College as a Place to Learn Problem Solving

I just returned a few days ago from a 2-week college visit trip.  I learned so much about a number of colleges and want to share as much as possible!  I’ve updated my College Visits page, and will continue to do so until I’ve posted reviews for every school I have visited.  Please continue to check back!

Ed Meyer 2
You can tell just from the way he leans into his lectures that Ed Meyer is an engaged professor.

One of the last schools on my trip was Baldwin Wallace University, in Cleveland.  You may have never heard of it.  It’s an amazing place for an integrated, pre-professional approach to the liberal arts, and a wonderful place for students interested in the performing arts (you can see a short clip of a student string quartet that played for us here).

I’ll post a full review of Baldwin Wallace soon, but I wanted to share an amazing opportunity that BW students have.  We met with Professor Ed Meyer, a physicist who teaches courses in problem-solving skills.  Having worked in industry for 10 years, he was responsible for hiring recent graduates.  He is convinced that problem solving, the ability to think through an issue and work with others to solve it, is much more important for students today than learning equations out of a book.  “We don’t need people who are walking encyclopedias,” he told a room full of college counselors.  His goal is to produce critical thinkers.  “I’m a personal trainer for their brain,” he says proudly.  He says when students walk out of his class – sometimes they get the answers to the problems with which he presents them and sometimes they don’t – “Figure it out!” he tells his students, without giving them the answer – they say that their brains hurt.  This is the ultimate compliment to Meyer.

I’ve posted the power point presentation he prepared for us below, although he did much more than just stand in front of us and show the power point.  He presented US with some problems that made us think, and entertained us despite the fact that BW was the final college on our tour.  We all wanted to be tired but ate up every word he said.  We all walked out thinking, “Wow, it would be just great to have him as a professor.”

Ed Meyer Gedanken Institute

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