Using Action Learning And Critical Thinking Tools To Make Changes In Higher Education

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Janice Witt Smith
D. Kathy Stitts


Action Learning, Critical Thinking, Change Management, Feedback, Engagement, Curriculum, Advising, Faculty, HR, Human Resource Management


As the reported institution increased admission requirements, added masters and doctoral programs, and revised its strategic thrust, greater emphasis was placed on assessing student learning outcomes and whether the treatment of education has had a measurable impact. Consistent with Smith and Clark (2010), we implemented an action learning approach and integrated critical thinking concepts in instructional delivery for an undergraduate human resource management (HR) capstone course and examined the process used to changing the general education curriculum and advising model through those same lenses. Keys to success in both arenas depend on faculty engagement and interest, willingness to be in a continuous improvement mode and their high level of involvement and trust in the goals and process. Additionally facultys comfort with receiving and incorporating feedback from students in real-time, particularly if developmental feedback, without reacting punitively, is critical in maintaining student interest and involvement in the course laden with action-learning and critical-thinking activities. Student engagement, interest and willingness to be in a continuous improvement mode increase with faculty receptivity to feedback and accessibility for interaction outside of the classroom.


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