James D. Allen

James graduated from the University of Cincinnati with degrees in Secondary Education and Mathematics, received his Masters in Eductional Foundations from the University of Cincinnati and his Ph.D. in Eductional Psychology from the University of California.  James has been a professor of Educational Psychology at The College of Saint Rose since 1988.

James’ Interest in the “Teaching Critical Thinking” Theme:

As an educational psychologist I have focused my professional endeavors primarily in the areas of learning, motivation and instruction with a particular interest in promoting reflective and critical thinking among students.  I have conducted and published research that has focused on the constructivist and generative student-centered pedagogies that I use in my classes and I am continually reviewing the learning and instructional literature for research that demonstrates effective practices for promoting these skills and then integrating them into my own teaching. I see this as the essence of the scholarship of teaching and learning. Literature suggests that instructional strategies that require students to generate their own understanding of academic content, either through interactive discussions or analytic writing, promotes not only greater depth of content learning, but also increases critical and analytical thinking skills, as well as increases motivation and positive affect to learn.

Stephanie A. Bennett

Stephanie received her BA, MA, and Ph.D. from SUNY Albany, and is now an Associate Professor in the Sociology Department here at Saint Rose.  Stephanie has been at St. Rose since 2008.  Prior to coming here, she was a tenure track faculty at SUNY Oneonta and before that SUNY Oswego, choosing to come to St. Rose because of the small class size and the emphasis on teaching.

Stephanie’s Interest in the “Teaching Critical Thinking” Theme:

My interest in critical thinking has been with me as long as I have been in the classroom.  I have always worked to make students see the world from various points of view as it is one of the tenants of the Sociological Imagination in Sociology.  My interest has been most currently peaked with my participation in FLEP American City here at St. Rose.  We as a group have tried to emphasize critical thinking and the measurement of critical thinking into the First Year Experience.  I hope to walk away from this fellowship with a greater understanding of what Critical Thinking means in a wider academic sense and have more tools to instill Critical Thinking to my students.

Amina Eladaddi

Amina received her PhD in Applied Mathematics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2006, and she has been a professor in the Mathematics Department here at The College of Saint Rose since 2009.  Eladdadi’s research and teaching are interdisciplinary in nature and are at the interface of mathematics and biological, medical and financial sciences. Of particular interest to her, is cancer research. She is also very active in the undergraduate research in Applied Mathematics where she incorporates critical thinking in her project-based teaching/learning.

Amina’s Interest in the “Teaching Critical Thinking” Theme:

Critical thinking is a not only a fundamental focus in modern education, but is a vital skill in this fast-paced and global economy we live and work in today.

The skill to “think critically” is always listed as one of the important outcomes of undergraduate education.  Most of the time, this teaching is done “indirectly” or “implicitly” that students do not pick up the signals of critical thinking skills. In my field of mathematics, critical thinking and problem solving go hand in hand. I believe that teaching critical thinking in mathematics or any other discipline is essential in the development of successful students; though not easy for the instructors (or the students) to develop critical thinking skills from the first attempt of teaching (or learning).  I would like to explore questions such as: why is it so hard to teach critical thinking? Does critical thinking vary from one discipline to another?  Are instructors trained in critical thinking to teach it to their students?

One of the main challenges that lay ahead is how to implement and integrate critical thinking “effectively” into classroom instruction?  I envision this new Provisions activity to be an open forum where the CSR faculty can share ideas on how to teach critical thinking, and possibly develop programs for promoting critical thinking skills in their classrooms.

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