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Program Structure

The Critical Thought Symposium will engage Queens traditional undergraduate students from any program in one-of-a-kind, life changing educational experience that will refine decision making and critical thinking skills and, in the process, create a deeper self-awareness-all essential to the exercise of leadership in personal and professional lives.

Role-play is at the heart of this program. In these role plays, students will be confronted by real-world situations with no discernible solution. These situations will be challenging and at the highest level of social and/or political significance. Roles will be assigned in advance so that students will have the opportunity to fully prepare for the dialogue and debate in the session.

The sessions will meet once per month over the course of the academic year, with four sessions in the fall term and four in the spring. The monthly in-class sessions will be supplemented by an electronic discussion board and other activities on Moodle. Students earn three credit hours for the course.

The class sessions will be conducted on a weekday evening with a duration of four hours. The first three hours will be devoted to role-play and class discussion. The final hour will provide background for the next session. Faculty for each session will be selected based on their experience and expertise in the field of study; a subject matter expert from outside the university may be part of certain class discussions to lend realism and specificity to the debate.

The types of real-world scenarios debated could include:

  • A health-related crisis, e.g., a pandemic where care would have to be rationed
  • The decision to drop the atomic bomb on the Japanese mainland in 1945
  • The work of the congressional supercommittee to reduce the deficit
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