LETTERS: Why arts, business students need science

In her opinion piece “Science requirements irk to the core,” Matilda Swartz has not only missed the point of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences academic requirement for two science labs, she is on the slippery slope of being over-specialized in her academic focus and under-prepared for the communications profession that she is pursuing.

The study of science is not an exercise in credit garnering, nor is it irrelevant to those who want to concentrate on mastering the arts. Rather, science is literally at the foundation of most of what runs the known world.

When students spend a semester or two in the lab – any lab – learning the language, methods and process of science, they are learning how humans discover, use and preserve the world around us.

That may seem, as Ms. Swartz says, that Villanova is merely trying to mold well-rounded students who are wrapped in golden and rare knowledge. Not so. The current requirement for science courses by College of Liberal Arts & Sciences students is to prepare them for business and the world they are about to enter.

Those business majors that Ms. Swartz envies for their fewer science course requirements will likely end up in a business setting that is literally based on the discoveries, actions and thinking of scientists. And those marketers, accountants and managers will do much better for themselves, for their future companies and for the consumers of their products if they have a clue as to how scientists think and how they develop the next new breakthrough product or the next important theory.

Spending time on bacteria stains is really about spending time in a lab environment, thinking for a short time as a scientist thinks. It’s hard work. Even communication majors, who may end up in public relations firms, will likely work with clients who have scientists and their work as the core value of their company. She would do well to be prepared.

-Courtney Dillion, class of 2011