Problem Solving Course Design Institute

2020-2021 Problem-Solving Course Design Institute

The 2020-2021 Problem-Solving Course Design Institute is postponed due to the COVI-19 pandemic. If you would like a consultation on increasing transparency in problem-solving assignments, please contact [email protected].

During summer 2020, the Sheridan Center, in collaboration with Digital Learning and Design, will offer professional development programming for instructors teaching remote, online, or hybrid courses in Fall 2020. Visit our Institute and Retreats page or contact  [email protected] for more information.


What is the 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. 

*We strongly encourage faculty to invite members of their instructional team (i.e., a postdoc, graduate student, and/or undergraduate student) to participate. 

Faculty participants may choose to co-design their course with a graduate or undergraduate student, or an undergraduate problem-solving fellow.

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