Critical Thought Symposium
Students with Condoleezza Rice
Queens Faculty and Top Students Role Play Crucial Decisions In Critical Thought Symposium
Queens University of Charlotte has long been known for its interactive classes and experiential learning, but an innovative new program, the Critical Thought Symposium, has taken those enriching educational experiences to a new level.
The Symposium is a year-long course in which every class meeting is a simulation of complex situation requiring a crucial decision. Some simulations are based on historical events, while others are hypothetical situations that illuminate real-life issues.
"Serving as the coordinating professor for this course has been one of the highlights of my academic career," says Dr. Norris Frederick, the James A. Jones Chair of Philosophy and Religion. "It is an honor to work with such a superb group of students and faculty."
"The aim of the course is to bring together outstanding traditional undergraduate students to strengthen their abilities to think critically, creatively, constructively and ethically under the pressure of making a very difficult decision. Students will experience and learn much about the role of group dynamics and the role of leaders."
In the spring of 2011, a team of Queens faculty and deans developed this idea into a viable course: Dr. Lynn Morton, Dean of the College of Arts and Science; Mr. Terry Broderick, Dean of the McColl School of Business; Dr. Steve Cox, Professor of Marketing; and Dr. Frederick. After discussion with faculty who would be teaching in the first year, the team finalized the course syllabus.
The class meets once a month throughout the fall and spring semesters. In each class meeting, the students play the role they have been assigned a month earlier and which they have researched thoroughly. Students bring to each class a portfolio in which they have documented their research on their role, the situation, and the likely positions of the other student roles. After the simulation, the professor for that simulation leads students in a reflection on their decision and crucial points in the discussion.
Students represent a wide variety of majors throughout the colleges and schools of the university. Competition is keen for the 8 - 10 student places for seniors and juniors, who also receive a merit scholarship award.