The newly elected president and former rector of ETH Zurich, Prof. Dr. Lino Guzzella, visited Japan to participate in the annual International Alliance of Research Universities’ (IARU) Presidents’ meeting.
On March 1, 2015 at the University of Tokyo he also took part in the Presidents Panel: “Challenge for the Future” during the first IARU World Alumni Forum, together with 7 other presidents of top universities. The panel discussion was led by Prof. Masako Egawa, Executive Vice President of the University of Tokyo.
Critical Thinking Initiative
Asked on ETH Zurich’s strategy on improving the university’s innovativeness, Prof. Lino Guzzella introduced his university’s “critical thinking initiative” with which ETH tries to reverse the tendency of compartmentalizing knowledge (under the Bologna Reform); instead, teaching and learning should be again more comprehensive. Students should learn to analyze and reflect and develop a stance, which also enables them to say no in certain circumstances. Being an engineer, Prof. Guzzella teaches his students that if an experiment cannot fail, it’s not a good experiment!
The event ended with the gathering of all the alumni for a networking reception where the IARU presidents opened the sake-barrels in a traditional Japanese way. Hopefully, many more ETH Zurich Alumni will gather at the next IARU Alumni event!
IARU was launched in 2006 as a co-operative network of 10 leading, international research-intensive universities who share similar visions for higher education, in particular the education of future leaders. Its members include Australian National University, ETH Zurich, National University of Singapore, Peking University, University of California Berkeley, University of Cambridge, University of Copenhagen, University of Oxford, the University of Tokyo and Yale University.