Welcome to this issue of UD Research, anchored by a special section on how University researchers are assessing the impact of sea level rise in Delaware, and preparing Delawareans for it. In a state as small and as flat as ours, sea level rise affects everyone, and affects us now. I’m glad UD is on the front lines of the First State’s response.
This has been a good year for looking back and looking ahead, for reflecting on the beginning of UD’s research enterprise and envisioning its future.
In July, UD celebrated the sesquicentennial of the Morrill Act, the act that conferred land-grant status on our forebear, Delaware College. In opening access to higher learning, in compelling colleges to serve the public with practical research, in connecting citizens with the scholarship and resources that support community and economic development, the Morrill Act remade American higher education and refocused its mission—squarely on the public good.
We are guided by our land-grant mission today. We’re deeply committed to applying our considerable resources to benefit our neighbors—to using our knowledge, time, talent and money in a way that advances Delaware and the nation, and brings them into the riches of the UD community.
What’s before us now is to ensure that the University’s students are also brought fully into the riches of UD’s research enterprise. UD has a strong undergraduate research program, in which hundreds of students participate in faculty-led research—in the arts, business, engineering, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. UD’s pedagogical culture is steeped in problem-based learning, in which students connect disciplinary knowledge to complex problems and work together to resolve them.
And as we prepare to open our Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Lab next fall, we’ve turned our attention to the spaces in which students learn—how they can help us bring teaching, learning and research together in an integrated way; how they can help students apply the curriculum to real-world problems (and allow real-world problems to shape the curriculum); how we can engage all students in creating new knowledge, and thus realize the ultimate promise and power of research.
Patrick T. Harker
President, University of Delaware