About our department

Department of General Education: Goals

Until the 1950’s, medical knowledge doubled every half-century. By the 1980’s, the amount of knowledge doubled every seven years, and by 2010 it was every three-and-a-half years. At the current rate, the amount of knowledge will double every 73 days by the year 2020. The increase in medical information required for national qualifying exams is very intimidating, and the time needed for students to absorb it has also increased. This has resulted in a reduction in the number of hours devoted to liberal arts education.

This has created a paradox. Medicine is supposed to heal humans, but even as medical departments have become better at teaching how to manage conditions, the education has become increasingly separated from what it means to be human. This paradox is avoided when students are provided with a strong liberal arts background. However, the high-stakes examination system in Japan predicates students compile knowledge solely for test mastery, and this mode of “studying” continues in university.

Jichi Medical University is a unique institution established to train medical professionals specifically for underserved regions. Understanding characteristics that make a region special requires knowledge of the local community that originates from a general interest about human society. This kind of interest cannot simply be developed through the model of test mastery.

Given this situation, the Department of General Education fills a very important need. Each field is an inquiry into human knowledge comprising human society. As researchers, faculty in this department strive to discover some new aspect to their field, similar to what medical research does. The goal as teachers is to create a curriculum benefitting the students’ community-based practice throughout their entire career.