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UW’s Focus On Critical Thinking Recognized

Wyoming Public Media

The University of Wyoming does a good job graduating students with developed critical thinking skills, according to a new report by the Wall Street Journal.  Out of 100 public colleges and universities who participated in the study, UW ranks 14th.  


Anne Alexander, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs for Undergraduate Education, said UW’s improved performance in this area is most likely the result of the new general studies program implemented in 2015, which requires all students to take courses that teach creative thinking and problem-solving.   


Alexander said the curriculum is designed to prepare students to live engaged lives and to meet workforce demands.


“Employers need it. We’re seeing that. They are crying out for it. It’s problem-solving. It’s making your way through complex situations that may not have a single answer to them,” said Alexander.


“You’re seeing a lot more quick information flows, and employers are really saying we need people who know how to be critical thinkers.”


Data compiled by the Wall Street Journal indicates that 4 percent of UW seniors scored “below basic” on the exam, compared with 15 percent when they were freshmen. And the average score on the test improved by 96 points from when students were freshman to when they were seniors.


Tennessee -- despite what the name might make you think -- was born and raised in the Northeast. She most recently called Vermont home. For the last 15 years she's been making radio -- as a youth radio educator, documentary producer, and now reporter. Her work has aired on Reveal, The Heart, LatinoUSA, Across Women's Lives from PRI, and American RadioWorks. One of her ongoing creative projects is co-producing Wage/Working (a jukebox-based oral history project about workers and income inequality). When she's not reporting, Tennessee likes to go on exploratory running adventures with her mutt Murray.
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