Critical Thinking Initiative

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The Critical Thinking Initiative provides ETH graduates with the ability to work on complex, interdisciplinary and system-oriented problems, in addition to methodological skills and disciplinary knowledge. It focuses on the promotion of institutional diversity, interdisciplinary exchange, critical and self-critical thinking and responsible behaviour.

Critical Thinking Initiative
Critical thinking equips ETH students with the necessary tools to deal with complex, interdisciplinary and system-oriented questions (ETH Zurich / Florian Bachmann)

Critical thinking and questioning offers a real opportunity for science and is part of the culture at ETH Zurich. ETH accordingly encourages its students and employees to think critically about the scientific system and the role of the university in society. For teaching, this approach creates freedom for further individual development and activities outside the curriculum, while strengthening reflection and decision-making skills at all levels.

Specifically, ETH Zurich promotes dialogue platforms, such as open-space structures in teaching and research. It also cultivates and creates new teaching and learning methods, such as those that support information transfer in self-study and enhance the classroom through interactive solution of concrete problems. ETH Week, where students from all departments deal with important social challenges, is a typical format in this approach, as is the Student Project House, a new platform where students can implement their own projects and develop their abilities outside the curriculum.

The Science in Perspective study programme at the D-GESS also offers a critical thinking approach by helping ETH students to see the content of their studies from new, normative, historical and cultural perspectives. ETH also supports student initiatives that serve the same goal, such as the Robots and Philosophy project.

For ETH, good scientific practice is a key priority. Its employees should consciously and critically reflect the academic research culture. In order to make good scientific practice even better, each ETH department now has a new contact person for this topic, who will support researchers with specific knowledge.

Finally, ETH Zurich promotes dialogue between academia, society, business and politics in various formats and in science, such as at the Institute of Science, Technology and Policy.

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