Five Questions with New LUJ Vice President Dr. Anderson Passos
We’re excited to announce that Dr. Anderson Passos will be joining the LUJ family as our new Vice President for the upcoming term. Dr. Passos brings with him many years of experience and a broad skillset. Dr. Passos is also multilingual—perfect for our international student body.
Upon his arrival in Tokyo, we had a chance to chat with Dr. Passos about his past experience and his future goals as Vice President.
1. First off, readers should know that you’re leaving behind quite a legacy at Miyazaki International University (MIU), where you led the school in a variety of ways, as well as Kyushu, known by many for its sense of calm and peaceful pace. Perhaps before we ask about LUJ, could you share with us some of the experiences you had while living in Kyushu and working at MIU? We imagine there’ll be a lot to miss.
After 13 years at MIU, I am very happy with the outcomes and achievements of my time there. As a professor, I was able to reform the ICT-related (Information and Communications Technology) curriculum and see an increase in the number of IT-related jobs that our graduates took.
As an administrator, I successfully managed the university's transition to a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy and built a stable network infrastructure with campus-wide Wi-Fi and a quicker connection to the Internet.
Finally, as Dean of Faculty, I worked closely with faculty members and administration developing a whole new curriculum for our undergraduate department and a new graduate school.
I have not experienced that "calm and peaceful" place you mentioned, but I am grateful for all the experience I was able to gather during my tenure at MIU.
Regarding Kyushu, I am sure I will miss it, but I am also sure that there are many good Kyushu ramen shops that I can go to and feel nostalgic about.
2. So, LUJ…a new environment, a different pace, an American university in Japan. What first attracted you to LUJ? No worries if it’s the sumo wrestling. That gets quite a few.
Well, I have always wanted to watch sumo live, so although I am quite excited to be able to do it, that was not the main reason for my interest in LUJ. The main reason for taking on the role of Vice President at LUJ is the fact that LUJ has immense potential for growth.
In particular, I am very keen on the Co-Op program as it is something I firmly believe can be a difference-maker for our students and also for their future employers.
Great education married with work experience...that was what sealed it for me, so I am excited and anxious to expand the program.
3. As of this interview, you’ll have just started your new position, but we assume you have quite a few ideas on what to address here. Again, with the understanding that plans change, could you share the way you’d like to see LUJ evolve in the next few years?
First of all, as a newcomer, my plan is to learn about the current state of affairs in different departments to correctly identify which processes need to be improved and how. The LUJ community has done a great job so far and together I hope we can work to promote our brand, strengthen partnerships with local schools and businesses, and bring more US-curricular-based programs to the Japan campus.
Also, I am really excited to work together with Dean Laurier in creating a vibrant campus. He and I have been in contact before my arrival and it feels great to know that we have a common vision for what we want the campus to be and the place of LUJ in the [Sumida] community.
4. You have quite a background in IT, an industry that seems to be in a constant, rapid state of change. In what ways can higher education utilize IT in advantageous ways? Because, as I’m sure you’ve been following, it seems as if the IT industry is outrunning the systems we currently have in place.
Well, one thing that we must keep in mind is that IT and technology, in general, are not here to replace us, but to help us. I believe technology must be used for people's benefit and basic literacy can open diverse opportunities to all of us.
That being said, higher education institutions will have to adapt to new trends and faculty will have to be able to teach incoming students about how to leverage the benefits of new technologies.
5. Okay, the last question is always a bit light. If you have a week off, and maybe that sounds like science fiction, but if you have an entire week free from obligations, how might you spend it?
Tough one. In the past few years, I can count on one hand how many Sundays I had in which I was completely free from professional obligations. I have four kids and if I am not driving them around to club activities, I am probably at home correcting assignments or planning university events.
Even though my family keeps me busy, if I had an entire week free from professional obligations, I would still like to spend it with them... even if we had nothing to do but play cards or put together a jigsaw puzzle.