Exploring the Liberal Arts (LASE and ELA Classes)

Spring 2019 Classes

ELA is a new subject area. In this area you will find courses on study skills, leadership, College resources and making the most of your liberal arts degree. These classes count as part of the 18 non-College credits you are allowed.
LASE classes are liberal arts seminars offered on a range of topics. Expect to see more classes offered under this subject area each semester.

Note: Effective fall 2015, all LASE classes count as College credit.

Engaging the Liberal Arts (ELA) Classes

All ELA classes count as non-College credit

ELA 2500 Engaging the Liberal Arts: The Second Year | Section 001 (Anda Web)

Are you in your second year and undecided about a major? Do you feel pressured to declare a major as soon as possible? If so, you are not alone. Research shows that up to 80% of college students entering college are unsure of their major and up to 50% change their majors at least once before graduation.  This course provides students with an opportunity to learn about majors in the College and, more importantly, about their individual strengths and abilities.  Through readings, journaling and writing exercises, classroom discussion, meditation practices, and other tools of discovery, students will examine the following questions:

1.  How can I make the most of my college experience?
2.  Who am I, what are my values, and how do they impact me?
3.  How do I want to live my life, and what is my own definition of success?
4.  Rather than "discovering my passion," which is a limiting question, how do I craft a fulfilling life that I know will change over time?

The more knowledge you have about yourself as you begin to explore possible majors, the more likely you are to identify a good ‘fit’ and avoid pursuing majors that are not as well-suited for you.  In this class, you also will learn about the many resources available to you across the University, from undergraduate research opportunities to career services.

ELA 2600 Collect, Select, Reflect | Section 001 (Yitna Firdyiwek)    
An ePortfolio is a collection of digitized student work (documents, images, artwork, maps, lab reports, video files, audio files, etc.) organized and repurposed to demonstrate a student’s accomplishments, talents, experiences, and reflections. Collected over time, and (re)composed for particular audiences such as instructors, prospective employers, or others, the ePortfolio can serve as a rich evidence-based documentation of authentic student accomplishments. The ePortfolio construction and reflection process can also ensure students gain insight on themselves as learners by showing their self-assessment as well as their aspirations and future goals. This class is open to College students in all years who have not taken the class before.

Liberal Arts Seminar (LASE) Classes

Effective fall 2015, LASE classes count as inside the College credit

Civic and Community Engagement Classes

LASE 3500/PSYC 3495 Science and Lived Experience of Autism II | Section 003 (Vikram Jaswal)
This year-long, interdisciplinary seminar will explore how well the science of autism captures the experience of those living with autism and their families. Students will critically evaluate research in psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience, and education, and they will work together with members of the autism community to identify new research questions that reflect the interests and concerns of the people who are most affected by autism science.

LASE 3500/GDS 3110 Engaged Learning in Global/Local Development II | Section 004 (David Edmunds)
This class will support student engagements with enterprises, organizations, departments and movements addressing problems broadly defined as development. We will encourage shared learning and co-designed development activities, and we will do so for groups of students as they prepare for "on site" work, while they are in the midst of their engagements, or are returning to the classroom to analyze what they have learned and done. The class will be run as a series of workshops addressing issues shared by some or all of the various students.  These will be defined in the practicum together, but will likely address, at a minimum: dealing with social and cultural differences, generating knowledge across these differences, dealing with uncertainty in establishing plans and budgets, and building in accountability to those outside the university. Some of the workshops will be held on grounds, others off. We will have mentors from within and outside the university address specific topics, and students and their colleagues will learn from each other's experiences through regular in-class presentations.  The learning "products" will be defined by consensus by those involved in the learning and action, but will include at least one reflective essay by each student.

LASE 3500/MUSI 3070 Musical Ethnography II | Section 005 (Nomi Dave)
Why and how does music matter to human beings? What does musical experience look / sound / feel like to particular people and communities? And how can these stories be told ethically and creatively? This course introduces students to the study of music as a fundamentally social practice, through the research method of ethnography. In music, this approach looks beyond notes and musical structures to think of music as part of everyday human life. Our discussions will address key debates in anthropology and ethnomusicology surrounding the ethics and politics of doing research with and representing the experiences of people and communities. The ethics of listening – to sound and to each other – is at the heart of these discussions. As a class, we will develop a year-long ethnographic project, working collectively and collaboratively with a small number of musicians in Charlottesville. Together with the artists, we will design a project that creatively represents the stories of their musical lives. We will also work with WTJU radio to learn recording and production techniques for creative and ethical story-telling.

LASE 3559 Do Things With Your Liberal Arts Degree | Section 001 (David Flood)
If you plan to work for money, and you'll do it with a liberal arts degree, this is the class for you--whether you want a specific job, have a job already lined up, or have no idea what you're going to do. We'll range from concrete skills like interviewing, resumes, and how to talk about your existing abilities, to bird's-eye views of what it means to graduate in our current labor market. The class will be organized around three main questions: what must you do? (or in other words, what are the realities of work in contemporary neoliberal capitalism that you'll face?); what can you do? (or, how do you effectively use and describe the skill sets you've gained as a liberal arts student?); and what should you do? (or, how do you find a vocation wherein you support yourself through meaningful, ethical work?).

LASE 3559 The Culture of Work in the Contemporary US | Section 002 (David Flood)
This course has two purposes: the first is to provide a hands-on and pragmatic introduction to 'work' for liberal arts majors. Accordingly, the first half of the course will look at resumes, cover letters, interviewing, and ways of framing and talking about liberal arts skills in the contemporary job market. The second goal of the course is an anthropological consideration of work and life in the contemporary US. Towards this end, we will read works that deal with the particular characteristics of our contemporary economic, political, and cultural moment, and we will consider how they apply to students' lives and career trajectories. We will finally envision ways of reconciling critical academic perspectives with the necessities of making a living in the world as it is.