The Art of Critical Thinking
East Georgia State College recognizes the importance of students possessing critical thinking skills that allow them to effectively integrate the content of their courses and apply what they learn to the challenges and opportunities that await them outside the classroom.
Presented below is the general definition of critical thinking the College will use to guide its Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP).
Critical thinking involves questioning, analyzing, discussing, debating, and critiquing data to develop sound conclusions. Individual components of the College’s definition of critical thinking are further defined:
Questioning is the process of identifying problems and determining related tasks and issues.
Analyzing is the process of investigating data to determine the structure, validity, and relevance of the data.
Discussing is a method for multiple parties to engage in a productive, verbal exchange leading to sound conclusions.
Debating is the ability to use supporting facts and arguments to persuasively present a case in a forum of competing perspectives to reach rational conclusions and effective compromises.
Critiquing is the process of evaluating arguments using logic and inference.
Critical Thinking and Student Learning Outcomes
The faculty at East Georgia State College has long recognized the ability to think critically as an important component of an effective general education curriculum. Critical thinking is included among the College’s general education student learning outcomes as SLO No. 3: Students will demonstrate skill in logic and critical thinking.
The concept of critical thinking is not new to EGSC; many courses include a focus on assessing data and thinking critically. However, there has not been a formalized plan on the campus that would give weight to all stakeholders becoming involved in thinking critically, modeling the behavior for students, and consciously incorporating the concept in the presentation of course content to students.
Our QEP plan involves the commitment of faculty, staff, and community members in providing students with the tools and skills needed to think critically both in their academic studies and in real life after college. Our QEP also provides a blueprint for imbedding critical thinking into the College’s revised core curriculum.
The measurement of specific critical thinking skills will be facilitated through the assessment of the following student learning outcomes based on the College’s definition of critical thinking.
Question - Students will be able to identify a problem or conflict, determine the related factors and outline the necessary steps for a solution.
Analyze - Students will be able to analyze primary data or sources to determine their structure, validity and usefulness.
Discuss - Students will be able to engage in productive verbal communication of ideas in a classroom setting, working toward a solution or conclusion.
Debate - Students will be able to use facts and viewpoints to present a persuasive argument in a forum of competing perspectives to achieve rational conclusions and effective compromises.
Critique - Students will be able to research opposing arguments in a controversial issue and evaluate the strength of the arguments to determine the student's stance.
Critical Thinking Conference held at EGSC-Statesboro, Friday, April 12, 2013
"Critical thinking is a desire to seek, patience to doubt, fondness to meditate, slowness to assert, readiness to consider, carefulness to dispose and set in order; and hatred for every kind of imposture." Francis Bacon (1605)
East Georgia State College held its first Critical Thinking Conference on Friday, April 12, 2013, at the Statesboro campus. Critical thinking is an important aspect of education across disciplines, and many institutions are working to promote and focus on integration of critical thinking exercises in their curriculum. Today it has moved beyond the traditional formal reasoning to incorporate the skills necessary to maneuver through modern information overload such as problem solving, communication, and creativity. This is arguably one of the most important skills students can learn, and it can be applied to every discipline. At East Georgia State College, promotion of critical thinking is an important component of the curriculum, and this conference was organized to allow educators to share both research and practical applications of critical thinking in the classroom.