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Reclaiming Critical Thinking: Cultivating Capacity for the Conversations that Matter


Week 7:  Tuesday, February 21, 2017, 8:30-10:30am
Knight Library Browsing Room
Breakfast will be served, formal program begins at 9am
RSVP here

How can we think constructively, across differences, about the things that matter?

In a national moment when the purpose and tremendous public good of a university education often seem underestimated or misunderstood, it is perhaps time to re-assert our teaching of the skills and capacities that are essential for an engaged 21st-century life: mindful listening and self-awareness, information literacy, the capacity to shift perspectives when faced with new information, how to participate in civic processes, and what our guest, University of San Francisco Professor of Law Rhonda Magee, calls constructive critical thinking.

In this session, Professor Magee urges us to add an interpersonal dimension to "critical thinking" and how we teach it. She invites us to 'think the world together', instead of 'think the world apart'—turning from what can be a hyper-individualized, private, and even polarized process toward, instead, work one does in community. She will share contemplative techniques for increasing the inclusivity and complexity with which we think, for deepening dialogue and developing one’s sense of interconnected differences, especially across diverse perspectives and social identities.

Come connect over a light breakfast, then enliven our sense of what surveys of U.S. faculty reveal as our single most deeply held goal for our students—that they be "critical thinkers." What does this goal really mean, and can we accomplish it more compellingly in a time when critical thinking seems to be urgently needed?

Rhonda MageeRhonda Magee is professor of law at the University of San Francisco. Her scholarly work focuses on race law and policy as well as on humanizing legal education and the practice of law. She is an expert in contemplative and identity-sensitive pedagogy and has served as president of the national board of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society and co-director of USF’s Center for Teaching Excellence.

Professor's Magee's visit is sponsored by the UO School of Law and the Division of Undergraduate Studies.