RIT names Evelyn Brister as first Fram Faculty Fellow in Applied Critical Thinking

College of Liberal Arts professor will work to identify and strengthen critical thinking initiatives across disciplines




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Evelyn Brister, associate professor of philosophy in the College of Liberal Arts, has been named as the first Fram Faculty Fellow in Applied Critical Thinking at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Brister will assume her post immediately for the 2015-2016 term, according to Jennifer Schneider, RIT’s Eugene H. Fram Chair in Applied Critical Thinking.

“Dr. Brister has taught multiple sections of critical thinking since 2007 and will be working with me to enhance RIT’s reputation for research and teaching in this vital area,” said Schneider. “Specifically, she will teach a new course she has developed in Responsible Knowing, develop curricular content within the domain of applied critical thinking and support RIT faculty in their capacity to refine and grow students’ critical thinking skills across the curriculum.”

Brister received her undergraduate degree from Austin College, Ph.D. from Northwestern University, and recently earned an MS degree in environmental science from RIT. She also volunteers her time to work with a Rochester non-profit on park conservation and environmental education.

“In my position as the Fram Faculty Fellow for Applied Critical Thinking, I’ll work with faculty and students to foster the reasoning and problem-solving skills that RIT graduates need in order to tackle the new and unforeseen problems they’ll face as 21st century professionals and citizens,” said Brister. “In today’s society, its not enough to know how to apply our usual tools to the same old set of problems. Our students will need to identify unanticipated problems and to design innovative tools and policies to address them. This requires the flexibility of mind and tenacity of spirit to ask sharp questions, to follow the evidence wherever it leads, to collaborate on diverse teams, and to be responsible knowers.”

Schneider also announced RIT faculty and staff for the 2015-2016 Fram Advisory Board: Jerry Argetsinger, National Technical Institute for the Deaf; Heath Boice-Pardee, Student Affairs; Roger Dube, College of Science, Clark Hochgraf, College of Applied Science and Technology; Barbara Lohse, College of Health Sciences and Technology, David Long, College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, Les Moore, Saunders College of Business; Sylvia Perez-Hardy, B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences; Collette Shaw, Student Affairs; Lawrence Torcello, College of Liberal Arts; Brian Thorn, Kate Gleason College of Engineering.

The Eugene H. Fram Chair in Applied Critical Thinking was funded in 2011 by an anonymous RIT alumnus who donated $3 million to honor Fram. A renowned local and national retail expert, Fram is the J. Warren McClure Research Professor Emeritus of Marketing who retired from RIT in 2008 after 51 years of teaching at Saunders College of Business.