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Ideas to Action ( I 2A) Introduction to I 2A & Critical Thinking A session for UofL’s Division of Student Affairs Michael Mardis, Ph.D Patricia R. Payette,

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Presentation on theme: "Ideas to Action ( I 2A) Introduction to I 2A & Critical Thinking A session for UofL’s Division of Student Affairs Michael Mardis, Ph.D Patricia R. Payette,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Ideas to Action ( I 2A) Introduction to I 2A & Critical Thinking A session for UofL’s Division of Student Affairs Michael Mardis, Ph.D Patricia R. Payette, Ph.D. Hannah Anthony February 6, 2008

2 Session Objectives Introduce participants to basic information about UofL’s “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 I 2A Explore what participants can do to promote critical thinking in their everyday work

3 Ideas to Action: Ideas to Action ( I 2A) is our Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), and we need to show measurable progress to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) by April Using Critical Thinking to Foster Student Learning and Community Engagement

4 The Effect of Undergraduate Student Involvement on Critical Thinking: A Meta-Analysis of the Literature 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)

5 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 Gellin, A., Journal of College Student Development, November/December 2003, 44, No. 6

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 UofL’s Office of Academic Planning and Accountability in collaboration with Indiana University.

7 Categories Level of Academic Challenge Active and Collaborative 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. NSSE groups items together under five broad categories:

8 within UofL Differences by Student Type within UofL 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. On-campus Freshmen Off-campus Freshmen vs

9 Multivariate Results (Freshmen) Evaluation of Education Experience Significant Predictors of Satisfaction with Education Experience: Relationships with faculty members Quality of academic advising Support provided to thrive socially This implies that students’ degree of satisfaction in these three areas indicates the level of satisfaction with their overall education experience. Probability of Attending UofL Again Significant Predictors of Probability of Attending UofL Again: Relationships with faculty members Quality of academic advising Relationships with other students This implies that students’ degree of satisfaction in these three areas predicted the probability of their attending UofL again.

10 Multivariate Results (Seniors) Evaluation of Education Experience Significant Predictors of Education Experience: Relationship with faculty members Relationships with other students Quality of academic advising Support provided to succeed academically Probability of Attending UofL Again Significant Predictors of Probability of Attending UofL Again: Relationships with faculty members Relationships with other students Relationships with administrative personnel and offices Quality of academic advising Support provided to succeed academically

11 I 2A 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 knowledge real-world issues & problems the parts to the whole

12 From student focus groups: “Reduce the amount of memorization required for tests, I feel I don’t learn as much by doing this.” “Decrease the memorization required, can’t remember it all.” “Too much memorization and no sufficient critical analysis.” “The subject testing is not challenging due to memorization.” “Regurgitated material (can just read chapters for tests).” One student even suggested that student learning could be improved by offering a course that would aid in memorization.

13 What’s 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

14 I 2A: The Learning Paradigm The (OLD) Instruction Paradigm Mission & Purposes Provide/deliver instruction Transfer knowledge from faculty to students Offer courses and programs Improve the quality of instruction Achieve access for diverse students The focus moves from what the instructor is doing or covering to what students are learning…. 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

15 Higher Education in the 21 st Century  Public accountability & SLO’s: state legislatures, accrediting bodies and other stakeholders  New emphasis on intellectual, technical and practical skills  UofL’s Metropolitan Mission not unusual  Emphasis on “deep learning,” integrative learning, brain research, digital literacy, etc.  Shifts in traditional structures and divisions in the academy

16 Employers Advise Colleges Where to Focus Resources to Assess Student Learning One/Two Practices to Which Colleges Should Devote Resources All Employers Faculty-evaluated internships or community-based learning experiences 50% Essay tests that measure students' problem-solving, writing, and analytical-thinking skills 35% Electronic portfolios of students' work, including examples of accomplishments in key skill areas and faculty assessments of them 32% Faculty-evaluated comprehensive senior projects demonstrating students' depth of skill in major & advanced problem-solving, writing, and analytic-reasoning skills 31% Tests that show how a college compares to others in advancing students' critical-thinking skills 8% 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

17 I 2A: What are the components? Sharpen our existing focus on building critical thinking skills in the general education program… …..continuing through undergraduate major courses with an emphasis on applying and refining those skills… …resulting in a culminating experience, such as a thesis, service learning project, internship or capstone project that fosters engagement

18 Integral part of I 2A, 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 & I 2A

19 Student Affairs & I 2A…the next steps! FFamiliarity with shared goals and missions (ie. The Office of Civic Engagement, Leadership & Service) SShared vocabulary around critical thinking (Paul-Elder Model) OOpportunities for culminating experiences outside the traditional format SStudent Interest Group (Fall 2008) OOther opportunities

20 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 _____________________.

21 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 _____________________.

22 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.)

23 What is Critical Thinking? “Higher-Order Thinking” “Complex Thinking”

24 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)

25 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

26 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

27 Critical Thinking definition adopted for I 2A (From: Scriven and Paul, 2003) a guide to belief and action. that results in the intellectually disciplined process Critical thinking is

28  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 is the intellectually disciplined process that results in a guide to belief and action.

29 The tools for this “process” include actively and skillfully: conceptualizing applying analyzing synthesizing evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation experience reflection reasoning or communication Critical Thinking definition adopted for I 2A (From: Scriven and Paul, 2003) Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process that results in a guide to belief and action.

30 What Critical Thinking is NOT The problem of “egocentric” thinking: LLeads to self-serving perspectives and evaluations LLeads to a false sense of objectivity LLeads to flawed thinking LLends itself to the unconscious substitution of subjective intuitions for intellectual standards in thinking

31 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

32 …we want to foster an awareness that critical thinking is more than thinking, it’s: Reflecting upon Questioning Monitoring …my very reasoning itself in order to continuously improve my thinking. It’s “thinking things through.”

33 A Well-Cultivated Critical Thinker:  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 (Richard Paul and Linda Elder, the Foundation for Critical Thinking:

34 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 students —in a very explicit way—how 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 questions—are the intellectual habits of mind we wish to cultivate in our students.

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36 I 2A Team Dr. Patty Payette, I2A Executive Director: Dr. Cathy Bays, Delphi Specialist for Assessment: Dr. Edna Ross, Delphi Specialist for Critical Thinking: Hannah Anthony, I2A Program Assistant Senior: Student Affairs Facilitators: Dr. Michael Mardis Michael Anthony Becky Clark Pam Curtis Kim Shaver


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