2012-13 Catalog

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Offering Description

Minds at Work: Puzzles, Polarities, and Possibilities


Fall 2012, Winter 2013 and Spring 2013 quarters

Gillies Malnarich sociology, education , Kathy Kelly systems theory variety of disciplines
Fields of Study
community studies, education and sociology
Preparatory for studies or careers in
social sciences, education, or any further college-level study.

"Thinking is a tricky business. Learning to think critically is even trickier. That's because critical thinking is as much about getting the questions right as it is about coming up with the right answers."  So begins Paula Rothenburg's book, What's the Problem? A Brief Guide to Thinking Critically .  She wants us to understand whether the choices we make and the policies we support get us closer to creating a more just and equitable world.  Tony Wagner, co-director of the Change Leadership Group at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and author of The Global Achievement Gap , adds that learning to formulate the problem before seeking solutions is a survival skill students will need in this flat, hyper-connected, information-age world.

Minds at Work: Puzzles, Polarities, and Possibilities invites us to sharpen our individual and collective capacity to 'do thinking' with the aim of developing the habits of mind of analytic and integrative thinkers.  Throughout this year-long program, we will frame our inquiry with these overarching questions in mind: How might we leverage research on the way the brain works and people learn to improve our practice as learners and thinkers, including learning how to assess the quality of our own thinking?  How do we make sense of all the information we get—balancing openness with discernment—while drawing on multiple methodologies and epistemologies, given our purpose?  And, why, in a context where the pressure to solve problems grows exponentially, is the capacity to formulate a problem regarded as an essential survival skill?  Our examination of these questions will be grounded in thinking through the real puzzles and polarities of our everyday lives, as well as the possibilities.

Throughout the program—in seminars, conversation circles, intensive reading/writing workshops, and through experiential learning—students will practice the essential moves of becoming able thinkers and skillful synthesizers in both oral and written forms.  In the fall quarter, students will be introduced to research on how the brain works and how people learn.  In the winter and spring quarters, students will extend their analytic and integrative thinking repertoire to include thinking like a sociologist and a systems-thinker.

Students enrolled for 12 credits will do the program outlined above and also a 4 credit module.  The 4 credit module will focus on the legislative process and citizen advocacy related to higher education issues.  We'll learn about public policy making, community organizing and leadership and, in the process, further illuminate what we're learning in the 8 credit core program. 

Advertised Schedule
9a-5p Sat/Sun (fall: Sep. 29, Oct. 6, 13, 27-28, Nov. 11, 17-18, Dec. 1-2, 8; winter: Jan. 12, 19-20, Feb. 2-3, 16-17, Mar. 2-3, 16; spring: Apr. 6-7, 20-21, May 4-5, 18-19, June 1-2) (First Saturday of each quarter, class meets on the TESC Olympia campus.  All other classes meet at Grays Harbor College.)
Grays Harbor
Online Learning
Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online
Greener Store
Offered During

Program Revisions

Date Revision
November 26th, 2012 Winter and Spring Quarter schedules added.
September 20th, 2012 Schedule change: class will meet Sunday, Nov. 11, instead of Saturday, Nov. 10.
August 10th, 2012 Details about 12 credit option added to description.