Critical and Creative Thinking (CCT) at UMass Boston: Major developments since 2010

Critical thinking and creative thinking are defined or construed in many different ways; there is, moreover, no standard definition of what it means to combine the two pursuits. This has allowed the mission of the Graduate Program in Critical and Creative Thinking (CCT) at UMass Boston to grow and develop over nearly forty years in response to the personal interests and professional needs of the students in the Program and in response to the changing make-up and ongoing personal and professional engagements of the faculty. Historical background for the Program as a whole that conveys the flavor of CCT as an evolving entity is given in the Appendices. What follows are the major developments since the last AQUAD [7-year] review to set the scene for the current review.
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The global Paleyian university

For this case borrow the internet further so that offices, classrooms, or the university can be retrofitted. Not rebuilt from scratch, but respecting the infrastructure that is already in place.  (source)

Instead of a retrofit, this design sketch promotes inversion or turning inside out or perhaps gastrulation. (In the embryological process of gastrulation the initial ball of cells invaginates so that some of the outside is now inside and that new inside is in interaction with the outside, creating a new interactions.)  Unpacking that picture, we have three steps:  Read more of this post

“At that point, something will crack”: How to disturb Rorty’s prescience?

The pragmatist philosopher, Richard Rorty, appears to be prescient about the 2016 U.S. presidential race in this extract from 1997 lectures. Can we see how to disturb his critique of the “American Left” and the unfolding of the scenario he predicted? Read more of this post

Guidelines for personnel procedures giving value to the various dimensions of scholarship of engagement

This post draws attention to the guidelines for personnel procedures of the College of Education and Human Development of the University of Massachusetts Boston. They can serve as a model to be adopted and adapted for a) units that don’t have explicit or detailed guidelines; and b) giving value to the various dimensions of scholarship of engagement. Read more of this post

Definitional ceremony

In November 2009, Laura Rancatore and Peter Taylor introduced to the CCT graduate program the narrative therapy and community work of Michael White. This approach helps a person or a group acknowledge multiple past allies, aspirations for their lives, significant discoveries, problem-solving practices, etc. so as to write and realize alternative scripts (or narratives) to the ones that are limiting their lives. A central part of the CCT event was a definitional ceremony, which took something akin to the following form: Read more of this post

Bureaucracy: Smart not stupid-making?

I had two responses to the introduction of The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy by David Graeber (2015): 1) Articulate design rules for bureaucracy that might be smart, not a way to make us stupid (as Graeber describes); and 2) Examine the forces that come into play that subvert such designs or, conversely, lead me to fantasize that such a design could be implemented. This post tackles 1) while recognizing the need for 2). Read more of this post

Making and Breaking: Research and Engagement in the Neo-Liberal Economy

In the neo-liberal political economy, government resources get diverted from looking after people’s welfare and infrastructure to pay for tax cuts for the very wealthy, subsidies for enterprise zones , public/private partnerships and privatized services (such as prisons), free-trade arrangements, and restoration measures when “creative destruction” and speculative financialization crashes, all the while subject to profits being accumulated increasingly outside the jurisdiction of nation states. Public universities steadily increase fees as state funding is squeezed yet continue to uphold the value of public education and community-engaged research. Faculty are exhorted to become academic entrepeneurs, to take charge of making and taking opportunities—or accept that they have to do more for less while universities divert funds to areas that might bring in grants, secure patents, and attract investors. Read more of this post

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