Articles by Dean Grasso

Back to the Future: State of the College 2008

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Concluding Remarks

Just two weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to join 3000 Vermont educators to hear Daniel Pink deliver a lecture on the future of education and global competitiveness. He began his presentation by asking: Will we, as U.S. educators, prepare our students for our past or for their future?

The world is very different from what it was when many of us started our careers. The fundamentals of scientific and engineering knowledge have not changed, but how we elect to apply them certainly must.

I again remember the prescient UVM President James Marsh, who foresaw the needs of the 21st century while working by the lanterns of the 19th century. He told us to create curricula that integrated ideas across disciplines, to teach the whole student. To ensure a Unity of Knowledge is the core for UVM. And I watch as eloquent writers — EO Wilson, Daniel Pink and Derek Bok — urge us to rise to the challenge of a changing, complex world in need of creativity, insight, and cross-disciplinary skill.

Our College can be at the forefront — many of you already are — in guiding the next generation of global citizens who have learned they must integrate technical and scientific knowledge into what President Marsh called a coherent whole “to call forth into conscious and active exercise the powers of the mind.”

This is the paradigm we have inherited as UVM citizens and through our University of Vermont academic lineage.

We are at an exciting time — for our professions, the state, and the world. The ultimate measure of our success will be how we teach our students and graduate students — and how our collective work to advance educational paradigms, research innovation, and service to our communities improves the world around us. We must be both local and global. We need to think of the far-reaching material and intellectual merits of our work.

Between the presidencies of James Marsh and Daniel Fogel, our College

was born out of necessity and opportunity,
experienced a golden era of productivity,
and struggled for its very existence.

Today, CEMS is strong and vibrant and is clearly recognized as one of the critical cornerstones for the success of the University and the State. We must sustain this effort and realize our vision of being widely recognized as a treasured resource of the State of Vermont.

I personally look forward to the day when we advance the vision further, to include being a treasured, invaluable, and irreplaceable resource of knowledge for the nation and the world.

You — the faculty, staff, and students of CEMS — have the talent, potential, and vision to make this a reality.

I am sincerely looking forward to working with you all in the year ahead. Thank you.

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See also: 2007 State of the College | 2006 State of the College