“If there was ever one life skill everyone on the planet needed, it was the ability to think with critical objectivity.” – Henry David Thoreau
Learning and understanding the intricacies of a complex, interrelated world takes advanced education. The process of understanding large amounts of data, reporting, discussion, and human insight – and understanding it in such a way to make it applicable to leaders and decision makers – is analysis. Examining, probing ,and understanding a situation, its components parts, influences, and potential geo-political impacts make up this core ISR competency.
Analytical Writing (AW)
AW 100 – Foundations of Analytical Writing
This course reinforces an effective foundation for written communication using practical exercises and instructor led discussions on grammar rules, verb tenses, theses, paragraph formation, and writing composition. Students compose a series of reports, expository, persuasive essays to identify and execute the steps in the writing process, sentence structure and grammar. Graduates understand the fundamentals of analytical writing (including paragraph frameworks, theses, supporting arguments, views of others) and building recommendations for decision makers.
AW 200 – Analytical Writing
An analyst, in any industry, must gather evidence and conduct analysis while clearly and concisely communicating and contextualizing that information for decision makers. This course sharpens the analytical writer’s edge – we key in on evidence, its meaning, and how to tailor customer-focused assessments. We train and educate new analysts on concepts and types of written communication, standards, analyst-customer relationships, sourcing, uncertainty, and argument mapping. AW 200 graduates writers who effectively utilize evidence, meaning, and assessments to clearly, coherently, and concisely deliver a written product.
AW 300 – Collaborative Analytical Writing
Collaborative Analytical Writing involves the efforts of multiple people, working as a team, to produce a written product. So much of analysis and critical thinking involves group effort – and writing is no different. Collaborative Analytical Writing offers students the ability to stretch their organization’s analytic products, work together as a team, develop a sense of audience, learn the importance of peer review, and lead to a deeper understanding of the problem(s). Collaborative writers are capable of mitigating bias, avoid group think, and arrive at the truth. Graduates will be able to effectively collaborate in a team to present persuasive written arguments that assess facts and assumptions, options, views of others, and logical pathways.
Critical Thinking (CT)
CT 100 – Foundations of Critical Thinking & Structured Analysis
Analysts must have the requisite skills to synthesize disparate information from multiple sources. This course is designed to develop critical thinking, structured analysis, and data synthesis skills for developing analysts. This course provides methodologies and techniques to improve the quality of reasoning, analysis, objectivity, and decision-making. CT 100 explores the foundations of knowledge, elements of critical thinking, logic, reason, argument mapping, biases, and logical fallacies. Graduates emerge as developing thinkers who are aware of the desired outcome of critical thinking, basic frameworks, and strategies that improve the thinking process, and begin to break down barriers to effective critical thinking.
CT 200 – Critical Thinking for Analysts
We live in a society that mass produces information with little or no oversight. Not all of it is true, and in fact much of it is biased, logically erroneous, or even false. The challenge is to know how to apply logical methodology to judge the quality of information. Separating opinions from facts, and logical arguments from fallacy is a key skill for leaders and analysts. We are often presented with data from a variety of sources covering topics we know little about and are asked to form an assessment. Critical thinking is a fundamental competency for maneuvering this minefield. This course continues an analyst’s development as we learn to recognize and integrate new information, challenge assumptions, form and leverage Socratic questioning, develop inferences from incomplete data, and generate alternate scenarios and conclusions. Graduates become intellectually agile thinkers who are comfortable in ambiguous situations with incomplete or conflicting information.
CT 300 – Advanced Critical Thinking for Analysts
The true critical thinker and analyst are not as concerned with what direction a question takes as they are in seeking the truth. Advanced Critical Thinking continues the analyst’s intellectual journey by imparting the philosophy of knowledge, mitigating cognitive bias, descriptive inference, argumental logic, and causal inference. The course uses tough, contemporary problems to challenge analysts’ thinking, while working to set aside biases to arrive at the truth. We use a variety of evaluations to assess progress and understanding, while providing meaningful and in-depth feedback. Graduates possess advanced thinking skills to quickly and thoroughly evaluate complex situations to provide relevant, decision-ready knowledge to a diverse set of customers.
CT 500 – Leading Critical Thinkers
An effective leader understands their own intellectual tendencies and biases, while creating a healthy environment for tackling tough problems, learning from failure, and being comfortable with ambiguity. In Leading Critical Thinkers, we explore the concepts of metacognition, intentional leadership, fostering innovation, dealing with wicked problems, and the idea of Black Swans. Our goal is to develop leaders who understand their own intellectual tendencies & biases, create healthy environments for tackling tough problems, learn from failure, and comfortable with ambiguity.
CT 600 – Critical Thinking for Learning Professionals
The true critical thinker cultivates the skills of analysis, interpretation, reflection, evaluation, inference, explanation, problem solving and decision making. But how do you “teach” critical thinking? How do you leverage effective learning strategies, environments, and enculturation to drive towards higher level thinking? This course explores how instructors, facilitators, and evaluators can incorporate critical thinking techniques into their courseware. Our goal is graduates are empowered with the knowledge and capabilities to elevate and normalize critical thinking strategies, concepts, competencies and standards into highly effective learning environments.
CT 700 – Critical Thinking for Executives
Leaders and Executives looking to create a culture of critical thinking and analysis must first themselves understand, practice, and apply the concepts in all aspects of their thinking, engagements, and decisions. A critically thinking leader understands the impacts of their decisions across the organization, seeks diversity in thought, understands connections between ideas, identifies relevant arguments, and works through inconsistencies in reasoning to make the right decision. Critical Thinking for Executives uses a seminar-based approach to better understand our own intellectual tendencies & biases and create healthy environments for tackling tough problem sets. We discuss wicked problems facing today’s organizations, build out concise problem statements, lead an evidence-based discussion of the issues, and develop reasonable course of actions to solve your wicked problems.
Data Analytics (DA)
DA 100 – Foundations of Data Analytics
Data Analytics is an ever-evolving discipline focusing on new, predictive modeling techniques with innovative analytic tools to translate data into clear, actionable insights and recommendations. The Foundations of Data Analytics trains and educates analysts on the very essence of what is data, how to mine and shape data, and how to effectively report and visualize the data to draw conclusions. The course uses the Socratic method to enhance student’s ability to interact, form meaningful conclusions, and demonstrate critical thinking skills. The course explores various visualization tools and techniques to effectively communicate results in written and verbal formats. Graduates will be able to transform raw data into effective visualizations, draw conclusions, provide predictive analysis, and influence outcomes and decisions.
DA 200 – The Art and Science of Data Analytics
Data Analytics is as much a science as it is an art. The effective data analyst understands not only how to interpret what the data is telling them but draws inferences and begin to conduct predictive data analytics. This course covers advanced visualization and design techniques designed to clearly and effectively communicate results and demonstrate expected future events, behavior, or trends. Analysts will understand factors that drive uncertainty, examine variables to reduce uncertainty, use predictive analytics to describe future outcomes, and inform ways leaders can influence the outcome.