Science, Technology, and Catholic Identity in the Education of Professionals
The reception of Ex corde ecclesiae has been uneven across the disciplines, with scant interest in distinctly Catholic pedagogies outside of the humanities. This essay argues that Catholic universities can distinguish themselves by how they present science and technology in their curriculum by drawing from the interdisciplinary field of “science, technology & society,” or STS. We argue that discussions about Catholic identity, science, and human values can and should extend into the curriculum while simultaneously safeguarding academic freedom, and that this can readily be done in professional schools, such as law and engineering. We outline the contributions that STS as a field could offer Catholic higher education. We discuss how teaching science and technologies as social forces can provide the intellectual and reflective space necessary for critical reflection on their moral dimensions, in society and in the emerging professional lives of students. We argue that STS can help Catholic universities express the Catholic tradition of linking knowledge and wisdom, and thus has the potential to advance the distinctly Catholic character of universities. To substantiate our claims, we present three examples of STS in Catholic higher education curriculum: undergraduate core curriculum, law school instruction, and frugal innovation in engineering education.