The Education Imperative
| 2 | 3
What do you mean by learning how to learn?
A: Learning how to explore things in greater depth
and detail. It's like peeling an onion. You see that there are different
layers of complexity and subtlety to a subject. For example, when
I graduated from high school, I thought that I knew precisely what
an atom looked like. When I got my Ph.D., I realized that I didn't
have any idea of what an atom looked like — but I knew why
I didn't know.
What matters most is not what you study as an undergraduate, but
that you learn how to dig in, to get to the bottom of things. You
uncover the boundaries of what you know and what you do not know,
and you keep pushing them out in both directions. Often, the greatest
reward comes to a student who has found not a new answer but a new
Q: What do you believe is the university's responsibility
A: We have an obligation to prepare students to
become productive members of society. This means that, at a minimum,
our students are literate and numerate across a broad range of disciplines.
We are educating global leaders and citizens, so it's important
for young people to be exposed not only to a variety of fields but
also to many cultures and civilizations.
The role of the university goes beyond understanding the world
around us; it extends to understanding ourselves. That requires
our involvement in, and understanding of, the arts and humanities.
Individuals who have not been exposed to the arts while they're
in college are unlikely to develop an appreciation for them later
in life. But if you do take an art- or music-history class, or attend
a performance on campus — if you show some level of interest
in these subjects — that will plant a seed that will likely
blossom, and in so doing enrich the rest of your life.
Finally, there is an ethical dimension to an education. As our
nation's second president, John Adams, said: "Wisdom and knowledge,
as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people
(are) necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties."