/ Boerigter Center for Calling and Career

Digital Badge Initiative

Critical Thinking Digital BadgeCritical Thinking Badge

Employers are looking for candidates who can think critically to solve complex, ambiguous challenges — but few college graduates have the critical thinking skills required by today's workforce.

To address this skills gap, Hope College's program develops and assesses critical thinking skills through an innovative, rigorously vetted process. Students learn to think critically in any setting, and they actively engage in ongoing analysis, interpretation and evaluation.

Benefits for Students

  • Opportunity to build critical thinking skills through a series of readings, videos and exercises
  • A recommendation for your LinkedIn page from the Associate Dean for the Career Development Center and a Hope College portfolio pad (upon completion)
  • Flexibility: Work on the critical thinking project in a self-paced fashion online
  • Gain greater confidence and ability in your critical thinking skills
  • Develop more effective presentation skills in addressing critical thinking in the interview process.
Student Requirements
  • Approximately 20 total hours (three–four hours per week over the six week program) of work
  • Average pass rate of 80% in the program
  • Access and use of Hope email and Moodle
  • Junior or higher class standing
  • All majors welcome — no previous work/internship experience needed
  • Enthusiastic students with an open mind
Application Process

Benefits for Employers

Hire candidates who have the ability to:

  • Analyze the way they think (self-corrective thinking)
  • Make clearer connections across disciplines
  • Provide an effective, independent assessment of a problem/situation, ensuring better decision-making
  • Clearly exhibit critical thinking in their work
  • Adapt and thrive in a constantly changing work environment

Critical Thinking Demonstrated

Students will gain experience in each of the following four learning modules to develop specific skills:

Analyzing a specific problem from a co-curricular experience
  • Formulating questions
  • Gathering, organizing and analyzing information
  • Proposing a solution
Exercising sound reasoning in a current course
  • Gaining perspective on another person’s point of view or a theory in your field or major
  • Generating reasons for your point of view
  • Deciding what information to accept or reject
  • Explaining complicated ideas
  • Applying quality control as you think, thereby resisting unfounded claims
  • Concluding/making decisions
Using a research project to obtain, interpret and use information
  • Gathering pertinent information
  • Analyzing information
  • Using information to propose a solution to the problem
  • Summarizing a research project
Using an interview to demonstrate making a decision
  • Curiosity, inquisitiveness
  • Recognition that contexts are characterized by complexity rather than simplicity
  • Recognition that critical thinking needs to be practiced to be developed
  • Comparison of a problem being addressed to other problems
  • Decision making
  • Ability to articulate the learning experiences you have had

Faculty, staff and human resources personnel use a specific learning rubric to review each student's work in these modules. Reviewers assess whether the work is solution-focused and demonstrates clarity, rigorous consideration and synthesis.

“Critical thinking is foundational to effective leadership in any organization. The ability to discern informative from peripheral information, synthesize key data and combine it with courage to make strategic decisions, is a distinguishing attribute of all successful leaders. This is particularly true in our current culture where the velocity of change is unprecedented thus making traditional paradigms unreliable. The liberal arts education is a great laboratory to develop and hone these skills. For those who do, the future is indeed bright!”

—Doug Peterson, VP, Human Resources, Shape Corporation

This program is operated in partnership with Michigan Colleges Alliance and Education Design Lab.