General Education Goal I: Thinking Critically & Creatively


The goal of Appalachian’s general education program is to instill and nurture in its students the knowledge, skills, and values of a liberal education, including the skills of effective critical thinking, listening, and communicating. A successful liberal, broad-based education prepares students for lifelong learning, reflective living, public engagement, and vocational success. Critical and creative thinkers (“CCT”) possess a combination of essential characteristics: skills, knowledge, and dispositions. Critical and creative thinkers are intellectually humble and curious. They use an inquiry-based, systematic, and logical process to promote greater understanding and further learning, considering intra- and inter-disciplinary sources as appropriate. They are open minded and willing to consider alternative and unconventional methods, sources, and conclusions, as part of an evidence-based and rational process. The critical and creative thinker is able to apply knowledge innovatively toward useful and meaningful goals. These characteristics are subject to some limitations and caveats. They are not exhaustive, and they may apply in various ways and to varying degrees, depending on the discipline and/or particular assignments.  Some are more aspirational in nature (e.g., intellectual humility and curiosity) and may be difficult to measure even though they are worth nurturing.

Critical/Analytical Thinking: Question-based, systematic, and logical in process; Evidence-based with substantiated findings and conclusions; Intra- and inter-disciplinary in scope; Extension of knowledge toward appropriate applications

Creativity/Innovation: Open-mindedness; Appropriate risk-taking and use of unconventional methods; Willingness to experiment and make novel applications

Values/Dispositions: Is intellectually humble: knowing that one’s knowledge is limited; Is curious and desires to learn


Student Learning Outcomes

Explanation: Students will clearly explain the issue/problem.

Evidence: Students will selectively use information to investigate a point of view or conclusion.

Context: Students will evaluate the influence of context and assumptions when presenting a position.

Perspective: Students wil express a position that takes into account the complexities of an issue and acknowledges other viewpoints.

Conclusions: Students will express a logical conclusion.

Taking Risks: Students will take risks (i.e., includes personal risk, going beyond the original parameters of the assignment, introducting new materials and forms, tackling controversial topics, advocating unpopular ideas or solutions)