Ever consider designing or building a tiny house? Does an urban scavenger hunt using public transportation seem like a fun challenge? How about investing a few hours a week to work with elementary students at a local school? If experiential learning opportunities like this outside the classroom sound appealing, then the Wicked Problems LLC is the place for you.

Complex issues don’t have simple solutions. In the Wicked Problems LLC, you’ll engage in active, real-world experiences that relate to complex social issues such as housing, transportation and education — both locally and globally. Be the architect of your own learning in the Wicked Problems LLC. As a Wicked Problems LLC member, you'll live with your fellow LLC members in Teresa Hall, take each of the linked coursed in the fall semester of your freshman year and participate in hands-on learning in the Austin community.

Science and mathematics majors will have additional programming support as part of the Wicked Problems LLC. Learn more about the LLC program.

Apply to the Wicked Problems LLC

When filling out the online housing application, select a bed in Teresa Hall. You may choose from rooms 105 through 219 South. Wicked Problems STEM majors must select a bed between rooms 201 and 214.

Fall 2017 Courses

Wicked Problems LLC Seminar

FSTY 1121 – Wicked Problems LLC Seminar 
For all Wicked Problems LLC students
Faculty member teaching this course: Steven Fletcher, PhD

This one-hour seminar will bridge the gap between the linked courses of the LLC and the connection with the City of Austin as a case study of a wicked problem. Students will choose and explore one of five wicked problems in Austin and complete independent work related to that study that includes examining the issue carefully, exploring the complexity, and finding opportunity or solutions through action. In addition, guest speakers from across the region will present weekly seminars on local wicked problems. 

Listen, Learn and Positively Communicate

FSTY 1321 – Listen, Learn and Positively Communicate
Faculty member teaching this course: Teri Varner, PhD

Listening is an important part of the communication process, yet there is a tremendous lack of skill and training in this area. This course provides a comprehensive approach to listening strategies and depending upon the context teaches students different ways to listen in the 21st century. Students will learn to improve their listening skills through exposure to a wide range of listening materials, such as instructional videos, taped conversations, practice application activities and through continuous self-monitoring. Students should expect to demonstrate a higher level of listening competency inside the classroom, in personal and social situations and larger communities. Students will gain exposure and basic training using NVivo qualitative data analysis software. Students will identify wicked problems in Austin, Texas so that they can learn what the major problems are by actively listening as they interview people and communicate possible solutions. 

The Problem With Photography

FSTY 1321 – The Problem With Photography
Faculty member teaching this course: Bill Kennedy

Photography is a tool for investigation, documentation and creative expression. Is it an art form? Can photography lay claim to the same aesthetic high ground as painting, sculpture and classical music? Are photographs accurate and reliable? Are they worth a thousand words? Is a photograph honest? Can a photograph lie? Students in this LLC will examine the cultural role of photography through lectures, field trips, class discussions and shooting assignments. No prior experience is required and all assignments can be shot using camera phones. 

Unintuitive Maths

FSTY 1321 –  Unintuitive Maths
Faculty member teaching this course: Mitch Phillipson, PhD.

This course will reinforce the relevance of mathematical modeling by highlighting situations in which results differ from intuition.  It will include an introduction to a variety of topics in mathematics, including basic probability and game theory.

Taming Wicked Problems through Effective Communication

FSTY 1321 – Taming Wicked Problems through Effective Communication
Faculty member teaching this course: Catherine MacDermott, PhD

How do we best address wicked problems in a diverse democracy? What kind of communication processes help to address these problems more effectively? This course will look at communication tactics that will enable you to become effective in your efforts to change the conversations about addressing community problems. We will discuss strategies for convening, planning and facilitating constructive conversations centered on wicked problems impacting Austin. By the end of the course you will have learned communication strategies that will foster collaborative dialogue, active engagement and constructive possibilities for action.