A few years ago, the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) received a donation to create the Eugene H. Fram Chair in Applied Critical Thinking (previously). Its first holder was Clarence “Chip” Burton Sheffield Jr., a professor of art history. The school just named Sheffield’s successor: Jennifer Schneider, a professor in RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology. From the press release:
A certified industrial hygienist, Schneider is a risk analysis and HAZMAT process expert known for her scholarship in the areas of global resilience and community criticality. She is the principal of the Collaboratory for Resiliency and Recovery at RIT, a 2014 RIT Board of Trustees Scholarship Award winner, and a “million dollar PI” who has completed multiple research initiatives funded by the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Labor and the National Science Foundation.
Professor Schneider appears to be a rather accomplished scholar in her field. I flag this for your attention not because there are questions about whether she is qualified for the job (I’m certainly not in any position to second guess her appointment), but only because many philosophers tend to think that “critical thinking” is the particular expertise of philosophers. We cannot take for granted that non-philosophers and administrators think the same.