Department of Health and Nutrition
The society that we are a part of faces the problem of becoming a super-aged society and of an increase in lifestyle diseases that accompany diversification and changes in people’s lifestyles. The societal need for quick technical progress, for its corresponding evolution of specialization, and for interdisciplinary research is increasing. Person-focused nutritional professions in the health, medical, welfare, care, and education fields are necessary. Registered dietitians, dietitians, and nutrition teachers specialize in dietary and nutritional instruction and management. They contribute to expanding education on diet and to improvements in lifestyle. The Department of Health and Nutrition in the Faculty of Health and Nutrition is the only educational facility in Okinawa that trains students to become registered dietitians. Its goal is to train people who will support the dietary culture of Okinawa in the future.
In the Department of Health and Nutrition, a degree is awarded to students who complete 124 credits and take the required courses and fulfill other requirements, and who are able to develop and comprehensively use the following abilities and qualities.
1. Well-educated, with the ability to think comprehensively and from multiple perspectives
Students are able to become well-educated, and based on comprehensive ideas from multiple perspectives, they can provide nutritional instruction based on bioethical principles and scientific rationality.
2. The ability to learn independently and cooperate with others
As registered dietitians or dietitians, students will be able to continue to independently acquire advanced specialized knowledge throughout their lives and contribute to society.
Students are able to respect the rights and individuality of others, understand inclusivity in society, respect one another, exercise self-discipline, and build character. They will be able to contribute to health and quality-of-life (QOL) improvements for others through collaboration and cooperation with related professions and institutions.
3. Regional co-creation
Students are able to investigate diet and health based on the natural, geographic, and historical characteristics of Okinawa and then apply this information, and they are able to contribute to public health improvements not only Okinawa, but in Asia and other Pacific nations.
4. The ability to use specialized knowledge and skills
Students are able to acquire the skills to participate in society in various fields as leaders in nutritional and dietary fields and understand the role of their specialization and the roles of related professions to practice team medicine through collaboration and cooperation.
Curriculum policy (Content and method of education)
(1) Well-educated, with the ability to think comprehensively and from multiple perspectives
Through general education, which comprises the foundation of the four years of study, students take courses in a wide range of fields, including language, information processing, health, humanities/society, nature/environment, Okinawa, general studies, and career building. In doing so, students consider the values, systems, practices, education, etc., related to the broad problems faced by modern society from multiple perspectives, and they learn the basic perspectives and way of thinking for co-creation.
(2) The ability to learn independently and cooperate with others
In order to achieve in-depth learning that is independent and interactive, our education method incorporates active learning with a focus on Major Specialization Courses.
For year-one education, students learn the core, fundamental study skills for university learning through the freshman seminar with the aim of acquiring communication skills so that they can cooperate with various kinds of people. We also provide career guidance so that students can consider their own career.
(3) Regional co-creation
We have established specialized courses required for the aim of solving problems in the local community, in particular, problems in the health, nutrition, and dietary fields. For the introductory fields, we have established courses where students will study and apply the relationships between diet and health in Okinawan in order to contribute to improvements in public health.
(4) The ability to use specialized knowledge and skills
In order to educate students to become registered dietitians with advanced knowledge and specialized skills related to diet and nutrition, we have set the acquisition of a license as a dietitian as a graduation requirement, and we have created a curriculum that qualifies students to take the national exam to be registered dietitians and acquire a type 1 nutrition teaching license.
The specialized courses comprise three course divisions: Introductory Fields, Specialization Core Fields, and Specialized Fields. Each course is arranged into yearly stages that include lectures, seminar courses, and experimental/field learning courses as well as on-campus/on-site field learning. The curriculum achieves a balance of theory and practice.
In the Specialization Core Course, students acquire the core knowledge and skills required to perform nutritional care and management as registered dietitians. It comprises three courses: Society/Environment and Health, The Structure and Functions of the Human Body and the Mechanisms of Disease, and Food and Health.
For the Specialized Seminar Course, mandatory seminar courses have been established for years two to four. Specifically, Basic Seminars have been established for acquiring basic knowledge and theory related to specialized fields in diet and nutrition, and Specialized Seminars have been established for strengthening and pursuing personal expertise.
The Specialized Practical Course is for the systematic acquisition of broad knowledge fundamental to activities in the workplaces of registered dietitians, and it comprises nine courses: Basic Nutrition, Applied Nutrition, Educational Theory of Nutrition, Clinical Nutrition, Public Nutrition, Management Theory for School Lunches, General Seminar, On-site Field Learning, and Senior Research. Basic Nutrition, Applied Nutrition, and Educational Theory of Nutrition are taken in years one to three, while Clinical Nutrition, Public Nutrition, and Management Theory for School Lunches are taken in years two to three. General Seminar, On-site Field Learning, and Senior Research are taken in year four.
The curriculum structure includes lectures, seminars, field learning, and participatory learning to foster specialized knowledge and skills in the diverse specialized courses through practice and reflection. Educational content for the purpose of information comprehension and theoretical learning is mostly presented in a lecture-based class format. Educational content for establishing behavior and goals and acquiring abilities and skills is presented through a seminar-based class format. Educational content for the purpose of imparting the ability to develop theoretical knowledge and put it into practice is provided through experiential learning like experiments and field learning in order to foster deeper understanding and practical skills.
Students create a study portfolio for outlining the purpose for taking each course, self-reflection, and keeping a record of the courses taken.