I was struck by this article at CNBC, not only for its positive points, but for what it misses. It's a case of "close, but no cigar".
By investing in liberal arts graduates, we gain people with human-centered skills who can approach problems in entirely new ways, contributing to out-of-the-box thinking in a digital age.
Liberal arts graduates bring a depth and breadth of knowledge from across the humanities and social sciences that complement the hard skills of engineers and data scientists. And in a world that increasingly interacts with technology in every facet of daily life, it's increasingly important that technology reflects the world around us.
When a customer visits a website or withdraws money from an ATM, we need technology that not only works but works for the user. How do the people of the world interface with the technology they use every day? Is it user-friendly? Visually pleasing? These questions, and so many others, are not nice-to-haves. They're critically important to the success of technological endeavors, and they are answered in the affirmative only when a diverse group of individuals designs it in the first place.
. . .
We know liberal arts students know how to learn. Now all they need is the opportunity. That's why we need a nationwide model of workforce development that recognizes private enterprise must play the leading role in embracing workforce transformation. As employers, we can provide the training and tools necessary to build the workforce of the future. By broadening the aperture on the candidates we recruit to include students with a high "learnability index," we can solve the talent crisis and improve our products and services at the same time.
There's more at the link.
What the author appears to miss, almost completely, is the original purpose of a liberal arts degree. It was supposed to provide an education rather than vocational training; to broaden the mind, to teach students critical thinking, and to enable them to assess different disciplines - history, language, art, etc. - in the context of a broad view of human civilization as a whole. The initial degree was deliberately designed to take in multiple disciplines. Only in post-graduate degrees did the student focus on one particular field of study. My Bachelor of Arts degree had English and History majors, economics and philosophy as sub-majors, and several other subjects.
I've always been grateful to my parents for their insistence that my first university degree should be focused on education, rather than training. (Confused over the difference? My dad explained it by asking, "When you have children, do you want them to receive sex education or sex training at school?" That summed it up very clearly, IMHO!) Time enough, they assured me, to focus on specialization once I had an education - but unless I got that education first, I'd never have the opportunity again, because the higher education system makes it very hard to turn back from a narrow path of study into a broader one. I certainly found that true when I switched career paths from business to religion, and studied to become a pastor. By then I had three university qualifications, and starting over at Bachelors degree level was tricky, to put it mildly - I had to get my head out of the business and technology "focus" and back into a broader perspective.
The trouble is, today's liberal arts faculties are so politically correct and academically wishy-washy that I'm not sure they're worth much at all. There are obvious exceptions, of course. I'm very taken with Thomas Aquinas College in California; it's the kind of institution I wish I could have attended. If I had children, I'd strive with might and main to send them there. Hillsdale College in Michigan also looks very interesting. However, they're the exceptions that prove the rule as far as the broad mass of liberal arts faculties are concerned. Classes promoting sexual deviance of every possible description (and a few that aren't physically possible at all, as far as I can tell); courses in subjects that aren't so much esoteric as idiotic; and an intolerance for all except the most inclusive, most politically correct claptrap, seem to mark too many liberal arts institutions these days (cough*Oberlin*cough - also see here).
So, yes, I absolutely agree that liberal arts education has a very important place in today's society, in business as well as everywhere else. The important thing is to make sure that it really does cover the liberal arts, and it really is an education. Absent those guarantees . . . it'll be worthless.