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Curtis Friedel

Virginia Tech
Assistant Professor and Director, Center for Cooperative Problem Solving
Dr. Curt Friedel is an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education. He currently has a teaching and research appointment with focus on problem solving and critical thinking skills as they apply to leadership development, teaching and learning, and the management of change.

Dr. Friedel is the founding director of the newly established Center for Cooperative Problem Solving at Virginia Tech, which has the mission to advance the teaching, research, and outreach of adaption-innovation theory. Among the Center’s course offerings is the KAI Certification Course and a graduate certificate in problem solving for leading change. Dr. Friedel is also the program leader for one of the larger undergraduate minors at Virginia Tech, leadership and social change.

Originally from Nebraska, Dr. Friedel’s teaching career began with starting an agricultural education and Future Farmers of America (FFA) program in a high school in Laurel, Nebraska, a program that had not existed for over 60 years. It is here that he learned the importance of collaboration and how to motivate people to achieve a common goal. The students and parents worked hard, and in the end this three-year-old program won the National FFA Model of Innovation Award in Student Development, an award coveted by the most seasoned of teachers.

He studied critical thinking and problem solving as part of his PhD at the University of Florida. In 2007, he was hired as an assistant professor in agricultural education at Louisiana State University. He moved to Blacksburg, VA in 2011 to begin work as an assistant professor at Virginia Tech. Some of the courses Dr. Friedel has taught include: leadership dynamics, youth program management, exploring citizen leadership, and leading social change.