Listed below are selected learning outcomes in the area of critical thinking that Western Washington University is actively integrating into its curriculum. Each learning outcome is listed with its definition, along with a description of how Jason Kanov's
teaching strategies meet each of these student learning outcome goals.
||Accurately identifies and interprets evidence.
||Many students come into this class believing that they already know how to work with and manage people effectively. The thinking is that it is all "common sense." This notion of common sense is in many ways a fallacy and often actually stands in the way of learning. In addition to discussing this with students early in the course, I also make it clear that the readings and lectures are organized around evidence-based theories that represent what is known about the principles of management and organizational behavior. Students are challenged throughout the course to, in a sense, recalibrate their own individual beliefs about people in light of this body of knowledge.|
||Considers major alternative points of view.
||When it comes to people management, there is a lot of nuance. Certain approaches are likely to be effective in some situations or with some individuals but not others. Lectures, assignments, and activities include components that encourage students to consider the strengths and limitations of various management skills and processes and to recognize that different circumstances often call for different approaches.
||Draws warranted, judicious, non-fallacious conclusions.
||Students are expected to draw on the body of knowledge presented in the class to propose strategies for effective management in a range of real-life situations. They do this in the context of three types of assignments: case analyses and essay exam questions that present students with realistic organizational scenarios, and a team project that requires them to study and critique a real-life manager. While there is seldom a predetermined list of "correct" responses for these assignments, some responses are most certainly better than others. Students are evaluated on their ability to make sense of the relevant concepts and arrive at better responses.
||Justifies key results and procedures, and explains assumptions and reasons.
||The class is organized around theories rather than finite lists of behaviors and tactics in part because an understanding of the basic theories of management and organizational behavior is more empowering in that it enables students to critically assess and competently respond to a much wider range of circumstances. Thus, in addition to describing specific strategies appropriate for the particulars of whatever situation is presented to them, students must also articulate their rationale and substantiate it using course concepts and theories. The depth and clarity of such justifications reflect students' grasp of the theories themselves and therefore largely affect the overall quality of students' responses.