Global problems that have the potential to be existential are of such complexity that no one field, agency, country, or foundation can solve them.  Systems solutions to those problems by definition require an unprecedented degree of interdisciplinary collaboration to solve problems not solvable within single disciplines.  By banding together internationally, universities may be the best social structure in society that would overall be capable of rising to the challenge of finding systems solutions to global problems, and by a decentralized organization be potentially immune to less-than-beneficent influences.  Participating in those solutions is a moral responsibility of Universities, a useful focus for the future of Universities, and motivates future funding for their role in addressing global problems and making the world a better place.  I propose that Penn State faculty and community play a key role in interdisciplinary approaches to solving global problems and that we outline current and potential activities that will enable such activity. We can be purposeful in developing a culture that maximizes our interdisciplinary effectiveness.

Keith Cheng |  College of Medicine