For Students

neel01-300x201“A creative thinker is someone who is not only able to think the thoughts, but to put them into the world for others to see. It takes a little bit of courage and bravery. NC State provides an environment that pushes and challenges students’ preconceived notions. The university works hard to design curricula that challenge me, not only at the academic and professional levels, but also at the personal intellectual level.”


What is TH!NK?

TH!NK is a new initiative on campus that is designed to cultivate students’ higher order skills in critical and creative thinking. In TH!NK courses, you will explore disciplinary content through a lens of critical and creative thinking, allowing you to take ownership of your learning and to truly engage your mind. These are skills we all need to be good citizens and to meaningfully contribute to society through our work.

Faculty who are implementing TH!NK strategies into courses received extensive training and will provide you with opportunities to develop and receive feedback on your higher-order thinking skills. They will arm you with the intellectual standards for critical and creative thinking, as well as tools to help you reflect on your own thinking (metacognition) so that your skills will “stick” from one learning experience to another.

How will this help me in the workforce?

Critical and creative thinking are the keys to work and economic prosperity in the twenty-first century. There is a long-term trend away from routine-oriented work, which requires people to do the same things every day, and toward creativity-oriented jobs that ask people to engage in analysis and to make judgments. The creative class includes people whose work it is to create new forms (for example, writers, engineers, and designers) and people who work in a wide range of knowledge-intensive industries that ask them to make critical and creative decisions about specific problems in their fields. Successful universities in the twenty-first century will be those that educate graduates who contribute to a critical and creative workforce. NC State faculty, therefore, believe that developing students’ critical and creative thinking skills are among the highest priorities of a college education.

A recent poll of 305 employers by the Association of American Colleges and Universities revealed the following top ten things employers look for in recent college graduates. Four* out of the top ten items are directly impacted in all TH!NK courses. The remaining six items are impacted in various TH!NK courses in different combinations.

  1. The ability to work well in teams—especially with people different from yourself
  2. An understanding of science and technology and how these subjects are used in real-world settings
  3. The ability to write and speak well
  4. The ability to think clearly about complex problems*
  5. The ability to analyze a problem to develop workable solutions*
  6. An understanding of global context in which work is now done
  7. The ability to be creative and innovative in solving problems*
  8. The ability to apply knowledge and skills in new settings*
  9. The ability to understand numbers and statistics
  10. A strong sense of ethics and integrity

Source: “How Should Colleges Prepare Students to Succeed in Today’s Global Economy?” (Results of a national poll by Peter D. Hart Research Associates, 2007).

How can I get into a TH!NK course?

The TH!NK initiative is focused on courses that primarily serve first-year students in its inaugural two years. Courses are not confined to a single discipline, but are spread across campus, both in general education courses and courses in majors.

Because we need to assess student learning outcomes related to the initiative, registration to TH!NK courses must be random. Student self-selection to TH!NK courses may bias the outcome toward students who are already highly self-reflective (which you probably are if you are reading this!). That said, if you are a first-year student, you are likely impacted by TH!NK. Many sections of ENG 101, First-year Inquiry courses, and several large enrollment courses within majors are participating.

See what faculty and students are saying about TH!NK