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Critical and Creative Thinking in Practice

(CCT697, F 00)

Initial Goals
Like the non-credit CCT Forum in Fall 1999, this course would consist of weekly presentations and workshops given by current and former CCT students, faculty, and guest speakers related to their efforts putting critical and creative thinking into practice in schools, workplaces, and other settings. I initiated the CCT Forum to allow a) participants to experience, not only hear about, the range of approaches that fall under CCT; b) students to be introduced to the content of courses in future semesters; c) CCT alums, others in GCOE and the wider public to feel connected with CCT, and current CCT students to connect with them; and d) CCT students and alums to practice presentations and workshops before they give them elsewhere. The CCT in Practice sessions have been scheduled back-to-back with the required creative and critical thinking core courses especially to allow new or prospective CCT students to attend.

The goals of formalizing the sessions as a course were to: a) encourage new or prospective CCT students to participate in the full series of presentations and get a picture early on in their studies of the range of approaches that fall under CCT; b) over two semesters, in conjunction with credit for organizing and participating in the April CCT in Practice Open House day, constitute a 3 credit option; and c) provide institutional recognition for the work I had done voluntarily the previous year and would continue as an overload.

Challenges and Responses
Attendance of non-credit students and members of the public was good at the start of the semester, but, not surprisingly, declined to the formally enrolled students by the end of the semester. However, few new CCT students stayed after the creative thinking core course to attend and enrollment was small. With the elimination of course release for the CCT Program Director, I did not have time to continue the series in the spring or to submit a proposal to formalize this special topics course. (I did. however, organize another CCT in Practice Open House day of workshops in April.)

Future Plans
Until the resource squeeze in CCT eases, the CCT in Practice presentations and day of workshops will be modified into extended afternoon/evening sessions a few times per semester. This format began with a very successful Orientation/Community Gathering at the start of the fall 2001 semester. When the CCT faculty review the program of study in preparation for the AQUAD review, institutionalizing CCT in Practice will be considered, but most likely will not be made a required course for new students unless the number of electives is increased from three to four or five.

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