Critical Thinking (CT) Designator Recertification

Frequently Asked Questions about the CT Recertification Process


1)      Why is important that courses be recertified?

Courses change over time. It is only natural and reasonable especially as teaching faculty change over time. Course goals and learning outcomes may also change so it is important to reverify periodically that these still align with the expectations for critical thinking courses.


Additionally, in 2013 the University adopted the Marshall Baccalaureate Degree Profile (BDP) outcomes which are slightly different than the original Marshall Domains of Critical Thinking.  Now all CT courses must align with the Integrative Thinking BDP outcome and 4 additional BDP outcomes.


More information about the BDP outcomes can be found here:


2)      When are courses supposed to be recertified for CT and how long is the typical turnaround time from submission to notification?

Every 5 years courses should be recertified for the CT designation. The GEC meets roughly once a month so we expect that you should be notified within approximately 1-2 months of our feedback on the course and forms. Even if a “rejection” decision is made, we encourage you to resubmit after the issues identified by the committee are addressed.


3)      How will I know when my course is scheduled for recertification?

The GEC Chair will email the department chair and the person on record who submitted the last CT designator form that the course will need to be recertified for the CT designation.  This request will provide at least 60 days before the requested deadline for sufficient time to prepare the recertification form.


4)      What is required for my course to be recertified for CT and how can I get help completing the form?

The primary contact person for the course will submit a completed CT recertification form along with a recent syllabus which also reflects the Marshall Baccalaureate Degree Profile (BDP) outcomes. The course must align with Integrative Thinking and 4 other Marshall BDP outcomes.

A complete description of all the BDP outcomes can  be found here:

We encourage you to work the Executive Director for the Center for Teaching & Learning if you have questions.


5)      What are the common challenges associated with CT recertification?

The common challenges associated with CT recertification include the following

–          Lack of alignment and connection between the table in the CT recertification form and what is in the syllabus.

–          Lack of specificity about the assessments which should be described in both the CT recertification form and on the syllabus. The table should describe exactly how the assessment targets that specific Marshall BDP outcome. The Council may have further questions if a course claims to practice and assess each outcome in IDENTICAL ways.

–          The student project should align with Integrative Thinking and at least one additional BDP outcome.  It must be able to be submitted to the Assessment Committee through blackboard, and it should account for a minimum of 20% of the students’ final grade.

Please consult the “Criteria for CT Courses” document.


6)      What about courses that are offered with different teaching faculty – multiple sections of the same course?

The GEC recognizes that many CT designated courses are multi-section courses with multiple teaching faculty. We expect that there is variation between the courses (in assignments, assessments from course to course) but also we expect commonality in the presence of the BDP table and the target outcomes.

We expect that each syllabus would have the same table, same outcomes, but there would be some variation in the specifics for how each outcome is practiced and assessed. Instructors are free to implement their own lessons/activities/strategies and to use their own assignments.