Critical & Creative Design Thinking Program

Critical & Creative Design Thinking Program

The Critical & Creative Design Thinking program (CCDT) is based out of the Sarasota-Manatee campus and is comprised of three areas:  

  • Faculty and staff enhancement and credentialing,  
  • Student engagement and skill development, and  
  • Training workshops for businesses and organizations.

The CCDT program allows faculty, staff, students, or organizations to focus individually on critical thinking, or on applying critical thinking to the creative design process. 

Program Background

In November 2014, university leadership on the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus consulted with faculty, staff, students, and community partners to support its mission to prepare students to become “successful leaders and responsible citizens.” This was the beginning of the campus’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) and Incredi-Bull Critical Thinking (IBCT) program led by then director, Dr. Michael Gillespie, associate professor of psychology.  

The original program was influenced by different frameworks, including the work of Richard Paul and Linda Elder, and the new program is influenced by other frameworks, including the Stanford The IBCT program was interdisciplinary, cutting across colleges and majors, which facilitated creativity and drove innovation. In 2020, the QEP was discontinued. In 2022, a new program, under the leadership of its new director, Dr. Robinson, was implemented, expanding the original program to include creative design thinking. Dr. Robinson believes that “critical thinking can help us to become more self-aware and to recognize our own biases, facilitate deeper understanding, and create new possibilities as we engage collaboratively in the creative design process towards innovative solutions.” 


Credentialing: Faculty who wish to be credentialed can complete the credentialing process by submitting an initial critical & creative design thinking activity proposal, sufficiently demonstrating the integration of CCDT into coursework, research, community engagement projects, publishing, and/or professional development (such as faculty learning communities). Faculty who wish to maintain or renew their credentialing will submit the credentialing renewal form. Both types of proposals will be reviewed by the CCDT implementation committee for approval. Learn more

Awards: Credentialed faculty have the opportunity to apply for awards to support their activities focused on CCDT. 

Faculty Learning Community: In collaboration with the Center of Innovative Teaching & Learning (CITL), the CCDT program is happy to offer Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs). Join an intimate group of faculty members in biweekly conversations that deep dive into the application of critical thinking, creativity, and design thinking to faculty courses or projects. The CCDT FLC is expected to be offered each semester (including over the Summer), meeting twice a month for four months. Exact meeting dates will be determined based on participant’s availability. 

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Students seeking to earn a CCDT award will complete a certain number of activities integrating CCDT, including the production and enactment of a culminating activity. This culminating action plan, project, or research piece will demonstrate the student’s understanding and application of CCDT based on the respective rubric. Ultimately, students completing the CCDT award will have increased educational and career outcomes compared to their peers.

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Training Workshops  

USF is proud to offer the Critical and Creative Design Thinking:  Becoming a More Effective Decision-Maker workshop, specifically designed to meet the individual needs of businesses and organizations. In this environment of accelerating technological and social change, big data, increasing complexity, and unconscious bias in decision-making, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication continue to be some of the most in-demand skills required to solve rapidly changing and complex problems in both day-to-day and unique circumstances.

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