EDITORIAL: A Commitment to Arts and Sciences

Let’s play the word association game. I say Villanova, what do you say? Basketball? Business school? You probably don’t say “liberal arts” even though the University was founded in 1842 as a college for the study of liberal arts. A lot of things have changed in the last 165 years or so, including Villanova’s burgeoning commitment to more vocationally oriented educations.

In the past 10 years, three out of the four colleges within the University, as well as the School of Law, have experienced significant success as a result of facility renovation and curriculum changes. The College of Engineering dedicated CEER in 1998 and is now ranked No. 9 by U.S. News and World Report. The School of Nursing will see its facility completed this fall and has been consistently recognized as a Center for Excellence in Nursing Education. The School of Law will have a $20 million facility in its backyard in two years and has received much more institutional recognition since its plans to expand and change were unveiled. Bartley Hall was renovated in 2002, and, as we all know, the School of Business was recently ranked No. 13 by Business Week in a list of top undergraduate business schools, above rivals Georgetown and Boston College.

Rankings for one college are conspicuously missing, and that is the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

SAC was dedicated in 1992, but the Saint Augustine Center houses mostly faculty and department offices, not classrooms. There are plans to rehab Tolentine, but that is after many other impending renovation plans are completed.

Sadly at Villanova, liberal arts students really have no building with which to identify. Science majors have Mendel, but where do the poli sci majors hang out? Their classes are spread all around campus, whereas students in the others schools have their respective buildings, or those that are in the works.

The core liberal arts curriculum has not been changed in the last 14 years, while every other college has refined its core class regimen in order to remain current and competitive with other universities.

Are we losing our liberal arts identity as the other colleges are experiencing rankings success while the arts and sciences lag behind?

It seems as though we are spending more time and money on the more technically focused schools because more specific skills are what appears to be demanded of college grads in the work world.

We must be careful not to neglect our roots as an Augustinian University and improve the reason for which Villanova was founded: the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.