Ruth Emilie Scott Hayhoe

Professor, O.I.S.E., University of Toronto; President Emerita, Education University of Hong Kong


From January to June of 1996, Professor Hayhoe carried out her fellowship research at Nagoya University in Nagoya. She also travelled to Kyushu, Hiroshima, Tokyo, Tsukuba, Kyoto, and various other cities to make visits and conduct interviews.

My research focused on the international role of Japanese universities, their involvement in international aid projects funded by organizations such as JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency), and their intellectual influence on global higher education.

My favourite memory was of the day a senior male professor stopped me in the corridor to show me a photo
of his MA student, defending her thesis orally in front of himself and two other male professors, while holding
her small baby on her lap!  The old professor knew I was concerned that there were almost no women professors in the Faculty of Education, but he wanted to demonstrate to me that they were nurturing a new generation of young women scholars!

Just one year after leaving Japan, Professor Hayhoe undertook a senior leadership role as president of a new tertiary institution in Hong Kong. Her research focus shifted away from Japan as a result. However, she continued to include Japan in her courses and went on to mentor students on research related to Japanese higher education.

I published several academic articles on Japanese universities and always included literature about them in the graduate courses I taught on comparative higher education. The year after my fellowship in Japan, I was appointment president of the Hong Kong Institute of Education and led its upgrading to university status, from 1997-2002, and during that time developed collaborative relations with Japanese universities. My major research projects in the subsequent years were related to China’s move to mass higher education and China-Canada relations in higher education. Nevertheless I have supervised quite a few M.A. and Ph.D. theses relating to Japanese higher education and themes of inter-cultural competence, as well as Japanese support for SE Asian higher education.

When I served as President-elect of the Comparative International Education society in 1999 and organized the annual conference in Toronto in April of that year, one of the celebratory events was co-hosted with the Japan Foundation, Toronto — then located in the Colonnade. In my presidential address for the Comparative International Education Society, presented in San Antonio, Texas in March of 2000 and published by Comparative Education Review (44/4), in November 2000, I highlighted the contributions of Japanese and Chinese educational thought to the shaping of modernity in more humane and harmonious ways.

Professor Hayhoe has been semi-retired since 2002. She spends the winter months in Delray Beach, Florida, where she serves as a docent at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, one of the largest and most historic Japanese gardens in North America.