May 9, 2006

With Research, Unity

With the University having recently received money to build a state-of-the-art pediatrics department at the hospital, Time magazine recognizing the impact of our graduates and professors on academia and society, and our competing for control of both the prestigious Argonne National Laboratory and what will be a world-class particle accelerator, it is no surprise that the University community is in the news for its research achievements almost daily. While one may argue that our reputation as a research institution could lead to a disconnect between departments and schools, it is important for us to remember that research here only serves to unify the University as a whole.

Our campus is comprised of four collegiate divisions and seven schools separate from the College, as well as multiple research institutions, organizations, and facilities. This may seem to form an overly expansive system, but through research commendation and recognition, the University is brought together as a coherent community.

Advances in research do not simply improve the status of the divisions that achieve them. They also impact the daily lives of undergraduates and the University as a whole. Undergraduates are able to work in laboratories, take classes from renowned professors or researchers, and participate in forums or galas that award these advances. Beyond this, the sheer enormity of the University allows it to function as a complex financial institution, thus granting it all the perks of a well endowed University.

Instead of only being a part of a 4,000-student liberal arts college, or a 40,000-student research institution, we are fortunate enough to have the best of both worlds. We are all able to participate in the life of the University as a whole while still remaining focused on particular academic endeavors, and perhaps that is part of what makes the U of C experience unique.