Case-a potters wheel

Please carefully read the case. Prepare a comprehensive Case Analysis using the Case Analysis format below. In your analysis, be sure to incorporate answers to the questions asked at the end of the case. Please include references where appropriate.

Case for Analysis:A Potter's Wheel

Bill Strickland's life changed and began anew on a Wednesday afternoon in Pittsburgh in 1963. Strickland, then a 16-year-old African American, was bored with high school and felt hemmed in by life in this decaying neighborhood. Looking through a classroom door, Strickland saw something he had never seen before: a rotating mound of clay being shaped into a vessel by a man absorbed in his work. He stated, "I saw a radiant and hopeful image of how the world ought to be. It opened up a portal that suggested that there might be a whole range of possibilities and experiences that I had not explored."

Strickland walked into the classroom introduced himself to ceramics teacher Frank Ross, the man at the potter's wheel, and said, "I'd like to learn whatever that is." Ross became his mentor, and Strickland took an entirely new path in life that led to earning a college degree. Today Strickland applies his potter's hands and is involved in social change. People work with him and come to his programs at the Manchester Craftsmen Guild (MCG) and at the Bidwell Training Center Inc. For nearly three decades, Strickland has worked at his craft back in the same Pittsburgh neighborhood he grew up in-creating a model for turning people with dead-end lives into productive workers. The source of Strickland's unique gift is, according to him, that Wednesday afternoon in 1963. "You start with the perception that the world is an unlimited opportunity. Then the question becomes, how are we going to rebuild the planet?"

Strickland has brought all of his talents, aspirations, and thinking as an artist and applied them to make a change in the neighborhood where he lives. The use of art to change students' attitudes is at the heart of Strickland's vision of education. The goal is not to produce artists or potters. It's to find an individually tailored approach to learning that will redirect young people who are searching for goals and get them interested in education. Strickland's story and life provide an example of how each person is unique. His background environment certainly had an impact on his individual characteristics.

Strickland speaks with a moral authority that should ring true with struggling college students.


1. What environmental factors could Bill Strickland have changed in his life?

2. What moral authority does Bill Strickland speak from to struggling college students?

3. What impact did Strickland's mentor (Frank Ross) have on his goals, self-efficacy, and values?


1. Quickly go through the case seeking answers to the following questions: What broadly is the case about and what types of information am I being given to analyze.

2. Carefully read the case, underlining important information and key facts. Raise the following question for yourself: "What is the basic problem the manager has to resolve?" Put yourself in the manager's position and develop a sense of involvement in his problem.

3. Write down the key problem on a piece of paper. Also note associated problems. Go through the case again, sorting out the relevant considerations for each problem.

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