2016 marks a milestone in the calendar for the School of Languages and Cultures at the University of Queensland. It was 50 years ago that the Department of Japanese Studies (now the School of Languages and Cultures) was established in the Faculty of Arts (now Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences).
Professor Joyce Ackroyd was appointed the foundation chair of the Department of Japanese Language and Literature. When it first opened, the Department was swamped with 120 students, but had only two teachers. Among these first students was the future Head of School (2000 – 2005), Professor Nanette Gottlieb.
50 years on Japanese is as popular as ever and boasts one of the highest enrolments in a language at UQ, having over 1500 enrolments in 2015.
“This massive increase in enrolments is of course a sign of the times that we live in. The importance of language competence for graduates competing for positions in a global economy is greater than ever. Japan is Australia’s second largest export market and fourth largest source of foreign investment, so the strategic importance of the Japanese language in our local context is undeniable. The Japan Australia Economic Partnership Agreement that came into effect in 2015 only deepens these links and makes it all the more imperative that we equip our graduates with the linguistic and cultural competencies that they learn through our Japanese program”, said Acting Head of School Associate Professor Greg Hainge.
To celebrate this milestone the School will be hosting events and activities throughout 2016 which will be published on the school website.
You can also take a step back in time through 50 years via our online photo gallery below.
School of Languages and Cultures - A history of Japanese