Learning Problem 1: Sue Montag is in her late 40’s. She is a recovering addict currently residing in a women’s shelter. She has one daughter, in her mid-20’s, who she’s fell out of touch with. Sue has struggled with poverty her entire life. As an adult, she spent many years homeless, living in and out of her car and shelters. However, most shelters, non-gender specific ones, do not provide adequate physical protection for women. Sue desires to find a stable job and housing for herself. However, she finds the task daunting. She has low confidence in her employability and is unsure of what jobs she would be suitable for. Sue needs to learn how to be an attractive candidate in the job market, improve soft skills, and understand financial management. With these skills, there is a higher likelihood she can successfully lift herself out of poverty.
Learning Problem 2: Walter Jones is a middle-aged African-American logger living in Alabama. He recently was exonerated after 4 unsuccessful appeals and 6 years spent on death row for a crime he did not commit. He was wrongly convicted of murdering a white woman. The conviction was reversed due to the revelation of police coercion and perjury by witnesses. Prior to his incarceration, he was very well-liked in his community and ran a successful business. While in prison, he experienced psychological and emotional trauma; he did not understand how he could have been arrested, convicted, and repeatedly denied appeals when he was innocent. Despite this, he still enjoyed joking around, tried to maintain his hope, and exercised kindness to those around him. He is thrilled by his exoneration and is focused on keeping his head down and avoiding trouble. He does not want to go back to prison. His trust in the local authorities and the justice system has been completely broken; he knows there are still people who believe he is guilty of the crime. He needs to learn how to reintegrate back into his community. He also needs to find steady employment and housing.
Learning Problem 3: Joe Miller is a Caucasian police officer in the Oakland Police Department. He is a husband and father to two kids, ages 8 and 10. He joined the police force to serve and protect the community. However, the tensions between the police and community are coming to a boiling point. Joe comes from a background in the military and this is his first civilian job. His training thus far has emphasized the importance of surviving by assessing unknowns as threats. Joe knows this is not the best approach in his civilian role and feels a responsibility to better understand, empathize, and evaluate biases he has when making threat assessments, specifically towards people from different demographics. He believes that undoing his biases and improving his training, along with the rest of the squad, will help restore a healthy relationship with the community, to serve them better and be more effective.
Learning Problem 4: Jia Guo is a 28-year-old mom to a 1-year-old daughter. She recently immigrated to America with her husband from their homeland, China. Both of them left behind their whole support network, friends and family, in China. Though they do not know anyone in America, they moved to Queens (NYC) in hopes of establishing a new life as a family. She and her husband are well-educated, studied engineering, and are motivated to provide for their daughter. Jia does not speak English; her husband speaks a little. They do not have a lot to start their new life with, most of their money was spent on the journey to America. Jia needs to learn how to navigate living in this new country. More specifically, she needs to find employment, childcare, housing, and learn to manage finances. She also wants to build a more local support network and learn to speak English fluently. She believes all of the above will help provide the foundation for her family to flourish in America in the long term.
Learning Problem 5: Todd Richardson is a VP of product at a thriving tech company. He leads a team of 50 product managers, of which 8 are women. Recently, he has received critical feedback from female employees that the workplace is heavily male and feels very “bro-y”. Many women complain of office conversations and jokes being inappropriate or making them feel uncomfortable. They also have noticed that their male counterparts are receiving promotions and pay raises faster than they are. Todd wants to create healthy team dynamics and he believes diversity is a key component. He also knows from studies that having a diverse team improves team output and effectiveness. However, Todd does not know how to begin addressing the diversity issues. He wants to encourage more diversity, but he also does not want to “rock the boat” with the other team members. When he has broached the topic of diversity with male teammates, most of them are not aware of any problems or some of them become defensive about their behavior. Todd needs to develop empathy for what minority team members’ experiences are like. He also needs to learn how to effectively lead a team to improve and be aware of diversity. Todd wants to know how he can foster an environment of open dialogue to generate communication between his team members.