Nurturing Creative, Thinking Engineers

Posted on October 21, 2011


Author:  Sanjay Goel,


This paper describes some ideas and experiences with training student engineers in creativity and critical thinking. In our survey, a large majority (82%) of respondents felt that as compared to all other kind of academic engagements, their projects had contributed most to develop their creativity. About 50% had also felt that their projects were also the most effective in nurturing critical and reflective thinking in them. Thinking-oriented lectures, research literature surveys, and discussions with students and faculty were perceived to have added to the cultivation of these competencies. Written examinations, knowledge transmission-oriented lectures, and routine homework were found to be least effective. Unfortunately often engineering education revolves around these three pedagogical engagements. Nurturing the mental habits of critical and creative thinking of engineering students cannot be sacrificed or deferred for the sake of course coverage. The following is appended: What Contributes to Creative and Critical Thinking: Excerpts from Alumni’s Reflections.

The full paper can be accessed at


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