In a recent document on the future of science1, the writer made the following comment:
"Tomorrow everything will be different. Homes will generate their own energy. Every major corporation will have a Chief Sustainability Officer. Artists will create with the tools of biomedical engineering. Half of American cars will not run on gasoline. Smart buildings will produce as much energy as they consume. Scientists will turn water and sunlight into fuel."
It is a truism to say that the future will be different; however, the truism hides a crucial issue for science education: huge shifts in the economy, in our knowledge systems, in the way we do business, and in the way we will live are happening and these shifts are based on dramatic changes in scientific knowledge.
Pacific University is involved in the education of the latest generation of scientists, health professionals and science teachers. The future of scientific education lies in developing graduates with the skills to do research, to provide them with a sense of empowerment with which to understand scientific findings with authority, and to educate our science teachers with a wide knowledge of the emerging science of the future.
Pacific Research Institute for Science and Mathematics (PRISM), is part of the University's overall undergraduate research program's purpose and it focuses its attention on the natural sciences, social sciences, mathematics, and technology. Some aspects of PRISM are listed below.
- Administrate summer funding and support for students and faculty to collaborate on research.
- Host the Pacific Undergraduate Research Conference each fall.
- Co-manage the International Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities.
- Promote summer research opportunities for Pacific undergraduates at external laboratories through the NSF's Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) and other programs.
1From 'Yale Tomorrow', a campaign document outlining the involvement of Yale University scientists in a series of pathbreaking undertakings. The document can be found at the Yale website.