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.

COURSES OFFERED

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 complete the course able to identify and execute the steps in the writing process, sentence structure and grammar, and compose a series of reports, expository, persuasive essays. [40 Academic Hours]

AW 200 – Analytical Writing

An analyst, in any industry, must gather evidence and conduct analysis, but, more importantly, analysts must clearly and concisely communicate and contextualize that information for decision makers. This course is designed sharpen the analytical writer’s edge and key in on the evidence, its meaning, and how to tailor assessments to what matters the most to their intended customer. This course 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. [40 Academic Hours]

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). 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]

Critical Thinking (CT)

CT 100 – Foundations of Critical Thinking

Analysts must have the requisite skills to reason, comprehend, and synthesize data to turn it into meaningful information. The Foundations of Critical Thinking sets a course for analytic growth through in-depth discussions and learning opportunities. The Course establishes what is knowledge, how we learn, the elements of critical thinking, logic, reason, bias, logical fallacies, and basic frameworks and strategies to improve the thinking process and break down barriers to effective critical thinking. 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 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 much of it is biased, illogical, 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 information 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. The ability to think critically, recognize and integrate new information, challenge assumptions, adopt Socratic questioning, develop inferences from incomplete data, analyze competing hypotheses, and generate alternate scenarios is vital for continuing growth as an agile, critical thinker. [40 Academic Hours]

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 oral and written evaluations to assess progress and understanding, while providing meaningful and in-depth feedback. [40 Academic Hours]

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. [40 Academic Hours]

CT 600 – Critical Thinking for Instructors

Critical thinking is commonly referred to as “the art of thinking about thinking” with the ultimate goal of arriving at the truth. 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 is designed to teach instructors, facilitators, and evaluators how to critically think, how to incorporate critical thinking techniques into their courseware to encourage a higher level of thought in their students, how to encourage active learning in the classroom, and how to effectively instruct and encourage critical thinking in a virtual environment. Our practical application exercises allow the students the opportunity to create their own plans of instruction that incorporate these techniques and are adapted for distance learning. [80 Academic Hours]

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 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. [16 Academic Hours]

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 increase capacity 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. [40 Academic Hours]

DA 200 – The Art and Science of Data Analytics

Data Analytics is a 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 draw 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. [40 Academic Hours]