Problem Solving Course Design Institute

2020-2021 Problem-Solving Course Design Institute

Problem solving is a skill you develop over time, but how do you teach it in a semester? The Problem-Solving Course Design Institute (PSCDI) is an opportunity for faculty, staff, postdocs, and graduate student teams to (re)design assignments that engage students in the problem-solving process. Instructors will be able to apply evidence-based approaches to teaching and learning, reflect on their own problem-solving process and how to effectively communicate those skills to students. PSCDI is a cohort-based model, so instructors will have an opportunity to share their insights with colleagues in a supportive environment and synthesize new ways to approach teaching the problem-solving process. Faculty participants may choose to co-design their course with a graduate or undergraduate student, or an undergraduate problem-solving fellow.


  • April 27, 2020: Applications due
  • June 10-12, 2020: Intensive 2.5-day Institute
  • Fall 2020-Spring 2021: Participant course offered; formative feedback collected
  • April/May 2021: Cohort recognized at University Award Ceremony


  • Participation in the Problem-Solving Course Design Institute: June 10-12, 2020 
  • Participation in individual consultations with Sheridan Center staff
  • Instruction of a course that features at least two (2) redesigned assignments during the 2020-2021 academic year
  • Collection of formative feedback from students
  • Participation in the assessment components of the program


  • Upon successful completion of the two-day institute, faculty participants will receive a $1,000 grant to use for course development costs

Application Deadline

Space is limited. Please apply by April 27, 2020. Participants will be selected from a range of disciplines.


PSCDI is the instructor complement of UNIV 1110: Theory and Practice of Problem Solving. STEM undergraduate teaching assistants who take this course will become Problem-Solving Fellows who will have the skills necessary for effective problem solving, engaging in diverse learning spaces, and reflective learning and teaching practices.

For more information, contact [email protected].


Problem-Solving Course Design Institute Faculty Participants


  • Amit Basu, Chemistry, CHEM 0360: Introductory Organic Chemistry
  • Erica Durante, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, LACA 0500/HISP 0750T: Around Latin America in 80 Days, An Historical and Cultural Journey
  • Scott Frickel, Environment and Society and Sociology, SOC 0250: An Environmental Sociology for a Rapidly Warming World
  • Jordan Kostiuk, Mathematics, MATH 1010: Analysis, Functions of One Variable
  • Emily Rauscher, Sociology, SOC 1100: Introductory Statistics for Social Research
  • Lulei Su, East Asian Studies, CHIN 0350: Elementary to Intermediate Chinese for Advanced Beginners

Honorary Participants

  • Omar Galarraga, Health Services, Policy, and Practice, PHP 1100: Comparative Heath Care Systems
  • Alexander Hayne, Theatre Arts and Performance Studies, Problem Solving for Constructing Theatrical Scenery


  • Jose Conde Alonso, Mathematics, MATH 1610: Probability
  • David Lindstrom, Sociology, SOC 1281: Migration in the Americas
  • Maria Nastasescu, Mathematics, MATH 1560: Number Theory
  • Sharon Swartz, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, BIOL 0400: Biological Design: Structural Architecture and Organisms
  • James Valles, Jr., Physics, PHYS 0070: Analytical Mechanics