Ramji Kaul talking with students in Upper Commons

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Challenge yourself with a Problem Solving Initiative class taking a multi-disciplinary approach to real world problems

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Winter 2023 PSI Classes

Indexing Forced Labor

Forced labor is used to build and maintain physical structures. Leveraging an understanding of the role that exploited labor plays in such projects, students will apply features of index systems used in various other fields to develop indices that effectively measure how much forced labor is associated with a given construction project. Insights from law, business, policy, health sciences, and other fields will be applied. Multi-disciplinary student teams will learn from experts, conduct research, and harness problem solving tools to develop innovative and relevant solutions.

Meeting Time: Tuesdays 12:30-3:30 p.m.
Instructors: Bridgette Carr (Law), Seth Guikema (Engineering)
Credits: 3.0

Class Details

The Human Trafficking Lab

The Human Trafficking Lab is a social justice innovation space where multidisciplinary student teams use design thinking to research, incubate, and build replicable, scalable, and disruptive solutions to reduce vulnerability to trafficking. We believe the law is an incomplete, imperfect solution to reducing exploitation and that interdisciplinary, cross-industry collaboration is necessary. Thus, the Lab is geared towards creating systems level change at policy, service, and industry levels through collaborative partnerships across the nonprofit, corporate, and governmental sectors.

Please note that law students who wish to enroll in the Lab need to enroll in Law 951 Human Trafficking Clinic + Lab. This listing is for non law students only.

Meeting Time: Thursdays 12:30-3:30 p.m.
Instructors: Bridgette Carr (Law), Danielle Kalil (Law), Chavi Keeney Nana (Law), Courtney Petersen (Law)
Credits: 3.0

Class Details

Fall 2022 PSI Classes

Environmental, Social, and Governance Policies: Pathways to Impact?

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) policies have taken center stage in the investment world, but requirements of investor ESG policies vary widely, and they may be challenging for investee companies to implement. Multi-disciplinary student teams will work with faculty and subject matter experts to learn about ESG policies, how to assess their impact, and if there are ways to harmonize such policies. Students will leverage problem-solving skills and insights from fields including law, business, and policy to develop innovative solutions to a challenge in this area.

Meeting Time: Wednesdays 3:15-6:30 p.m.
Instructors: David Guenther (Law), Tim Dickinson (Law), David Hess (Business)
Credits: 3.0

Class Details

Addressing the Child Care Crisis

Even pre-pandemic, the U.S. faced a child care crisis. Many parents need child care when they work, insufficient licensed child care programs exist for infants and toddlers, and such programs often cost too much. Child care businesses also operate at thin margins and struggle to stay in business due to rising operational costs and challenges finding qualified staff. Multidisciplinary student teams will hear from leading experts and incorporate problem-solving tools and insights from law, social work, policy, business, and other fields to propose solutions to relevant stakeholders.

Meeting Time: Wednesdays 3:15-6:30 p.m.
Instructors: Tifani Sadek (Law), Annette Sobocinski (Law)
Credits: 3.0

Class Details

Cryptoassets: Business and Regulatory Issues

The rise of the cryptoeconomy has implications for national security, data privacy, transaction costs, Web 3.0, and much more. Multidisciplinary student teams will learn about the growth of the cryptoeconomy, varieties of cryptoassets, and an array of potential uses of such assets from experts in law, business, policy, information, and other fields. Students will apply research insights and problem-solving tools to develop a solution focused on regulating the cryptoeconomy.

Meeting Time: Thursdays 3:15-6:30 p.m.
Instructors: Vikramaditya Khanna (Law), Scott Bauguess (Business)
Credits: 3.0

Class Details

Slavery and the Built Environment: The Plantation

The built environment bears the stamp of slavery supported by new forms of forced labor. Starting with an understanding that architecture isn’t value-neutral and that racism intersects with urban planning, land use, and environmental problems, this class will confront such issues through a partnership between U-M and Yale. Students will create a framework for rethinking plantation sites within the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s portfolio, as multidisciplinary teams from law, planning, history, and other fields learn problem-solving skills, conduct research, and approach the politics, ethics, and mechanics of construction holistically.

Meeting Time: Wednesdays 3:15-6:30 p.m.
Instructors: Luis deBaca (Law), Phillip Bernstein (Architecture)
Credits: 3.0

Class Details

Creative Problem Solving, Collaboration, and Design Thinking

The Law School launched the Problem Solving Initiative to bring together students and faculty from law and other disciplines to actively apply creative problem solving, collaboration, and design thinking skills to complex, pressing challenges in a classroom setting.