What a month this has been. We celebrated the 20th anniversary of VOICES, our first Conference USA championship with a victorious Women’s Cross Country team, Family Weekend, amazing fireworks for Homecoming and so much more. I am excited and grateful as we move toward the end of the fall semester. I also understand just how much thinking, planning and preparation go into each one of our programs and services. That kind of success is never an accident.
Being a green, I tend to admire the thinking and strategy that goes into it all. When I see a process get better or an event work seamlessly, it is the thinking I admire. This perspective reminds me of one of the dimensions of the REACH program – Critical Thinking.
REACH represents our five division-wide learning goals. It helps us evaluate and articulate how Student Affairs contributes to student learning and, ultimately, graduation. Critical thinking is the ability to effectively analyze and synthesize information. It involves purposefully questioning assumptions, clarifying values, and considering others’ perspectives to understand the rationale for decisions, values and opinions. It also involves the effective use of qualitative and quantitative skills to solve problems and promote success. (REACH program definitions)
Students should expect to gain skills in critical thinking from interaction with our programs and services. Our services should be shaped to cue that level of thinking. It is a skill that will remain with them beyond graduation. It’s necessary and useful in all career fields. On the other hand, we should also expect continuous improvement in critical thinking from each other. As we move forward, it is our ability to problem solve, suspend assumptions and consider multiple perspectives that has a hand in creating the type of success described in the first paragraph. Not only have we decided on a path, we considered options and put the best foot forward. It’s a challenge, but I think we can do it.
As we close out an amazing semester, I hope you are finding time to celebrate and also thinking “what’s next?”
We Are UTSA! We Are Student Affairs!