The Problem-Solving Studio

Registration has now closed for this workshop.

Are you interested in an interactive learning environment that turbocharges student learning and engagement? 

How about promoting fearlessness in the face of the unknown so your graduates recognize their own power to confidently approach and solve any problem?

Workshop: The Problem-Solving Studio

Teaching and Learning

I really enjoyed this workshop. I learned a lot about different pedagogical approaches and built a sense of community with my other attendees. This was a worthwhile and enjoyable experience!
- From a workshop survey
Problem-Solving Studio
Problem-Solving Studio
Problem-Solving Studio

Learn how to enact the Problem-Solving Studio (PSS): An interactive learning environment that turbocharges student learning and engagement! 

You'll employ pedagogical methods that rely upon collaborative teamwork and promote the value of applying theory and knowledge to real world problems – especially for complex problems that are inherently ambiguous. The primary goal is to promote fearlessness in the face of the unknown. Why? So graduates recognize their own power to use their skills and knowledge to confidently approach and solve any problem.

Event Information

Problem Solving Studio

This workshop has reached capacity.

Dates: May 25-27, 2021 (Agenda below)

Location: Virtual/Online

Cost: $1500.00

Registration Deadline: April 18, 2021

Cancellation Policy: If a participant cancels within 30 days of a workshop, the Kern Family Foundation may invoice the institution for a $150 cancelation fee to cover materials and other unrecoverable costs.

Workshop Agenda

Subject to change

Day 1: May 25th, 2021 (all times are Atlanta time)

4:30–5:30 p.m. Happy Hour

  • Get to know your facilitators, coaches, and fellow participants 
  • Practice with the technology 

Day 2: May 26th, 2021 (all times are Atlanta time) 

10:00 a.m. Introductions and Welcome 

10:10-10:40 a.m. Refresher to Zoom Breakout Rooms

10:40 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Experience the Problem-Solving Studio (PSS)

12:00-12:15 p.m. BREAK 

12:15-12:30 p.m. Reflecting on the PSS Experience

12:30-1:15 p.m. Foundations of PSS

1:15-2:15 p.m. LUNCH BREAK 

2:15-3:00 p.m. Incorporating EML into PSS 

3:00-4:30 p.m. PSS Work Time - begin crafting your own PSS 

4:30-5:30 p.m. Group discussion and CIQ 

Day 3: May 27th, 2021 (all times are Atlanta time) 

10:00-10:30 a.m. Welcome back and reflections from Day 1 

10:30-11:15 a.m. Adjusting PSS Problem Difficulty (ZPD) 

11:15-11:30 a.m. BREAK 

11:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. Taking the Temperature of Your Class (ICAP) 

12:15-1:15 p.m. PSS work time 

1:15-2:15 p.m. LUNCH BREAK 

2:15-3:00 p.m. Two Way Feedback in PSS 

3:00-4:30 p.m. PSS Work Time 

4:30-5:00 p.m. Report Outs 

5:00-5:30 p.m. Coaching and the Year Ahead 

5:30-6:00 p.m. Group Discussion and Wrap Up

Your Workshop Guides

Meet the facilitators and coaches for your workshop journey:

Joe Le Doux

Joe Le Doux, Facilitator

Joe is an Associate Professor and Associate Chair in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. He is a recipient of the National Academy of Engineering’s Bernard M. Gordon Prize in 2019 “for fusing problem-driven engineering education with learning science principles to create a pioneering program that develops leaders in biomedical engineering”. His current research interests are in engineering education with a focus on the social-cultural aspects of highly interactive problem-driven learning environments, including how they impact students’ motivation, engagement, and sense of belonging and inclusion.
Patricia Cyr

Pati (Patricia) Cyr, Coach

Pati is a Lecturer for the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department at Rochester Institute of Technology. After 35 years of working in industry and 28 years of teaching at night, she took a full time lecturer position because of her passion for inspiring the next generation of engineers. Pati is on a mission to take away the stigma of learning statistics as a frightening activity! She uses her experience applying quality methods and data driven analysis to prepare students to meet the challenges of our rapidly changing world.
Sabia Abidi

Sabia Abidi, Coach

Sabia is committed to mentorship and STEM outreach through her active involvement in IEEE WIE, Big Brother/Big Sister program, mentoring freshman in engineering design and serving in judge and mentor roles for Rice related and local Future City competitions. Her technical background in stem cell differentiation, microfluidics, parasitological and microbiological techniques brings valuable knowledge and experience to undergraduate bioengineering education.
Carmen Carrion

Carmen Carrion, Facilitator and Coach

Carmen is a research scientist in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She holds a Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning with a concentration in Science Education, and a B.S. and M.S. in Applied Biology. Her research focuses on studying the impact of informal learning environments on science and engineering education.
Sara Schley

Sara Schley, Facilitator and Coach

Sara is the Director of Learning Sciences at GA Tech in the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, a Professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology in a teacher training program, and Director of the Research Center for Teaching and Learning at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. She has an Ed.D. in Human Development/Language Acquisition, an MS in Experimental Psychology, and a BA in Psychology. Her research focuses on working closely with faculty interested in identifying, designing, and implementing inclusive pedagogy strategies, and on interactive classroom practices that increase engagement, interaction, collaboration, and inclusion among students.

Your Workshop Journey

FacDev Journey


Problem Solving Studio

You'll be empowered to: 

  • Design and lead interactive learning environments that promote deep learning and foster students’ entrepreneurial mindset 
  • Create complex multifaceted adaptive problems that are critical to successful implementation 
  • Teach adaptively in real-time to capitalize on your students’ diverse ways of thinking 
  • Critically reflect on your own teaching 
  • Value and integrate the entrepreneurial mindset within your course content 

Key Deliverables

  • Design a problem-solving studio session at the workshop 
  • Carry out a problem-solving studio session at your home institution 
  • Assess and reflect on the effectiveness of your problem-solving studio session 
  • Create a network of support as a community of practice
  • Report out and share your experiences and lessons learned with your workshop peers
Problem Solving Studio

Examples of Workshop Content

Hidden Figures

The Hidden Figures Problem Solving Studio

Introduce students to numerical methods/computational modeling! Emphasize the importance of using computers to solve complex real-world problems through this engaging, student-driven exercise.

Help a Small Furniture Manufacturer Grow

Students are introduced to the company, its owner, and the problem he faces: He wants to grow the company by 25% over the next three years, but feels that he has run out of room in his current factory! Students apply Systematic Layout Planning (SLP) to solve the problem.
Data Climate Change

Do the Data Support Climate Change?

Support curiosity about climate change and help students make the connection between a question and the method to use data to obtain an answer! Compare and contrast the impacts of analyzing data as independent population or as correlated pairs.

All Workshops

Want to explore more workshops? Return to the main Faculty Development National Workshops page!