General Education Goal: 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


○      Open-mindedness

○      Appropriate risk-taking and use of unconventional methods

○      Willingness to experiment and make novel applications


○      Is intellectually humble: knowing that one’s knowledge is limited

○      Is curious and desires to learn


Program Assessment Rubrics 

Rubric Glossary