I'm not quite sure where Dean Fitzgerald is coming from with this editorial. It's not as if every accredited ABET school doesn't already teach humanities as part of its engineering curriculum. ...This strikes me as yet another in a very long series of not-so-subtle digs at STEM curriculums.
I think you miss two important points of her essay.
The first is that she is at MIT. She makes the point that MIT has already "drunk the kool aid" of the importance of the humanities and that even in a highly "STEM" institution like that, Humanities are considered crucial. In fact MIT has only 6 "schools", and Humanities is one of them on par with Engineering and Science.
But MIT can get away with setting its own standards, and that leads to her other point: that there is a strong emerging fetishism with STEM, and with degrees that train (as opposed to educate) you with "skills" that soon become irrelevant. A desire for more science and engineering graduates does seem like a good thing given where the USA is right now, and we have evidence from the sputnik scare that it probably can have a good result. But if we fetishize it at the expense of the humanities, we won't get what we want (a stronger, more dynamic society that helps everyone).
She's not advocating that, say, Bowdoin adopt MIT's requirement that humanities majors take multivariate calculus, E&M, do lab work etc. just like everyone else. But she is saying that if even one the most prestigious "STEM" schools considers the liberal arts crucial, perhaps they are. And the fact that someone from MIT is writing it, rather than someone from a liberal arts-only school, makes it a more convincing argument.
In too many humanities courses, it's not about critical thinking, it's about figuring out the personal beliefs of the professor, because in many cases your grade depends on not offending those beliefs.
There are poorly taught classes in Engineering and especially CS as well. Personally, all the thermo I took at MIT was worthless and I had to learn it all over again in my 40s.
Yes, it's hard to identify crappy liberal arts teaching, especially when some of the interesting work does challenge orthodox thinking (since of course some of the crappiest also challenge orthodoxy). But really is that all that different from an engineering class that teaches only the stuff that's easiest to teach? It can be objectively valid, yet useless in the real world.
Note: I have a course 21 (humanities) degree from MIT.