Chapter 4: Critical Thinking


The process of gathering and analyzing information and perspectives to make better decisions.

Introduction (Why is it important?):

Critical thinking and creative thinking to quickly solve problems is an increasingly sought after skill. Being able to look at a unique situation to come up with viable solutions, and make decisions in order to act on those solutions is an asset in any work environment. 

Learning Objectives

Understand the five subsets of critical thinking. The five subsets of critical thinking are:

Skills Development:

The following are all examples of the five sub sets of critical thinking. Try to match each example to either exploration, application, analyzation, integration, or evaluation.  

Keys to successful decision making = Solving problems + Thinking through + Knowing your resources + Cconsultation!

So, how does this relate to your student employment job?

Here are a few Critical Thinking skill examples from student employee jobs here on campus:

Student Job on CampusCollaboration Method
Career Services IT support Addressing the needs of all levels of staff in Career Services with their computer needs and issues.  Users do not always “speak” computer! 
Recreational Services - Gym AttendantA guest/student falls and hurts themselves while playing basketball in the gym, you will need to assess the situation and handle it effectively.  What is the necessary steps needed to get his guest/student medical assistance?  How do you evaluate the situation?  
El Centro de la RazaWhen mentoring students as a peer mentor, you may need to help students deal with issues around their classes. This may involve speaking with professors and other university staff members to help the student solve their dilemmas.  
Mentoring InstituteWhen assisting with the Mentoring conference, you may have to critically think through problems with registration for one of the participants – how would you handle someone who says they registered, but they are not registered.   
Student Activities CenterWorking within the Greek community, you may have some Public Relations (PR) opportunities that need to be handled professionally and with thoughtful response.  
STEM CollaborativeYou are working on a research project with one of the professors and have found what appears to be an issue with the data set you are analyzing – you may need to think through this issue and present it to the faculty member in a professional way.

Here are how your academic classes can also help you learn effective critical thinking skills:

ClassesProfessionalism Skills Developed
Phil 156 (Reasoning and Critical Thinking)A whole class devoted to critical thinking!
UHON 201 (Rhetoric and Discourse)Learning to see all sides of an issue – and then presenting ideas through discussions, papers and presentations.
Political Science CoursesUnderstanding the social, political and historical nature of the world – reflective thoughts on how it plays out in today’s world.