Skills Course Offerings

Skills Course Offerings

Overview

Skills Accelerator courses are 2-credit courses that give Catalyst Students the chance to develop high-impact skills that are directly relevant to their major and career interests. We offer a range of topics from instructors across Grounds and beyond, all expert practitioners in their fields. See below for current and past offerings. Please note: all Skills courses will be listed in SIS as different sections of LASE 2510 (Liberal Arts Seminars). Catalyst students are required to take two Skills courses, but are allowed to take more as space allows.


Skills Accelerator Offerings in Academic Year '22-'23:

Coding for Virtual Reality: Learning in the Metaverse 

Marc Santugini

This immersive experience in virtual reality will be beneficial to the students and their careers as the future presents the possibility of working in a virtual world. Students will experience the wide-ranging possibilities of virtual reality as a cutting-edge medium but also (more importantly) give them the necessary coding and manipulation skills to succeed in the virtual world. Specifically, students will acquire the skills necessary to create and animate 3d models in virtual reality. Coding will be done via circuits that can be moved, wired together to calculate estimates, or plotting and animating data. Knowledge of calculus is expected.

Ethnographic Techniques for Business and Development  

Tess Farmer

Organizations such as Meta, Alphabet, Amazon, and government institutions employ ethnographers to help them understand what people are doing and why; to give them insight not just into what people say is happening, but to spot patterns that can powerfully shape outcomes. These abilities can be translated into portable skills such as market research, user-centered and participatory design, and organizational analysis. They can also help you to be a savvier employee and more successful friend.

Starting Something: Entrepreneurial Leadership Skills

Brenda Patterson

This course provides students with real-world tools and actionable steps for launching their own ventures as founder or leader of a for-profit or nonprofit startup. We'll cover the fundamentals of project and business planning, budgets and fundraising, and publicity and marketing. How can you have a unique impact in your community? How can you make a living while pursuing your deepest goals and values? These questions will frame the skills you'll gain, aimed at giving you the essentials of finding your niche and creating a sustainable, self-driven career with integrity and intention.

Writing While Working

Charlie Gleek

This course develops students' writing abilities towards the demands of clear professional communication across a wide range of genres in workplace settings. It also provides an orientation to the widely used Microsoft Office suite. We will develop and apply interdisciplinary, multi-genre writing skillsets by offering writers an immersive, fictional environment where they take on various roles in a semester-long simulation. Writers will address a series of wicked problems amongst agricultural, commercial, environmental, and governmental interests relating to growth management and comprehensive planning in an imaginary city. Throughout the course, writers will learn the intellectual, practical, and digital writing skills that employers consistently look for.


Spring 2023 Skills Courses

Mining and Analyzing Social Media Text Data Using R

Hudson Golino

Every day, millions of people across the globe use social media to interact with their friends, share their thoughts, provide updates on their daily lives, and much more. Tons of text data are generated every single day and are available on social media platforms such as Twitter. In this course, students will learn how to use R to extract text data from Twitter, to implement text mining techniques, to estimate topics and emotions in the text data using a plethora of methods and techniques. This is a hands-on course, with one single pre-requisite: some previous experience and basic knowledge of R.

Storytelling Across Multimedia Platforms

Anna Katherine Clay

 Storytelling is universal across languages, cultures, and communities. But being able to tell a story in a succinct, clear and powerful way is a learned, intentional practice, and one that can lead to success in a myriad of career paths. In this course, students will learn how to clearly and effectively share a story across platforms, whether audio/podcast, video/film, or written/digital. From articulating the narrative structure of a story to filming a powerful arc for social media, students will experientially learn how to be great storytellers. We will read, watch and listen to examples while analyzing them together. We will examine narrative structure, ledes, hooks, resolutions, and all the elements of storytelling that elevate a story or message, including in the context of a corporate setting. Students will produce their own storytelling across platforms, working individually and collaboratively to be effective, strong storytellers, producing stories that are, to quote UVA President Jim Ryan, “both great and good.”

Navigating Complex Decisions in Work and Career

Ross Blankenship

This course draws on organizational psychology and complex-decision making models to help students develop a language and a framework for how to think systematically and pragmatically about different types of work. We will consider the psychology of values and interests and how they can shape decisions about work. The course will provide opportunities for students to talk about and write about their strengths and areas for development/growth, how to find work they might enjoy, and how to discuss and position their education in a work context. Students will leave with practical tools for making decisions that align with their life goals, including individual assessments and exercises to help build self-awareness. This work will culminate with a“Statement of Work” that defines their first principles for career decision-making and serves as a living document they can continue to revisit and revise as they navigate their careers.

Writing While Working

Charlie Gleek

This course develops students' writing abilities towards the demands of clear professional communication across a wide range of genres in workplace settings. It also provides an orientation to the widely used Microsoft Office suite. We will develop and apply interdisciplinary, multi-genre writing skillsets by offering writers an immersive, fictional environment where they take on various roles in a semester-long simulation. Writers will address a series of wicked problems amongst agricultural, commercial, environmental, and governmental interests relating to growth management and comprehensive planning in an imaginary city. Throughout the course, writers will learn the intellectual, practical, and digital writing skills that employers consistently look for.