Students, Professors Dive into Creative Problem-Solving in the Time of COVID-19

By Sarah Senese ’23

This semester, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic that’s made life and learning a little more complicated, professors Andrea Bruder, Emily Chan, and Rachel Paupeck, and South Hall Residential Life Coordinator Mollie Hayden are working together to create a COVID-resilient CC community. Together, they’re co-teaching GS222: Creative Problem-Solving in the time of COVID-19, which is an extended-format, semester-long class whose goal is to help the CC community better understand the ways in which pandemics affect public health, justice, and even the human body. 

This course integrates academic study and community-engaged learning experiences, encouraging students to identify and choose their own way to respond to issues the CC community is facing as a result of the pandemic. Students will all work together to identify and respond to projects of their choosing, with the potential to receive a Student Seed Innovation Grant from Creativity & Innovation up to $8,000. Whether those projects be designing PPE and mask shields, creating an interpretive dance on the subject of isolation and quarantine, or simply thinking deeply on the implications of a world-slowing virus, the course promotes interdisciplinary thinking. The goal is to encourage critical, liberal arts engaged learning and thinking, combining 13 departments and programs across CC’s disciplines, along with 26 faculty and staff members.   

The co-educators of the course (Bruder, Chan, Paupeck, and Hayden) understand the gravity of COVID-19 on every aspect of the CC community, including the academic experience, social interaction, recreation, housing and residential experience, and on-campus work environments. They notes, “the complex challenges presented by the public health emergency, isolation, and entanglement of politics and science necessitate multi-disciplinary collaboration among students, faculty, staff, and all other members of our community.” For them, the liberal arts approach and principles of design thinking have never been more relevant to provide a path towards a COVID-resilient community. 

GS222 will be taught on and off campus for students in any time zone. The course meets once a week throughout the semester and is committed to helping CC students strengthen the community throughout the fall.