But this divide is not necessarily an unbridgeable chasm. Advocates for the liberal arts do not deny the need for practical training, and business – at least to some extent – recognizes the value of the liberal arts.
Arie de Geus spent his career at Royal Dutch/Shell and in his book The Living Company he mentions a book he read forty years ago by German philosopher and psychologist William Stern. De Geus says, “I cannot point to any specific decision that emerged from it, but it colored every decision I took and every move I made.”
Advocates of the liberal arts know in their hearts that their education has made a huge difference to how they think and what they see.
Seeking Out Liberal Arts Graduates
If businesses value the liberal arts you would expect companies to seek out graduates from these disciplines. University placement officers, who are responsible for helping students find jobs, believe that liberal arts students do have skills that businesses need.
Dawn Legault, a placement officer at Carleton University in Ottawa says, “Liberal arts graduates have valuable skills like research, writing, verbal communication, and critical thinking. Businesses seek graduates with these skills irrespective of their degree."
Paul Smith, a placement officer at Queens University in Kingston echoes these ideas saying, “The Conference Board of Canada created an essential skills profile for new graduates and these mirror very closely the skills someone learns in the liberal arts.”
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