February 11, 2013
Board of Trustees
Re: Reading and Thinking
I have been doing a lot of thinking lately. One conclusion I have made is that I think one of the most important skills we have as humans is our ability to read. What a wonderful skill! We can experience the lives of others, different cultures, other countries, make believe worlds that tickle our creativity, the past, the present. So much can be experienced, learned, explored, examined, and critically evaluated.
That leads me to another conclusion I have made as a result of doing a lot of thinking. As equally important with the skill of reading, is critical thinking. Why? Because what we read must be filtered to evaluate it. Without that, how would we know what is true and what is false or fancy. Can you imagine a world where we believed everything we read as gospel? Can you just imagine where you would be living today if we still believed the world was flat just because we read it as a fact and didn’t apply critical thinking to it? Thank goodness for our ability to think critically.
I am thankful to my teachers and professors who challenged me to read and interpret what I read. I specifically remember a statistics course I took where the professor asked us to review published research and examine it to determine if the conclusions were justified by the data, the number of subjects, the methodology, and the statistical analyses selected. I think we were all shocked to find out how many research studies had flawed methodologies, analyses, and conclusions that didn’t stand up to closer scrutiny. This certainly made us read carefully and examine carefully what we read. What a valuable lesson learned!
Here is another thing I think I think that highly educated and successful people apply both of the above skills in their lives. That is why I am shocked and disbelieving that a group of highly educated successful people serving on the Board of Trustees of Penn State did not use these two skills when presented with $6 million dollars worth of research conclusions. A large price tag doesn’t guarantee accuracy.
I certainly hope you take the time to read in full the new report on the Critique of the Freeh Report: The Rush to Injustice and apply critical thinking, read the PS4RS Critique and apply critical thinking, and go back and read the Freeh report in its entirety and apply critical thinking. Thousands of highly educated, successful alumnae of Penn State have done this. These thousands of highly educated, successful alumnae have concluded there were significant--even glaring-- flaws in the Freeh conclusions based on the data, methodology, incompleteness of the study, and interpretation of the data—so much so that the conclusions are questionable, unjustified, and faulty.
So now, I think it is time for you to act like the highly educated and successful people you were and do what your teachers, professors, bosses, coworkers, shareholders, family, friends and alumnae expect you to do. Read and critically think. If you can’t take the time to read important information directly related to your responsibility as a member of the Board of Trustees, and apply critical thinking, then you shouldn’t be on the Board of Trustees.
Peggy L. Glaser, Ph.D.
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Last updated Feb 13, 2013,jlb