Defining Feature #3 (Section 3)

The Integration and Application of Critical Thinking Skills

(cf) Provides the opportunity for demonstration of the student's mastery of content, reflection on accumulated content and experiences, and the integration and application of critical thinking skills.

Integrative learning refers to how educational experiences "bring to bear" all that one has gained in one's program of study. UofL's undergraduate education is based in the practicing and developing of critical thinking skills throughout the curriculum. At the point of the CUE students will apply these skills


Integrative learning is broadly understood as the development of reflective and intentional learners who make meaning of and bring coherence to the disparate paths they take through college and into their lives beyond college. Culminating Undergraduate Experiences and Capstone courses have been identified as promising sites for determining whether students integrate their learning from general education courses with learning in their major. Throughout college experiences students regularly learn seriality of courses, but purposeful connection-making doesn't simply happen in upper level coursework. Students find it hard to make integrative connections unless the faculty can model integrative thinking in the ways in which they teach their classes. Integrative learning experiences provide students with the opportunity to not only learn competence but also to do more in terms of transferability of knowledges into the world.


  1. History Department Senior Capstone Course - In HIS 529 students write a research paper over the course of the final semester, but they do so with intentional points in the semester of reflection, synthesis, and refinement based on major concepts of the discipline/study of history such as historiography, or major areas of history study(i.e. diplomatic, social, economic, etc.).
  2. French Senior Capstone - In French 590, students will demonstrate an advanced linguistic and cultural competency in French as defined by The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and will be in a position to evaluate and reflect critically on that competence; they will [have applied] be able to apply their linguistic and cultural skills and knowledge in a variety of environments, both inside and outside of the classroom; and they will be able to define more precisely what role French will play in their professional future.
  3. Art Appreciation Course - An initial art appreciation assignment requires students to spend a minimum of 20 minutes looking at the artwork before writing about it (application of the method).*

* Note this is an example for reference purposes. This approach is NOT being implemented at the University of Louisville.

References and Resources

  • Adams, P. (2009). "The role of scholarship of teaching in faculty development: Exploring an inquiry-based model," International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Vol. 3, No. 1.
  • Astin, A. Vogelgesang, L. Ikada, E., & Yee, J. (2000). How service learning affects students. (p. 1-7). Los Angeles: CA. Retrieved August 5, 2009 from the Higher Education Research Institute.
  • Bain, K. (2004). What the best teachers do. Harvard University Press.
  • Burton, C. (2008). "Superhero as Metaphor: Using Creative Pedagogies to Engage," International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Volume 2, Number 2. Retrieved 10 January, 2009.
  • DeZure, D. (2005). "Integrative learning nationwide: Emerging themes and practices," peerReview (7)1: 24-28.
  • Fink, D. (2003). Creating significant learning experiences. (San Francisco: Jossey Bass).
  • Fink, D. "Integrated course design," Idea paper no. 42. The POD Idea Center at
  • Fraser, S. & Greenhalgh, (2001). "Coping with complexity: Educating for capability," BMJ 2001;323:799-803.
  • Keeling, R. (2009). "Learning as transformation: Resourcefulness and renewal in higher education," Journal of College and Character x (3): 1-4.
  • Kuh, G. (2008). High-Impact educational practices: What they are, who has access to them, and why they matter. AACU publications.
  • Mach, J., Burke, M., and Ball, J. (2008). "Integrative learning: A room with a view," peerReview (10) 4: 20-24.
  • Peirce, W. (2003). "A strategy for getting students to do their homework." Retrieved at
  • Sill, D., Harward, B. and Cooper, I. (2009). "The disorienting dilemma: The senior capstone as transformative education," Liberal Education 95 (3).
  • Wesch, M. (2009). "From knowledgeable to knowledge-able: Learning in new media environments," Retrieved January, 20, 2009 from Academic Commons.


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