Goal K: Integrated Problem Solving

The question “What is integration?” has been one of the most pernicious and oft-revisited discussions held in ISAT since its inception.  I was influential in helping to formulate one of the clearest and longest lasting answers to this question yet articulated.  I led the team in Spring 2008 which developed, proposed and passed the adoption of this goal into the BSISAT Program Goals & Objectives.  I’ve also been active since then on the Assessment Team working to discover whether or not we indeed are meeting this goal.

Definition of Integrated Problem Solving:

Integrated Problem Solvers look out from the perspective of the problem and then assemble the tools and knowledge needed to solve it.

This led to the following goals and objectives:

  • Goal K: ISAT Graduates are integrated problem solvers who look out from the perspective of a problem and then assemble the tools and knowledge needed to solve it. To this end, ISAT students:
    1. Identify relevant disciplinary knowledge that can help to solve a problem
    2. Describe the importance of contributions from the broad variety of stakeholders for a particular problem
    3. Compare and contrast the description of a problem from multiple viewpoints
    4. Use tools from more than one discipline to solve a problem
    5. Identify possible emergent behavior in systems, i.e. that a system may be more complex than the sum of its parts
    6. Address complexity, ambiguity, and emergent behavior in problem solving
    7. Evaluate the consequences of choosing to address a problem at a particular scope
    8. Choose an appropriate scope to address the problem given available resources
    9. Demonstrate the ability to remain aware of short-term and long-term goals and micro and macro scales simultaneously, i.e. can see the forest AND the trees