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The Larger Picture

The Dean's Musings

This article was originally published in the June - July 2005 issue of CLASnotes.

The college has made noteworthy strides in building new research programs in recent years that cover a wide range of areas, from the basic sciences to the social sciences and the humanities, but what is often neglected is the need to integrate the research with our educational programs.

As we build exciting new research endeavors, we need to keep in mind that we are an educational institution and our research programs need to be an integral part of our educational mission. Graduate student training, particularly in the interdisciplinary areas, is a critical part of that integration, and our success in placing our graduate students is a major factor in the national assessment of our research stature. These graduate students also provide the workforce for the new technologies and policies that the state will depend on for a healthy economy.

In this age, undergraduate students also can play an appreciable role in research. Through the University Scholars Program, almost 200 undergraduates from across campus have the opportunity to work one-on-one with a faculty mentor on selected research projects and complete a research paper each year. Many other students also undertake a research project with a faculty member during their senior year and write an honor’s thesis. Participation in these projects prepares our undergraduates for life after graduation and is often critical in their admission to graduate and professional schools.

The leading institutions with which we aspire to compete have a very “complete” educational-research program that presents young students with research opportunities early in their careers, as well as bringing the excitement and motivation of discovery into the classroom at the elementary levels. Research buildings are designed not only to carry out research, but also to integrate the teaching and the research and provide the complete university experience.

Credits

Writer

Neil Sullivan
sullivan@phys.ufl.edu

Photo:
Jane Dominguez

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