The undergraduate degree program is supposed to equip students with the skills needed to function in diverse setups (CSUEB n.p). A typical biology curriculum includes biology classes, chemistry classes, physics classes and general education classes (CSUEB n.p). The general education classes include humanities and biology related disciplines. However, a business related class may benefit future biology graduates. A business related course will be beneficial because the graduates will meet challenges that require managerial skills. This paper will examine the need for business and business related disciplines in a biology curriculum.
Business classes will include financial management and project management lessons. Basic financial management skills like book keeping and maintenance of financial records will suffice. In most instances, these skills are not needed by the biology graduates. However, they should have the skills in anticipation of a few instances that require the skills. Financial management skills may be needed by those who hold leadership positions.
In addition, the skills may help graduates when carrying out private transactions. Knowledge is cumulative and what does not appear useful now may become useful in future. Perhaps the most important business discipline for biologists is project management. Project management is a subspecialty of management that deals with the management of projects. In this class, learners would familiarize themselves with the management cycle, managerial skills and the project cycle. Knowing all the phases of a project is crucial because professional biologists often take part in major research projects. All projects must go through all phases of the project cycle.
The nature of the project does not matter. However, in some instances the cycle may be modified to give room for special considerations. A project management class will also include risk and risk management lessons. All projects are associated with certain risks that may derail or delay the project. All project managers should identify all the risks associated with the project and formulate mitigation measures early. Biology students will learn these skills and apply them in future when needed. A project management class may also include project financing. It is important for project managers to know where to get funds to run their projects.
Business and related disciplines will equip the graduates with certain skills that will assist them to fit into the job market. All professionals need business skills and biologists are not an exception. Project management and supply chain management are among the most useful business disciplines. For instance, biologists often undertake long term research projects that require managerial skills. Like other projects, research projects also go through all the project phases.
Biologists need project management skills to successfully complete the projects. For instance, a large research project could face certain risks. The risks can derail the project if the lead biologists do not have risk management skills. The project managers should anticipate these risks and formulate mitigation measures in advance (Milton et al 318). Straying from the original plan can increase the project costs.
Biologists work in interdisciplinary settings. Training biologists to function in these setups should be a priority. In addition, technology has increased the scope of biologists’ work. Ability to function in an interdisciplinary team increases ones chances of getting employed. Employers look for employees who can work well with other people. Many organizations look for team players. A project management class will equip students with managerial skills. Managerial skills enable biologists to be team players. Group dynamics are emphasized in management classes. This will enable biologists to appreciate individual differences and know how to positively exploit the differences.
A class in management will also improve the overall efficiency of the students. Managerial skills help the learners to plan their time well. It will also enable students to notice areas that may lead to inefficiencies. Of importance here is time management. In some instances, students spend a lot of time on noncore activities. This may make a big difference in a student’s life. Efficiency of the students may also benefit the college in the long run. For instance, if all students finish their work on time, lecturers may get enough time to assess the work. This may free some time for remedial classes.
The inclusion of this course should be done in such a way that it does not take away time from the core subjects. It can be covered in portions spanning the entire degree program. It may also be covered as a separate elective course. However, this may give rise to a situation in which some students opt out. It may also be covered as a single course with certain number of units that must be covered before a student graduates.
This paper examined the need for a business related course in the biology majors program. Some classes that may be included in the curriculum are management, financial management, and project management. Skills obtained from these classes may be needed by the biologists at their places of work. Many organizations cherish team players. Management classes may impart this value on the students.
California State University East Bay 2013. Web.
Milton, John, Ami Radunskaya, Arthur Lee, Lisette de Pillis and Diana Bartlett. “Team Research at the Biology–Mathematics Interface: Project Management Perspectives.” Life Sci Educ. 9.3(2010): 316–322. Web.