — the analysis of a university’s operations, processes, methods and data that allow it to compare itself to other universities.

Ryohei Matsuda, associate professor of Japanese studies at Knox, helped coordinate the visit. He said the team, made up of administrators and professors from higher education institutions across Japan, wanted to see a traditional, private liberal arts college, and Knox fit the bill. The Japanese team visited Northwestern University and Lake Forest College before Knox.

“Higher education is very competitive (in Japan),” Matsuda said. It’s a survival game.”

In order to attract more applicants, Japanese colleges and universities are investigating institutional research methods to apply to their own schools, eventually making them more competitive. But the idea is new to the Japanese — so new that there isn’t a translation of the term yet.