Critical thinking is an essential skill for college students to develop. Effective inquiry, analysis, and synthesis rely on the ability to view information from a variety of perspectives, critique ideas, and construct logical arguments to support one’s intellectual assertions. By the middle of their first semester of college, students have been exposed to a variety of intellectual ideas and have undoubtedly been asked to challenge their preconceived perspectives of the world. Furthermore, in the context of a liberal arts education, students are compelled to explore subject-matter from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, in order to formulate a more integrated understanding of the world around them. It is essential that faculty offer concrete tools for critical and integrated learning in order to cultivate students’ academic success. Likewise, this offers students opportunities to explore a variety of disciplines available to them, in order to make more informed decisions about their academic and career pathways. The purpose of this unit is to introduce students to the importance of critical thinking and to equip them with tools for critical inquiry. Students will also learn the meaning and value of a liberal arts education.
After completing this module, you should be able to ...
- Define critical thinking and its role in college-level academic work.
- Construct basic questions that challenge the assumptions of academic work you have read.
- Describe the function and value of a liberal arts education.
Preparation for Class
Please prepare for class by doing the following PRIOR to class.
- Read William Cronon’s “Only Connect” … come prepared with an understanding of Cronon’s 10 qualities for a liberally education person.
- Read What is a liberal arts educaion?
- Read 5 reasons why you need a liberal arts education
We will do the following during class.
- Attend a panel discussion about liberal education. [First hour]
- Reflect on the panel discussion and your readings [Second hour]
After Class Assignment
You should complete the following to hand in at the beginning of the next class period.
- Do class preparation for next module.