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Ideas to Action (I2A)

Introduction to I2A
& Critical Thinking
A session for UofLs
Division of Student Affairs
Michael Mardis, Ph.D
Patricia R. Payette, Ph.D.
Hannah Anthony

February 6, 2008
Session Objectives
Introduce participants to basic information
about UofLs Ideas to Action
Challenge participants to work individually
and in groups to articulate their
understanding of critical thinking
Clarify the definitions of critical thinking
adopted by I2A
Explore what participants can do to
promote critical thinking in their everyday
work
Ideas to Action:
Using Critical Thinking to Foster Student
Learning and Community Engagement

Ideas to Action (I2A) is our Quality


Enhancement Plan (QEP), and
we need to show measurable
progress to the Southern
Association of Colleges and
Schools (SACS) by April 2012.
The Effect of Undergraduate Student Involvement on Critical
Thinking: A Meta-Analysis of the Literature 1991-2000
Gellin, A., Journal of College Student Development, November/December 2003, 44, No. 6

Implication from findings - strengthened


institutional relationships as student affairs
administrators can work with academic affairs
administrators to help facilitate the higher
education goal of increasing undergraduate
critical thinking. (Pg. 758)
Gellin Continued
Students participation in co-curricular activities
such as Greek life, clubs and organizations,
faculty and peer interaction, as well as living on
campus has a significant effect on helping
students develop the ability to think critically.
Students involved in a variety of activities acquire multiple points of view and
perspectives that may encourage them to reevaluate their prior opinions of the
world. This accumulation of experiences may contribute to gains in critical thinking
and illustrates how undergraduates can benefit from their involvement in the overall
college environment. (pg 754)

The findings in this study suggest that students involved in a variety of co-curricular
activities experience a significant gain in critical thinking as compared to students
who are not involved. Thus, institutions may want to continue to support activities
outside the classroom because these activities may provide value to students in the
form of critical thinking gains. (pg 757)
From The Effect of Undergraduate Student Involvement on Critical Thinking: A Meta-Analysis of the Literature 1991-2000
Gellin, A., Journal of College Student Development, November/December 2003, 44, No. 6
NSSE Overview
The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is
considered to be one of the major assessment surveys
administered at UofL.

The NSSE has been administered four times at UofL (2001, 2003,
2005, and 2007).

The survey is administered in the spring semester to a random


sample of freshmen and senior students.

The survey is administered to students electronically by UofLs


Office of Academic Planning and Accountability in
collaboration with Indiana University.
Categories
NSSE groups items Level of Academic
Challenge
together under
five broad Active and Collaborative
categories: Learning

Student-Faculty Interaction

Enriching Educational
Experience

Supportive Campus
Environment
Comparisons were made between the average responses from UofL in these
categories and the average responses of all schools that participated in the
2007 iteration of the NSSE survey.
Differences by Student Type within UofL

On-campus
vs Off-campus
Freshmen Freshmen

Result: On-campus freshmen had a significantly


higher average response for the category of
Enriching Educational Experiences.
This implies that those living on campus indicated a
greater satisfaction with enriching educational
experiences than those living off campus.
Multivariate Results
(Freshmen)
Significant Predictors of Satisfaction with Education
Experience:
Evaluation
Relationships with faculty members
of Quality of academic advising
Education Support provided to thrive socially
Experience This implies that students degree of satisfaction in
these three areas indicates the level of satisfaction
with their overall education experience.

Significant Predictors of Probability of Attending UofL


Again:
Probability
Relationships with faculty members
of Quality of academic advising
Attending Relationships with other students
UofL Again This implies that students degree of satisfaction in
these three areas predicted the probability of their
attending UofL again.
Multivariate Results
(Seniors)

Significant Predictors of Education Experience:


Evaluation
of Relationship with faculty members
Relationships with other students
Education Quality of academic advising
Experience Support provided to succeed academically

Significant Predictors of Probability of Attending UofL


Again:
Probability
Relationships with faculty members
of Relationships with other students
Attending Relationships with administrative personnel and offices
UofL Again

Quality of academic advising
Support provided to succeed academically
I2A and Connecting the Dots
Our extensive consultation with all University
constituencies yielded a surprisingly strong and clear call
for education focused on the skills and knowledge
needed to deal with real-world issues and problems, an
education in which students can see the importance of
the parts (the courses) to the whole (their education as
citizens and workers). [QEP Report, 2007]

skills and real-world issues the parts to the


knowledge & problems whole

http://louisville.edu/ideastoaction/files/finalreport.pdf
From student focus groups:
Reduce the amount of
memorization required for
tests, I feel I dont learn as
One student even
much by doing this.
suggested that student Decrease the
learning could be memorization
improved by offering a required, cant
course that would aid remember it all.
in memorization.

Regurgitated Too much


material (can just memorization and no
read chapters for sufficient critical
tests). analysis.

The subject testing is not


challenging due to
memorization.
Whats in it for us

Better prepared students who need to live and work in a


complex world

Re-affirmation of the centrality of a liberal arts foundation


for every University student

A framework for thinking about the education we provide


as we attract increasingly better-prepared students

Resources to inform the development of planning and


programming in all units
I2A: The Learning Paradigm
The (OLD) Instruction Paradigm Mission & Purposes The focus moves from
Provide/deliver instruction what the instructor is
Transfer knowledge from faculty to students doing or covering to
Offer courses and programs what students are
Improve the quality of instruction learning.
Achieve access for diverse students

The (NEW) Learning Paradigm Mission and Purposes


Produce learning
Elicit students discovery and construction of knowledge
Create powerful learning environments
Improve the quality of learning
Achieve success for diverse students From Teaching to Learning:
A New Paradigm for
Undergraduate Education
Robert B. Barr and John
Tagg, November/December
1995, Change Magazine
Higher Education in the 21st
Century

Public accountability & SLOs: state legislatures,


accrediting bodies and other stakeholders
New emphasis on intellectual, technical and
practical skills
UofLs Metropolitan Mission not unusual
Emphasis on deep learning, integrative
learning, brain research, digital literacy, etc.
Shifts in traditional structures and divisions in the
academy
Employers Advise Colleges Where to Focus
Resources to Assess Student Learning
One/Two Practices to Which Colleges Should Devote All Employers
Resources
Faculty-evaluated internships or community-based learning 50%
experiences

Essay tests that measure students' problem-solving, writing, and 35%


analytical-thinking skills

Electronic portfolios of students' work, including examples of 32%


accomplishments in key skill areas and faculty assessments of
them

Faculty-evaluated comprehensive senior projects demonstrating 31%


students' depth of skill in major & advanced problem-solving,
writing, and analytic-reasoning skills

Tests that show how a college compares to others in advancing 8%


students' critical-thinking skills

Multiple-choice tests of general content knowledge 5%


From How Should Colleges Assess And Improve Student Learning
Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc., January 2008, Association of American Colleges and Universities
I2A: What are the components?

Sharpen our resulting in a


..continuing culminating
existing focus through experience,
on building undergraduate such as a thesis,
critical major courses service learning
thinking skills with an project,
in the emphasis on internship or
applying and capstone
general refining those project that
education skills fosters
program engagement
Student Affairs & I2A
Integral part of I2A, not peripheral

Holistic conception of the student


experience (curricular and co-curricular)

Prepares students for life beyond the campus


Aligns with the existing focus on student
development
Student Affairs & I2Athe next steps!

Familiarity with shared goals and missions


(ie. The Office of Civic Engagement, Leadership & Service)

Shared vocabulary around critical thinking


(Paul-Elder Model)

Opportunities for culminating experiences


outside the traditional format
Student Interest Group (Fall 2008)
Other opportunities
Define Critical Thinking
Individually, use a short phrase to complete
these sentences. Write down each
response on a sticky note.

Critical thinking is ________________________.

Critical thinking is not _____________________.


Define Critical Thinking
In groups of 5-6, debrief and try to come to a
consensus. Write down each of your responses
on two separate sheets of your flip chart.

Critical thinking is ________________________.

Critical thinking is not _____________________.


Define Critical Thinking
In your groups, together decide what it looks
like when students and/or you and your
colleagues are thinking critically. Draw a
picture on your flip chart sheet that highlights
critical thinking within your field.

(Ex. When students are engaged in critical thinking in my field or department, it looks like
this. When my colleagues and I are engaged in critical thinking it looks like this.)
What is Critical Thinking?

Higher-Order Thinking

Complex Thinking
What is Critical Thinking?
The words critical and criteria come
from the same root word meaning
judgment
Critical Thinking is
reasonable, reflective
thinking that is focused
on deciding what to
believe or do. (Robert Ennis)
Critical thinking = Grappling
with open-ended problems
Effective personal and professional
functioning requires dealing with
open-ended problems that are
fraught with significant and enduring
uncertainties about such issues as the
scope of the problem, interpretations
of relevant information, range of
solution options, and potential
outcomes of various options.
From Helping Your Students Develop Critical Thinking Skills
Cindy L. Lynch and Susan K. Wolcott, October 2001, The IDEA Center
Examples of when we use
critical thinking
Professional problems
- What is the best interpretation of a piece of
literature?
- How can a leader most efficiently promote effective
team work?

Personal problems
- What should I do to optimize my career
development?

Civic problems
- How should I vote on a particular ballot initiative?
From Helping Your Students Develop Critical Thinking Skills
Cindy L. Lynch and Susan K. Wolcott, October 2001, The IDEA Center
Critical Thinking definition adopted for I2A

(From: Scriven and Paul, 2003)

Critical thinking is

the intellectually disciplined process

that results in

a guide to belief and action.


Critical thinking is
the intellectually disciplined process that
results in a guide to belief and action.

What are the intellectual tools that


you use in your work?
What does this process look like in
field, in your discipline, in your
division?
What guides your beliefs and actions
in the Division of Student Affairs?
Critical Thinking definition adopted for I2A

(From: Scriven and Paul, 2003)


Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined
process that results in a guide to belief and action.

The tools for this


process include
actively and
skillfully: information gathered
from, or generated by,
conceptualizing
applying observation
analyzing experience
synthesizing reflection
evaluating reasoning
or communication
What Critical Thinking is NOT

The problem of egocentric thinking:


Leads to self-serving perspectives and
evaluations
Leads to a false sense of objectivity
Leads to flawed thinking
Lends itself to the unconscious substitution
of subjective intuitions for intellectual
standards in thinking
Instead of:
Its true because I believe it

Its true because we believe it

Its true because I want to believe it

Its true because I have always believed it

Its true because its in my selfish interest to


believe it
we want to foster an awareness that
critical thinking is more than thinking, its:

Reflecting upon
Questioning

Monitoring

my very reasoning itself in order to


continuously improve my thinking.

Its thinking things through.


A Well-Cultivated Critical Thinker:
(Richard Paul and Linda Elder, the Foundation for Critical Thinking:
http://www.criticalthinking.org/)

Raises vital questions and problems, formulating them


clearly and precisely
Gathers and assesses relevant information, using
abstract ideas to interpret it effectively
Comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions,
testing them against relevant criteria and standards
Thinks open mindedly within alternative systems of
thought, recognizing and assessing, as needs be, their
assumptions, implications, and practical
consequences
Communicates effectively with others in figuring out
solutions to complex problems
What you can do:
1. Become aware and discuss with your colleagues how and
why critical thinking is important to your work.

2. Model for studentsin a very explicit wayhow you think


things through. Give the gift of your time, your mentorship in
issues large and small.

3. Remember that students are on a developmental path. Meet


them where they are in terms of their readiness for complex
decision making. Sometimes the comfort zone is for absolute
rights and wrongs.

4. Never forget that at the heart of critical thinking is learning to


ask relevant, important questions. To re-evaluate, to
reconsider and reflect on the answers and then ask the next
set of questionsare the intellectual habits of mind we wish
to cultivate in our students.
I2A Team
http://www.louisville.edu/ideastoaction

Dr. Patty Payette, I2A Executive Director: Student Affairs Facilitators:


patty.payette@louisville.edu, 852-5171
Dr. Michael Mardis
Dr. Cathy Bays, Delphi Specialist for Assessment:
cathy.bays@louisville.edu, 852-5138 Michael Anthony

Dr. Edna Ross, Delphi Specialist for Critical Thinking: Becky Clark
edna.ross@louisville.edu, 852-5105
Pam Curtis
Hannah Anthony, I2A Program Assistant Senior:
hannah.gatlin@louisville.edu, 852-7611 Kim Shaver

http://www.louisville.edu/ideastoaction