Appreciating the Passion for Wicked Problems

I must say, I was ambivalent in my impressions of the course Wicked Problems of Industrial Practice. I didn’t know whether it would be a class that I would enjoy and benefit from or one that I would have to suffer through. Turns out for the better that I thoroughly enjoyed the course and Dr. Armstrong’s out of the box ideas that spurred unique ideas of my own. At first, I was somewhat nervous at the idea of class dialogue over controversial issues. To me, disagreeing with people made me uncomfortable and anxious. But once we started to discuss the different ideas regarding sustainability, I was pleasantly surprised that it became easier to engage because many of us had similar views. Hearing other’s ideas sparked my own thoughts that I would have never considered had I not been engaged in the discussions.

Many of the topics discussed in class caught me off guard because they are not usually things I had given much thought to. I took an aquatic science class my senior year of high school in which we not only discuss aquatic life, but also environmental health. I thoroughly enjoyed those discussions and the Wickeds class reminded me of those lively conversations. The Wickeds class definitely goes into greater depth on how to solve some of the problems that we are facing rather than just acknowledging their existence. I really liked this aspect of the class because not only did we learn about different issues, we learned what causes them or how we could influence positive changes. Our discussions of paradigms intrigued me, yet created some personal conflict within me.. I felt this way because we were pointing out how people should think, yet deep down we all know that for everyone to think a certain way is next to impossible. Many of the issues I felt torn over was because I could understand both sides, the pros and cons. It makes sense why this course is called Wicked Problem and Solutions. I had no idea how controversial some of these topics could be let alone how many solutions or unintended consequences existed. I never realized how much of a domino effect we have in everything we do and the Wickeds Problems of Industrial Practice course made me realize that.

I believe this course was very helpful in implementing a mindset of sustainability that will benefit me throughout my career. I am thrilled to have gained this knowledge and skill now instead of later in life.I applaud Dr. Armstrong’s passionate approach to teaching; without it, I don’t believe students would have been as passionate about these issues. In my opinion, this class could have been a huge success or failed in it’s purpose. It has been a success for me. With a professor who personally cares about the subject, dynamic discussions of controversial issues, and teaching that encourages engagement, these all an highly effective and successful course. This class has benefited me in my field of study by making me aware of the problems of sustainability in the fashion industry and how I can identify the factors that indirectly or directly cause those problems.
In summary, this course has been a huge help to my academic studies. It has helped me not only see the problems that I will be facing in the future, but also how to develop ways of breaking down those problems into smaller increments for better analysis and problem solving. I have acquired skills to define a wicked problem and determine the indirect and direct factors that influence the problem. This course, along with future courses will prepare me for the challenges I will facing as I pursue a career in Design, Housing, and Merchandising.

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