Nebraska Engineering Fall, 2005
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From the Dean
Research improves education, develops tomorrow’s leaders

Engineering is a complicated and challenging educational discipline. I’ve been at it more than 30 years, and I’m still learning new things every day. To encourage and stimulate my learning, I continue to be active in
Dean David Allen
Dean David Allen

research. For most of us who do research, pushing our brain cells to the limit is not like work—it’s really fun! I’ll be honest with you: most of what I know, I didn’t learn in undergraduate and graduate school; I learned it through research.

I am a firm believer that the intellectual abilities of faculty are significantly increased by the challenges of doing research, and these abilities translate directly into the classroom. In fact, there is a significant body of research in the United States indicating that faculty who do research make better teachers. Wouldn’t you rather have your child learn from a professor who is a leader in the world in his or her discipline? The notion that “research” faculty are not interested in education is simply not supported by the evidence: most faculty, even those who do research, are genuinely interested in imparting the wisdom they have acquired to students, and those faculty who do research generally have more intellectual property to impart.

In a recent newspaper article, I read that Nebraska has the slowest growing economy of any state in the country. This is simply unacceptable. We who live in this state cannot compete nationally, much less internationally, if we don’t fuel the Nebraska business community with supercharged leaders. The single most important ingredient we in the academic community need to pass on to our students is intellectual property, because it is precisely this that fuels the economy. Research performed by our faculty is the means whereby we acquire that intellectual property that will be passed on to tomorrow’s leaders.

-David H. Allen