Professor’s dedication key in achieving UK’s goals

Kernel Editorial Board

There are plenty of ways to measure the impact a university is having on the outside world.

Geography professor Stan Brunn’s trip to Tajikistan this week won’t show up when UK measures how far it has come according to the top-20 plan, but his trip will deliver results beyond the traditional sort.

By helping to monitor the parliamentary elections in the former Soviet republic, Brunn is ensuring his students will be able to learn about an experience like no other, while at the same time performing a service to the people of Tajikistan.

It’s a nice story; the kind that can enrich a college campus in a way few things can. Having professors with experiences like this is what can engage students in the classroom and show them the real-world applications to what they’re learning.

“When he comes back, (Brunn) will have some great stories to tell about how you get democracy going,” said UK geography chairwoman Susan Roberts in a Feb. 21 Kernel article.

Brunn may be playing a small part in bringing democracy to Tajikistan, and his impact on UK’s community may be minimal. After all, he’s just one professor. But there are more important things than making sure UK measures up as a top-20 university.

If students aren’t learning and professors aren’t applying themselves outside of the university community, a ranking doesn’t mean anything.

Beyond just having great stories to tell his students, Brunn is also fulfilling a higher obligation by helping to bring democracy to a place that lacked it for so long. Professors that can use their knowledge to help the world around them are doing a good job of sharing what they’ve spent a lifetime learning, and that’s the most important thing they can do.

Even if it doesn’t show up in the top-20 plan, having professors like Brunn take on projects like this should be just as important to the university as any number or ranking.