In an op-ed published December 23 in University Business, Interim President Michael A. Bernstein explains how higher ed institutions can align the work of faculty and students with the needs, goals and interests of their communities.
Citing the example of Stony Brook research into water quality issues, Bernstein highlights the collaborative efforts of scientists at the New York State Center for Clean Water Technology, who have developed innovations that would mitigate emerging wastewater contaminants before they can pollute groundwater, drinking water and surface water.
“The center, administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, is a national prototypical effort to create a bridge between research institutions, regulatory agencies, and public- and private-sector resources to identify regional water quality solutions,” Bernstein writes.
Such collaborative outreach is founded on the history of American public universities, Bernstein points out, citing the Morrill Act of 1862, which provided for land grants to each state to develop a network of universities that would facilitate and support agriculture and the mechanical arts
“It is more important than ever for public universities to take a powerful stand on society’s current challenges,” he writes.
“We must align the work of our faculty and students with the needs, goals, and interests of the wider communities in which we subsist. By doing so, we—like our predecessors—will link learning and research with practical application, with the goal of benefiting the greater good.”