Analytic Thought

“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.


Critical Thinking (CT)

CT 110 – Foundations of Analysis

Analysts must have the requisite skills to reason, comprehend, and synthesize data to turn it into meaningful information. The Foundations of Analysis sets a course for analytic growth through in-depth discussions and learning on the four pillars of analysis. The course is designed to grow the quality of analytic reasoning, analysis, objectivity, and decision making. Students will apply these concepts across a series of innovative practical applications designed to stretch and test the new analyst’s mind. [40 Academic Hours]

CT 210 – Critical Thinking for Analysis

The true critical thinker and analyst are not as concerned with what direction a research question takes as they are in seeking the truth. Critical Thinking for Analysts continues the journey from Foundations of Analysis by imparting the principles of methodology, inference, and logic. The course covers critical thinking models, addressing evidence, competing hypothesis, decision trees, weighted analysis, and more. 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 oral and written evaluations to assess progress and understanding, while providing meaningful and in-depth feedback. [40 Academic Hours]

CT 710 – 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 discuss wicked problems facing today’s organizations, build out a concise problem statement, lead an evidence-based discussion of the issues, and develop a reasonable course of action to solve the problem. [24 Academic Hours]

Data Analytics (DA)

DA 110 – Foundations of Data Analytics

Data Analytics is an ever-evolving discipline focusing on new, predictive modeling techniques with innovative analytic tools to increase capacity to translate data into clear, actionable insights and recommendations. The Foundations of Data Analytics trains and educates analysts on competencies, modeling, effective communication techniques, application of critical thinking, sourcing, and uncertainty. 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. [40 Academic Hours]

Writing (WT)

WT 210 – Foundations of Analytic Writing

Foundations of Analytic Writing trains and educates new analysts on concepts and types of written communication, standards, analyst-customer relationships, sourcing, uncertainty, and argument mapping. The central mechanism of the course is practice and experiential learning, as students work on all phases of writing and then reviewing and improving on them using community standards and practices. Students acquire foundational skills for better writing using essential readings, experienced facilitator-led discussions, and several writing and communication exercises. [40 Academic Hours]

WT 310 – Collaborative Analytic Writing

Collaborative Analytic 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 Analytic 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). Students will engage in a series of group communication and writing exercises, along with the application of inter-personal skills, to successfully compete the course. [60 Academic Hours]