The Real World Problem-Solving Project

The Real World Problem Solving Project is a unique collaboration between the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives and LaGuardia’s Philosophy Program. Its goal is to help students develop into critical thinkers and socially responsible leaders who have the knowledge and skill to shape the future of New York City. It provides students with the opportunity to use the problem-solving approach they learn in their Critical Thinking course (HUP 102) to research, analyze, and develop potential solutions to a problem of their choosing that is confronting New Yorkers today.

Students begin their research with a guided tour of the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives, where they are introduced to the process of primary source research and historically-informed approaches to problem solving by the Archives staff. Meanwhile, in their Critical Thinking classes students begin practicing the research and media literacy skills to collect, analyze, and creatively engage with diverse sources of information about their chosen problem, including information they discover through on-the-ground field investigations in New York City. The final papers collected here are exemplary of the ways LaGuardia’s Critical Thinking students have combined their Archival research, real world investigations, and traditional scholarly and news research into compelling arguments for urgently-needed civic action.