GSA Overview

GSA Overview

Graduate students engage in educational activities through the Learning Community System

Tokyo Tech has built a communal development environment for undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty and staff, who, with deference toward each other, take the initiative in academic studies by learning, instructing, and deliberating together. This is the “learning community.”

Graduate Student Assistants (GSAs) form the core of this “learning community,” and, in a collaborative arrangement with faculty, participate in educational activities of the undergraduate degree program, and develop and operate online learning content.

Education systems in top universities abroad have already engaged graduate students in the education activities of undergraduate degree programs, and lead to in-depth learning, an enhanced appetite for academic study, and leadership training for the graduate student. Within Japan, expansion of the conventional TA (Teaching Assistant) program has led to more active involvement of students in learning support.
Of particular note, our GSA program represents the first large-scale effort in Japan, fostered by the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) and Institute for Liberal Arts (ILA) at Tokyo Institute of Technology.


“Learning Community” as a New Forum for Academics

  • GSAs are graduate students
    who create the “learning community”
  • GSA leadership
    found inside everyone
  • GSA Program enhances overall skills
    and individual performance as a person

GSAs are graduate students who create the “learning community”

The learning community provides a forum for discovering new wisdom, through dialogue among members who express their knowledge, experience and ideas that are then combined and linked. The GSA (Graduate Student Assistant) joins the learning community in a support role to achieve its purpose. Creating something new or moving something forward permanently is difficult alone but becomes possible as a team. Join the team that supports learning, and you will start moving forward, too.

GSA leadership found inside everyone

GSA leadership consists of the following: mutually eliciting opinions and abilities and enabling communication through conversation, writing and visuals; or discovering roles appropriate to each person’s qualities and enabling amplification and resonance to a small response. In our present day where forecasting the future defies the effort, the team that relies not on a single leader, but on its members brimming with diverse leadership qualities, carries the day. The GSA Program enables leadership qualities held by everyone to manifest.

GSA Program enhances overall skills and individual performance as a person

In the GSA Program, graduate students acquire basic skills, which are subsequently polished through learnings shared with undergraduate students in coursework and through support forums. GSAs aid the learning of undergraduate students as facilitators and peer reviewers and develop and provide online educational materials. These efforts involve relating to other people and discovering one’s own position or place. This cycle of learning enables in-depth self-learning, a support mechanism that can support the personalized life plan of any individual.


Tokyo Tech GSA Program

The key feature to the GSA Program is the system of becoming a GSA through university coursework curricula.

Through basic courses and workshops, graduate students learn about leadership—maximizing the abilities of co-members and steering a team toward its goals. In addition, practicum courses and On-the-Job Training (OJT) present opportunities to deliver learning support to undergraduate students as a facilitator or reviewer, and for development of online educational materials. The acquisition of facilitation, tutoring, and collaboration skills combines with in-depth self-learning and enhancement of overall skills as a person.

Support from GSAs, who are senior but not far apart in years, provides stimulus to undergraduate students, whose appetite for academic study is enhanced by the GSAs presented as role models.

Faculty and staff, furthermore, provide suitable advice to students, aid in development of the community, and engage in their own learning as well.

The positive cycle of “linked learning” that arises out of this collective of GSAs, undergraduate students, faculty and staff contributes as additional stimulation to the academic atmosphere of the entire university.


Message from the GSA Program Executive Committee Chair:

“Enhance your potential through GSA activities.”
Educational reforms instituted in April 2016 at Tokyo Tech have led to a number of learning reforms being set forth. Among these, the GSA program envisions the creation of a “learning community” among undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty and staff that is purposed for mutual development.

GSAs need leadership skills to support learning among teams. The effort to broaden learning while eliciting the strengths of co-members can heighten individual performance when engaging with people. In fact, this capability is critically important in society.

Moreover, the work to support learning itself is enjoyable and tremendously satisfying. Come join the GSA program and expand your world!

Masao Murota
Professor, Institute for Liberal Arts


GSA Program Executive Committee

Chair Masao Murota Professor Institute for Liberal Arts
Vice Chair Gaku Tanaka Professor Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning
Members CROSS JEFFREY SCOTT Professor School of Environment and Society
Hiroki Oura Assoc. Prof. Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning
Toru Nagahama Specially Appointed Associate Professor Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning