Think EKU!

At EKU, we are dedicated to helping students succeed. Meet Scotty Dunlap, a professor who uses a structured teaching model to encourage students to think critically and creatively.

Scotty Dunlap is an associate professor in the Safety, Security and Emergency Management Department in the College of Justice and Safety.  He is a recipient, along with nine others, of the Critical Thinking Teacher of the Year award. The first annual award was coordinated by Kate Williams, director of the Quality Enhancement Program (QEP) to recognize "outstanding faculty members who have had an effect on developing their students' critical/creative thinking skills."

Currently enrolled students were asked to nominate professors who had done an excellent job in "encouraging them to think critically and/or creatively about the subject matter in their class," said Ms. Williams.

►What Dr. Dunlap's Students Say

Students who nominated Dr. Dunlap describe his ability to apply critical thinking tools to practical situations. At the heart of the critical thinking approach are the elements of thought and intellectual standards.  Some student comments:

  • His professional expertise coupled with the essential components of the critical thinking model give a student the skills to excel as an employee and the confidence to take a leadership role in the work environment. 
  • Dr. Dunlap teaches best practices in the safety, security and emergency management field but also encourages a student to share new ideas. 
  • He does an excellent job of facilitating discussions. Because we use critical thinking, our discussions are very thorough and every student is able to participate.

►Succeed in Your Classes

The critical thinking model is a value added component to a college education. The model provides students with a framework to be successful in the classroom. "I focus on teaching critical thinking in our research class, but the skills learned through understanding the model can be applied to other classes and to thinking through a problem that is presented in any subject," explains Dr. Dunlap. "As a student, I always struggled with how to include enough information to meet a minimum page requirement without adding fluff."  The intellectual standards in the critical thinking model "help students see how they can easily add substantive material without resorting to fluff."

►Make an Impression

Candidates for a job "need something to help them stand out from other applicants.  Having worked in this industry for 15 years and having been on numerous hiring committees, I can say that the critical thinking model provides that advantage. Hiring decisions are made in a matter of minutes."  Dr. Dunlap's goal is to prepare students to quickly formulate and communicate responses within the short time a prospective employee has the interviewer's attention.

►Excel in Your Career

Dr. Dunlap points out that employers do not want to know about problems. They want solutions. "The critical thinking model provides our students with the ability to synthesize information, consider various points of view, and identify alternatives for solving problems.  Students will be able to enter their first job with the ability to clearly articulate a problem, provide viable alternative solutions and specify the most beneficial solution given the circumstances."

►Take Away

When a student completes my class and enters the workforce, he or she will be exposed to many different people -- a wide range of personalities and professional backgrounds. I hope my former student will be able to:

  • think critically about issues,
  • problem-solve, and
  • break new ground by challenging the status quo.