Title: Teaching and Learning Decisions in a Wicked Issue Climate
Presenter and affiliation: Dr Kate Cuthbert – The Higher Education Academy, UK
Intended Audience: Academic Staff, curriculum developers & teaching staff
Duration: 1 day: 8:45 AM to 3:00PM
Location:S45-006 ZAIN E-Learning Center, Sakheir Campus, University of Bahrain


Today’s academic teams are designing curricula and developing learning opportunities that not only develop discipline knowledge but also prepare graduates for places of work, lifelong careers and contributing to society. But what does the outside world look like? The World Economic Forum emphasizes skills such as complex problem solving, creativity and critical thinking will be highly desirable as part of the 2020 workforce. Using Ritter and Webber’s, (1973) concept of Wicked Issues versus Tame Issues we can begin to challenge traditional pedagogies in higher education. Employers are demanding graduates who are competent in managing and responding to Wicked Issues- i.e. they are equipped to deal with situations that are ambiguous either because of their complex values tensions or their multifaceted nature so that clear solutions are yet to be realized. This workshop will expose how the environment, curriculum and teaching practices for developing such a graduate must focus on transferable skills such as enterprise and creativity.

During the first part of the day you will be invited to consider the wicked issues specific to your discipline and make connections to Meyer and Land’s (2005) work on threshold concepts. Using these as guiding principles you will begin to develop a curriculum blue print, highlighting the necessary graduate attributes within your discipline.

Which pedagogic approaches and teaching practices resonate with developing a graduate prepared to work with wicked issues?

The second part of the workshop will guide you through some design principles to help you consider how your teaching and learning activities will meet your identified graduate attributes. Throughout the workshop examples of good practice and case studies illustrating possible teaching options will be shared.

Learning Outcomes:

After the completion of the function, the participant will be able to:

  1. Discuss the contemporary nature of Higher Education in relation to graduate attributes, wicked issues and threshold concepts
  2. Identify and discuss the merits of pedagogic practices that focus on the development of graduate attributes 
  3. Engage in an effective design process to develop learning opportunities that meet the requirements of the wicked issue landscape

Link to UK Professional Standard Framework (PSF):

A1.     Design and plan learning activities and/or programmes of study
A4.     Develop effective learning environments and approaches to student support and guidance
K2.     Appropriate methods for teaching, learning and assessing in the subject area and at the level of the academic programme
K3.     How students learn, both generally and within their subject/ disciplinary area(s)