When thinking about your local problems, ask questions about the problem. Your questions will help guide your search strategy by helping you brainstorm keywords and determine where to look for information.
What are the current problems with UMD dining (options, cost, sustainability, hours, accessibility)? Are there colleges that do a better job with dining?
Duluth Road Conditions – Potholes
What factors have created poor road conditions? What is being done about it? Where does the funding come from and is there a way to increase it or make better use of it? How is road maintenance handled in similar cities? What are the barriers to implementing changes to current processes?
UMD Class Availability/Frequency
Why aren’t courses required for programs offered more regularly? Do other colleges have different practices in place that help students gain access to required courses (j-term, independent study, reciprocity agreements with other institutions)? What are the barriers to offering courses more often? How are courses required for graduation determined and is there a way to build in more flexibility?
UMD/Duluth Environmental Stewardship
What is UMD/Duluth currently doing? What work is being undertaken by nonprofits, for-profits, and government organizations? How is their work being assessed? How is it being funded? Who is holding them accountable and how?
Insufficient gym size to accommodate student need
What gym size is appropriate for an institution of UMD’s size? Can the current space be utilized more efficiently? What size space is required for the variety of sports and activities offered on campus? What are some signs that the current gym size is insufficient? Are there recommendations from different authorities/organizations in sports regarding gym size? Are there safety concerns with the current facilities?
Insufficient parking on campus
How can institutions increase the supply of parking? How can they decrease the demand for parking (incentives for not driving, staggered course schedules, changes to current lot restrictions, partnerships with area businesses and institutions, smart parking technology)? What are the barriers to adding more parking and how can they be addressed?
Lack of real-world opportunities (internships/etc) for students in their fields
How are internships created? What resources are available to students looking for an internship in their field? What do other institutions do to provide internship opportunities?
Lack of high-paying on-campus jobs
How is pay for campus jobs determined? Why haven’t colleges chosen to supplement the federal and state work-study dollars to increase the pay of positions?
Ineffective instructional approaches in online classes
What are effective instructional practices in online classrooms? What professional development or training is available to faculty? How is faculty performance assessed? What are student preferences for online learning?
Incoming students’ inadequate knowledge of personal finance
How does incoming students’ personal finance knowledge affect their student loans, housing, and transportation choices/options? What is the university’s responsibility in educating students about personal finance?