Japan Studies Institute

The Japan Studies Institute (JSI) is a multidisciplinary professional development institute focused on helping participants integrate Japan studies into the undergraduate curricula.  

Learn more.
Tea ceremony at JSI 2022
Japan Studies Institute 2022, Tea Ceremony Lesson
Japan in the Classroom
Presentation by the Laurasian Foundation during JSI 2022.

Learn about Japan and how to incorporate Japanese Studies into the undergraduate curriculum and co-curriculum. 

This multidisciplinary program is designed to engage faculty and staff with little or no prior training, nor professional experience in Japan and Japan studies, who can impact undergraduate education, either through teaching or academic support services that affect undergraduate studies.  It provides faculty with expertise and support, to assist them in developing courses and initiatives that will enable students to gain a better understanding of Japan.  


Who should participate?

  • Faculty  
  • Staff/Administrators 

How will you benefit?

  • Peer-to-peer learning with participating colleagues 
  • Access to curated resources, including special Japanese studies content 
  • Develop strategies for incorporating Japanese studies into curriculum, notwithstanding academic discipline 
  • Mentorship and support through developing curriculum and campus initiatives  
  • Networking and access to JSI alumni, Japanese scholars, industry experts, and diplomats 


Number of years AASCU has provided this professional development opportunity for its members.


Number of Institutions that have participated in the Institute from from across the US, the Bahamas and Canada.


Number of faculty and administrators that have been trained by the Institute.

program highlights
Taiko drumming
Participants being led in taiko workshop (Japanese drumming).

Connect with Japanese scholars, industry experts, and diplomats.

The Institute involves two weeks of intensive seminars, lectures, readings, films, and cultural activities related to various aspects of pre-modern and modern Japanese history, education, business and culture.  Previous programs have included topics as diverse as social relations and the changing role of women in Japan, Japan’s policy on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Japanese foreign policy and regional relations, and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.  Institute faculty includes scholars, representatives from the local Japanese community, artists, and government officials.   

Engage in peer-peer-learning with colleagues from across AASCU’s membership.

Selected participants are hosted at the San Diego State University for a two-week residential program. The participants are selected from institutions across the United States and reflect a range of disciplines. While attending the program, participants live and work together on the university campus.  Participants attend all classes together, Monday through Friday. Sundays and evenings are reserved for free time and/or independent study. The formal program is also complemented by several off-campus and evening activities for all participants. 

our stories

The most memorable experience of JSI for me was the overall opportunity to participate in this program with faculty from different disciplines, from different universities, from different parts of the country, and even different parts of the world. The biggest impact the JSI program has had on me professionally is how it has better equipped me go back to the classroom and give my students cultural learning experiences.   

April Mondy

Delta State University
JSI 2018

The program is an excellent introduction to educators who do not have a background in Japan but are interested in learning more about the country and incorporating Japan studies in their classes.  The multidisciplinary nature of the fellows’ backgrounds helped make the various sessions very informative. Overall, I have nothing bad to say about this institute. It’s a 10/10 program and one of the most valuable professional development program I have attended in my career. 

Attendee, JSI 2022

Meet the 2022 Fellows
2022 JSI Fellows 
William Crawley  Dean, College of Education and Professional Studies  University of West Florida 
Lucas Foster  Associate Professor, Mathematics  Northeastern State University 
Sandra Gonsalves-Domond  Professor, Personality and Social Psychology  Ramapo College of New Jersey 
Abdul Knowles  Director, Global Studies and Programmes  The University of the Bahamas 
Michael Mays  Professor, English and Director, Hanford History Project  Washington State University 
Newly Paul  Assistant Professor, Print/Digital Media  University of North Texas 
Lokesh Shivakumaraiah  Executive Director, International Relations & Assistant to the Provost  Mississippi Valley State University 
Binod Shrestha  Associate Professor, Studio Art  University of North Texas 
Leslie Stewart  Associate Professor, Political Science  Delta State University (MS) 
Robyn Wall  Assistant Professor, Art  Delta State University (MS) 
Lingling Wang   Assistant Professor, International Business  Worcester State University (MA) 
Marie Barnas  Associate Professor, Video and Film Production  Middle Tennessee State University 
Application information

Applicants must: 

  • be staff able to impact undergraduate education (either through teaching or academic support services that affect undergraduate studies). 
  • have no prior training or professional experience in Japan studies. 
  • be able to demonstrate an interest in gaining a better understanding of Japan. 
  • be nominated by a president, chancellor, or provost, either directly or at the request of the applicant. 

Applications usually open around late October and are due by the end of February. All required documents must be submitted by the deadline:

  • CV or resume 
  • One-page recommendation letter from a provost, vice president, dean, or department chair who is familiar with the applicant’s academic achievements and potential career path.  
  • A typed, single-spaced, one-page Statement of Intent outlining the potential benefits of the award to the applicant’s teaching and professional growth, and to the institution and community. This statement should address the applicant’s: 
    • interest in broadening their knowledge of Japan 
    • plans to impact undergraduate education at the institution 
    • plans to use the experience to effect curricular change 
    • plans to contribute to the Institute 
  • AASCU member institutions – Participation in this Institute is complimentary for AASCU members. Costs associated with program administration, academic material, and residence life are underwritten by a generous endowment from the Nippon Foundation.
  • Non-AASCU member institutions – $895 

Participants in the program are responsible for ancillary expenses related to travel to and from the program site, and all other personal and miscellaneous items.

Our Partners

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