Lakeland College Japan Acquires University Status
After providing quality education for students in Japan for a quarter of a century, Lakeland College, Japan Campus (LCJ) will be renamed Lakeland University, Japan Campus, on July 1.
“The name of the Japan campus is being changed because Lakeland’s main campus in Sheboygan, Wisconsin has decided to upgrade its status to that of a university,” explained Dr. Alan Brender, Associate Dean of Lakeland College Japan. “We will thus move into our second quarter century of education in Japan with the status of a university.”
“This is more than a name change,” commented Daniel Eck, president of Lakeland College. “We are responding to student and employer needs and the wave of developments impacting higher education.”
Lakeland College has been functioning as a university, according to US academic definitions, for many decades, offering numerous majors leading to a four-year degree and three graduate level programs.
Although there are many famous four-year-colleges in the US, such as Swarthmore College, Amherst College, Dartmouth College and Hunter College, the term “college” has different meanings in other countries.
“Internationally,” said Eck, “ a ‘college’ is a technical college, or, in some cases, a high school program. International students have been the focus for Lakeland for decades, and this will help expand our reach.”
The name change is the first for Lakeland College since 1956, when officials decided to create Lakeland College from a divinity school, called Mission House College and Seminary, which was established in 1862. The divinity school was disconnected from the newly formed Lakeland College, which was created to focus on providing a liberal arts education.
Although much restructuring is being undertaken at the main campus in Wisconsin, including merging the various departments into three schools, adding new majors and expanding graduate programs, LCJ for the time being will continue to offer a quality two-year program, culminating in an Associate of Arts Degree.
“The name ‘university’ will benefit students after graduating,” said Eck. “It currently reflects our current reach and the diversity of our offerings.”
Lakeland College Japan is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission in the US and is recognized by the Japanese Ministry of Education as an overseas campus in Japan.
“This dual recognition allows Lakeland students to easily transfer to other universities in the US and Japan as well as to institutions in other countries,” said Brender. “This is an excellent program for students who can’t decide on a major or who wish to stay in Japan for an extra two years before transferring to a university in the US. It’s a terrific stepping stone.”
In addition to the two-year academic program, LCJ offers an intensive English language program for students whose English skills need refining before entering the academic program and an Open College, an evening and weekend non-degree bearing outreach program for members of the Tokyo community.
Lakeland College, Japan Campus was established in 1991. In November 2005, the Ministry of Education recognized Lakeland College as an overseas campus in Japan, allowing the school to sponsor visas for overseas students and receiving other benefits.
Since 2005, the student body of the Lakeland College has changed from virtually an all-Japanese student body to a diverse group of students in which 35 percent are international, representing over 30 countries.
“This internationalization of the campus has resulted in more animated classrooms, unique social and cultural opportunities and expanded perspectives,” said Brender. “All students, both Japanese and international, benefit from this diversity.”