About this Course

A non-credit course for Masters students, Ph.D. students, and post-doctoral fellows. This eight-week course will be offered from 1-4 pm on Monday afternoons every fall and winter term.  The course provides a multidisciplinary and multicultural setting for students to develop the creative and critical thinking skills required for professional practice. 

GPS 984 focuses on foundational frameworks of thinking (often invisible to us) that are used for almost everything we do in our personal and professional lives. The key theme, creative and critical thinking involves a process of thinking about thinking in which identifying our assumptions and reflecting to enhance learning and thinking, are built into every session. Each session includes reflective activities to help ensure that the course content and activities remain grounded in the realities of work and life. 

By taking GPS 984 you will:

  • Identify a number of professional skills you need to focus on as you develop your professional and personal goals.
  • Become aware of your conceptual frameworks and develop thinking skills, to identify assumptions and biases in your and other’s thinking.
  • Develop an appreciation of differences in the thinking in diverse disciplines and how to interact within multidisciplinary groups.
  • Learn to appreciate the importance of group dynamics for problem solving and learning.
  • Develop a personal understanding of how disciplinary excellence requires reflection on how you think, what you believe, and how you act

Course Overview

GPS 984 provides a multicultural and multidisciplinary environment in which graduate students and post-doctoral fellows are expected to develop new and unique understandings and skills for their professional and personal lives. Meeting weekly with peers from disciplines across campus in face-to-face small groups, students collectively engage in problem solving of case studies to explore a wide range of professional issues and challenging questions. GPS 984 focuses on foundational frameworks of thinking (often invisible to us) that are used for almost everything we do in our personal and professional lives. The key theme, creative and critical thinking, involves a process of thinking about thinking in which identifying our assumptions and reflecting to enhance learning and thinking are integrated into each session. 

Through multidisciplinary and multicultural discussions students uncover their own knowledge frameworks and assumptions. They discover ways in which personality, human thinking, social contexts, cultural beliefs, and fields of study subtly but deeply shape our ways of knowing and acting, often without our awareness. Students develop mutual appreciation of each other’s’ vantage points that enrich their own academic fields, research, friendships, and future professional practice.

The course works to meet concerns expressed by Tri-Council Granting Agencies and the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies about the need to include a wide range of professional skills within Canadian graduate programs to enable graduate students to excel in responsibly engaging and leading our complex global communities into the future, to making a difference.

Course Instructors & Community of Practice

The format, content, goals, facilitation, and administration of GPS 984 have been discussed and developed via a Community of Practice (CoP). A Community of Practice is a flexible organization made up of a wide range of individuals interested in a common purpose. The GPS 984 CoP benefits from the input of a wide variety of expertises from communities within and outside of the University of Saskatchewan. Other guest facilitators may also lead and participate in some of the discussions.

Course Instructors: Trisha Dowling (Professor, Western College of Veterinary Medicine) & Wenona Partridge, Educational Development Specialist, The Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching Effectiveness

Course Requirements & Evaluation

  • Attend all eight class sessions. 
  • Come prepared, by reading and interacting with the online material before class. 
  • Participate in the group discussions in class and online. 
  • Write a short, focused reflection after each session. 
  • Write a reflective essay at the conclusion of the course.

Topics

Date Description
Week 1 Strengths and Professional Skills
Week 2
Intercultural Communication
Week 3
Primary Processes in Human Thinking
Week 4
Mindset, Creativity, and Framing Failure
Week 5
Personality and Thinking
Week 6
Leadership and Teamwork
Week 7
Introduction to Negotiation
Week 8
Thinking Critically in Decision-Making

Acknowledgements

The format, content, goals, facilitation, and administration of GPS 984 have been discussed and developed via a Community of Practice (CoP). A Community of Practice is a flexible organization made up of a wide range of individuals interested in a common purpose. The GPS 984 CoP benefits from the input of a wide variety of expertises from communities within and outside of the University of Saskatchewan. We would like to acknowledge the contributions of several key individuals within the Community of Practice, without which the GPS 984 course would not be what it is today:

  • Richard Cassidy, Professor Emeritus
    Dr. Richard Cassidy, professor emeritus and one of the original developers of GPS 984, passed away on June 19, 2013. Richard’s inspiration and passion, insightful design, hard work, and humour guided GPS 984 for 16 years. His collaborative leadership engaged many liked-minded colleagues. Faculty and community leaders joined Richard as facilitators for various sessions with students to probe together our “thinking about thinking.” His initiative, pedagogy, and humanity touched more than 500 graduate students.

  • John Thompson, Professor Emeritus, Sociology

  • Gerry Seniuk, Retired Chief Judge of Saskatchewan

  • Dr. Jayne Hudson, Retired School Principal with Expertise in Consensus Decision Making

Registration

Graduate students and Postdocs may register in PAWS for GPS 984 every fall and winter term. Postdocs who experience problems registering should email gmctl_courses@usask.ca for assistance.

Questions

Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching and Learning

GMCTL has a variety of programming, workshops, non-credit courses and resources for graduate students or post-doctorals who are new to teaching and who already have some experience but want to learn more.