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A video by WCTE-TV and acclaimed Cookeville-based producer Todd Jarrell highlighting Tennessee Tech University's involvement in a national critical thinking assessment project has won one of five 2010 CINE Gold Eagle Awards for public service announcements.

The video, "Critically Thinking Critical," features the CAT Instrument, a unique tool designed at Tennessee Tech to assess and promote the improvement of critical thinking and real-world problem solving skills. The instrument is the product of extensive development, testing and refinement with a broad range of institutions, faculty and students across the country. The National Science Foundation has provided support for many of these activities.

Go here to see the video:

"The motivation for this video came as an opportunity to participate in a pilot project between PBS on the national level and the National Science Foundation," said Jarrell. "The NSF is very interested in broadening the outreach and communicating the findings of the people that they fund. This was a chance to marry the resources of public television stations and information generated by this NSF project."

The CAT project, led by TTU's Barry Stein and Ada Haynes, has received more external funding than any other project at TTU. It's one of only 22 featured in NSF's latest report, New Challenges, New Strategies: Building Excellence in Undergraduate STEM Education.

More than 80 institutions across the country—including Yale University, Dartmouth, and Duke— turned to the assessment instrument developed at Tennessee Tech to address the growing reality in higher education that courses should emphasize critical thinking.

"This bonds assessment to teaching," said Stein. "It's one thing to get back a score, another to see students' mistakes and strengths."

Jarrell says his challenge as a producer was to create a spot that felt compelling and important so the audience could easily understand the concept.

"Through this pilot program, our goal was to raise awareness of the critical thinking research and specifically lead viewers to the website to learn more," said Jarrell.

The CINE Golden Eagle Award has been recognized as a mark of excellence throughout the film and television industry for over 50 years. Since its founding in 1957, CINE has been instrumental in promoting the careers of thousands of filmmakers through juried competitions, educational programs and networking opportunities.

The WCTE-Jarrell video was recognized in the public service announcement category alongside other winning submissions from CBS and Lifetime Networks.

The CINE Golden Eagle Award acknowledges high quality production in a variety of content categories for professional, independent and student filmmakers. Each year, hundreds of jurors judge nearly 1,000 entries in 32 categories.

CINE has a remarkable track record for the early recognition of excellence in filmmaking, particularly among new and emerging filmmakers. Many prominent members of the film and television industry have received the CINE Golden Eagle Award, and for some — such as Ken Burns and Steven Spielberg — it was their first major award.

Jarrell has written and produced for PBS, American Public Television (APT), NPR's All Things Considered; Weekend America; The World; BBC Radio; National Geographic News;; Canada's CBC Radio One; Radio Netherlands World Service; and various international magazine and newsprint outlets.