GTPE Launches Advanced Problem Solving Certificate

March 19, 2013 | By GTPE Communications

ATLANTA - March 19, 2013 - Georgia Tech Professional Education has partnered with Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), Georgia Tech’s applied research arm, to create a new certificate program that focuses on developing skills for finding innovative solutions to complex, ill-defined problems.

The Advanced Problem Solving Certificate, one of the first to be offered by a U.S. university, is geared toward engineers, managers, scientists, or other professionals who seek to increase workplace productivity and efficiency.

The new certificate program is applicable to a wide range of industries, including defense, manufacturing, aerospace, government agencies, and consumer products companies. The four-course certificate program will educate students on a broad range of tools and techniques from sys­tems thinking and systems engineering, creativity research, the psychology of decision making, and visual problem solving methodologies.

“Problem solving is a skill that can be honed and refined,” says Dr. Jack Zentner, Advanced Problem Solving Certificate administrator and senior research engineer with GTRI. “There is a tendency for people to jump in before they fully understand the problem, and consequently come up with solutions to the wrong problem that ultimately waste time, energy and money.”

Researchers and scientists with GTRI are uniquely positioned to serve as the course instructors for the certificate program. GTRI regularly consults with the government and companies to put workable solutions into action.

GTRI experts develop innovative, creative solutions for some of the toughest problems facing government and industry around the nation and around the globe.

For example, GTRI has helped the U.S. Army solve the problem of operating helicopters in dust, rain, night, fog, snow, and other degraded visual environments (DVEs) by developing a design of experiments to explore combinations of senor, flight control and cueing technologies. The methods used to tackle that problem are among the tools taught in the Advanced Problem Solving Certificate program.

“We have developed problem solving tools and techniques that are universally applicable across different industries,” says Zentner. “We have taken these tools and created a curriculum for our certificate program that can be immediately applied in the workplace.”

Corporations such as GE have shown interest in the Advanced Problem Solving Certificate.

“A lot the time, it’s easy to jump right into a solution without trying to figure out: Are you trying to ask the right question? It’s hard, but I’ve tried to change my perspective to determine: Is this really what I am trying to solve or is the problem something completely different?” says Chris Raczynski, a systems engineer for GE Energy.

The certificate program, offered at the Georgia Tech Global Learning Center in Midtown Atlanta, is comprised of the following courses that will begin spring 2013:

  • Principles of Problem Solving: The foundation course for the certificate - offered in spring and fall 2013 - introduces the fundamental principles that all good problem solvers either intuitively know or have learned through repeated application of their skills.
  • Creativity and Facilitation:  Build upon what you learn in Principles of Problem Solving by exploring what creativity is and how using simple techniques and tools can improve your creativity skills both for yourself and the teams you lead. Offered in spring 2013.
  • Visual Problem Solving: Gain an introduction to a number of techniques and visual problem solving frameworks that aid in creating visual descriptions of a problem. Offered in fall 2013.
  • Craft of Problem Solving: The capstone class in this new certificate will be offered in spring 2014.

For more information or to register for courses, visit here.