At Washington University, we could not be more proud of our brilliant, high-achieving and dedicated faculty. As we read their stories in Washington Magazine, or when we are fortunate enough to learn from them in person, it’s evident that they are passionate about contributing their gifts to create a healthier, more equitable world. To spend time with them is to connect with a feeling of possibility for what the future might hold. And that feeling is all the more palpable this summer as momentum builds for our “Here and Next” strategic initiatives.
At the heart of our Here and Next vision is a steadfast commitment to fostering interdisciplinary research and collaboration. This paradigm shift in how we approach research and education will require us to go beyond lip service to change the way we recognize and incentivize faculty, elevate programs that are poised for excellence and establish new pathways to growth. And as we do so, we’ll continue to attract more of the world’s top scholars and researchers who will bring their talents to WashU, further accelerating our momentum.
By fostering collaboration among students, faculty and researchers across disciplines, we are creating a rich tapestry of knowledge that amplifies the impact of our work. The solutions we are developing are more comprehensive, innovative and practical, with the potential to make a lasting difference in the lives of individuals and communities. Interdisciplinary research enables us to see the bigger picture, to connect the dots that might have been missed, and to create solutions that are holistic and inclusive. And when we work together, we are better able to implement those solutions quickly as threats to human and planetary health emerge.
Interdisciplinary research also is vital in preparing our students for the challenges they will face in their careers. The world they enter is one that demands adaptability, critical thinking and the ability to navigate complex problems. By engaging in interdisciplinary research, our students gain invaluable skills that transcend disciplinary boundaries. They learn to communicate across domains, collaborate with diverse teams, and embrace the uncertainty and ambiguity that come with tackling multifaceted problems. These skills not only enhance their academic experience but also equip them to become successful leaders and change-makers in their chosen fields.
As we build support and put into action the initiatives of Here and Next, we will continue to break barriers, forge new paths and shape a future that is rooted in interdisciplinary collaboration and excellence, making this approach a hallmark of Washington University. I hope you find that as exciting as I do, and I hope you’re just as proud of the excellent work of our esteemed Washington University faculty.