The SCTI is a peer-to-peer learning initiative aimed at raising the level of students’ critical thinking skills across disciplines. To achieve this goal we are initiating a project designed to: 1) encourage participants to self-reflect on their teaching philosophy and practices, 2) promote an environment of openness to observation of and dialogue about teaching, and 3) stimulate pedagogical innovation and experimentation in the service of improving our students’ learning. We seek not only to provide participants with information regarding best practices for teaching critical thinking, but also to encourage and support them as they integrate those ideas into their pedagogy.

As facilitators of the SCTI we proposed this project because: 1) Multiple assessments have demonstrated deficits in the critical thinking (CT) skills of our students (e.g., College CLA and NSSE results). 2) Research strongly suggests that critical thinking skills and habits are best taught through the deliberate integration of CT content into subject area courses. 3) Faculty can benefit from professional development opportunities to effectively infuse CT content into their courses and to assess the impact of these efforts.

The specific objectives of the SCTI are to:

1.      Enhance knowledge and skills in critical thinking instruction.

2.      Provide evidence-based tools for use in improving their students’ critical thinking skills.

3.      Assist with the integration of CT content into their existing or newly designed courses.

4.      Train multiple approaches to evaluating students’ CT knowledge, skills, and disposition.

5.      Initiate and sustain a supportive, nonjudgmental environment for participants to reflect on and receive feedback about their CT pedagogy (through peer observations and coaching sessions).

The Institute will host a two-day summer workshop on CT pedagogy on August 1 & 2, 2013 with a follow up mid-semester progress meeting on November 2. The training will be provided to up to 12 faculty participants who have agreed to initiate a rigorous CT theme into their individual courses during the fall 2012 or spring 2013 semesters. Participants in the SCTI will receive evidence-based instruction on CT pedagogy, a syllabus construction workshop for integrating CT content into courses, a follow up group session during the fall of 2012, and classroom observations followed by individual (confidential) “coaching” sessions with the SCTI facilitators.  Each participant will also be required to assess the effectiveness of his/her efforts in the course with a CT pre- and post-test assessment tool and to share such assessments with members of their program. These tools will be provided by the SCTI.

Participating faculty will receive a $400 stipend for participating from 9:30 – 4:00 on August 1 & 2, attending the follow-up session on November 3, and participating in classroom observation and coaching sessions. Lunch will be provided. As an added benefit, SCTI participants can apply for a grant from the SCTI to attend the 2013 International Conference on Critical Thinking in Berkeley, CA. Based on application quality, two participants will be selected to attend the conference and join the faculty of the SCTI for the 2013 – 2014 academic year. Details of the application process will be provided at the SCTI workshops in August.  

 The SCTI is supported by a grant from the 2020 Steering Committee.

SCTI Team:

Jed Morfit (Art)

Bill Reynolds (Social Work)

Mark Berg (Psychology)

2012  Faculty Participants:

Donnetrice Allison
Bill Cabin
Guia Calicdan-Apostle
Cindy King
David King
Michael Rodriguez
Sara Martino
Maryann McLoughlin
David Lechner
Mary Padden
Dina Yankelewitz