Date of Award

Spring 5-14-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

EdD Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Martin Finkelstein, Phd

Committee Member

Joseph Stetar, Phd

Committee Member

Michael Osnato, EdD


infusing critical thinking, critical thinking pedagogy, institutional committment of critical thinking as an curricular goal



The purpose of this case study was to explore professors’ understandings about how they infuse critical thinking within Signature courses in one private Catholic university, where a strong commitment exists to develop students’ critical thinking skills through the Core Curriculum. This qualitative study investigated the views of 12 professors in 6 disciplines as to how they approach the teaching and assessment of critical thinking skills within three Signature courses of the Core Curriculum.

Data collection included documentation and one-on-one interviews with the professors, who taught Signature courses during the Spring 2011 semester. Through a cross analysis of the data,the professors’ perceptions about how they understood and defined critical thinking, their teaching and assessment practices, the challenges of infusing critical thinking as one of the core proficiencies, and their views about critical thinking professional development programs were examined.

The results from this study generated further insights about the challenges professors confront when they focus on infusing critical thinking into core curriculum courses. These major challenges are related to a number of complex factors, such as overcoming faculty resistance, a lack of a common understanding and definition about critical thinking, and the need for more effective professional development opportunities. Given the complexity of attempting to align all of these various factors together in one institution, this case study examined the understandings of how professors implemented critical thinking as a valued curricular goal.