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Library Confidential: Spring 13 - Critical Thinking and the Job Link

The Madigan Library dishes the latest in student research

Summer Institute

Degree and job application

Learning Today's Skills for Tomorrow's Jobs: The Critical Thinking Connection
Presenter:  Judy Zebrowski, Librarian, Information Literacy Initiatives

Current reports from higher education and the business field disclose findings that many recent college graduates do not possess the skills needed to succeed in the workplace.  Some of the skills most desired by employers include the ability to navigate information resources on the job and use critical thinking skills to understand workplace complexities, find contextual solutions, and solve problems.

This session will explore a report of a recent Project Information Literacy study which addresses how recent college graduates solve information problems  once they join the workplace.

Date:  May 20, 2013
Register through Academic Affairs

Self-Evaluation Rubrics for Works Cited Pages
Presenter: Tracey Amey, Director of the Madigan Library

The session will discuss using self-evaluation rubrics for "Works Cited" or "References" page to help students develop and practice critical thinking skills.

Date: May 20, 2013
Register through Academic Affairs


Madigan Library

Have a question for Library Confidential?

Tracey Amey
Director of the Madigan Library

Judy Zebrowski
Librarian, Information Literacy Initiatives

Critical Connections

Critical Thinking Skills: The Critical Connection between College & the Workplace

by Judy Zebrowski, Librarian for Information Literacy Initiatives


   As educators, we do our best to impart the kind of knowledge and learning that our students need to succeed in academics, the workplace, and life.  We strive for excellence in the art of teaching and learning.  We participate in professional development, stay current with the professional literature, and network with colleagues to find relevant, innovative ways to deliver information for learning.



   So why all the protestations that students are not able to apply what they learn and transfer the learning from the classroom to the workplace?  What is the big black chasm that seems to befall them as they struggle to translate classroom learning into career readiness? Why can’t students make the connections?  Why can’t they connect the dots?  A myriad of thoughts on this subject exists, counting students’ cultural habits of motivation and learning (everything they need to know is on the Internet), to wide ranges of student (un)preparedness requiring remedial work in the classroom, to time constraints for teaching required content, testing and assessment. And, yes, there are many factors that challenge us to provide opportunities to teach important skills.  There are also many valid points to be made about student culture, learning, and behavioral habits which continue to provide vehicles for our continual professional development.  I refer you to a recent research report Learning Curve:  How College Graduates Solve Information Problems Once They Join the Workplace by Alison J. Head from Project Information Literacy for a very insightful treatment of this topic.



   Let’s revisit the importance of teaching students how to think. A lifelong requirement demands learning to think critically.  Whether it’s a cognitive management process or a task-oriented production skill, the brain should be engaged in a critical thinking process for the best outcome.  Remember the thrill of the game (for them and you) when you witness the proverbial light bulb turning on for the student when sense-making and application of a tenet of knowledge has been accomplished!  I can humbly reply that there is no easy, one way, but to motivate students to think about what they are learning, and provide practice and opportunity to achieve this academic Zen that carries through their lives.  Whether your methodology is an apprenticeship, an independent study, or a flipped classroom, students must be reminded to constantly question, re-evaluate, and adapt to shifting scenarios in the workplace and life through the critical thinking process.



Critical Thinking Infographic

Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking: The raw material for 21st Century success

Are students ready to work? Why does critical thinking matter? This infographic helps explain how important critical thinking is to employers and a student's future. The information is distilled from a recent report, Are they really ready to work? Employer's perspectives on the basic knowledge and applied skills of New Entrants to the 21st Century U.S. workfore. The report analyzes survey results from employers about the skill levels of new hires and what skills are considered "most critical" over the next five years. Critical thinking was ranked #1 in skills expected to increase in importance over the next five year.

What we're reading now

Project Information Literacy: inventing the workplace College graduates successfully complete the courses and the assignments--so what is missing as they struggle to solve problems in the workplace?

Are they really ready to work? Employers' perspectives on the basic knowledge and applied skills of new entrants to the 21st Century U.S. workforce

Corporate perspective on the readiness of new employees into the workforce and overview of skills employers rate as "very important."

The Employment Mismatch. A college degree sorts job applicants, but employers wish it meant more.

Why are employers having difficulty finding qualified job applicants with the skills companies need from the recent college graduate pool?

What the best college students do

Addresses the skills students need to acquire to get the most out of college and be able to grow and adapt throughout their lives.