Intellectual Toolkit

Some skills and habits of mind are so fundamental to the development of one’s intellectual capacities and to lifelong well-being that they constitute a toolkit for life and work throughout college and beyond.

Today’s rapidly changing, interconnected world demands graduates with the ability to think critically, to conduct research amidst an overabundance of information sources, and to explore profound questions and approach problem-solving with imagination and creativity, both individually and as members of a team. Students must also learn to make a range of informed life decisions that will sustain them and enable them to put their education to good use in the world. Cultivating these multipurpose toolkit skills explicitly and intentionally is a crucial dimension of BU students’ preparation for a broad and ever-evolving spectrum of personal, educational, professional, and civic opportunities.

The required formal introduction to understanding and practicing the essential skills of critical thinking, research and information literacy, teamwork/collaboration, and creativity/innovation will be reinforced and extended in almost every course students take at Boston University. Students’ participation as juniors and seniors in the Hub’s signature Cross-College Challenge (XCC) can further develop and refine their communication, teamwork, creativity, and information literacy skills.

Students are required to fulfill eight units in this capacity:

  • Critical Thinking (2 units)
  • Research and Information Literacy (2 units)
  • Teamwork/Collaboration (2 units)
  • Creativity/Innovation (2 units)
  • Life Skills (No units required)
Classic statue of Socrates

Critical Thinking

The ability to think critically is the fundamental characteristic of an educated person.

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Research and Information Literacy

Scholarly research—the process of posing problems, designing effective investigative strategies, collecting and evaluating information, drawing conclusions, and presenting findings—drives the creation and dissemination of new knowledge in and across all academic disciplines, professions, and walks of life.

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Training in and the practical experience of teamwork teaches the process of innovation, develops leadership, and fosters knowledge of one’s own strengths and appreciation for those of others.

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BU students across all fields of study will benefit from learning how to think in new ways, imagine new possibilities, take new approaches, and/or make new things.

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Life Skills

Thriving in college and beyond depends largely on an ability to make considered decisions in one’s daily life and to engage effectively in establishing one’s priorities and planning for the future.

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