HR at Thomas More College

What is 3D?

Thomas More College's Definition for Critical Thinking: Critical Thinking is active evaluation, based on thoughtful deliberation, resulting in improved understanding and productive decisions.

The goal of the Thomas More community is to empower critical thinkers who routinely examine the ultimate meaning of life, their place in the world, and their responsibility towards others.

3D- Discover, Develop, Deliver is a focused 5 year plan designed to improve students' abilities to think critically.

Thomas More College's Quality Enhancement Plan reflects a shared vision of what we want our students to be able to know, do, and value. After an extensive and thoughtful campus wide dialogue among all our constituencies, the college selected Critical Thinking for Productive Living, as the goal of our QEP. Through this QEP, Thomas More College seeks to create a culture in which students Discover a framework for critical thinking, Develop the tools to apply Problem Solving skills within their discipline, and Deliver the results of their analytic thinking through creative application and real-world experiences.

The process for selecting the QEP theme was designed to be open, collaborative, and stakeholder-driven, lead by a steering committee with representation from Faculty, Staff, and Students. This reflective process was undertaken concurrently with the college-wide strategic planning process, and made use of the information, direction, and momentum gathered through this endeavor to inform the QEP development process. This approach facilitated the creation of a QEP emerging from our institutional culture, and tailored to the needs of our students.

Thomas More College's Quality Enhancement Plan is labeled: Think in 3D-Discover, Develop, Deliver. 3D is focused on enhancing the Critical Thinking skills of our students. The QEP will begin with a pilot 3D Community described as the "Discover" cohort of the 3D community in the fall of 2010.

The QEP Steering committee has identified 3 goals whose achievement is key to the integration and application of critical thinking skills.

  1. Students will develop a common vocabulary and framework for thinking critically. This vocabulary and framework should be introduced in the General Education Courses.
  2. Building on the introduction of critical thinking concepts through the General Education program, students will develop critical thinking skills as they apply critical thinking and problem solving skills to their specific disciplines.
  3. Students will apply Critical Thinking and problem solving skills to "productive living" through real world experiences and problem solving demonstrated in service learning, co-curricular experiences, and the cumulative Senior Experience.

To address these goals we will create the 3D Community which will provide faculty with focused assistance in improving student learning outcomes in the area of critical thinking.

The 3D Community is a Faculty Learning Community which is designed to provide an opportunity to enhance student's critical thinking skills by providing a venue for 8 to 12 Faculty members to engage in an ongoing dialogue. The 3D Community will be a core team to explore, test, and discuss strategies to improve student learning outcomes in the area of critical thinking. 3D Community members will focus on improving student learning outcomes in Critical Thinking within a specific course. Members of the 3D Community will receive targeted opportunities for faculty development, and resources for related travel and course redevelopment, and commit to an involvement of two years, and to sharing their work with the larger Thomas More Community.

Using the Paul/Elder model of Critical Thinking, the first (Discovery) classes of the 3D Community will focus on implementing strategies to familiarize students with a common model and vocabulary for Critical Thinking. Subsequent classes (Develop phase) will be built around the focus of courses specific to students in particular majors, in which students will develop ways of utilizing critical thinking within their discipline. The third phase of the project (Deliver) will involve communities formed with the goal of helping students discover ways to apply their problem solving skills in real word situations. In addition to faculty involvement in the 3D Community, participation from key staff in the areas of student services and service learning is anticipated in the third phase of the project.