Problem-Solving Course Design Institute

2019-2020 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.

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.


  • May 1, 2019: Applications due
  • May 2019: Reception for 2018-2019 cohort (recommended)
  • June 13-14, 2019: Intensive two-day Institute
  • Fall 2019-Spring 2020: Participant course offered; formative feedback collected
  • May 2020: Reception for 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 cohorts


  • Participation in the Problem-Solving Course Design Institute: June 13-14, 2019 10:00am-4:00pm
  • Participation in individual consultations with Sheridan Center staff
  • Instruction of a course that features at least two (2) redesigned assignments during the 2019-2020 academic year
  • Collection of formative feedback from students
  • Participation in the Spring 2020 reception
  • Participation in the assessment components of the program


  • Upon successful completion of the two-day institute, faculty participants will receive a $2,000 grant to use for course development costs

Application Deadline

Space is limited. Please apply by May 1, 2019. Participants will be selected from a range of disciplines.

For more information, contact [email protected].

Problem-Solving Course Design Institute Faculty Participants


  • 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