The Client Problem Solving Competition

Hosted at the Association of Applied and Clinical Sociology Annual Conference

What is the Client Problem Solving Competition?

The Client Problem Solving Competition (CPSC) is an annual student team competition held at the Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology (AACS) conference every year. The CPSC event provides students with a meaningful use of applied skills they learned in sociology, experience in teamwork and time management, and serves as a valuable networking opportunity for the next generation of practicing social scientists.

A representative of a local agency (chosen by AACS) will present a problem to AACS and participating teams of students from schools across the country. Teams present their solutions to AACS, the agency representative, and conference attendees in the audience on the last day of the conference. Each team has 15 minutes to present their solutions with some time for questions and answers.

How is the work evaluated?

The client, or agency, chooses the team with the best solution based on the presentation of academic context but most importantly, on the application of social sciences to the agency’s needs in order to win the CPSC award.

The client will answer students’ questions on the first day of the conference so it is important for teams to be present for this. Students attend sessions at the conference and ask sociologists and practitioners in attendance questions in order to solve the problem using the applied sociological insights they gather. There is no need for practice or planning prior to the competition as we want to encourage this process of applied learning and networking. In the spirit of “applied sociology,” the client determines the winning team rather than a customary team of academic professors, which makes it crucial for students to explain using sociological concepts in an understandable manner for the client to follow.

The full rules and regulations can be found HERE

What do the winning teams receive?

A plaque naming the winning teams will be sent to the school winning the CPSC award. Students in the winning teams will be able to see their academic insight applied “in action,” and they will also receive FREE AACS membership for four years or until they graduate, whichever comes first.

Will the problem be released before the conference?

No. In an effort to keep things fair, the problem will be disclosed the first night of the competition.

Recent Participating Schools:

  • Oklahoma State University
  • Radford University
  • Winston-Salem  State 
  • Elizabethtown College
  • University of Tampa

The AACS students scholarly work and presentations offered the YMCA of Greater Louisville some of the most insightful, organized, and actionable (not to mention evidence-based) information that we have heard regarding staff recruitment, employee satisfaction, employment motivations, and retention for Millennials and Gen Zers.  This type of organizational analysis and systems recommendations would have cost us $20,000 to $30,000 if we had asked an HR firm to help us answer the question:  What would be the best way to attract 16-24 year-olds into YMCA employment?  Thank you, this valuable information will be shared broadly within our Y as well as regionally to other Ys and recommendations implemented! 

YMCA Greater Louisville

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