Critical Thinking and PO Essay

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Topic: We want to know what you think; don’t write what you think we want to hear.Reflect honestly on your experiences.This is your chance to make it better for the next person.

Research the University of Charleston (UC) Mission and how UC defines the component parts of the mission. ( Please write an essay in which you will critically examine how the Critical Thinking Liberal Learning Outcome (LLO), including Foundational (4.1), Midlevel (4.2) and Advanced (4.3), and a Program Outcome (PO) of your choice, including foundational, midlevel and advanced, are connected to and reflective of the mission of the University of Charleston to educate each student for a life of productive work, enlightened living, and community involvement (University of Charleston 2015). Cite specific examples of course work for both the LLO and the PO. You must also reflect on how, or how not, the University Mission is part of your life plan for the next five to ten years.

This essay allows you to display your critical thinking skills to reflect on yourgrowth and development during your work at UC, your aspirations for the future, and whether or not the University of Charleston mission statement has, or will have, an impact on your development. Please remember to use the Critical Thinking Rubric, available in the syllabus, as well as any other course materials regarding critical thinking to help you as you complete this essay.

Critical Thinking and PO Essay (formerly Essay 1)


  • You must research how the University of Charleston defines productive work, enlightened living and community involvement.These definitions can be found in the University Catalogue or the UC website.Please use the newest version of the catalogue which is available online.While you engage in the university mission, it is the responsibility of the University of Charleston to determine what the mission means.
  • Your essay must include specific examples of course work completed to meet the Critical Thinking LLO at each level (4.1, 4.2, and 4.3), and the PO of your choice at each level (foundation, midlevel, and advanced). Your examples (experiences) must include work required by your courses or work for which you received transfer credit.If you need clarification, please contact your professor.
  • As you consider how the LLO and PO will impact your life plan, please remember to include aspects of your life beyond your work.The UC mission has been written to be relevant not only in your career, but also in your personal and family life.
  • We would like to think that you have integrated productive work, enlightened living and community involvement in your life thus far, but the life plan portion of the essay focusses on the future and not the past. How will you refine your life plan to reflect the UC mission statement?If, through your reflection and planning, you discover that the university mission is not a part of your work at UC or your life plan, please elucidate the reasons that this is the case.
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A few tips and common mistakes to avoid:

Sometimes students focus and emphasize one aspect of the mission and do not give enough consideration to other aspects. For e.g., writing a lot about the productive work part of the mission and barely mentioning the enlightened living and community involvement aspects. Keep in mind, you have to “balance” your essay to give enough attention to all three parts of the mission when you write.

Sometimes, when addressing the Critical Thinking LLO students address one of two parts of the outcome and not all three parts of the outcome, attitude of intellectual curiosity, information literacy, and metacognition.Please address the entire outcome at all three levels.

Not citing relevant sources is also a common mistake. Please utilize one or more sources and cite them in APA citation style.

How to find your Program Outcomes (POs):

Look up your program in the UC Catalog, your major outcomes are listed there. If you have questions about the POs, please contact your advisor. For information concerning the level at which your PO was addressed in a given class, you will need to look at the curriculum map.You can always ask your professor for help as well.


Prewriting and/or brainstorming
  • Read the assignment carefully to understand what is expected of you.Often times we read things quickly and move on without trying to use critical thinking skills to understand what we are reading.I suggest you explore and follow the suggested procedure to help you understand the assignment.
  • There are activities as part of the course that will help you understand the Critical Thinking LLO.Make certain you engage in each of these activities.You can see the points assigned for each activity in the syllabus
  • You may use the brainstorming method you prefer, but I might suggest that you follow this procedure:
    • Make three columns on a sheet of paper or in a word file
    • At the top of each column write: “productive work,” enlightened living” and “community involvement” respectively.
    • Underneath each of the column headings write a list of thoughts concerning how critical thinking and your selected PO are reflective of the component part of the mission
    • Underneath the list in each of the columns make a list of course experiences (assignments) that connect the LLO and PO to that section of the mission. Remember that an assignment can be used to assess both Critical Thinking and the PO of your choice.
    • Next, develop a life plan for the next five to ten years that includes not only your work life, but also your personal life and family life. If you have already included productive work, enlightened living, and community involvement in your previous life plan, please apprise the reader concerning how you will continue to do so in the future and any changes you wish to make.
    • Then, place aspects of your life plan under the column heading to which they pertain.
  • The brainstorming is for your benefit and will not be turned in.
Develop an outline
  • Look back over your brainstorming and put the information you plan to use in your essay in a logical order.
  • Consider what the logical order of your information indicates about your topic.
  • Use that order to develop an outline
  • Remember that every essay has an introduction with a thesis, body, and conclusion.
Write the preliminary draft of your essay
  • Use your outline to guide the writing of your preliminary draft.
  • Remember that you do not need to write your essay in the order it will eventually be turned in.
    • Some students do best writing the body paragraphs first and then writing the introduction and conclusion afterwards.
  • Some websites that may help you are:
  • After you have written your preliminary draft, proofread it and make your essay as clear as you possibly can.You will grow only when you show your best work to someone and get suggestions on improving it.If people keep telling you things that you already know that about your essay, you will not become a better writer/thinker.
  • There are several venues available to you to get feedback on your essay.
  • If you have a specific question about your essay, you may ask your instructor.Your instructor, however, will not give general feedback to you prior to you submitting your preliminary draft to SmartThinking.You will find that is largely the way things happen when you are in graduate school and/or have a job.
  • You can ask a fellow student to review your essay
  • You can ask a peer-tutor in the Academic Success Center, but you must submit your preliminary draft to the online tutoring service, SmartThinking.
  • Using the suggestions of the reviewer, you need to revise your draft.
  • After you have revised your first preliminary draft using the feedback from SmartThinking, you need to submit your Revised Preliminary Draft (RPD) using the links in Elearn.
  • Use the links provided in Elearn to submit your final draft of Essay 1 to Chalk and Wire and
  • As you can see, there are many parts to this essay.Do not put off your work until the last minute.Thinking takes time!
Show your preliminary draft to a reviewer.
Revise your draft
Submit your Preliminary draft to Professor feedback
Submit your final draft

Standards and Criteria

In order to achieve successful performance, and to be graded, the final graded draft of the essay MUST INCLUDE:

  • Length: 2000 -2500 words, word-processed, standard 12pt. Font, double spaced.
  • The final draft must be submitted through Any essay turned in to an instructor that has not been submitted through will not be graded.

3.The essay must meet the criteria on the Writing Rubric, and Critical Thinking Rubric with a minimum passing standard of 3.

4.When you have completed the essay post it using the turnitin and “Chalk & Wire” links in Elearn.

  1. Cite at least three sources. A required source to be cited is the UC catalog or the website. If you have difficulty thinking of other possible resources, please contact your professor for suggestions.


Last Updated on March 31, 2019 by EssayPro