With social scientist and civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois and educator Booker T. Washington listed among its historic faculty members, Fisk University deserves its recent accolade for being ranked by Forbes magazine as the No. 1 university in the USA in terms of academic stewardship.
Initially focused on liberal arts education, the university has built a reputation for excellence in its STEM programs such as life sciences, computer science, data science, and business.
As a small university with only over 1,000 students, Fisk has distinguished itself for building partnerships with business that deliver a return on investment for its students through its corporate internship programs and eventual permanent jobs that offer competitive pay.
Tennessee can be an innovation partner for Japanese companies
More than its history as the oldest higher learning institution in Nashville and one of the elite historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the United States, Fisk University has produced alumni that have excelled in Japanese companies, like Nissan and Bridgestone, as well as in the fields of medicine, education, public policy, and law.
It has attracted a growing number of international students
“HBCUs have always been remarkably inclusive. We have a growing Hispanic population. We have students from Nepal. That pipeline has really built up in recent years I think because of word of mouth,” said Fisk University Executive Vice President Jens Frederiksen.
In countries like the United States, where education cost is inflated, according to Frederiksen, more students are looking towards smaller institutions with a good track record in job placements in Fortune 500 companies, like Microsoft, Apple, and Google.
Envisioning more partnerships with academia and industry
“(Fisk University) is certainly very embracing of an international culture. It would be incredibly impactful to have more students [and faculty] from Japan,” said Frederiksen.
Aside from student and faculty exchanges, Fisk University is eager to collaborate with Japanese companies and industry partners that are already in Tennessee, in the U.S., or even in Japan, to attract and nurture more talent senior high school until university, providing them with of internship opportunities and eventual permanent jobs in prestigious companies.
More Japanese set foot in the South
“The Southern United States is a dynamic economy. The population is growing and the Japanese will find a cluster of other Japanese companies in the South, especially in Tennessee, working together,” Frederiksen said.