Real Communities, Real Problems, Real Solutions- An Interdisciplinary Approach

Discipline: Science, Technology & Society (Engineering)
Instructor: Strenecky
Credits: 3

Field Class: Belize Download Syllabus

Real problems faced by real people usually contain both technical and non-technical elements. No single discipline can respond effectively to the complexities presented by social problems. By bringing multiple perspectives, an interdisciplinary approach can frame and solve community problems in a rich, sustainable, and satisfactory way. In this course, teams of advanced students from engineering and non- engineering fields will practice interdisciplinary problem solving in their own ship-based community and in multiple communities visited on the voyage. The course is designed to build on each student’s early coursework in her or his academic major, whether in engineering or in another discipline. Students will be provided extensive experiences in group learning, reflective practices, cross cultural competencies, and student leadership. The model that will be employed in the communities we visit will be the $100 Solution. Through the use of these model groups students collaborate with community leaders by utilizing small amounts of money to address community-identified needs. While engaged in the field experiences, students will develop skills in interdisciplinary problem solving, community engagement, sustainability, and leadership.

Special Requirements:
Nine hours or more of coursework in the student’s chosen discipline is recommended

Field Class

Country: Belize

Participants will work at Gales Point, a remote Creole village in a lagoon 1.5 hour by boat from Belize City. Gales Point Manatee has been a service learning site for Western Kentucky University for the last ten years. Participants will work with the village council members on local issues confronting the village.