Cultivate curiosity

November 20, 2008

In Frank Burnet's article "Pick'n'mix not so sweet" (6 November), he reports that his experience "has been that few things upset students more than the suggestion that it might be necessary to venture a few metres outside their specialist field". My experience suggests the complete opposite.

Universitas 21 has for the past four years run an Undergraduate Research Conference to encourage students from all disciplines to come together and share their research with those who are specifically not studying in the same field.

Feedback from this event has been overwhelmingly positive. Rather than half-heartedly "suggesting" interaction of this nature, perhaps universities should actively encourage students to take advantage of interdisciplinary opportunities that are presented to them.

In this world of Facebook and MySpace, the "carefully selected location" for social networking does not have to lie within the bricks and mortar of campus, and knowledge of life beyond history, molecular biology or whatever can surely only be a good thing.

Jane Usherwood, Secretary General, Universitas 21.

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