Friday, November 20, 2009

posted Nov 20, 2009, 2:28 PM by Jeremy Poehnert   [ updated Nov 20, 2009, 2:44 PM ]
Yay for Friday!  This week has been haphazard, but good.

This week I helped at a graduate open house, talking to potential students about my graduate program, Critical and Creative Thinking.  It's an interesting process, because it's often hard to explain to people what the program is all about.  This seems kind of funny to me, since the title (Critical and Creative Thinking) is quite literally accurate; the program helps students develop critical and creative thinking skills.

Some people seem to intuitively understand what that means, but it's harder for others.  I think it's because what they're really asking is "What do you use the program for?"  My answer to that is that it helps you develop a cognitive "toolkit" you can apply to any challenge you encounter, in work settings or your personal life.  Again, that seems intuitive to me, but it doesn't fit the way people think about graduate education, which often focuses on a narrow subject in order to prepare students for a specific career track.  CCT, on the other hand, takes an interdisciplinary approach that helps students in whatever setting they go into. 

I would argue that CCT does what all education should do, by preparing us for the wide range of situations we'll encounter in life, through a broad approach to education that includes theory and practice.  But in our system that approach is the exception, rather than the rule, more's the pity...