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Northwestern University

An Adaptable Mindset

The Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences thrives on intellectual diversity. The very premise of our interdisciplinary arts and sciences degree is that students benefit from analyzing an enormous range of materials from an expansive array of perspectives. This expansiveness distinguishes the arts and sciences as an educational structure.

Here, breadth meets depth through majors, minors, and concentrations, as students discover and explore connections between disciplines. Faculty and students develop deep knowledge as they pursue research in their areas of interest.

This robust disciplinary depth combined with interdisciplinary breadth promotes intellectual flexibility and adaptive thinking. Undergraduates at Weinberg College must test their mettle across the arts, humanities, and social and natural sciences, learning through a variety of different frameworks of inquiry. This adventurous interdisciplinarity builds an adaptable mindset and habits of thought that support the development of personal qualities such as courage, curiosity and integrity.

Our research enterprise is fueled by the curiosity and drive of our faculty, who aim to expand our ways of understanding nature, culture, and society. Research necessarily develops along pre-existing paths, even as it seeks to discover new knowledge. Ideally these paths will produce a rich set of trajectories and intersections so that students, faculty and the public can benefit from meaningful answers to complex questions, inspiring new generations to pursue entirely new sets of questions and discover new answers.

Put simply, the intellectual diversity at Weinberg College — in both teaching and research — is our greatest strength.

This diversity — the cornerstone of our success—reflects the diversity of experience that faculty and students bring to their work. It is for this reason above all that we must ensure that in admissions and in hiring we seek to invite individuals from a range of backgrounds to join the Northwestern community. Only in this way will we be able to realize our fundamental learning objective for our students: the development of an adaptable mindset that will prepare our students well for success after graduation.

As we all embark on the adventure that will be 2016, it is my goal that the College expand its ability to offer the Northwestern community an intellectual space that welcomes a diversity of opinions, ideas, and methods. Such a rich intellectual ecology is essential to the vitality of our community.

Adrian Randolph

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