BELFAST — Registration is open for an online professional development workshop, Engaging Your Critical Thinking Skills, offered Feb. 19-26 through the University of Maine Hutchinson Center in Belfast and the UMaine Business School.

The two-day online program, part of the Hutchinson Center’s professional development program, will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. via Zoom. The cost is $150 per person. More information is available on the Hutchinson Center website.

With so many of our interactions being virtual or socially distanced, we lack the cues typically relied on to communicate. Under these circumstances, the risk of miscommunication multiplies. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we fail to get our point across; we are unable to rebut an argument; a problem we think we’ve solved comes right back; or we feel unheard and unable to constructively hear others. These are among the common issues in communication, and all can be addressed using critical thinking skills.

Critical thinking is a learnable skill that develops our ability to question assumptions, build constructive arguments, solve problems, and negotiate positive personal and professional relationships. In today’s world of informational overload, it also is a powerful way to increase our capacity for effective, directed action. Employers note that critical thinking is a necessary skill for employees to successfully bridge the gap between technical information and customer needs in all sectors, currently lacking in up to 40% of new hires.

The Hutchinson Center’s online critical thinking workshop will benefit those in social and human services, businesses and nonprofits, government employees, students, and anyone with a desire to achieve greater effectiveness and satisfaction in their communications. No previous experience is necessary. The online format of this program makes it possible for participants worldwide to enroll. Stable internet connection and the ability to participate in these synchronous sessions as they are happening are required.

Instructor Terry Porter, UMaine associate professor emerita, taught business strategy and sustainability in the Maine Business School for 13 years. Porter also is a certified mental health counselor and a 2014 Fulbright Scholar. She has over 30 years of experience as a teacher, counselor, coach, guide and facilitator.        

Participants will receive a certificate of completion, and 0.75 CEUs/7.5 contact hours are available.For information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact Michelle Patten at um.fhc.pd@maine.edu or 207-338-8002.

For more information about upcoming professional development programs or to register, go online. Early registration is recommended as spots are limited. A limited number of need-based scholarships are available for people who live or work in Knox or Waldo County.