Skip to main content

Wicked Problems, Wolfpack Solutions 2024 Focuses on (Y)Our Health

Summer Session Offering from June 24-July 26 Provides Two Free Credits

two students looking at a notebook computer while sitting on a couch that is against a wall under an abstract painting
College of Sciences undergraduate students work and collaborate in David Clark Labs on main campus. Photo by Marc Hall

Ready to jumpstart a successful academic journey for those students in your 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. NC State made an impact by offering WPWS during the pandemic, and the project team has continually updated the content each year for incoming new 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.

The course is approved to count toward the Interdisciplinary Perspectives GEP requirement.

WPWS 2024 focuses on (Y)Our Health and will be kicking off on June 24 during the second session of summer school. While the topics covered each year change, the underlying purpose of the offering remains the same: to introduce students to the academic technologies they will use at NC State and to expose students to faculty members who share their expertise to solve problems every day using an interdisciplinary approach.

Associate Teaching Professors Melissa Ramirez and Jason Flores will lead the instruction for the course. They designed each unit to pique student interest by featuring a real-life situation, story or hook, and then by offering a wide range of multidisciplinary perspectives on the topic. 

The underlying themes include:

  • Physical health
  • Mental health
  • Social justice
  • Agency
  • Academic, scholarly and community solutions, innovations, and opportunities

After 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 — which 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 will 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, as 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 might want to pursue, even if they never considered it before.

Decorative: NC State Wicked Problems, Wolfpack Solutions
Wicked Problems, Wolfpack Solutions consists of videos, podcasts and weekly livestreams with experts in Global Change.

The Student Experience

This course is offered fully online through Moodle, NC State’s learning platform. 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.

Hear from Previous Participants

The course is not required; however, incoming students are encouraged to take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity. If you are wondering how students felt after completing the course, take a look at a few of the quotes below.

“A lot of people think that what we learn about in school does not apply to the real world. The things in this course are the real world. It is a class about what is going on within the real world. So it was awesome and very engaging to get that in a class.”

“Not only was it a great opportunity to get ahead in my education at NC State (free class!) but it also was very relevant and interesting to have this essential foundational knowledge on issues that affect all of us, regardless of what area one studies or works in.”

“It seemed like a great way to be exposed to many different areas of studies and gave me a way to see how NC State is responding to global issues.”

WPWS emphasizes what a college education is all about: Different ways of thinking, different perspectives, and solving big problems.

Related Information