There are 783 universities in Japan, 372 junior colleges, and 57 colleges of technology (1212 institutions in all). Eighty-six (86) are national (public institutions run by national corporations), 51 are local (public institutions run by local corporations) and 958 are private. Total enrollment is just over 3 million students.
Of the roughly 4,600 institutions of higher education in the United States, 1,020 are universities, 800 are 4-year colleges, 1,900 are community colleges, and 885 are special purpose institutions (e.g., stand-alone business or engineering schools). The majority are not-for-profit, split equally between public and private institutions. Total enrollment is around 21 million students.
In short, there are more than enough partners to go around. Identifying institutions to approach for partnership discussions is a complex process that suffers when limited only to the well-known. Possible partners can emerge from many directions. Rather than jumping to the first that appears, it helps to look around, think about the partnership criteria you have already established, pursue multiple preliminary conversations, and narrow the possibilities over time.
Five strategies for generating a list of possible partners
1. Identify institutions where faculty or staff already have connections
Survey where faculty and administrators already have ties. If multiple individuals have ties with the same college or university, if they are interested in expanding their personal connections into institutional ones, and if that college or university fits your criteria for partnerships, there is much to be gained by pursuing already-established relationships with known and trusted institutions.
2. Perform desktop research
Conduct a broad scan of possible partners by surfing the web, identifying possible institutions, and exploring how they present themselves on their websites. The following sites as well as the links listed in Understanding the U.S. and Japanese Systems of Higher Education are particularly useful in starting this process.
- The College Navigator of the U.S. National Center for Education Statistics
- Asahi-Net Universities in Japan
- JASSO Japanese Colleges and Universities Search
3. Attend meetings at conferences and similar venues
Conferences focused on international education often serve as initial points of contact for colleges and universities interested in developing partnerships. Some institutions (or nations) set up booths to facilitate such conversations. Others scan the list of attendees to arrange private meetings. The following are among the most important conferences for exploring U.S.-Japanese partnerships:
- NAFSA (Association of International Educators)
- AIEA (Association of International Education Administrators)
- APAIE (Asia-Pacific Association for International Education)
- JAFSA (Japanese Network for International Education)
- EAIE (European Association for International Education)
- AIEC (Australian International Education Conference)
4. Consult with alumni who live in the target nation
Alumni can illuminate the educational system, identify potential partners, and provide information on those in which you are interested. They can also serve as bridges to partners, as you develop and manage the partnership over time.
5. Organize familiarization trips
The most expensive but most direct way to explore possible linkages is to visit potential partners. Such visits can take several forms: 1) trips to develop a better understanding of the range of colleges and universities in the other nation (sometimes organized as group trips); 2) trips to visit several institutions with which you have already had preliminary conversations in order to narrow down the list; and 3) focused trips to an institution with which you are in serious negotiation about a partnership. While the first two possibilities are optional, the last is mandatory.
U.S. institutions can also apply for one of their international administrators to attend the annual two-week Fulbright International Education Administrators Program.
No matter the nature of the trip, it can be useful to schedule a stop at the following offices to develop a broad framework for your partnership discussions:
U.S. Embassy, Consulates, or American Centers in Japan
Japanese Embassy and Consulates in the United States
Education Information Services of Fulbright Japan
JASSO (Japan Student Services Organization)