Integrative Thinking

Excerpted from the College Competencies

What does this mean in the Core and my other courses? The ability to move from making simple connections among ideas, disciplines, and experiences to synthesizing and transferring learning and data to new, complex situations.

Holistic Description

Complex problems demand the ability to integrate knowledge, methods and perspective from many different areas.  Navigating such a problem starts with evaluating different fields of knowledge or perspectives and selecting the most relevant or useful ones. Examining the problem or topic from multiple angles then leads to a synthesis that integrates insights from different fields into a more complete response than would have been possible from a single perspective alone. This process works best when it is consciously applied, when the choice of fields and perspectives and the nature of the synthesis are clearly articulated. 

Guiding questions

  • What fields of knowledge, methods or perspectives should I consult to create a conceptually coherent product or a more complete response or answer?
  • How does each relevant field of knowledge, method, or perspective enhance my understanding of the topic?  What are the “blindspots” of each (i.e., what do they leave out or miss)?
  • How will the relevant fields of knowledge, methods or perspectives blend together in the product or response to the topic/question?  
  • Can I explain each of the choices I made in selecting fields of knowledge, methods or perspectives, and how I blended them together in the final product? 
More Writing in the Core
Analytical Thinking