A CULTURE OF DISCOVERY For educators at all levels, but especially those of us in higher education, discovery is one of the key words that describe what education is all about. As humans we are continually in “discovery mode,” but most will agree that the college experience is one of those special times when the opportunities for discovery are almost limitless. They can range from learning more about oneself to the exploration of distant lands, from scientific experimentation to artistic creation.
I chose discovery as one of the key elements for university planning in the years ahead because I feel it is an integral and essential component of the education process. After all, the best learning takes place in an environment that encourages the constant creation of new knowledge. For instance, what better way to learn science than one-to-one in a field setting with an established investigator? Many of our students have been doing just that during the summer months, thanks to support from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust.
However, as I often point out, creativity and scholarship in the arts, humanities and social sciences are just as critical to a quality liberal arts education as research in science and health. Also critical to all forms of discovery are faculty expertise and the facilities and equipment necessary to accommodate student interest. As we grow and add to the richness and quality of our programs, it is important to also develop funded plans to expand the capacity for facilities and to equip them with state-of-the-art tools and equipment.
So, as we continue to map out the road ahead, I’m actively exploring how we can create more faculty time for inquiry-based activities and provide the staff support and facilities needed to effectively expand our capabilities. In addition, we’re exploring new undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including new doctoral programs. These will be developed in partnership across Pacific’s four colleges and with other institutions to make sure they meet a specific community need and will be economically sustainable over the long run.
As we proceed into an exciting new academic year, I invite you to send me your ideas and experiences about discovery.
Lesley Hallick, President