UNCW needs to show realistic application alongside theory

James England

One of the aspects that is tiresome in college is the lack of direct hands-on practice to the course materials. I feel that leaving out the essential “how-to”s of academic theories and philosophy is akin to learning all about the theory of combustion engines but leaving still not being able to change a tire. I would like to see courses that specialize not only in applying theory to reality, but also using those theories to make thriving businesses in the Wilmington area.

For instance, I would like to see a course that discusses wine distilling and small scale production of beer. The fundamentals of the process of fermentation and anaerobic reactions could be readily applied to the local community. Wilmington has a famous history dealing with Scuppernong and Muscadine grapes, which are ideal for a variety of wines. We also have a plethora of vineyards in the local area. It would be great to apply the science of fermentation to producing wine for sale back into the community. The university could turn a profit, the students could get valuable hands-on experience ranging from botany, organic chemistry to business and accounting. One of the best aspects would be the utilization of local resources to make a refined product for sale in the community.

Another course I would like to see is the production of bio-fuels from various sources. Brunswick Community College has recently established a biotechnology curriculum encompassing the process of using algae to produce diesel fuel. Why shouldn’t UNCW have a similar program incorporated as an option to biology and chemistry majors? Why shouldn’t UNCW grant the conditions necessary for their students to be valuable participants in their local communities?

I feel that the purpose of higher education is to provide enlightenment and insight into the theories and principles that govern our planet and then send the graduates into the world to apply and utilize those philosophies. UNCW can do more to enable this. Additionally, by incorporating local produce, materials, and eco-friendly technologies, UNCW has the potential to generate profits and revenue to fund these programs.