"Profiles in PBL" is a web database where PBL engineering programs from around the world share the details of their PBL programs. Our goal is to showcase more than 100 PBL profiles. The profiles will serve as inspiration for PBL programs to learn from one another and for engineering educators world-wide who are considering PBL. This database has been developed in collaboration between The Aalborg UNESCO Centre and Iron Range Engineering, Itasca Community College.

Wake Forest University



Winston Salem, North Carolina, USA



Olga Pierrakos

Founding Chair & Professor

How would you describe your PBL?

problem and project based

What is most important to your PBL?

Product and Process

How is PBL implemented?

central to all learning

How do students acquire principles of discipline?

Students acquire disciplinary knowledge from diverse constituents and using diverse mechanisms. Examples of diverse constituents include faculty, staff, peer students, external community partners, clients, professional experts in practice, interdisciplinary scholars, industry representatives, etc. Examples of the diverse mechanisms that students gain disciplinary knowledge include lectures, demonstrations, laboratory procedures, case studies, reflection, independent research, problem-driven experiences.

How is student learning facilitated within PBL?

Instructors support PBL student learning in diverse ways. Sometimes it is by coaching, sometimes by modeling and demonstrating how PBL should be approached, sometimes by facilitating conversations and next steps.

Program Overview

Institution Type:


Degree Type:

ISCED 4: Post-secondary non-tertiary education

Program Length:

Four Years

Semesters in which PBL is Used:


Hours per week on Project:


PBL Overview

Problem structure:

Formulation of problems:

Problems are formulated and informed by/from faculty, students, external clients, and professional practice

Team composition selection:

Academic staff with student input

Projects assigned by:

Academic staff with student input

How is space dedicated to student teams for problem/project completion?

Space that can be reserved/shared by teams

Degree of Interdisciplinarity:


Role of instructor:


Unique Features

adaptive PBL (varying structuredness, varying complexity, varying team composition vs individual, etc)

Varying PBL experiences (i.e. research projects, design projects, community engagement) to develop adaptive experts

Grounding in a liberal arts education

Supporting cognitive and non-cognitive growth and development

Sometimes driven by theory, sometimes driven by practice

Assessment Methods

Written Exams

Oral Exams

Classroom Presentations


Performance Tasks





How assessment is implemented :

Mixture of individual and group assessment