Note from the Dean 2/14

BIOL 321 L lab

Dr. Thompson-Jaeger’s BIOL 321L Microbiology lab

Information is everywhere and available almost instantaneously.  So what is the point of a formal education?  I suggest that the point of true education is to get students to ask good questions.  Last fall I gave a presentation to an AP Physics class at a local high school, and last month one of the students came to an Admissions event at CBU and said he recognized me – as the person who made the class feel dumb!  How could anyone make a very bright high school teenager “feel dumb”?  I suspect it was because in my presentation I did not present a lot of information (so the students could go blah, blah, blah, so what).  Instead I asked a lot of questions.  Basic questions, such as, what is time, what is distance?  The questions were so basic, that they were hard, if not impossible, to answer simply because they were so elementary.  But to ask good questions, we must know something – really know it and not just have things memorized. Labs help students get their hands on the subject (see the image above) so that they can  know the subject better. That cyclic process of knowing and asking takes work, guidance, and encouragement.

In the School of Sciences, we want our students to know how something works but also why that something works.  With an understanding of why, we can hopefully keep asking the good questions that keep our society and us as individuals moving forward.  I hope you enjoy this newsletter where we showcase our students moving forward.