Principled Problem Solving (PPS)
Mark J. Justad, Director, Center for Principled Problem Solving
Sonalini Sapra, Engaged Teaching Specialist and Program Coordinator
Principled Problem Solving (PPS) is a central and unifying aspect of Guilford’s practical liberal arts education. First identified and defined by faculty, staff and students as part of a campus-wide, long-range planning process, PPS builds on the knowledge, skills, interests and life experience of the Guilford and local communities and seeks to address a broad range of problems and opportunities. PPS as philosophy and practice emerges from Quaker testimonies and is grounded in Guilford’s seven articulated Core Values.
In this class, we explore different approaches to civic engagement, survey the status of civic initiatives and social movements across the U.S., and learn from local practices and practitioners.
This course examines models of civic engagement and what is required of citizens in a healthy democracy. Seminar format, may include a community or project-based engagement hours requirement.
May also be offered at 250, 350 and 450 levels.
This is the first course in a sequence of two seminars developed by PPSE minor faculty that introduces students to relevant content knowledge for the minor. Readings are drawn from multiple disciplines with a focus on the particular problem the minor is addressing. Students may also be required to complete volunteer assignments or relevant fieldwork as part of the seminar. For example, the PPSE Minor: Every Campus a Refuge seminar focused on theories of forced migration and resettlement, the experience of the refugee population, and required students to support refugee families hosted by the college.
In this course, we identify students’ core values and commitments, reflect upon how those values (and the Core Values of the College) connect with their education and vocation, identify capacities and strengths within local communities, identify particular problems that contradict students’ and Guilford College’s Core Values, research the intersecting root causes of these problems – as well as efforts already underway to address them, discern our willingness and ability to engage these problems effectively, and begin the process of imagining ethical action in particular contexts. Throughout this process, we will explore narratives and practices of effective approaches to social change and innovation in diverse contexts. This class is limited to students in the PPS Scholars Program.
In this class, we will: research the intersecting root causes of particular social problems – as well as efforts already underway to address them, imagine positive alternatives, explore the roots of our own imagination process for leadership and change, create realistic, achievable plans for action in relation to a particular issue, engage in group action, and reflect about the process, making changes when necessary. Throughout this process, we will explore philosophies and practices of effective approaches to social change and innovation in diverse contexts. In addition, the class will focus on issues and concerns related to ethics and/in leadership within the selected organizations and beyond. The class is limited to students in the PPS Scholars Program.
This seminar is an introduction to interdisciplinary, experiential, place-based learning. You will work with students from other disciplines as you engage with learning opportunities both in and outside the classroom, practice articulating the value and limitations of your discipline, and develop independent research or creative interests. You will reflect (in writing and discussion), develop a basic understanding of some historical trends in the human relationship to water, the history, geography, and contemporary challenges of the Cape Fear River Basin. A three- day canoe camping trip and multiple in-class field trips are mandatory for this course.
This course is a continuation of PPS 151 with more advanced readings, continued practical engagement, and planning for each student’s individual or small group signature project relevant to the minor topic. For example, the PPSE Minor: Cape Fear River Basin seminar included guided river trips and required projects on placed-based values presented to the campus community upon completion.
May also be offered at 360 and 460 levels.
May also be offered at 390 level.
This seminar is an immersion in interdisciplinary, experiential, place-based learning. You will practice applying the skills of your discipline as you work on an independent or collaborative research or creative project that is relevant to some aspect of our place, the Cape Fear River Basin. You will engage in reflection, discussion and presentation to gain practice articulating the value and limitations of your discipline in developing knowledge that might eventually lead to positive change. A three-day canoe camping trip and multiple in-class field trips are mandatory for this course.