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The importance of a balanced education
By Spencer O. Hess
Ms.Doiron, two weeks ago you vented your frustrations with Quinnipiac’s core curriculum that requires non-science majors to take a science class with a laboratory component. You very clearly stated that while you have nothing against science or scientists you haven’t taken up arms against the mandatory laboratory section. I wish to offer you a counterpoint as to why these classes are beneficial to all students regardless of major.
The purpose of the laboratory section is to familiarize students with the process that fundamentally makes science what it is. Science is the process of questioning and discovery through experimentation. It is important that students understand this or they miss the entire point of what science is all about and how it works. It is through this questioning and discovery that gives the diagrams you said you would prefer to use as a replacement to lab validity. Without the hands on component laboratory offers students only get half the picture.
Why is this important? Well without this understanding, the country ends up with leaders who make decisions that impact us directly on subjects they have little to no credible knowledge about. For instance Congressman Larry Bucshon (R-Indiana) during a House Committee on Science, Space and Technology meeting in September 2014, expressed that he did not believe scientific literature on climate change because scientist’s careers depend on those reports saying the climate is changing. If Congressman Bucshon actually understood the scientific method he would understand that all scientific reports leave exposure for criticism and disapproval by the scientific community at large. Bearing in mind that this is a sitting Congressman on a committee whose job is to pass laws based on an understanding of science and its guiding principles.
Students in order to be better leaders in our world need the most well–rounded education that they can get. College is a time to learn the skills needed to perform in a career of our choosing, but should not be an excuse to be ignorant of the other academic studies. No one is asking you to be the next greatest expert on the heart or to know all of “…various numbers, statistics and a bunch of confusing scientific jargon…” but if you are told by your editor-in-chief in your future career in journalism to write a report on a new heart treatment that involves a basic understand of heart anatomy you might think yourself lucky that you know the difference between the right and left ventricle.
As for your complaints about how, “…these entry-level classes…are painful. They are full of information that is complicated and very hard to understand…” No one should ever take a class at a university level and expect it to be a breeze. Just like with everything in life; some things you just have to work harder on.