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Facione: Essays On Liberal Learning and Institutional Budgeting

Dr. Peter A. (Pete) Facione brings three decades of higher education leadership experience as a Provost, Dean, Director and Department Chair. His higher education writings include essays on budgeting, governance, liberal education, outcomes assessment, faculty evaluation, and critical thinking. He has consulted on-site at over sixty institutions around the country. To discuss your academic leadership development program needs with Dr. Facione contact him directly through at pfacione@measuredreasons.com

Learning for Heads, Hands, and Hearts: Random Rants and Reflections on Liberal Education

Facione, PA. Liberal Education (2001), Vol. 87 (3) Summer. pp.16-21.

This essay is a series of reflections this long serving dean, and former Chair of the American Conference of Academic Deans, on undergraduate and graduate level studies and on the concept of liberal education as we enter the 21st Century, some optimistic, some critical, some adventuresome. Here are four of the dozen or so.

  • "The only education worth pursuing is how to think wisely and how to live virtuously, harmoniously, and productively with others and the world around."
  • "Reasons for Being. Leaders. In contrast to managers, know that articulating a clear and compelling vision for the institution must come before, and not after, each department, program, and school stakes out their necessarily subordinate, divergent, and inconsistent aspirations. Not sure where to begin? Get a smart, fair-minded,and clear-thinking group of opinion-shapers together and start with the assumption that you have the authority and the means to transform the institution Then ask, whom should you enroll as students and what would they have learned after completing their studies with you? What problems would you use institutional resources to investigate as scholars and teachers individually and as an institution in the larger context of our public mission? How might you enrich the health and life of the community in which we exist as an institution; in other words, of what real value to the rest of the society should you seek to be? Since your group does not have that authority or those resources within its control, the next step is to expand the conversation to those who do. Educators educate. Why limit the use of your talents to only your students?"
  • "Head, Hand, and Heart. Liberal education aims not only at the head, but at the hands and at the heart as well We seek to graduate students who will certainly be more than competent in their knowledge, but also persons with the skills and willingness of mind to use that knowledge. We want to graduate students of conscience, who realize that democracy and mutual respect will flounder unless they become involved in their communities and in fostering the common good. And we want to graduate students of compassion,who remember that in the end only one person out of a hundred in this world will have enjoyed the good fortune to have earned a college degree. And that this fact, if none other, along with the sensitivities and character that can be developed through a liberal education, should challenge them to use that good fortune,that blessing, to seek to make a difference for the good of the other ninety-nine."
  • "Liberating Education. Maybe liberal arts and sciences education is in crisis, maybe not. Then again, so what? What's important is that we provide the kind of education that liberates the mind and heart. It would not bother me if that were to become a feature of all of higher education, including professional school training In fact, if it did, if liberal education, that is, education that was truly liberating, were to become distinguishable from graduate and professional education or from K-12 education, then forget talk of crisis, for it would be a cause for joy."


Facione, PA, Chronicle of Higher Education, 2009.

Exactly what the title says, a direct, forceful and creative set of ideas to increase revenues and slash institutional budgets. But, unlike other commentators, Facione expands the "range of the possible" and focuses attention where it belongs - on achieving competitive advantage in the increasingly competitive higher education market place. What are the basic principles that campus leaders need to follow when facing a budget crises? How many of the more than thirty ideas suggested here has your institution considered?

"Getting Support and Budget for Your Great Idea"

Project Kaleidoscope Essays by Peter A. Facione, published in Volume IV: What Works, What Matters, What Lasts. Written with faculty and department chairs in mind, this two-part essay is a straight talking, practical guide to gaining financial and leadership support for a project or idea from decision makers at the departmental, school and institutional levels of the typical university or college.

Peter A. Facione, published in Volume IV: What Works, What Matters, What Lasts.

Project Kaleidoscope Essays by Peter A. Facione, published in Volume IV: What Works, What Matters, What Lasts.

The Philosophy and Psychology of Institutional Budgeting

by Peter A. Facione., Strategic consultant and writer, and former academic department chair, dean and university provost.

Budgeting at too many colleges and universities amounts to muddling from one year to the next. This is a poor enough way to function in good times; it can be fatal to an institution in bad economic times. Even when the national economy is strong, few worthy of being called leaders in higher education are genuinely satisfied with their institution’s budget process. Many faculty, administrators, presidents, and trustees believe that too much valuable time and energy is consumed in a budget process that, in the end, seems to achieve nothing other than extending the status quo for another year. People with institutional vision lament lost opportunities. Many smart, dedicated, and responsible people become frustrated that major questions of genuine long-term importance to the future of the institution continue not to be adequately addressed. It is axiomatic that all systems are perfectly designed to produce exactly the results being attained. If the budgeting process at your institution is working well, you are fortunate. Perhaps your institution is already applying the philosophical and psychological principles described in this paper.

There are five essentials:

  • Involve people whose authority derives from responsible expertise.
  • Understand human decision-making risks, and guard against them. 
  • Address questions of long-term importance to future of the institution.
  • Root out budget implementation practices that have negative results.
  • Structure positive budget incentives for all levels of the organization.

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