Preparing students to face wicked problems

How do our teachers prepare their students to face wicked problems?

Team Members:  Velda McCune, Sharon Boyd, Andy Cross, Pete Higgins, Rebekah Tauritz

School/Unit:  Institute for Academic Development


This project focuses on how teachers in this University prepare students to deal with wicked problems in their future lives. Wicked problems are messy and cannot be fully defined (Rittel and Webber 1973). They have no single obvious solution, require imaginative interdisciplinary problem solving, and bring together multiple stakeholders with diverse perspectives (Barrett, 2012; Bore and Wright, 2009; Cantor et al., 2015; Conklin, 2006). Wicked problems include climate change, poverty and conflict. The capabilities required to respond effectively to wicked problems are increasingly important in a world where ways of knowing are contested and students’ future roles in knowledge economies are unpredictable (Anderson and McCune, 2013; Barrie, 2006; Barnett, 2007). Qualitative data will be collected in all three Colleges of the University through virtual ethnography and semi-structured interviews.

The findings from the project will be used to develop workshops, an online space and a network to support teachers in the University to guide their students in developing the competences to respond to wicked problems.

More information

Wicked Problems - project website

Final project

Download final project report (PDF)

Other project outcomes