Over the course of a year the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences has lots of “company”. All sorts of visitors come to visit us: guest speakers, research collaborators, prospective students, accreditation teams, subjects participating in research, community members attending lectures, professionals coming back for continuing education credit, donors, patients, high school and elementary school students, faculty candidates, attendees at special summer camps that we conduct and many others. All of this company reflects the varied missions of a university. First and foremost our job is to train students, and to do this well we need to let potential students know about our programs and we need to provide current students with the most current and relevant knowledge. Bringing in guest speakers helps us to provide an intellectually varied and stimulating environment which can broaden the horizons of our students and introduce them to professionals from the community and other universities.
Another essential mission of a university like the University of Texas at Dallas is to conduct research to develop new knowledge to improve lives. This research activity complements our student training as we develop tomorrow’s scientists and also insures that our faculty stays at the forefront of their fields. But, universities have an obligation to apply the fruits of their investigations to improve lives, and we take that obligation seriously with research currently conducted ranging from how infants learn and develop to how quality of life is best preserved as we age; from factors impacting childhood obesity to how hearing impairment impacts reading, from causes and interventions for autism to the effects of stroke on speech; and many other important areas of inquiry.
An additional important role that we have is to reach out and serve our communities. We do this in a number of ways including the provision of clinical services to a variety of patient populations, offering postgraduate training for professionals, providing public lectures, and working with community schools.
These varied roles at the University all complement one another. To do them well means continuing to bring to the university the top contributors in our fields of inquiry and training so that we are at the forefront of our fields, and also continuing to reach out to the community in a variety of ways. So while we enjoy having all the company, doing so also enhances our mission to be leaders and resources. The company makes us better and helps us continue to improve in our various missions.