Keio University News: Keio University Launches 2023 Mentoring Program to Promote Female Faculty Member Empowerment and Leadership
June 8, 2023
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Original post: Keio University News (18 May 2023) 

The Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion implemented a pilot mentoring program in AY2022 to promote women’s empowerment and leadership development at Keio University. In AY2023, Keio will be launching it as an official program for the first time and is accepting applications until May 31 from interested full-time faculty members of Keio University to join the program.

Vice-President Akiyo Okuda welcoming the participants

In March, a closing ceremony was held for the AY2022 pilot program, where President Itoh presented certificates of completion to 19 mentor-mentee pairs, a total of 38 participants. At the closing ceremony, each pair offered comments on the program. The mentees mentioned the advantages of the program, such as being able to network beyond their affiliated faculty and discuss joint research with other staff they met through the program. They also highlighted the benefit of being able to discuss how to manage research groups or labs as well as common pitfalls and tendencies for women in management. The mentors commented on the importance of putting their own experiences into words and thought that it was good that they were forced to speak about topics they previously dared not broach with their younger colleagues. Both mentors and mentees affirmed that their experiences in the program were fruitful. In her welcome address at the ceremony, Vice-President Akiyo Okuda touched on the importance of forming individual connections to build a larger network and expressed her determination to continue promoting women’s empowerment in a unique Keio style.

President Itoh presenting certificates of completion to program participants

This program was formulated through consultation with faculty members (WG members) who participated in the Asia Pacific Women in Leadership (APWiL) program conducted by the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), of which Keio University is a member. The structure of the program has been tailored to fit Keio University by incorporating its characteristics. Keio University believes that its women leaders should be at the forefront of school management, promoting reforms and pioneering new paths forward. The university anticipates that more women will be able to play an active leadership role by leveraging on their experience gleaned from this program based on “learning while teaching, teaching while learning,” a foundational ethos of Keio University since its establishment.

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