More than 30 faculty and staff from 12 colleges across the country met this past August at the AITU Summit: Advancing Student Thinking for 21st Century Success. Organized and led by RIT, participants discussed how critical thinking is essential in today’s complex society.
Students at RIT are learning about risk management and planning even before entering the workplace through a new series of systems-based educational tools integrating community and enterprise risk and sustainability management.
Intersections: The RIT Podcast, Ep. 1: Our debut episode features a conversation between Eugene Fram, professor emeritus from Saunders College of Business, and Chris Jackson, associate dean of the College of Art and Design. The two discuss how they came to value the importance of critical thinking and the role it plays in education, business, design and everyday life.
The concept of critical making is oftentimes limited to the creation of physical components but in reality, it covers any way of turning abstract thoughts into organized elements that can be experienced by oneself and shared with others.
The key to success is to realize that every solution and development impacts people in expected and unexpected ways. Questioning various perspectives and assumptions, hopefully, leads to better solutions.
Critical thinking involves patiently sifting through permutations of possibilities to discover a best course—not just best in a mean/average sense, but taking into account how robust a choice might be to unexpected developments.
Introducing students to the concepts and practices of applied critical thinking in their first semester at RIT is important for creating an early understanding that ACT is an expectation RIT community members have of one another.
When they are faced with a system design, students must think critically to first decompose the system into functional units and then draw from their toolbox to identify the correct components to meet the function of that unit.
Education should and can be a stimulating collaboration between knowledge seekers. The outcome can be a brilliant success or a dismal failure, but the learning and thinking process is always instructive for the participants.
By developing students’ critical thinking skills and creating opportunities for them to practice critical thinking while at RIT, they can be in a better position to consider the long-term impact of their design decisions.