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

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 essays included on this PDF.

  • “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.”

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