EDEV_505 Week 5_1

IU Documents

The three documents selected are publicly available on the IU website and as such are deemed to be non-problematic in terms of access. However, they are all in Japanese with no English translation; a delivery which points to an insularity that would arguably be questionable in a similar institution (i.e. the largest state-funded HEI in the administrative region) elsewhere in the world, and although IU does have some information about its activities in English, its attempt to position itself within both the local community as the prime HE provider and in the global community as a competing member is undermined by the lack of information in English. The three documents reflect various aspects of administrative policy: the ‘Ikumen’ policy indicates IU’s openness to state enforced attempts to address family issues within the workplace; the Admissions, Curriculum and Diploma Policy documents reflect IU’s mission and definition of quality; and the Faculty Development system demonstrates the bureaucratic ethos present at IU.


Just as UHS’ macro-economic context provides important background information that answers questions regarding the choices of core values (Laureate, 2012), the documents from IU similarly must be addressed in context in order to understand their fuller meaning. Ryu and Cervero (2011) demonstrate how Confucian values impact on the mechanics and structure of educational management in Korea. IU’s Japanese context is also influenced by Confucian values (Aoki, 2008). This fact may be evidenced in the make up of the Board of Directors. All but one is a middle-aged or older male, and the only female is the Director of Gender Awareness. Ryu and Cervero (2011) stated that a grounded study approach was necessary to uncover and explore Confucian values, possibly because the availability in published documentation that points overtly to such values is scarce. If so, this echoes the situation at IU. The documents themselves contain so little overt and problematic positioning of values. What is missing and how those documents were established is more revealing. Yet, all three documents contain the influence of the state.

Document 1: The ‘Ikumen’/ Working Father Support Policy

The Office of Gender Equality at IU published a short two-line statement that purports to create a co-operative working environment that supports working fathers and that the university aims to develop the next generation through supporting the rearing of children. Here the soft power of the state (Lo, 2014) is visible as a part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s reforms include more women in the workplace (Allen, 2015). Why, though, should the Office of Gender Equality focus on working fathers to the exclusion of mothers? The document is perhaps a self-rationalisation (Jackall, 2010) of the understanding of the working husband’s societal role.

Document 2: The Admission, Curriculum and Diploma Policy Statements

These documents perform multiple roles: definitions of educational quality (Harvey, 2006; Kleijnen, Dolmans, Willems, & Hout, 2013); statements of organisational mission (Donovan, 2010); and positioning in relation to traditional values (Serrat & Rubio, 2012).

Document 3: The Faculty Development (FD) system

Rather than this being a single document, the FD is a system that aims to address multiple needs including issues of quality assessment in HE (Kleijnen et al., 2013; Westerheijden, Stensaker, & Rosa, 2007; Yonezawa, 2002) and is a public declaration that the institution aims to continually review its relationship with the community (Marginson & Rhoades, 2002). The FD system reveals the ingrained bureaucratic nature of the IU management (Jackall, 2010), and may point to Confucian values of top-down leadership.


Allen, K. (2015, November 16). Japan’s three arrows of Abenomics continue to miss their targets. The Guardian. Retrieved May 16 2016 from https://www.theguardian.com/business/economics-blog/2015/nov/16/japan-three-arrows-abenomics-recession-economy-targets-shinzo-abe.

Aoki, K. (2008). Confucius vs. Socrates: The Impact of Educational Traditions of East and West in a Global Age. The International Journal of Learning, 14(11).

Donovan, A. (2010). Mission and Academic Administration. In E. E. Englehardt, M. S. Pritchard, K. D. Romesburg, & B. E. Schrag (Eds.), The Ethical Challenges of Academic Administration (pp. 87–98). Dordrecht: Springer.

Harvey, L. (2006). Understanding quality. In L. Purser (Ed.), Introducing Bologna objectives and tools: UA Bologna Handbook: Making Bologna work. Berlin: Brussels European University Association and Berlin, Raabe.

Jackall, R. (2010). Morality in Organizations. In S. Hitlin & S. Vaisey (Eds.), Handbook of the Sociology of Morality (pp. 203–209). New York: Springer.

Kleijnen, J., Dolmans, D., Willems, J., & Hout, H. Van. (2013). Teachers’ conceptions of quality and organisational values in higher education: Compliance or enhancement? Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 38(2), 152–166. doi:10.1080/02602938.2011.611590

Laureate. (2012). University of Health Sciences (UHS), Pakistan: Practitioners’ Perspectives. [Video]. Accessed May 12 2016 from https://elearning.uol.ohecampus.com/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_1583675_1&content_id=_8315377_1&mode=reset

Lo, W. Y. W. (2014). The Emerging Chinese Institutional Architecture in Higher Education. Chinese Education & Society, 47(1), 83–100. doi:10.2753/CED1061-1932470105

Marginson, S., & Rhoades, G. (2002). Beyond national states, markets and systems of higher education: A glonacal agency heuristic.Higher Education, 43, 281–309.

Ryu, K., & Cervero, R. M. (2011). The Role of Confucian Cultural Values and Politics in Planning Educational Programs for Adults in Korea. Adult Education Quarterly, 61(2), 139–160. doi:10.1177/0741713610380440

Serrat, N., & Rubio, A. (2012). Coming from outside the Academy. Values and 2.0 culture in higher education. Interactive Learning Environments, 20(3), 293–308. doi:10.1080/10494820.2011.641684

Westerheijden, D. F., Stensaker, B., & Rosa, M. J. (2007). Quality assurance in higher education: Trends in regulation, translation and transformation. Quality assurance in higher education. Dordrecht: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-1-4020-6012-0_6

Yonezawa, A. (2002). The quality assurance system and market forces in Japanese higher education. Higher Education, 43, 127–139. doi:10.1023/A:1012988721975

About theCaledonian

Scot living in north Japan teaching at a national university.
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