The original founding vision and spirit of creating the Institute of Buddhist Studies as a world-class educational center is advancing to the next stage, making Shinran’s teachings visible. For a person with the kaikyoshi title and experience to assume this leadership position is a true milestone.
And to get to this point, it took years and years of overcoming many challenges to set up the infrastructure. We are very grateful for Dr. Payne’s many years of dedication as he passes the baton to the next IBS leader.
– Rev. Kodo Umezu, President, IBS Board of Trustees and Bishop, Buddhist Churches of America
The year 2016 marks a milestone in the history of the Institute of Buddhist Studies. Established as a seminary and graduate school in 1966, IBS has provided the educational foundation for scores of students who have gone on to become Jodo Shinshu ministers in the Buddhist Churches of America (BCA), Hawaii, Canada, South America, and Japan. In addition, during the past 50 years, IBS has established itself as a leading institution of Buddhist learning and the foremost center of Shin Buddhist Studies in the English-speaking world.
For nearly one-half of its history, IBS has been led by its Dean, Dr. Richard K. Payne. With Dr. Payne’s guidance, IBS has been able to overcome many challenges as it advanced its educational goals. Now, in 2016, Dr. Payne has decided to retire from the position of Dean. As he returns to a focus on teaching and research, IBS has chosen to address this latest challenge by revising its organizational structure and bringing in new persons to expand its educational programs.
On January 8, 2016, the IBS Board of Trustees approved an institutional reorganization and made a number of administrative appointments. Rev. Dr. David Matsumoto, the director of the IBS’s Contemporary Shinshu Buddhist Studies programs and a past resident minister of the Berkeley Buddhist Temple, will now serve in the newly created position of IBS Provost and Vice-President for Academic Affairs. He will be the administrative officer for IBS and have overall responsibility for the academic program. Rev. Matsumoto will also work directly with the IBS President, Bishop Kodo Umezu, and the IBS Board of Trustees, in order to ensure that IBS will operate in close alliance with BCA, the BCA Endowment Foundation, Hongwanji, and Ryukoku University.
The new Dean of Students and Faculty Affairs is Dr. Scott Mitchell, whose duties will include the management of the curriculum, oversight of the student enrollment and registration, and work with faculty committees. In addition, Dr. Mitchell will continue to serve as the liaison officer as IBS pursues academic accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
Rev. Dr. Seigen Yamaoka will continue to lead fund-raising efforts for IBS as the Vice-President for Development. Ms. Linda Shiozaki continues in her role as Executive Director. Finally, the new Registrar and Director of Student Services will be Ms. Helen Tagawa. Continuing in their roles will be Rev. Dr. Daijaku Kinst, who directs the Buddhist chaplaincy program, and Ms. Sayaka Inaishi, the IBS librarian and resource specialist.
Regarding a new era for IBS, Rev. Matsumoto commented, “The staff and faculty of IBS are committed to helping fulfill its mission, which is ‘To provide graduate level education in the full breadth of the Buddhist tradition with specialized education supporting Pure Land and contemporary Shin Buddhist Studies and advancing Jodo Shinshu Buddhist ministry.’ We look forward to continued work in cooperation with the leadership and members of the BCA, as well as its supporters throughout the religious and academic worlds.”
This is the biggest step forward in a long, long time…the appointment of Rev. Dr. Matsumoto as provost. He’s such a well-respected minister and scholar, and has a legal background…he’s the right person at the right time. Furthermore, the entire IBS team is made up of people with all the right skills; everything is being well-executed; we have clear goals, and once we achieve accreditation, it will open a whole new world for Jodo Shinshu.
– Rev. Dr. Seigen Yamaoka, IBS Vice President of Development