Problem Solver

Profile overview: Problem Solver

Problem solvers work individually and with others to collect, analyze, evaluate, and synthesize information to implement innovative solutions to challenging local and global problems.

The problem solver:

Thinks critically

Problem solvers think critically and from multiple perspectives about the world and their place in it. Using their disciplinary expertise, they evaluate information resources carefully and conduct research independently to determine the most reliable and useful sources for their work.

  • Define problems through creating an actionable problem statement
  • Identify and propose solutions for problems using qualitative and quantitative tools, reasoning, and creative thinking
  • Use complex information from a variety of sources, including personal experiences and observation, to draw logical conclusions and to form a decision or opinion
  • Apply cultural, historical, and scientific knowledge to contemporary global contexts


  • Conduct academic research for a research paper
  • Design and implement an experiment or survey on a topic of the student's own choosing
  • Use visual representations of work to present research findings


  • Participate in a Fall Alternative Break Program by completing a short-term project for a community agency in addressing social issues


Problem solvers know how to work with others. They make the results of research understandable to a variety of audiences, including using visual forms of communication and communication tools. They listen to, respect, and incorporate a diversity of opinions and experiences into their plans.

  • Cultivate healthy, meaningful relationships with others
  • Operate with civility in complex local and global environments
  • Listen attentively to others and respond appropriately
  • Engage actively with others to build consensus, define values, or meet shared goals


  • Work with a small group to create a report
  • Successfully design and implement a scientific procedure or study involving multiple people


  • Join a student organization and participate in its activities
  • Volunteer with a local nonprofit organization

Analyzes, synthesizes, and evaluates

Problem solvers are curious about other perspectives and use their disciplinary expertise, along with knowledge and skills from a variety of fields, in their own work. They work to understand the details of a problem and break down ideas into manageable segments, solicit and integrate information from scholars and community members to enrich their knowledge, and translate complex ideas into action plans and assess the effectiveness of their solutions.

  • Identify and adjust behaviors by applying previously understood information, concepts, experiences, and qualitative and quantitative techniques to a new situation or setting
  • Modify your approach to an issue or problem based on the contexts and requirements of particular situations
  • Create knowledge, procedures, processes, or products to discern bias, challenge assumptions, identify consequences, arrive at reasoned conclusions, generate and explore new questions, solve challenging and complex problems, and make informed decisions
  • Examine the effectiveness and impact of solutions and make specific recommendations for future improvement


  • Work with a group of students and community members on a service learning project assessing a significant problem in the community
  • Use quantitative/mathematical techniques to answer research questions


  • Examine the effects of social issues on communities through discussion and reflection on varied lived experiences
  • Participate in the Tunnel of Oppression, alternative spring breaks, international experiences, or film series aimed at highlighting contemporary social justice issues of oppression, microaggressions, and the "isms" faced in communities