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Community-based Teaching in a Wicked World: Preparing Students for Messy Inquiry

In contrast to static, disciplinary problems, many of the issues we face in the world today can be characterized as “wicked,” dynamically complex, interdependent, high stakes issues with no simple or obvious definition (let alone any simple or obvious solution). These wicked problems confront us with high levels of uncertainty in situations where both action and inaction carry serious long-term consequences. Current top-down, siloed, and abstract pedagogical strategies do not provide students with the tools for collaboratively managing such problems.

  • How can we prepare students within our own fields to tackle large-scale wicked problems?
  • What pedagogical methods can be used to address interdependent, high-stakes systemic problems?

This colloquium suggested that we need to pursue an experiential, collaborative learning model in the classroom: working across networks, disciplines, and institutions in order to tackle our social messes. Methods for employing such a model were put into practice. Participants of this session discovered strategies for better preparing students to collaboratively tackle the wicked problems.

Presented by:

Danielle Lake

Danielle Lake

Danielle Lake
241 Lake Ontario Hall
616-331-8038
lakeda@gvsu.edu

Professor Lake’s research is on the need for democratic deliberation in a wicked world. Given these research interests, she has recently received certification in facilitation leadership. Since then, Lake has had the opportunity to put these skills to the test with a number of West Michigan community partners. She also regularly teaches LIB312: “Dialogue, Integration, and Action” at GVSU and serves on the “Community as Classroom: The Pedagogy and Practicality of Community-Based Teaching” Faculty Learning Community.

Anna Sluka

Anna Sluka

Anna Sluka
Anna Kathryn Sluka is a GVSU Liberal Studies graduate with an emphasis on Leadership and Community Organizing.  She lives in Muskegon Heights, and works with a number of community organizations to combat poverty and alleviate wicked problems. Her community-work centers around food and socio-economic justice to vulnerable populations.