It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. Richard Cassidy, professor emeritus and one of the original developers of GSR 984, passed away on June 19, 2013. Since the course began, Richard had been actively involved as a facilitator and had influenced numerous graduate students in their development of professional and critical thinking skills. He will be dearly missed. A full obituary can be read here.
Why GSR 984?
It is the theory that decides what we can observe. Or modified slightly, It is our theories and thinking that decides what we can observe." - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
GSR 984 provides a supportive and challenging setting for graduate students to develop the creative and critical thinking skills required for professional practice.The class meets weekly and uses a small group discussion format in a multicultural and multidisciplinary environment. GSR984 focuses on foundational frameworks of thinking (often invisible to us) that are used for almost everything we do in our personal and professional lives. The key theme, creative and critical thinking involves a process of thinking about thinking in which identifying our assumptions and reflecting to enhance learning and thinking, are built into every session. Each session will contain reflection activities (for both facilitators and students) to help ensure that the course content and activities remain grounded in the realities of work and life.
By taking GSR 984 you will:
- Identify a number of professional skills you need to focus on as you develop your professional and personal goals.
- Become aware of your conceptual frameworks and develop thinking skills, to identify assumptions and biases in your and other’s thinking.
- Develop an appreciation of differences in the thinking in diverse disciplines and how to interact within multidisciplinary groups.
- Learn to appreciate the importance of group dynamics for problem solving and learning.
- Develop a personal understanding of how disciplinary excellence requires reflection on how you think, what you believe, and how you act
Ask Our Students
In past years, graduate students have found GSR 984 an exciting opportunity for exploring, challenging, and expanding their ways of knowing and communicating. Visit our Accolades tabs to find out what our graduates have to say about this course, and why you should consider taking it to further your professional career. You can also watch the short video to learn what six of the more than 200 graduate students who have participated in GSR 984 say about their transformative experience in the course:
Please note: if you are using Internet Explorer, you must hover your cursor directly above this note to view the video controls. If you are not able to view the video, try using either Safari or Firefox.
Course Coordinators and Facilitators
The format, content, goals, facilitation, and administration of GSR984 are discussed and developed via a Community of Practice. A Community of Practice is a flexible organization made up of a wide range of individuals interested in a common purpose. The GSR984 CoP benefits from the input of a wide variety of expertises from communities within and outside of the University of Saskatchewan. The routine administration and facilitation of the 2013 program is coordinated by a core group within this CoP, made up of the following persons:
Instructional Team Lead: Trisha Dowling (Professor, Western College of Veterinary Medicine)
Co-Instructional Team Lead: John Thompson (Professor Emeritus, Sociology)
- Jayne Hudson (Retired School Principal with Expertise in Consensus Decision Making)
- Gerald Seniuk (Retired Chief Judge of Saskatchewan)
- Jim Greer (Director, University Learning Centre)
- Kim West (Educational Development Specialist, GMCTE)
- Patricia Farnese (Assistant Professor, College of Law)
- Keith Walker (Professor, College of Education, Educational Administration)
- Sandra Beardsall (Professor, St. Andrew's College)
- Jamie Rothenburger (Senior Resident, Western College of Veterinary Medicine)
- Colleen George (School of Environment & Sustainability)
About this Course
This course works to meet concerns expressed by Tri-Council Granting Agencies and the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies about the need to include a wide range of professional skills within Canadian graduate programs to enable graduate students to excel in responsibly engaging and leading our complex global communities into the future, to making a difference.
The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend." - Henri Bergson, French Philosopher and Educator
- Attend all six session (Wednesdays evenings in Term 2, 2014 from 6 to 9 pm).
- Come prepared, by reading and interacting with the on-line material (posted on Blackboard) before class.
- Participate in the group discussions.
- Write a short, focused reflection exercise after each session (~20 to 30 min maximum).
- Write a reflective essay at the conclusion of the course.
Recognition of completion of this non-credit course will appear on transcripts if you have met all requirements (exceptions discussed below*)
* If special circumstances prevent a student from attending a class the student must inform one of the facilitators (prior to the session if possible). Under these circumstances the student will still be expected to read the on-line pre class material, briefly discuss the class with someone who attended, write a one page summary of the class content, and complete the reflective exercise. Only under very unusual circumstances will students be allowed to miss more than one class. If circumstances do arise that prevent you from attending several classes, please discuss you situation with a facilitator and we can arrange to take your name off the class list to ensure that you will not receive an “Incomplete” or some other grade for the course on your transcript.
Who should apply?
This course is open to graduate students registered at the University of Saskatchewan. Post-doctoral fellows or other interested persons at the University of Saskatchewan may also apply to register through contacting the Gwenna Moss Centre.
- There is no fee associated with GSR 984. The course appears on your transcript as a 0-credit unit course with a grade of "credit" or "fail."
How to apply
Applications are processed in the order they are received and spaces are limited. Please read the application form carefully. If you are a current graduate student at the University of Saskatchewan, or your information is incomplete, we will be unable to process your application.
You will be notified when your application has been successful. Instructions on how to register for the course through PAWS will be provided to successful applicants.
Completed applications are to be dropped off to:
The Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching Effectiveness
Room 50 Murray Building, University of Saskatchewan
3 Campus Drive Saskatoon, SK Canada S7N 5A4
Fax: (306) 966-2242
Emailed applications are not accepted.
|Jan 8||Introduction and discussions of primary processes in human thinking.Elephant and rider metaphor. Pizza social at end of the session. Individual pictures taken during social.|
|Jan 15||How unexamined societal and cultural structures influence our thinkingand behaviour.|
|Jan 22||How personal assumptions about talent, intelligence, and failure shape our learning and creativity.|
|Jan 29||How ‘innate’ personal preferences (personality) shape how we think about questions/problems.|
|Feb 5||How culturally and societally constructed concepts, such as leadership, influence how we approach our profession and other aspects of our lives.|
|Feb 12||Challenges and barriers to the application of objective reasoning. Assessment of course. Summary reflection exercise for whole course.|
In 2006 a number of former GSR 984 students were asked to offer their perspectives their experience with GSR 984. These students took GSR 984 from 2 to10 years ago, and have different disciplinary and work experiences, as indicated below. Many of the outcomes identified by the students were tranformative, and included such aspects as: exposed and challenged previous assumptions; developed recognition of the importance of multidisciplinary discussions of ideas; learned about the limitation of human thinking; developed new perspectives and skills that continue to influence research, work, and everyday living.
Disciplinary Background of Former Students Providing Statements:
- Sociology, PhD student, U of S
- Exploration Geology, PhD, Perth, Australia
- Commerce, PhD, new faculty at Wilfred Laurier University
- Chemistry, PhD, Weyeth Pharmaceutical, Virginia
- Education and Accountant, PhD student, U of S
- Philosophy, PhD student, Laval University
- Engineering, Environmental Activist, MSc student, U of S
- Private Business and Education, MEd, U of S
- Geography, PhD student, Waterloo University
- Geochemistry, PhD, Technology Transfer Consultant, Universität Potsdam, Germany
Summary of Statements From Students (click to expand)
Effect On Thinking
Impact on Studies and Work
If you want to read more about this course and foundational skills, download the Full Course Overview: GSR 984.
For more information or to join the conversation visit GSR984's blog, Beyond Disciplinary Excellence.