University Chair in Critical Thinking


"Could the activity of thinking as such - the habit of examining whatever happens to come to pass or to attract attention, regardless of results and specific content - could this activity be among the conditions that make us abstain from evil-doing or even condition us against it?" ~Hannah Arendt, The Life of the Mind 



The Saint John's University Chair in Critical Thinking fosters interdisciplinary thinking in a global context with an emphasis on how such thinking can intersect most productively with local and national media.

The Chair sponsors an annual lecture series, serves as the faculty advisor for students for nationally competitive fellowships, sponsors international faculty development seminars, and teaches in the CORE and Honors curriculum of the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University. Nick Hayes holds the University Chair in Critical Thinking at Saint John's University.

"Nick is a Minnesota treasure, the media's go-to guy for history and current events.  Yes, Nick is a top flight scholar which gives him rock solid credibility but he is also a great storyteller, with the ability to explain complex issues in an understandable, interesting way.  He is personable, witty, a terrific writer, and always willing to share what he's learned.  He is, in the truest sense, a public intellectual;  a great ambassador for CSBSJU." 

~Gary Eichten, MPR



This winter, our Chair of Critical Thinking established a new program, "On Campus with Gary Eichten," that enlists the talent of award winning MPR host Gary Eichten and showcases nationally known guest speakers and the best of our very own faculty to engage the public in key issues of our time.  Possible plans for On Campus with Gary Eichten may include guests such as Hedrick Smith, reporter and editor for The New York Times and producer/correspondent for the PBS show Frontline, Tom Gjelten, a correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR) news, as well as returning author Dan Barry, “This Land” columnist for The New York Times.  


Recent Guests

Gary Eichten
Winter 2015 

 James Rogers
Fall 2014

 Patrick Hicks
Spring 2014

 James Fallows






News and Events


Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) - conversations with Nick Hayes
                                                          - After tumultuous year for Russia, what's in store for 2015?  Nick Hayes in Moscow, MPR.  Listen here.

Nick Hayes to speak at University of St. Thomas, Spring 2015 - see Speaking Events on Nick's personal website

Contact Us

Nick Hayes
Professor of History
Quad 451B, SJU
(320) 363-2623

Lori Moe
Administrative Assistant
Quad 355A, SJU
(320) 363-3552

Mia McVicker
Research Assistant

Anastasiia Okuneva
Research Assistant