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Integrated Education in the Modern Research University
Inaugural Lecture in the College of Arts and Science Dean's Lecture Series
Integrated Education in the Modern ResearchUniversity
Lecture by Professor David Scicchitano, Dean of Science at NYU Abu Dhabi
"The functionof education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education." Thisimportant insight, attributed to the eminent humanitarian and leader for civilrights, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., arguably embodies the goal of alleducators. But it is even more relevant in the current era in whichinformation, data, news and opinions are accessible to everyone, includingstudents, in seconds or minutes, with the limited need to spend hours searchingthrough card catalogues, rummaging through stacks of books and journals, orscanning microfilms. Indeed, the research time saved in this age of computers,tablets and smartphones affords faculty the opportunity to reconsider the useof that time to educate students at all levels to think critically andcreatively. Perhaps even more importantly it allows colleges and universitiesto re-evaluate the interrelationships among students' majors in which expertisein a specific academic area is paramount, a common educational core in whichbasic skills are sharpened through critical thinking in a multi-disciplinaryframework, and the use of electives that allow students to explore andchallenge themselves in new ways. This talk and discussion will emphasize thelink among academic majors, a common core education, and electives in light ofteam teaching in an era when information is readily accessible. The specificnotion of academic expertise in light of cultural awareness, global sensitivityand ethical behavior will be addressed. By re-considering the approach to theseprevailing key elements of education, faculty can better prepare students, inthe words of Dr. King, to think intensively and critically in today'smulti-cultural, globalized society.
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