Engineering companies, in particular, employ a lot of intelligent, well-trained individuals, and yet many decisions are made every day without the kind of critical assessment we would like to think is essential to good decisions. Research suggests that this is because critical thinking is not an innate skill but one that must be developed over time.
Participants in this workshop will take some time to really get to the heart of what critical thinking is. We will explore our capacity for critical thinking through a series of exercises. We will introduce and use tools to help us increase both our ability to exercise critical thinking, and to help others increase their critical thinking skills.
At the end of this seminar, participants will be able to:
- Distinguish automatic from manual thinking;
- Understand how to shift to critical thinking;
- Practice tools to develop critical thinking;
- Ask questions (of yourself or others) to generate critical thinking;
- Identify where you can apply critical thinking in your job; and
- Create a next steps plan to work on critical thinking skills.
- Why are you here?
- What is critical thinking?
- How is it different from other forms of thinking?
- Why is it important to professional engineers?
A Critical Thinking Model for engineers based on:
- Essential intellectual standards;
- Elements of thought;
- Intellectual traits/virtues; and
- Illustrated by questions engineers should ask in their everyday work.
Tools and Techniques
- Techniques to get clear on a problem;
- Guiding thinking to conclusions; and
- Making good decisions.
Using Critical Thinking to Influence, Persuade, and Defend
- Using critical thinking in teams; and
- Leading people to think.
Next Steps and Action Plan
Janice Thomas, PhD
Dr. Janice Thomas is an internationally respected leader in the area of project management, and holds a PhD in Organizational Analysis from the University of Alberta. She is Professor of Project Management and Chair of the Department of Organizational Analysis, at the Faculty of Business, Athabasca University, Canada. Prior to becoming a professor, Janice worked for 12 years as a management consultant and project manager. She teaches project management, project governance, and organizational change in Athabasca’s MBA program and professional development programs for clients and organizations around the world. Today, she has over 30 years of management, consulting, planning, research, training, and academic experience in both the public and private sector.
In 2006, she was recognized by the Project Management Institute’s PMNETWORK, as one of the 25 most influential women in the world in project management. Janice co-led the $3 million, 48 academic strong team in Researching the Value of Project Management project that assessed the project management practices of 65 organizations world-wide completed in 2008. In 2010, Janice was awarded the Research Achievement Award by the Project Management Institute, which “recognizes and honors an individual who has significantly advanced the concepts, knowledge, and/or practices of project management through professionally conducted and authored project management research.” In 2014, the International Project Management Association awarded Janice and her team their annual Research Award.