(Y)Our Health Winter Session
Encourage Incoming Students to Make Connections with the Broader NC State Community by Enrolling in Wicked Problems, Wolfpack Solutions Course Starting Dec. 8
Ready to jumpstart a successful academic journey for those students in your spring semester courses who are new to NC State?
Wicked Problems, Wolfpack Solutions (WPWS) is a special multidisciplinary, online experience created for all incoming first-year and transfer students. It is a no-cost, two-credit course that covers topics designed to encourage students to explore different disciplines, connect with their professors and peers, and apply the topics they are learning to the world around them.
For the 2023 spring semester, WPWS kicks off on December 8 and runs through January 5.
Although the topics covered during each session of WPWS change, the underlying purpose of the offering remains the same. The experience is hosted as an online course available in WolfWare, NC State’s suite of academic technologies, giving incoming students experience with the technologies they’ll use during their academic careers before they begin their first semester at NC State.
The focus of the current WPWS session is (Y)Our Health. Led by Associate Teaching Professors Melissa Ramirez and Jason Flores, each unit is designed to pique student interest by featuring a real-life situation, story or hook. It then offers a wide range of multidisciplinary perspectives on the topic. The underlying themes include:
- Physical health
- Mental health
- Social justice
- Academic, scholarly and community solutions, innovations, and opportunities
By the end of the five-week online course, students will have a better understanding of the complexity of these health-related wicked problems — specifically, those relating to the Global One Health Academy. This organization is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a perspective that “recognizes the connection between the health of people, animals and the environment.” Participants also develop a deeper understanding that intersectional issues cannot be solved by one person, discipline, group or government.
Students get an introduction to college learning and NC State’s academic technology, and WPWS allows students to become exposed to a variety of ideas and problem-solving approaches before they step foot into a classroom. This way, participants have the opportunity to discover a field of study or an area of research they want to pursue, even if they never considered it before.
Over 4,000 students have been awarded credit for a WPWS course as of the end of the 2023 summer session!
The Student Experience
This course is offered fully online through Moodle, NC State’s learning platform, for new students entering in the spring semester. Students are automatically added to the course and can access it as soon as it opens. If they complete the course, they earn two free credits. If they do not participate, there is no penalty. Additionally, if they start but do not finish the class, there still is no penalty and it will not appear on their transcript.
In each unit, students watch presentation videos or listen to podcasts on a topic, complete self-check activities to reflect on what they learned, and share their thoughts with peers.
Each unit also includes a reflection in which students consider course content as well as their academic and career interests, values, and possible pathways at NC State.
Additionally, students complete a course-long “project,” broken down over the length of the course, designed to drive home the interdisciplinary nature of wicked problems and the necessity of having many diverse perspectives in order to find solutions.
Quote from a student in the Summer session 2023: “This class opened my eyes to what working as a team really means and visually what it looks like. I always imagined different groups of people, with different backgrounds and knowledge to work together, but in a way that isolates each group. I never imagined that everyone could come together and work hand in hand to solve issues or that every disciple could play an essential role in a problem that doesn’t initially seem like they would be able to offer any help. I’m an environmental technology and management major, meaning any aspect that environmentalists played in these solutions were immediately fascinating to me. I think as someone who is interested in this particular field, seeing how I could contribute to solutions outside of my direct field, inspires me to find opportunities during my time at NC State University to participate. One thing that did surprise me was how important mental and physical health is at NC State, because I think a lot of people put other things first, regardless of the fact that health comes first. I didn’t think about the ways that good health would also improve other factors of my life.“
The course is approved to count toward the Interdisciplinary Perspectives GEP requirement.
WPWS emphasizes what a college education is all about: Different ways of thinking, different perspectives, and solving big problems.