In my opinion, the role of universities should be to teach how to think; rather than what to think, as it is more important to improve the minds around us so as to enable them to think for themselves rather than to load their memory with thoughts of others. It is our obligation as educators, to foster and train graduate and undergraduate students to the highest possible level. As a professor, I strive to avoid the transfer of pre-digested knowledge and focus on imparting state-of-the-art knowledge to ensure that they become quality scientists in the future.
Education is an iterative process, without failure and feedback a student will never be challenged to improve. All learning begins with the simple phase “I do not know”. In my opinion, the role of educators is to establish an environment that is founded in honesty and integrity, that is respectful and professional, where individuality is encouraged; where students are able to question not only what is being taught but also to be comfortable in being wrong. That is where true quality learning begins.
All effective research is grounded in quality hypotheses and experimental designs that use the most current methodologies to test these hypotheses. Often we forget that rejecting our null hypothesis tells us just as much as accepting it. Our research group looks to other disciplines to adapt techniques and theories to solve problems pertaining to food, nutrition and health, as well as technologies relating to pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and petrochemicals.
Image Credit: http://starinc.org/starblog/?tag=star-education.