The School of Thinking is a postgraduate degree programme organized by CLEA at the VUB. Through lectures, workshops, seminars and exercises, led by our researchers and international experts, students are trained in a variety of methods to ‘think beyond boundaries’, i.e. more creatively, critically, systemically and practically. Thus, they acquire the tools to better deal with the complex problems in present-day science, society, business and technology.
The postgraduate offers two learning tracks:
• Regular Track (29 ECTS), which has been in launched in October 2019
• Research Track in Counselling (90-167 ECTS), which is planned to be offered from October 2022.
School of Thinking - Regular Track
The generalist curriculum of the School of Thinking is addressed to working professionals whose interests are focused on tackling complex, ‘wicked’, multidisciplinary or unprecedented problems — and particularly to those, for whom the outcome of their work critically depends on the quality of thinking. The primary aim of the programme is for the participants to develop the capacity for cultivating extraordinary intelligence: individually, as well as in their communities, teams and organizations. Learning how to bring one’s thinking performance beyond the threshold of the expected ‘ordinary’, again and again, results in an intelligence capacity that continuously exceeds its own limits. To develop such capacity, the participants acquire a combination of skills, theoretical knowledge and above all the experience of integrating these into their unique everyday practice. This informs the following specific objectives of the programme:
• The students will be able to fluently select from a rich array of advanced thinking frameworks, methods and tools (such as complexity thinking, systems thinking, design thinking, collective intelligence tools etc.), apply them in real-world circumstances, and guide others (collaborators, teams, organizations) in joining in and thinking together.
• By applying and evaluating diverse thinking frameworks, the students will learn to disassociate their activity of thinking from specific patterns and methods that their thought is in the habit of using. This is how they will learn to approach frameworks they are familiar with merely as a ‘training infrastructure’ for exercising the power, plasticity and movability of thought.
• By learning to observe and appreciate the extraordinary thinking of others as well as of oneself, the students will learn to affirm and support the paths and stances which expand the horizons of thought.
• The students will become fluent in crossing all kinds of boundaries, in particular those maintained by the academic disciplines and professional identities. They will learn how all historically evolved academic, professional, organizational, cultural and ideological worldviews, disciplines and categories can be deployed by the thinker, without anymore imposing on thought their impassable boundaries.
School of Thinking - Research Track in Counselling
The longer, specialised and research-oriented learning track is currently under development. Building upon the generalist 1-year Regular Track, the Research Track in Counselling is addressed to experienced practitioners who are trained and active in conducting interactive interventions into the thinking of others in a variety of settings (e.g. counselling, coaching, psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, consulting, mentoring etc). The central objective of the programme is for such professionals to revise, refine, and enrich the conceptual foundations and methods of their work through collaborative experimentation, exposure, and systematic review in a transdisciplinary intellectual milieu. This informs the following specific learning and training objectives:
• The participants will critically understand a diverse range of the existing methods and paradigms of interventions into thinking (i. ) in the common and differentiating features underlying their worldviews and conceptualisations, (i i.) the axiomatic distinctions that ground each paradigm, and (iii.) the relationships between the philosophical historical and cultural roots of various methods on one hand and the deontological and operational structures enacted by each on the other hand.
• The participants will learn to systematically expose and address the presuppositions that guide the interventions as they are being conducted in their own practice.
• The participants will enrich their practice with a new repertoire of skills and sensibilities for addressing and orienting a variety of cognitive processes and patterns of thinking which diverge from the most frequently assumed normative trajectories.
•The participants will make creative contributions to their respective professional fields by introducing novel interdisciplinary approaches.
More information about the School of Thinking can be found on the programme’s dedicated website: www.schoolofthinking.be