Center for Principled Problem Solving

Putting Values Into Practice

The Center for Principled Problem Solving (CPPS) supports initiatives that apply the knowledge and skills gained through hands-on education and innovative research to solving real-world problems through the lens of Guilford’s Core Values.

Examples of past CPPS projects include:

  • Creating an outreach program to stimulate scientific curiosity in elementary school students through hands-on experiments
  • Managing a mobile library for disadvantaged adolescents in Peru
  • Hosting an educational access summit for youth in Rwanda
  • Developing curriculum on environmental racism for children at an Eco-Camp in North Carolina

CPPS acts as a central hub for principled problem solving across campus through scholarships, fellowships, grants, seminars and internships available to students, faculty, staff and alumni. Students can also study the Principled Problem Solving Experience Minor, an issues-based teaching and learning experience.

The Principled Problem Solving Model assumes multiple perspectives are necessary for seeking solutions, recognizing that complex problems require contextualized, collaborative and adaptive approaches to change. It encourages innovations through the consistent use of critical, creative and constructive thinking. 

CPPS Programs

Principled Problem Solving (PPS) Scholars

The PPS Scholars program equips Guilford College students from diverse backgrounds and academic majors with the knowledge, practices and creative and critical thinking skills to become ethical agents of social change and innovation. PPS Scholars receive financial and academic support as well as professional development, including a stipend for a summer internship after the completion of PPS Scholar coursework. For more information and application instructions, contact CPPS Director Mark Justad at 336.316.2853 or

CPPS Faculty Fellowship

The CPPS Faculty Fellowship provides financial, academic and project support for College faculty members to advance the curricular priorities of principled problem solving over the course of an academic year. For more information and application instructions, contact CPPS Director Mark Justad at 336.316.2853 or

PPS Faculty Seminar

The PPS Faculty Seminar is an opportunity for College faculty and staff to learn about best practices for community-engaged teaching, research and problem-solving. The seminar is designed for participants to acquire knowledge and skills that shape the cultivation or redesign of courses to include community-engaged teaching and learning components. A small stipend is available for those who complete the seminar, with some additional funding provided for submission of revised course plans or syllabi following the seminar. For more information and application instructions, contact CPPS Director Mark Justad at 336.316.2853 or

PPS Changemaker Grants

The Changemaker Grants program provides financial and administrative assistance and academic skills and training for Guilford College students, staff and faculty members wishing to engage issues of social concern as related to our Core Values. For more information and application instructions, contact CPPS Director Mark Justad at 336.316.2853 or

Cape Fear River Basin Studies Program

The Cape Fear River Basin Studies Program is an opportunity for students to engage in interdisciplinary, place-based education. This program defines “place” by the shared waters and land of the Cape Fear River Basin. Unlike boundaries created by humans, defining place by watersheds emphasizes our shared place, connections and dependence on one another. This approach allows students to learn from those working both within and outside their field of study while they develop a practice of seeking deep understanding of and engagement with their place. For more information and application instructions, contact Experiential Learning Specialist Maia Dery at 336.316.2396 or

Every Campus a Refuge

Every Campus a Refuge (ECAR) is an initiative that mobilizes college and university campus resources (within and without the institution’s physical borders) to provide housing and other forms of assistance to refugees seeking resettlement in the institution’s local area. ECAR was founded by Diya Abdo, associate professor of English at Guilford College. We provide the best practices on how colleges and universities around the globe can become a refuge by following our process of hosting refugees on campus grounds and assisting them in resettlement.

At Guilford College, we temporarily host refugees in a permanent residence dedicated to ECAR. Thus far, Guilford has hosted 27 refugees, 16 of them children between the ages of 10 months and 17 years. The families have come from Africa and the Middle East, including two from Syria.

Students can choose to minor in the Principled Problem Solving Experience, which currently focuses on ECAR. Information on events and the latest colleges and universities to become refuges can be found on the Every Campus a Refuge Facebook page. More information on the program itself and how other campuses can join the movement can be found on the Every Campus A Refuge website.

Every Campus a Refuge Honored at Gulf South Summit

Every Campus a Refuge (ECAR) and Professor Diya Abdo, its founder, is honored with the 2017 Outstanding Service-Learning Collaboration in Higher Education Award by the Gulf South Summit, an organization promoting service learning and civic engagement.

Mark Justad, Jennie Knight Lead PPS Workshop

Mark Justad and Jennie Knight lead a Principled Problem Solving workshop at North Carolina Campus Compact’s 2016 Civic Engagement Institute

Students Share Their Love of Science

Guilford physics students have shared their passion for science with students at Jefferson Elementary School for several years. Started with support from CPPS, the program stimulates curiosity among the Jefferson students through hands-on experiments.


Support CPPS with a donation using a convenient, secure online form.

Dan and Beth Mosca, parents of two Guilford alumni, made a $2.5 million challenge gift toward the goal of a $5 million endowment for the Center for Principled Problem Solving. They will match dollar-for-dollar CPPS contributions from all trustees, alumni and friends of Guilford College.

Contact Us

Mark Justad

Mark Justad

Director of the Center for Principled Problem Solving

Maia Dery

Maia Dery

Visiting Instructor of Art/Experiential Learning