by Christie Miller
Why is critical thinking important?
Embry-Riddle is known as the best aviation and aerospace university in the world because of its mission to teach the science, practice and business of aviation and aerospace, preparing students for productive careers and leadership roles in business, government agencies and the military. In order to be prepared for careers in these career fields, students must develop critical thinking skills. In fact, when employers ranked career readiness skills in the Job Outlook 2019 survey, critical thinking/problem solving once again tops the list. See chart below.
What is critical thinking?
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), critical thinking/problem solving is defined as the ability to exercise sound reasoning to analyze issues, make decisions, and overcome problems. The individual is able to obtain, interpret, and use knowledge, facts, and data in this process, and may demonstrate originality and inventiveness. Another way to think about this skill is in relation to the top four levels in the cognitive domain of Bloom’s Taxonomy. In other words, upon graduation, students will need to do more than just remember and understand what they learned here; they will need to use apply, analyze, evaluate information to solve problems in creative and meaningful ways.
How can students develop critical thinking skills while at ERAU to become more employable upon graduation?
There are many ways students can develop critical thinking skills.
- Projects: Students can take on roles in projects to enhance their ability to analyze, evaluate, and create using the concepts learned in the course.
- Studying: Instead of memorizing information for an exam, it is better for students to really learn the information and how it relates to other concepts so the new knowledge can be applied to other situations.
Through on-campus involvement:
- Clubs & organizations: When planning activities and events for a club or organization, critical thinking is required to coordinate with various entities and problem solve.
- Internships & Co-op: Students develop must use critical thinking to perform the tasks.
- Residence Life: When living on campus, creativity and inventiveness are required to resolve issues.
- SGA: Student leadership requires using sound reasoning to analyze issues and propose solutions and implementation plans.
- Student employment: Regardless of which department, student employees must obtain and use data to make decisions.
ERAU students need to consider how they study and the role they play in group projects so they can develop critical thinking skills. They also need to get involved in activities and organizations on campus to enhance their critical thinking skills.
It is not enough for students to merely acquire critical thinking skills. The next step must be to articulate these critical thinking skills and give examples of how they were acquired on their resumes and at job interviews. By doing so, Embry-Riddle students will stand out against the competition and get the best jobs, and Embry-Riddle will continue to be known as the best aviation and aerospace university in the world because our student have both technical skills and critical thinking skills.