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Symposium: Teaching for Critical and Creative Thinking

Across the disciplines, faculty members agree that critical thinking is an important component of a university education. Many would also acknowledge that developing students ability to think creatively is crucial to gaining insight into modern environmental problems, literary cannons and social issues, to name only three avenues of intellectual pursuit. Such habits of mind serve students well in their work and lives after university regardless of the disciplinary area they pursue as a career. Yet teaching these skills, embedding them in our courses and curriculum, and ensuring these outcomes can be met are challenging goals. We often struggle with providing the needed guidance for students in the complex process of learning to think creatively and critically in and across the disciplines.

Moreover, creative and critical thinking are often approached separately, but what if these modes of thinking were approached as integral components of a larger goal that encouraged students to be critical problem solvers? As there are ever-increasing calls for students to be able to work with those in other disciplines to address complex global issues, integrating critical and creative thinking should be considered a key program outcome.

This symposium will provide opportunities for discussing approaches to integrating creative and critical thinking in our teaching and student learning. Questions that will be posed are:

  • How do we incorporate critical and creative thinking into our courses and programs?
  • How do we foster these approaches to thinking in students?
  • How do we take an approach that views critical and creative thinking as components that inform a complex problem-solving process?
  • How can we create assessments that evaluate students’ ability to engage in these thinking processes?


Time Session
9:00 to 10:30

Opening plenary
Integrating Critical and Creative Thinking in the Disciplines

Dr. Pat Croskerry, Department of Emergency Medicine
Dr. Roberta Barker, Department of Theatre
Dr. Boris Worm, Department of Biology

10:30 to 11:00 Break
11:00 to 12:00

Development of Critical Thinking through Writing

Dr. Margie Clow Bohan, Manager, Dalhousie Writing Centre

12:00 to 1:00 Lunch
1:00 to 2:00

Innovation in Practice: Creative Problem Solving (CPS) and Design Thinking (DT) Techniques

Dr. Mary Kilfoil, Department of Economics

2:00 to 3:00

Come to the Edge With Me: Encouraging and Facilitating Positive Risk-taking for Students Across Disciplines

Jill McSweeney, Graduate Teaching Associate, Centre for Learning and Teaching
Dr. Anne-Marie Ryan, Department of Earth Sciences
Dr. Suzanne Le-May Sheffield, Director, Centre for Learning and Teaching

Join us on March 6, 2015 to contribute to our collective thinking about teaching students how to think, critically and creatively, in and across the disciplines.

Register for this event






MacDonald Building, University Hall