One of the most powerful outcomes of education, and I think especially of higher education, is how exposure to a wide range of people, ideas, knowledge and experiences fundamentally shapes how we understand the world. To fully take advantage of the joy and wonder of a holistic education, we encourage our students to remain open and receptive to all it has to offer. We celebrate when novelty or complexity is encountered, first and foremost, with curiosity. And we reaffirm that every single member of the DU community contributes meaningfully to our collective experience.
Proof of the power of this approach is easily found within this issue of University of Denver Magazine. Changing demographics, values, generational preferences and more can have profound impacts on society. The article on America’s shifting religious landscape dives into these factors, using the expertise and research of our faculty members (here). The approach these scholars use to learn more about this challenging and complex topic is a model for our students. Our faculty are curious and open to whatever they might discover. They ask hard but important questions. They know that expanding knowledge begins first with recognizing what we do not yet know or understand. This is the beating heart of a practice of intellectual inquiry, and it is what we want every DU student to be able to implement across their own lives and careers.
For many students, our exceptional study abroad program is another distinguishing factor of the University. It is, undeniably, a signature DU Experience. The rewards of studying abroad are myriad. It generates empathy and understanding. It contextualizes history and culture. It offers untold opportunities for connection, mentorship and community building. It makes the dizzying breadth and depth of all the world can teach us that much easier to grasp and internalize. Exposure to lives so like their own—but also so meaningfully distinct—prepares our students to live and work in an ever-connected world in some ways defined by its variety.
And without question, our community is made stronger and more interesting by our incredible international student population. We learn how DU attracts students the world over and what they experience once they join us on campus (read here). The students that come to DU from across the globe bring so much value to our community. Their perspectives, ideas and creativity deeply enrich the learning experience here at DU. And, I believe, they take back with them knowledge and skills well earned from a rigorous DU education.
For all our students, we hope their DU experience is just one fundamental building block supporting them for a lifetime of learning. And I think curiosity is fundamental to their success.