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Critical, Creative, and Reflective Thinking

Critical, Creative, and Reflective Thinking

Santa Clara students have many opportunities to reflect upon, integrate, and apply different types of knowledge to form independent judgments. In understanding how to successfully evaluate the viewpoints of experts, SCU students identify their own perspectives and analyze these when reviewing texts, speech, and media. In their majors and core curriculum courses, students integrate multiple disciplinary perspectives to solve real-world and complex problems. In Silicon Valley, this type of thinking provides the foundation for generating new ideas, products, and ways of perceiving problems.


of seniors report that their experience at SCU contributed very much or quite a bit to their knowledge, skills, and personal development in thinking critically and analytically (NSSE, 2018).


of seniors frequently seek solutions to problems and explain them to others; 31% do so occasionally (HERI College Senior Survey, 2019).

Illustration of three people working on a project together.  Learning Opportunities in Courses

  • 77% of faculty report frequently or occasionally giving an assignment that requires students to describe how different perspectives would affect the interpretation of a question or issue in their discipline (HERI Faculty Survey, 2016-17).
  • 65% of faculty use real-life problems in all or most of the courses that they teach (HERI Faculty Survey, 2016-17).
  • 51% of faculty use student inquiry to drive learning in all or most of the courses they teach (HERI Faculty Survey, 2016-17).

 Student Coursework Experiences

  • Critical: 81% of seniors indicate that their courses very often or often emphasize applying facts, theories, or methods to practice problems or new situations (NSSE, 2018).
  • Creative: 74% of students report that their courses very often or often emphasize forming a new idea or understanding from various pieces of information (NSSE, 2018).
  • Reflective: 83% of students state that their courses very often or often emphasize connecting ideas to their prior experience and knowledge (NSSE, 2018).


of seniors report that their ability to engage in a process of continuous innovation, adaptation, and learning from failure describes them very well or pretty well (HERI College Senior Survey, 2019).


of seniors strongly agree or agree that the institution has contributed to their intellectual and practical skills, including critical thinking (HERI COLLEGE SENIOR SURVEY, 2019).