As Professor Keating in Dead Poets Society famously said, “I always thought the idea of education was to learn to think for yourself.”
Indeed, thinking critically is one of UOPX’s core values, as referenced in the University’s mission and purpose. Math and science classes are obvious places to develop critical thinking skills, but it’s possible to flex those same mental muscles in all sorts of academic experiences, including in the arts and humanities.
“All research is applied critical thinking,” Eylers explains. “You observe a phenomenon. You ask a question about it. You think about how to answer that question. You think about what data you need to answer that question. Then, you must think about how to collect it. And in every one of those steps, you have to think critically.”
Everyday applications of critical thinking skills are all around us in academic settings, even beyond doctoral research. For example, critical thinking can look like brainstorming, searching for reliable sources, evaluating evidence and creating a hypothesis.
A university might be where you cultivate your critical thinking skills, but the real world is where you’ll most often use them. Employers value critical thinkers as these workers tend to be better at their jobs because they drive innovation, are more inclined to use good judgment and make decisions based on all available information.
Critical thinkers bring these skills to the world at large too. Being an informed citizen requires critically evaluating claims, whether presented by the news, political candidates or the latest bestselling diet book.