Homepage of the Duke 2000-2001 Annual Report www.duke.edu
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Teaching, Learning, Research
Bob Guenther, a senior research physicist, works on
a photonics project with Amber Post, an undergraduate who built the
optical coherence tomography microscope they are using. Post started
graduate studies in photonics this fall at Princeton University.

Integrate Teaching, Learning, and Research

Perhaps more than other institutions, Duke has the opportunity to distinguish itself in integrating teaching, learning, and research. We aspire to be both one of the top research universities and one of the best undergraduate institutions, and we must coordinate our efforts to reach these twin goals. We are keenly aware that at a practical level, choices must be made between teaching and research on any given work day by faculty members. We must create an environment in which training and research go hand in hand and are not seen as competitors for faculty time.

A central goal of the plan is to reaffirm the deep historic commitment of Duke University to the education of undergraduates. Having evolved from a regional liberal arts college, Duke has endeavored through the succeeding decades to retain some of the sense of a college, where undergraduates are taken seriously as young scholars and provided with a holistic educational environment that nurtures skills and perspectives that will serve them well through life. We cannot live up to this goal unless faculty members are personally committed and involved in the education of these youngest members of our scholarly community.

The strongest educational advantage offered by a research university is the ability to build student experience on the scholarship of the faculty. The best way to convey that scholarship is by exposing students to the underlying research process. Through research, students learn to grapple with problems, to formulate questions, and to analyze arguments and information. They come to see themselves in new ways and identify rewarding career paths. Additionally, research must ultimately be understood by society. If we are in the business of educating leaders for that society, it is imperative that our students learn something about the ideas, techniques, and methodologies of modern research and understand the impact of research on our daily lives.

Under the guidelines of Duke’s Curriculum 2000, this year’s freshmen were the first whose graduation requirements included at least one research-intensive course. By 2002, Duke’s requirement will be increased to two research courses. The idea is to encourage students to become active participants in the discovery, critical evaluation, and application of knowledge in the various disciplines.