Monday, July 18, 2016

Critical thinking

After arriving at Gonzaga University, I met my academic, a crusty Jesuit priest who told me:

"The University can only teach you two things, Mr. Decker: How to think and how to express what you think."

Looking at the Gonzaga curriculum today, I see that not much has changed since my freshman year in 1980.  "The Block" continues to teach first-year students composition, logic, and rhetoric.  Unfortunately, my studies during my first two years extended beyond the Trivium into decidedly more social pursuits. After three years on active duty in Navy (and a fair number of distractions in ports, foreign and domestic), I returned to Gonzaga to complete my undergraduate work.

I had long wondered if I might find myself back in a college classroom, though perhaps as an instructor.  Regrettably, most modern universities seem far more focused on teaching students what to think rather than how to think.  Under the withering criticism of my professors (many Jesuits), there were no intellectual "safe spaces."

The habits of critical thinking have carried me into a career of public service and, quite often, placed me at odds with my profession.  Thus, the name of this modest blog.

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