An Apologia for Thinking Critically and Creatively

Before I take leave upon my 17 years as a facilitator of learning, one of my favorite courses that I loved to offer as a challenge to the human mind, Thinking Critically and Creatively, is being phased out of the curriculum by the summer of 2018.  Before this fundamentally seminal course for any other course or program becomes merely a whimper in the halls of academia, there is a chorus line of students singing its praises: Continue reading

Everyday Gaian – Earth Day – April 22, 2017

Do you have a reverence, respect, and love for nature?  How are you living in harmony with it – not just on April 22, but each and every day?  As instructors, have you a learning plan in your courses for responsible and active deep ecology?  “The expansion of human power has hardly begun, and what we are going to do with our power may either save or destroy our planet. The earth may be of small significance within the infinite universe. But if it is of some significance, we hold the key to it. In our own age we have been forced into the realization that there will be either one world, or no world.” –Abraham Joshua Heschel.  Are we moving in the direction of a wrenching and sorrowful demise of our planet? Or are we moving in the direction of a universal, collective consciousness that it is now or never? Continue reading

Connecting Class & Clinical

Constructing nursing care plans can be a challenge to nursing students and is a required written assignment in all clinicals, especially in first semester. By collaborating with a colleague who is a primary clinical instructor, I have been able to introduce and incorporate this written work in the corresponding nursing theory course. Students get practice writing care plans and become familiar with the clinical paperwork in a more relaxed environment as this is for practice and not graded. In turn, students have made connections sooner and performed better at a sooner point in time than previous students.

Wellness Event

Marinette campus nursing students hold a wellness event while enrolled in a class titled, Health Promotion. Students work in pairs or trios to bring health related information to other students, as well as faculty an staff who attend the event. Topics are chosen from the Healthy People initiatives and are specific to young and middle age adults. It is a fun and highly engaging event where students work with a population that is different than they typically do as clinical usually is centered around disease processes. Examples of topics include: distracted & impaired driving, stress management, sleep, exercise, nutrition, smoking cessation, eye safety in the workplace, ergonomics, and the list goes on. It has been a great way to bring students together from many different programs.

Employability Skills Activity

During nursing clinical orientation my students completed an activity to explore and discuss the employability skills. Each student was given a worksheet which listed each skill followed by two corresponding rows: Do and Do Not. Students worked independently to provide examples of what to do and what not to do for each skill. Following this, the class regrouped and shared ideas. It was well received and excellent examples were provided. This was a fun and easy way to discuss the employability skills along with professionalism and role development in a highly engaging manner.

Principles of Sustainability course at NWTC/ critical thinking

Principles of Sustainability  (10-806-112)  is a (newer) three credit course taught online, face to face and blended at NWTC.  This transferable course counts as a science elective  at UWGB/UW-O and is quite popular with General studies transfer students and also with ADN to BSN completers.

What’s in the curriculum you may ask?

Principles and applications are involved, but also critical thinking.  Solar energy (alternative energy), chemical cycling and biodiversity are considered the three scientific principles.  Most of us would expect those topics.   The SOCIAL science principles are:  economics, politics and ethics.

Sub themes include:  natural capital, natural capital degradation, trade-offs, solutions and individuals matter.

Any one of those sub themes could be a SPARK, or even a topic to integrate into a lesson in many disciplines that need applications/ current events.

The critical thinking charge to students in the preface lists these items:

  1.  Question everything and everybody.
  2. Identify and evaluate your bias and beliefs
  3. Be open- minded and flexible
  4. Be humble about what you know
  5. Question evidence and conclusions presented
  6. Try to uncover differences in basic beliefs and assumptions
  7. Try to identify and assess motives of those presenting evidence
  8. Expect and tolerate uncertainty
  9. Do the arguments used involve logical fallicies or debating tricks?
  10. Do not believe everything you read on the internet
  11. Develop principles or rules to evaluate evidence

My hope is that more instructors will be encouraged to add some content from Principles of Sustainablity to their classes.   Feel free to share your ideas!