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Liberal Arts & Natural Sciences: What’s Your Problem?! – Interdisciplinary Problem Solving – Session 2 With Dr Ilija Rašović From University of Birmingham

4th October 2021 @ 12:45 - 13:30


This is the second session in our great 3 part event for KS4 and KS5 student groups which applies the style of university education practised by the prestigious Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences (LANS) programme at the University at Birmingham. The 3 sessions aim to push and challenge the most driven students, and also to raise the aspirations of those students who might not have even seriously considered university before.

Talent and potential are so often hidden in plain sight and yet don’t get coaxed out—we look to empower all students in realising their academic potential and gaining the skills and confidence to positively affect their world.

The sessions, working with the same groups across the three weeks, aim to achieve this by giving students ownership of their own complex research questions, and providing the framework within which they can attack these questions with academic rigour and intellectual honesty.

What will happen during these sessions?

These sessions offer a hyper-condensed version of University of Birmingham’s first-year core courses, where students work in small groups to tackle a complex problem that is affecting them in some way. The starting point is the question: what is the most important issue affecting your community? As individuals, we all inhabit multiple and varied communities—some overlapping, others totally disparate—so the multitude of answers that fall out from here are always a fascinating starting point.

From here, we provide students with prompts and the academic foundations for exploring, analysing and perhaps even beginning to solve these complex problems.

Ultimately, students present their findings to their peers, teachers and us. Discussions are not limited to any one academic subject.

Indeed, this is the whole point of an education in the Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences: no one area of expertise is sufficient to tackle the most complex questions we face. We provide the bedrock of skills that enables the most curious thinkers and sharpest minds to cross these disciplinary boundaries, both themselves and by working with others.

Students will work in groups of 5 or 6 and, by the end of these three sessions, will be able to:

  • Analyse and break down a complex problem that affects their communities;
  • Analyse both quantitative and qualitative data, citing sources appropriately;
  • Balance insights on a problem from diverse disciplinary traditions;
  • Communicate their analyses and next steps to appropriate audiences;
  • Reflect on the role they took when working as part of a team.


What’s Your Problem?! – Session 2

  1. Why has this problem not been solved?
  2. How do we work towards a solution?
  3. How can we make that solution happen?


Please click below to see:


Speaker Profile (Please click): Dr Ilija Rašović


As a live, participative event, this session will not be recorded but slides and other resources will be shared after the event, where available.


Suitable for: Any student groups from GCSE to A-level, irrespective of subject choices. These groups may be coordinated by teachers or students are welcome to independently put forward a team of 5 or 6. If you are an individual student who is interested but do not have a team, we can connect you with together with other interested individual students to form a team.

Preparation/Pre-Reading: Further instructions will be sent prior to the first session but please note that, for groups joining from a classroom, it will help for each group to be able to work around a table and have access to a laptop/tablet for recording their work/ideas.

The IT Setup: The event will be run on Bluejeans and participants will be able to join using laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. If you are joining as a school group, we recommend connecting with one device and projecting on to a whiteboard. You will be able to interact with the university via a microphone and/or typed comments and questions. Full details will be sent to those who have registered (see below) prior to the event.

Booking a Place: This is free for schools and colleges. If you would like to take part in this event, please register your interest using the link to the registration form below: