Bridging the Boundary between Science and Business

By Fred Ledley.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Concern about the adequacy of America’s scientific and technical workforce for an innovation-driven economy has led to a redoubling of efforts to graduate more students from postsecondary STEM programs. Less attention has focused on the role of STEM education for business professionals who are essential partners in generating economic value from scientific and technical advances. This work reviews the role of business professionals in science and technology-based enterprises and considers the role of required undergraduate science curriculum in business. A survey of 59 leading business schools shows that the average requirement is two courses in science, but that at around 20% of schools, students can graduate without taking any courses in science or engineering. Only three schools offer courses or course sequences developed specifically to meet the needs of business students. Fewer science courses are required at schools where the general education requirement is tailored for business students. A survey of business school deans reveals that there is often little communication between business and science faculties or industry in the design of the undergraduate science curriculum. There should be concerted focus on developing undergraduate science curricula that prepare business graduates to be effective partners in advancing science and technology in a competitive global economy.

Keywords: Undergraduate Science Education, Management of Technology, Business Education

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp.171-194. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.441MB).

Dr. Fred Ledley

Professor and Chair, Department of Natural and Applied Sciences, Bentley University, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA

Fred D. Ledley, M.D. is a Professor of Natural and Applied Sciences, Professor of Management, and the Director of the Center for the Integration of Science and Industry at Bentley University, in Waltham, MA. A recognized opinion leader in the integration of genomic science with medicine, business, society, and education, he has authored more than 150 papers on fields ranging from gene therapy and personalized medicine to bioethics and science education. He has served on the faculty of the Baylor College of Medicine and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and has extensive experience in the biopharmaceutical industry as the founder and senior executive of several biotechnology companies. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, the Board of Overseers of Boston Children’s Hospital, as an organizer for an NIH-funded “Genetics, Religion, and Ethics” program and as Core Scholar of the New Visions of Nature, Science, and Religion program at UC Santa Barbara. His research focuses on integrating an understanding of technology evolution into the management of technology as well the development of science curriculum targeted to the needs of business students and innovation-driven enterprises. He is also the author of the book, Sputnik’s Child which recalls how the exploration of space inspired the baby boomer generation and an age of technology.