The U.S. must produce talented workers in order to remain competitive in an increasingly technological economy. But how, exactly, can higher-ed institutions tackle this formidable challenge as the cost of higher education soars, as student loan debt becomes burdensome, and as many students question the value of their educational investment?

During an insightful hour-long chat, five higher-ed leaders touched on college cost and affordability, the value of a liberal arts education, and how to best prepare students for tomorrow.

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Led by Charlotte Talks host Mike Collins, the audience heard from Clarence D. Armbrister, J.D., president, Johnson C. Smith University; Kandi Deitemeyer, Ph.D., president, Central Piedmont Community College; Philip L. Dubois, Ph.D., chancellor, UNC Charlotte; Daniel G. Lugo, J.D., president, Queens University of Charlotte; and Carol Quillen, Ph.D., president, Davidson College.

The full conversation can be streamed here.

1. Does the function of a liberal arts education in 21st century tie in with technical education?

Quillen: “When we think about preparing students for tech-enabled jobs of the future in all sectors, not just in tech but in any sector, you’ll have to have some technological proficiency. How do we do that? … There are programs you can do to get students ready for day 1 of any tech job independent of their major. And then we need to think about how we expand the value of a liberal arts degree, which to me is largely life-long learning and navigating the unfamiliar in an economy where those two things are going to be crucial skills. Our job is to think about how we can deliver that to more and more people, cheaply and quickly, so we can be part of the solution to this broader education challenge our society faces.”

About the Author:

Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Editorial Director, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura