Tomoko Takahashi joined Soka University of America, Calabasas in 1992. In February 1994, she was appointed as the university’s first dean of the graduate school to direct the master of arts degree program in second and foreign language education. In 2001 she was appointed as SUA’s first Provost to serve as the chief academic officer of the university, overseeing both the graduate and undergraduate academic programs (2001-2014). She currently serves as the vice president for institutional research and assessment, as well as the dean of the graduate school.
In 2015, Takahashi was elected to the WASC Senior College and University Commission. As SUA’s accreditation liaison officer since 2001 and as a frequent visiting committee member since 2008, and now as a commissioner, she has gained valuable experience with and made a significant contribution to the accrediting commission.
Takahashi received her BA in English with magna cum laude from Albertus Magnus College. She subsequently entered Columbia University for graduate studies, earning a doctorate in applied linguistics. She continued her post-doctoral research at Columbia while teaching applied linguistics and training graduate-level students to become language teachers. She also later received another doctorate in translation studies from Monash University in Australia.
Takahashi has published more than 20 books including scholarly books in English and Japanese on language learning, cross-cultural communication, and lexico-semantics; 15 textbooks for Japanese learners of English, eight of which have been translated into Chinese and Korean; and Japanese translations of Rosa Parks: My Story, Quiet Strength, and Dear Mrs. Parks. Her research interests include second language acquisition, particularly lexico-semantic transfer and pragmatic transfer, cross-cultural communication, and translation theory. Her research has been widely published and cited in scholarly journals and books in the field of applied linguistics. She has also published numerous articles in magazines and journals for English learners in Japan as well as for the general reader.
Takahashi’s memoir entitled Samurai and Cotton: A Story of Two Life Journeys in Japan and America, published in November 2011, was named the winner in the autobiography category of the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. It was also honored as an award-winning finalist in the autobiography/memoir category of the 2012 International Book Awards. Among many other awards and honors, Takahashi received a doctor of humane letters honoris causa from Albertus Magnus College in 2006.
An active volunteer, Takahashi has donated her time and expertise to local, regional, and international communities, e.g. as a member of the Board of Trustees of Albertus Magnus College (1996-2017); as an accreditation commissioner (2015-present); as a visiting committee member and assistant chair to review degree-granting institutions for WSCUC accreditation (2008-present) and for state approval by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (2001-2006); as a member of the steering committee on the annual “Pathways to Freedom” program sponsored by the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development (1995-2000); and as a supporter of a number of nonprofit organizations.
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