Wheels up: Marlins go global

Virginia Wesleyan grows its reputation and learning opportunities with new Japan campus.

President Scott D. Miller hosted his “Fireside Chat” where he explained that Virginia Wesleyan University will expand globally beyond the United States.

VWU will partner with Lakeland University of Plymouth, Wisconsin to establish a campus in Tokyo, Japan. The new name of this campus will be Lakeland University Japan and Virginia Wesleyan University Global.

“The Batten Honors College, new master’s programs, VWU Online, and non-credit offerings through University College are but a few of the initiatives that have diversified our revenue streams and kept us in a strong position as trends in higher education have rapidly shifted,” Miller explained. 

“Lakeland University Japan (LUJ) is one of the only two approved American Universities in Japan and is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.” 

By having a campus outside of the United States, VWU is hoping to grow their global recognition and become a prestigious worldwide school.

VWU students and faculty will have the opportunity to travel to the remote campus. The location will have reasonable pricing for housing, while being close to “museums, cultural areas and recreation opportunities,” Miller noted.

The campus will be located in Shinjuku, which is a part of Tokyo’s central government and business district.  The university will provide for roughly 400 students who come from about 30 different countries. It will be the only fully accredited private liberal arts university in Japan.

Miller addressed the funding of the project. “No Virginia Wesleyan operational dollars, none, have been utilized to complete this transaction. And it will remain that way,” Miller said.

Also, he added, “in its 30 years of operation, Lakeland University Japan has always had a balanced budget.”

Because Lakeland University had ended its partnership with the previous school, they needed a new partner in Japan. President Miller described why VWU was chosen; “Virginia Wesleyan, because of its location and reputation as a premier university of the liberal arts and science was an ideal choice for the partnership.”

Mandy Reining, the Director of Study Away Programs, gave some insight on what these plans mean for the future. “The Marlins Global initiative is currently more about bringing more of an international presence to VWU. It will have an added benefit of giving faculty the opportunity to teach there and students an opportunity to possibly do short-term and/or summer courses there,” Reinig said.

This experience for many students could change their career paths and give an added bonus to seeing another way of life and culture through learning. 

Not only is this an opportunity for students, but also for professors who now have the possibility to go, learn and teach which is something not many other institutions can offer.

The representative from Lakeland University is Dr. David Black. Black has been a longtime friend and colleague of Miller. Black helped VWU input the Batten Honors College and has been a very trusted ally of the Marlins since 2015.

Miller and Black were both vice presidents at Lincoln Memorial University in the 1980’s where their bond began. Black, in 1991, “was the visionary behind founding of Lakeland College Japan,” Miller  said.

Miller described the impact this venture will have on the students on both campuses. “This will add an increased international presence to our student body.”

Noah Riffle