1. James Liszka
  2. https://james.liszka.wixsite.com/homepage
  3. Senior Scholar, Institute for Ethics in Public LIfe, Director, Center for Interdisciplinary Studies
  5. SUNY
  1. R. Bruce Mattingly
  2. Dean
  4. SUNY Cortland
  1. Kjersti VanSlyke-Briggs
  2. Professor
  4. SUNY

Collaborative Research: the Common Problem Pedagogy Project

NSF Awards: 1712227, 1712215, 1712225, 1712203

2019 (see original presentation & discussion)


The Common Problem Project (CP2) is a collaboration of five State University of New York campuses. It is funded by the National Science Foundation, the State University of New York, and the Teagle Foundation. CP2 pairs instructors in the STEM sciences with other disciplines to have their students work together in cross-disciplinary teams to solve local, regional or national problems, and in collaboration with community partners. The pedagogy is problem-based, self-directed learning. Team-work is emphasized, with the aim of students learning the vocabulary of another discipline. The project has the added benefit of collegial work between STEM instructors, and instructors in the humanities, social sciences and the professions. The project has been ongoing for 2 years, and has several successes, including a "Good Neighbor" project at SUNY Oswego, promoting local business; a "Sustainability in the Schools," project, involving elementary, secondary and college students at SUNY Oneonta; a "Sustainability and Film students, where environmental science and film students produce films on local environmental and social issues at SUNY Plattsburgh; a project among SUNY Plattsburgh, SUNY Queensbury, and Roosevelt University in Chicago on stigma in the opiod crisis. There are many other successful classes. The Common Problem Project synthesizes a number of high impact practices, as recognized by AACU. Importantly, it gets faculty and students from the STEM disciplines to interact with other faculty and students outside of those disciplines. The cross-disciplinary approach allows for a multi-dimensional approach to solving a problem, and appreciation of the methodologies and conceptual frameworks of other disciplines.

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