Fall 2019 HC 431H: Big Problems and Bold Solutions: A Collaborative Approach to Problem Solving and Developing Leadership Skills

Fall 2019-2020

Professor: Jim Shephard

4.00 credits

  • CRN 12784: Tuesday & Thursday, 16:00 - 17:20 @ CHA 202

Whatever career you embark on, whatever path you follow, you will find success if you are an effective problem solver and leader. This course will give you an opportunity to develop problem solving and leadership skills in a collaborative environment. It has been conceived as the course that I wish I had had in college and, more importantly, the course that I wish the numerous people I have hired over the years had had. You will be required to challenge yourself and to be open to challenge by others. It will provide a collaborative experience working on real problems.

We will accomplish these objectives in three ways.  First, we will divide the class into teams. Each team will be tasked with identifying a big problem, explaining why it is a big problem and making the case for why it hasn’t been satisfactorily resolved and needs to be solved.  The big problem and the case for solving it will be presented to the class for feedback and validation. Once validated, the team will work on developing its bold solution that will be original, thoroughly researched, and well written, with periodic updates being provided to the class.  Second, we will explore problem solving and leadership through readings in psychology, cognitive science, organizational management and autobiographies. We will consider and discuss how to approach problem solving and the attributes of effective leadership, and how we can apply these considerations