Knowledge Without Borders

Robert V. Duncan

Dr. Robert Duncan,
Vice Chancellor for Research

From its earliest days, the University of Missouri has welcomed the arrival of scientists, scholars and students from around the globe. The reason is simple: International faculty and students bring to our campus tremendous intellectual and creative energy. Their talents, ambitions and accomplishments show that human achievement knows no boundaries, even as their participation in the University community encourages us all to look outward toward the possibility and promise of the wider world.

Still, as the cover story in this edition of Illumination shows, issues related to the movement of people can be highly fraught. In their desperation to escape poverty and oppression, millions of migrants seek refuge in wealthy countries, straining the capacity of even the most welcoming of nations to absorb them. Some settled citizens fear immigrants will dilute or destroy their own traditions; others are concerned that new arrivals will claim scarce jobs and educational opportunities.

While not discounting these misgivings, MU’s Michael Ugarte, a romance languages scholar who is himself the son of immigrants, argues that by better understanding the purposes and motivations driving migrants to our shores—as well as the struggles they endure while here—we can more easily learn to recognize the upside of immigration.

Other stories in this edition explore how knowledge and experience can be brought to bear on similarly difficult issues. Jane McElroy, for example, has spent almost a decade gathering data that could finally determine whether the toxic metal cadmium contributes to cancer risks in women. You’ll also meet Jason Hubbart, a research scientist who is literally wading into Columbia’s Hinkson Creek to determine much-disputed pollution levels, and Melissa Mitchum, a geneticist whose work has the potential to defeat one of the nation’s costliest agricultural pests. In addition, you’ll learn more about Jason Grissom, a scholar of public affairs who is tackling one of the thorniest questions in K-12 education: What makes an effective school principal?

These MU faculty members, along with the many others featured on these pages, are world-class thinkers working on issues of global concern. That they are doing this alongside colleagues and students from across the planet affirms that the frontiers of knowledge, like the spirit of our species, can never be circumscribed.

Robert V. Duncan

Vice Chancellor for Research

Back to Top

Post a Comment

Reader comments are reviewed by Illumination staff before they are posted, so please keep your message civil and appropriate. All fields are required.

– Will not be published

Back to Top

University of Missouri

Published by the Office of Research

© 2017 The Curators of the University of Missouri