Midway College embarked on the development of a Quality Enhancement Plan in spring 2003 as part of the SACS reaffirmation process. The concept of quality enhancement is central to the accreditation principles of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Core Requirement 2.12 specifies that an institution must develop “a carefully designed and focused course of action that addresses a well-defined issue or issues directly related to improving student learning.” The purpose of the plan as stated by SACS was to identify an area for enhancement and improvement that would have the potential to impact all programs at Midway College and would—most importantly—have a positive impact on student learning. Midway College implemented a plan for infusing critical thinking throughout the curriculum that will begin in fall 2005.
Critical thinking is a mode of thinking—about any subject, content, or problem—in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and imposing intellectual standards upon them. As such, the College has established the expectation that a “well-cultivated critical thinker: raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely; gathers and assesses relevant information, and can effectively interpret it; comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards; thinks open mindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences; and communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems.” We believe this movement is an important and significant addition to the academic program at Midway College.