FPSPI-UMASS Amherst Strengthens Collaboration Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Top Quote UMass Amherst supports unique international educational program, Future Problem Solving Program International. End Quote
  • Boston, MA-NH (1888PressRelease) April 09, 2020 - The University of Massachusetts Amherst announced the first stage of an effort to provide continued support for the educational nonprofit Future Problem Solving Program International (FPSPI) as they navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. The partnership between FPSPI and the University of Massachusetts Amherst began in 2018 with preparations for the FPSPI International Conference that took place on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus June 6-9, 2019.

    FPSPI, developed in 1974 by creativity pioneer Dr. E. Paul Torrance, provides competitive and non-competitive components for today’s curriculum via a six-step model which teaches critical and creative thinking, problem solving, and decision making.

    The FPSPI International Conference (IC) brings together Future Problem Solvers from around the globe to celebrate the final round of their competitive season. Successful teams and individuals from Affiliate Programs and Mentored Regions converge to recognize their accomplishments and expertise gained from using the Creative Problem Solving process.

    Facing a global pandemic while preparing for the 2020 FPSPI-IC scheduled to take place June 4-7, 2020, the University of Massachusetts Amherst collaborated with the FPSPI International Office to provide creative solutions to strengthen the partnership for the future. While FPSPI will be hosting their 2020 International Conference virtually this June, the two groups have worked diligently together to prepare for the 2021 FPSPI International Conference to take place on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus.

    “Though our conference will be online this year, our 2021 event will be back on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus! We are so appreciative to UMASS for working through this difficult time with us to ensure that plans and deposits would be rolled into the next year’s onsite event – we are excited for June 2021 already!” FPSPI Executive Director April Michele said in a letter to stakeholders on March 25th.

    FPSPI will kick off their virtual International Conference on Thursday, June 4th, with a virtual Opening Ceremony and will conclude the competition on Tuesday, June 9th with a virtual Awards Ceremony. Although they won’t be together this year on the UMASS Amherst campus, champion problem solvers who have earned their spot at the International Conference will still have the opportunity to compete with others from around the world, and will have access to many virtual collaborative experiences as well as their competitions. These collaborative sessions include such events as the Thinking Tools Workshop, Senior Forum, and Topics Think Tank.

    Michele noted “One thing that we have learned over the last few weeks is how relevant our topics truly are. Two years ago our Practice Problem 1 was Spread of Infectious Disease, and our 2009 International Conference topic was Pandemic. While these topics did not fully prepare us for the difficulties of 2020, we have received an outpouring of positive and collaborative problem solving to make the FIRST virtual event the best possible for our students! Our partnership with UMASS Amherst is a key collaboration that will help guide us through these difficulties in 2020 and moving towards the future IC 2021 event to take place on the UMASS Amherst campus.”

    For more information about FPSPI visit fpspi.org

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