Date of Conferral
Mary E. Retterer
Although critical thinking skills are important for all citizens participating in a democratic society, many community college students appear to lack these skills. This study addressed the apparent lack of research relating critical thinking instruction to campus climate. Critical thinking theory and Moos's organizational climate theory served as the theoretical foundation. The relationship between faculty's perceptions of three campus climate factors and their use of five critical thinking instructional techniques in the classroom was analyzed in this quantitative study. An online instrument based on the School-Level Environment Questionnaire (SLEQ) to measure campus climate and a researcher-designed measure of critical thinking instructional techniques was used in a nonexperimental correlational design. Responses from a purposive sample of 276 community college faculty in the western United States were evaluated using multiple regression analysis. Results indicated participatory decision-making was directly related, staff freedom was inversely related, and work pressure was not related to faculty's use of critical thinking instruction in their classrooms. This study contributes to positive social change by providing information that community college leaders can use to improve their students' critical thinking skills. As a result, students and graduates will be better prepared to contribute to the community and society at large by making better social and moral decisions.