I have been thinking a great deal about the value of higher education, particularly the value of a degree from a “Highest Research” Carnegie Classification like K-State.

A recent editorial in  Science  magazine spoke to the importance of research integrity and how that affects our students’ preparation for their careers. Research integrity is a topic that can be introduced and amplified in our classrooms, laboratories, and studios — learning how we trust our observations and build trust among coworkers and colleagues is part of our K-State ethos, it’s part of the value of getting a K-State degree. This important value emanates from our land-grant heritage and is best tested and ultimately embraced by students being educated here. It is critical that we continue to promote integrity in all we do.

Integrity is a double-edged sword. As learned people, we should strive for unbiased observations as we test our hypotheses, build new knowledge, create new objects; however, we are human beings who come with biases. Some are explicit and some are implicit.  Jeremy Berg wrote his editorial in the September 1 issue of Science  about acknowledging and managing bias in all we do — teaching, listening, interviewing, and performing research. Several “ implicit association tests” have served as useful tools for each of us to understand our own implicit biases. Implicit biases affect how we view subjects for research, including animal and plant subjects, which in turn may affect our research outcomes. Implicit biases also affect how we view staff, students, and faculty in the hiring process. I encourage you to learn about your implicit biases so that you may be confident in your observations and selections.

Veritas is the Harvard motto, but there is no reason why it can’t be ours at K-State, too. 

— Peter