OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Officials from Oklahoma Christian University (OC) and Japan’s Ibaraki Christian University will announce a new dual degree program at a special ceremony Monday.
OC and IC are in the 40th year of mutual exchange of students and faculty, making the partnership one of the longest lasting programs between any two universities in Japan and the United States. Nearly 1,000 students have participated in the universities’ short-term and long-term programs over the past four decades.
The new dual degree program, to be officially announced at OC’s 11 a.m. Chapel service (click here to watch the livestream of the ceremony), creates the opportunity for students from Japan to complete undergraduate degrees from both Oklahoma Christian and Ibaraki Christian. Students will attend classes at IC for two years and complete their final two years on the OC campus.
IC officials at Monday’s announcement will include President Hiroshi Shoji, Chancellor Jim Batten (a 1971 OC graduate), Dean of International Programs Toshikatsu Yamanaka, and Director of Administration Takako Tetsuka.
The Ibaraki delegation’s visit also will include a free performance by a Japanese Taiko Drum group and OC music students at 7 p.m. Monday in OC’s Adams Recital Hall.
On Tuesday morning, the delegation will visit the Oklahoma State Capitol and the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum.
“Oklahoma Christian is committed to giving our students the finest global education. This means developing strategic global relationships that give OC students unique learning experiences, like this partnership and the more than 20 study abroad and off-campus learning options we offer,” OC director of international programs John Osborne said. “OC and IC have had a wonderful history of cooperation, understanding and care. People on both sides of the ocean transformed difficulties into opportunities, and misunderstandings into patience and acceptance.”
Birthed by former OC administrator Howard Horton and former OC president James O. Baird, the partnership began in 1975 when OC’s first exchange students went to Japan to study Japanese language and culture. The first exchange professor from Oklahoma Christian, Joe McCormack, went to Ibaraki Christian in 1979 and worked on the IC campus for a year.
Over the course of the exchange program, many OC graduates have moved to Japan to serve in various capacities. More than 100 OC graduates have been employed in the Ibaraki prefecture. The Mito Board of Education started depending on Oklahoma Christian to fill English teaching positions in the public school system.
“We are indebted to the founders of the program for their vision and for their hard work to make it a reality,” Osborne said. “May this 21st century be one of greater understanding and cooperation, and may peace and understanding be fostered between all peoples and nations of the world.”
Oklahoma Christian, recognized as one of the best universities in the western United States by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review, set a school record this year with 2,479 students enrolled. Overall, the last decade has featured OC’s 10 highest enrollments ever.
The university offers undergraduate programs in more than 60 fields of study, an undergraduate Honors Program, and graduate programs in accountancy, business administration, engineering, Christian ministry, divinity, and theological studies.