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The Way Forward: Higher Education In a Time of Crisis

Apr 5, 2021

Paul Hanstedt is Director of the Houston H. Harte Center for Teaching and Learning at Washington and Lee University and an innovative thinker and writer on undergraduate pedagogy, curriculum reform, and general education.  He believes that higher ed has short-changed students by offering bland general education and siloed majors disconnected from their actual lives.  They are ready—and hungry—to engage wicked problems, he argues.  That means educating them to become wicked problem-solvers, capable of grappling with the world’s most complex, consequential issues.  The past year has made Hanstedt’s call for curricular transformation at once more relevant and more challenging.


In this conversation, we discuss the consequences of the pandemic for teaching and learning and the opportunities it opens for “creating wicked students.”  And we ask what changes that would demand of educators and institutions.  What do wicked teachers and wicked colleges look like?


Here are links to some of Paul Hanstedt’s writing:


Creating Wicked Students: Designing Courses for a Complex World

“It’s Time to Get Rid of Distribution Requirements” (Inside Higher Ed, February 2, 2020)

“Might This Be the Beginning of Education?” (Inside Higher Ed, April 28, 2020)


The Way Forward is a production of Bringing Theory to Practice; to learn more about our work, visit us at  Send us your thoughts—and suggestions for future episodes—at  The podcast is produced by Jabari Butler, and Dan Rudin composed our music.