1. Critical Thinking
Critical Thinking refers to those processes required to understand and evaluate complex claims of various sorts. It involves the evaluation of information, evidence, arguments, and theories, and the contexts in which these are encountered. It entails the questioning of different and competing perspectives, and challenging the (sometimes hidden) assumptions and inferences that determine what will count as evidence or argument. Critical thinking is learning to think in a disciplined and evaluative manner, to analyze and interpret the processes by which various claims are made and reliable conclusions are reached.
2. Global Interconnectedness
Global Interconnectedness refers to the ability to understand and function in an increasingly multicultural, international, yet interconnected environment. It fosters the development of individuals to become successful professionals, civic leaders, and informed citizens in a diverse national and global society. Individuals with these competencies would: demonstrate an understanding of the relationships between diverse populations and social, economic, and political power both in the United States and globally; demonstrate knowledge of contributions made by members of diverse and/or underrepresented groups to our various communities; consider perspectives of diverse groups when making decisions; and function as members of society and as professionals with people who have ideas, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that are different from their own.
3. Ethical Reasoning
Ethical Reasoning is the development of students’ abilities to understand and critically engage the ethical dimensions of thought, knowledge, and behaviors, and to contribute ethically to the personal, professional and larger social contexts in which they live. Realizing that behavior has consequences for the welfare of others, learners assess reasoning processes and learn the ethical principles that help guide and evaluate actions. Such reasoning engages the underlying normative commitments and consequences of different traditions of ethical thought, of fields of knowledge, of contexts that transcend individual interest, with an appreciation for the kind of complexity that goes well beyond the binaries such as “right and wrong.”
4. Integrative Literacies
Integrative Literacies describe the integration, connection, and linkage through serious inquiry and collaborative learning of six core areas of literacy: science, computation or digital, mathematics, communication, technical, and aesthetic. It is in the intersection and synthesis of these literacies that students develop the core knowledge, flexibility of thought, and responsiveness to contribute to the evolving needs of society and the world. In isolation these literacies are insufficient; rather, they function best and most meaningfully when integrated successfully and perceptively in context.
1. Scientific literacy refers to describing, explaining, and predicting natural phenomena. Students learn to critically engage articles about science in discipline‐based and popular media and enter into conversation about the soundness of their conclusions. Scientific literacy requires familiarity with scientific modes of inquiry and an understanding of their applications when addressing questions of science and technology. It refers to a person’s ability to identify scientific issues underlying national and local decisions and to express positions that are scientifically and technologically informed. A literate citizen should be able to evaluate the quality of scientific information and scientific claims on the basis of the sources and methods used to generate them. Scientific literacy also refers to the capacity to pose and evaluate arguments based on evidence and to apply conclusions from such arguments appropriately.
2. Computational or digital literacy is the ability to understand the fundamental underpinnings of and appropriate uses of digital devices and media as vehicles of understanding and vehicles for learning, working, communicating, and collaborating. It includes the ability to actively engage and interpret digital media, reproduce data and images through digital manipulation, evaluate and apply new knowledge gained from digital environments, and make educated judgments about the information and environments we find online. Digital literacy requiresunderstanding and critical evaluation of the special challenges posed by the complexity of digital sources and environments.
3. Mathematical literacy or numeracy is the ability to reason rigorously and quantitatively with numbers and other mathematical concepts, not only in the field of mathematics but also in other fields. To be numerically literate, a person has to be capable of understanding and applying mathematical systems of representation and reasoning. Numeracy involves developing confidence and competence with numbers, measures, and the theories that support them. It requires an understanding of numbering systems, a repertoire of mathematical techniques, and an ability to solve quantitative or spatial problems in a range of contexts. Numeracy also demands an understanding of the ways in which data are produced, gathered by counting and measuring, and presented in graphs, diagrams, charts, and tables. The integration of mathematical knowledge with problem‐solving and communication skills is required to function successfully within our technological world.
4. Communication literacy is, broadly stated, the mastery of language in expressive (spoken and written) and receptive (listening and reading) forms that enables an individual to understand, interpret, and use language successfully for a variety of purposes. More specifically, it is the ability to transmit a message that conveys meaning to an intended audience. Communication may be verbal or non‐verbal in the symbolic and dynamic exchange of information. Knowledge of American Sign Language (ASL) and foreign languages also foster an enhanced capacity to understand and successfully engage in the full richness of human communication, and enable people to function more successfully in the global workplace.
5. Technical literacy refers to people’s knowledge of different technologies, their capability to use the technology appropriately and effectively to accomplish various tasks, and their understanding that technologies are socially shaped as well as socially shaping. A technologically‐literate person can think critically about technological issues and decisions about the uses of technology in context. Technological literacy can be further defined by three interrelated attributes of the technologically literate: knowledge of technology, its application, and its impact; the ways one thinks and acts regarding technology; and the capability to use different and appropriate technologies.
6. Aesthetic literacy refers to the ability to understand and critically engage creative messages in their informational, aesthetic, cultural and social dimensions. An aesthetically‐literate individual can engage and communicate successfully in a variety of creative forms and appreciate different traditions and practices such as visual, oral, auditory, and written communication. Aesthetically‐literate individuals have the ability to create, amend, and reproduce images, sound, and/or physical objects.
5. Creative and Innovative Thinking
Creative and Innovative Thinking are higher‐level thought processes that imagine new possibilities. Through the application of imaginative thought and activity, something novel is conceived and/or produced. “Creative thinking is both the capacity to combine or synthesize existing ideas, images, or expertise in original ways and the experience of thinking, reacting, and working in an imaginative way characterized by a high degree of innovation, divergent thinking, and risk taking” [quoted from Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU), Creative Thinking VALUE Rubric].