Looking at the news about hurricane Florence, which is threatening the Carolinas this morning, made me want to find something hopeful to think about. One of the things that really gave me hope about the capacity of our society to respond well to wicked problems has been the amazing teachers we have interviewed for this research project across the University of Edinburgh. I have had the privilege of meeting an incredible group of deeply committed, passionate and thoughtful teachers through this project. They are putting their hearts into preparing students to make a difference in these uncertain and difficult times.
One of the things that really struck me about this group was that they seem to have more coherent academic identities than some of the people I have interviewed for other projects or read about in the literature. In other research, academics often talk about the tensions between their research, teaching and other duties. They feel that they are pulled between different parts of their identities. The participants in the wicked problems project, by contrast, seemed more likely to have identities which cohered around the wicked problem they were considering and saw their teaching, research, activism, and other work as all pulling together to address their wicked problem.