“We hope it’s the beginning of a long, enduring, substantial relationship between the two institutions,” said Donna Heiland, vice president and special assistant to Pelton, who went on the trip.
On November 13, TIU Chancellor Nobuyasu Kurata and Pelton signed a memorandum of understanding that is in effect for at least three years.
“It affirms the intention of the two institutions to work together,” Heiland explained.
The memorandum says the two schools will regularly engage in student and faculty exchanges; joint research and development projects; joint conferences; and joint cultural and summer programs.
“This is really going to help us realize President Pelton’s goals for Emerson,” Heiland said. “This ties in specifically with his desire for global engagement and will help ensure our academic excellence.”
Heiland said she made a presentation about Emerson’s academics, with a focus on communications and journalism, at the request of TIU. Afterward, she and the other members of the Emerson delegation were given a tour of the university’s three campuses.
Like Emerson, Tokyo International University has a strong emphasis on communications.
“That’s one of the reasons why this partnership makes sense for us,” Heiland said. “The university has small, engaged classes. There’s a match in methods of learning between the two institutions, and the overall aspiration for student achievement was really evident.”
At one point, Pelton got a chance to test his batting skills on the athletic fields during the multi-campus tour. Baseball is a very popular sport at the university.
“The trip gave us a chance to get to know each other’s institutions and begin to develop the individual relationships that will sustain the work,” Heiland said.