Skip to main content
What is a COLA 1500 class?

COLA 1500 classes are one-credit, graded seminars open to all new first-year students in the College. They are taught in the fall term only and they are the best. You'll be in a class with no more than 18 students, all first-semester students just like you. The COLAs are on fun topics and your instructor becomes your faculty advisor in the College until you declare your major. Check out the testimonials from students below and then scroll through the list of classes for the upcoming fall semester to find your COLA. 

Why first year students love their COLAs

I enjoyed my COLA class very much. I got to know my adviser, which was very helpful to me, and I also got to interact with a small group of my fellow students. Since it was my first semester at UVA and most of the introductory classes are quite large, the small, personal environment was quite welcoming. 

My COLA class experience was wonderful. Not only did I get in touch with a great advisor, I made many long lasting friends that I still have today. I learned a lot about an interesting topic, while receiving advising advice. I honestly would have been pretty lost without one on one help advising. 

Enrolling in a COLA seminar helped me target my interests more efficiently early on in the process. The real benefit of a COLA class is that students can develop a close relationship with a faculty member in an area that they are interested in early on, which is a tremendous benefit. It also introduces students to resources that I know many of my non-COLA friends didn't know about until well into their second or even third years at the University. Best of all, the COLA provides an opportunity for these benefits in a non-stressful academic environment that allows students to explore a subject that the professor is passionate about that is usually off the beaten path of academia. 

I felt that with all of the confusion and stress transferring from high school to college brings, COLA really helped me sort through issues. These weren't major life issues but simply how to make the most of my time, how to pick a major, what organizations to get involved in, etc. I really feel like it kept me focused and grounded in my first semester. 

Enrolling in the COLA seminar was one of the best decisions I made. I instantly bonded with the professor, and he was a good advisor for me. As far as the class itself is concerned, I learned how to read and interpret scientific literature, primary sources or otherwise, in a more skeptical and thorough manner. I learned to think like a scientist, which I would not have gained had I only taken large introductory science courses with an emphasis on memorization. I was challenged and grew from it.

I would like to encourage first year students to take the COLA class. Since everything is new for the first-year, first semester students, COLA class was the time for me to get to know well about the school, faculty and friends. Furthermore, because the class size was smaller than any other classes I took, it was easier to build a relationship with the professor and other classmates. I also liked having my professor as an advisor because since we met weekly, she could easily understand my situation in academics and social life. 

My COLA seminar was easily one of my best experiences in the College of Arts & Sciences. It was wonderful to know my advisor in an academic setting, and I highly recommend the continuation of COLA classes. I loved my COLA class! Not only was it an interesting class/topic, but it allowed me to get to know my first year advisor on a more personal level. 

Fall 2024 COLA Class Descriptions

I Just Have a Quick Question (Krista Varanyak)
Section 001 | 10564 | Monday | 12:30PM - 1:45PM
As you enter college life, your mind is reeling with more questions than answers. How do I pick my major? Where is the best place for coffee? Why is it called grounds? Does my roommate hate me? This course will explore some of college life’s biggest and smallest questions as well as dive into semi-structured debates on broader topics using empirical evidence. You will develop skills to strategically uncover and evaluate information by tackling some of your personal inquiries. By the end of the course, you will have confidence in your ability to ask focused questions, seek thoughtful solutions, and share your findings.

Exercises in Creativity (Keith Driver)
Section 002 | 12754 | Monday | 2:00PM - 3:15PM
Does creativity result from freedom or constraint? From chance or design? From conscious choice or subconscious intuition? In this Cola section we will explore these questions by looking at the work and theories of 20th century artist groups like OuLiPo, the Surrealists, and Dada. We’ll test their theories with regular exercises as we attempt to use art to make meaning out of experience. 

Religion in Reality (Kevin Rose)
Section 003 | 10565 | Tuesday | 4:00PM - 5:15PM
Is religion still relevant in today's pop culture? We’ll look at popular reality TV shows like Real Housewives, Keeping up with the Kardashians, and 90 Day Fiancé to think about ways that religion shows up in the media we consume. As you make your transition to college, this will also be a chance to reflect on the way that things we learn in the classroom can help us gain a deeper understanding and think more critically about the stuff we encounter in everyday life.

Are We Alone in the Universe? (Edward Murphy)
Section 004 | 10566 | Tuesday | 11:00AM - 12:15PM
Our galaxy contains hundreds of billions of stars. If only a tiny fraction of those stars have intelligent life, there could be millions of intelligent civilizations in the galaxy. Given that our galaxy is 13 billion years old, some of these civilizations should have been able to fully colonize the galaxy long ago. And yet, we have no evidence that they are visiting, or have ever visited, Earth. In fact, we have no evidence of any extraterrestrial life. All the evidence points to the fact that we are the first, and possibly the only, intelligent civilization in the galaxy. In this course, we will address the Fermi paradox, the belief that intelligent life is common, that they should have colonized our solar system long ago, and yet we see no evidence that they exist. This topic is multidisciplinary and will include topics from astronomy, biology (evolution of intelligence), chemistry (origin of life), engineering (spaceflight and the difficulty of traveling between the stars), and sociology (do technological civilizations destroy themselves).

God and Nature in America (Heather Warren)
Section 005 | 10567 | Tuesday | 3:30PM - 4:45PM
This course examines how Americans have viewed the relation between God, nature, and themselves since the founding of the United States. We will examine what selected outdoorsmen and women considered to be “divine,” “holy,” or “sacred” and why they believed the way they did, among them John Muir and Annie Dillard. Our class will involve some outdoors time, a few short, two-page papers, discussion, and guests from such offices as Career Services, the Writing Center, and the Center for Undergraduate Research.

My Story, Everyone's Story (Stella Mattioli)
Section 007 | 11793 | Tuesday | 11:00AM - 12:15PM
In this class students will read & learn about histories of immigrants in VA, & will work on a project about their own family history. The goal of the class is to give students a better sense of how the personal history of every individual & every family shape the history of a place & of a bigger community. This will help students to embrace more easily the prospect of equity & anti-racism, for which a shift in perspective is often needed.

The Art of Listening (Justin Mueller)
Section 008 | 11794 | Tuesday | 9:30AM - 10:45AM
How does our understanding change when we stop to consider what things sound like? You listen to music, but what else do you hear in your day-to-day life? This course will help you think about what it means to listen. Some of the topics we will consider this semester include: the impact of various recording technologies and the ethics of music streaming; attentive listening strategies for class lectures; architecture meant to aid the deaf and hard of hearing; the problematics of cultural appropriation in musical theatre; what UVA sounded like when Thomas Jefferson was alive; the soundscapes of places near and far, natural and man-made; and how best to hear, understand, and help advocate for those less fortunate than we are. In short, it seeks to help you become more receptive and responsive to the world all around you.

Reading UVA's Archives (Sarah Richardson)
Section 009 | 11795 | Monday | 5:00PM - 6:15PM
Reading UVA’s Archives will examine traditional archives such as exhibits, museums, archival collections, and historical societies to non-traditional archives such as graves, monuments, tours, and descendant videos. Focusing on archives specifically related to UVA’s campus demonstrates the information we have access to from the past, where there are silences of oppressed communities, and how these archives still impact life at UVA today. Students will be able to engage with place-based archives focusing on various communities and events to analyze how histories have been preserved and are represented. Critical conversations surrounding the benefits and limitations of archives in regard to equity are necessary in understanding the continued social and political impacts of the place. Places around campus inform us of the past and help fill in some areas where traditional archives “fail” due to silencing of oppressed communities. We will address how non-traditional archives can be used as an as an equitable resource to recover histories of a place steeped in violence and historical and cultural oppression. Students will write one-page reflective papers on various archives throughout the semester while continuing conversations of readings surrounding archival impact, public memory, and the space of UVA. The final project is a group project where students will take a material archive and create a digital space for the archive such as a website including pictures, a podcast discussing a history of a particular community, or a video digitizing a tour. A digital component offers more accessibility to place-based archives and offers a chance for students to explain and contextualize what they have learned throughout the semester in different mediums. Having this information also opens discussion on career opportunities, research opportunities, and study abroad programs because this course teaches reading and research skills as well as sociocultural and political implications of a place.

Why Haven't We Cured Cancer? (David Kittlesen)
Section 010 | 11074 | Tuesday | 12:30PM - 1:45PM
Nearly half a century ago President Nixon signed the National Cancer Act of 1971 into law, an event generally considered a “declaration of war” on cancer. Yet, as every one of us knows, this war is far from over. Is it “winnable”? What, if any, battles have we won? Which are we still fighting? What have we learned over the past decades about the enemy? One objective of this course is for students to acquire a deeper understanding of the characteristics, the biology (cellular/molecular defects), the causes, the treatments, and the prevention of cancer. Crucially related are the human aspects of this disease, including ethical issues associated with clinical trials. Another objective of this course is to promote the development of critical thinking skills. Being a COLA seminar, a significant emphasis will also be placed on advising issues related to all four years of the college experience. Neither an advanced background in biology, nor an intent to major in biology, is required. An interest in the topic and the desire to learn more are the only prerequisites.

Great Speeches (Margaret Noland, James Ryan, Matthew Weber)
Section 011 | 11296 | Tuesday | 4:00PM - 5:15PM
What's the finest speech you’ve ever heard? Why was it memorable and what made it essential or inspiring? This course will examine the impact and art of a well-constructed and delivered speech. Surveying the gamut of speeches throughout history, this class will seek to provide a deeper understanding into this time honored craft and the historical context in which they were delivered. Incorporating guest visits from former presidential speechwriters and politicians, to poets and communications professionals, Pres. Ryan will lead this exploration into the power of speeches, drawing from his own personal experiences as both UVA President and former dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Assignments will involve active learning, the development of the tools and skills to deliver a great speech, and include the presentation of a fully constructed speech and critiques of pre-existing works. (Note: Each instructor will serve as the advisor for 5 students in the class.)

Getting Perspectives (Amy Ogden)
Section 013 | 11173 | Monday | 11:00AM - 12:15PM
Artistic works—literary, visual, musical, filmic…—invite us to understand the world from perspectives other than our own.  How do artists in different media and forms convey points of view and to what extent do their techniques overlap between forms?  How can artistic works communicate multiple layers of perspective?  How do we understand works that present contradictory perspectives?  How can we recognize and suspend our own (moral, aesthetic, culturally determined) views on a topic enough to understand the perspectives of others?  In what ways can this exercise of identifying and responding to others’ points of view help us to recognize the assumptions and experiences that shape our own perspectives on the world?  Our discussions will center on art works in the UVA museum, short literary works, popular music and a film.

Everyday Shakespeare (Erica Cobb)
Section 014 | 11796 | Wednesday | 2:00PM - 3:15PM
How is Shakespeare relevant to your every day life?  In this course, we will explore the many and myriad ways in which the Bard is alive and well in modern America.  And as you begin your journey here at UVA you will find that his works are referenced in nearly every Humanities course you will take during your four years of study, so you ignore him at your peril!  Throughout the semester we will watch and discuss various film adaptions (yes, 10 Things I Hate About You is included), read famous scenes aloud (who doesn't need help with their public speaking skills?), memorise a sonnet (because everyone should be able to recite a poem) and explore the many Shakespearean themes, tropes, and symbols that still permeate our culture, both pop and academic.

One Great Book (Cristina Griffin)
Section 015 | 11797 | Thursday | 9:30AM - 10:45AM
What makes something or someone "great"? In this course, we will explore the concept of greatness together by reading one recent novel that has been hailed as "great" or "the best." We will read the novel slowly over the course of the semester, digesting the book in small manageable increments each week. As we read and discuss together, we will amass different conceptions of greatness and question what cultural values these definitions reveal. Who has the authority to declare something or someone great? How are these definitions useful and how are they harmful? How do these ideas of greatness create or resist social hierarchies? Along the way, we will also think self-reflectively about our own personal relationships to the idea of greatness. What does striving to be great look like in our own lives? President Ryan has said that he strives for the University of Virginia to be “both great and good”; as you begin your journey at UVA, how do you want to define being “both great and good” for yourself? (also offered as section 031)

Mindfulness: Awareness & Habit (Sandra Seidel)
Section 016 | 11798 | Wednesday | 3:30PM - 4:45PM
Mindfulness practices have been demonstrated to help increase attention, reduce stress and develop self-awareness. Through formal and informal practices that bring curiosity to thoughts, feelings and emotions, students will develop the ability to pay attention to the present moment.   Mindful meditation, movement, walking and eating will be explored. Daily habits of mind and action will be cultivated that impact attitudes to foster academic success and personal happiness.

Founding US as Peace Project (Armin Mattes)
Section 017 | 11561 | Thursday | 3:30PM - 4:45PM
This course offers an unusual view on the founding of the United States by looking at the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution of 1787/88 as experiments in international cooperation. The creation of the United States will thus be examined as both a theoretical contribution to the long tradition of European peace projects from Dante to Kant and an attempt to put such a plan into practice.

Genocide in the Modern World (Jeffrey Rossman)
Section 018 | 11174 | Wednesday | 2:00PM - 3:15PM
One of the defining features of the twentieth century was the repeated use of genocide and other forms of one-sided mass violence by states against internal and external populations. In this course, we will explore these phenomena from theoretical and historical perspectives, with particular attention to the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust, the mass atrocities carried out by Communist regimes (e.g., Stalin’s USSR, Mao’s China, and Pol Pot’s Cambodia), and the “ethnic cleansings” and genocides of the post-Cold War era (e.g., in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda). While the experience of victims will be of central concern, we will also explore the experience and motivations of perpetrators, bystanders, and rescuers, the explicit and implicit goals of regimes that resort to one-sided mass violence, the international legal response to mass atrocity, and prospects for prevention and intervention.

Olympic Moments (Bonnie Hagerman)
Section 019 | 11105 | Tuesday | 2:00PM - 3:15PM
Jesse Owens winning four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. Nadia Comaneci scoring the first perfect 10 at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. The 1980 American men’s ice hockey team defeating the Soviets at Lake Placid, New York in a miraculous performance. These iconic Olympic moments stunned audiences at the time and have continued to inspire generations of Olympic fans ever since. This course will look at these Olympic moments and others that had profound historical significance for the world of sport and beyond.

Brooklyn's In the House (Connie Smith)
Section 020 | 11194 | Thursday | 11:00AM - 12:15PM
The course provides an examination of the rhetoric of two of the most celebrated Hip Hop artist who just happen to be from Brooklyn, NY. The musical work of Shawn Carter, aka, Jay-Z and the late Christopher Wallace, aka the Notorious B.I.G., will serve as the launching pad to discuss the messages in the music, the common themes in their music, and their perceptions of their beloved Brooklyn.  Students participating in this course will learn (1) Hip Hop music’s connection to the oral tradition in African American rhetoric and culture, and (2) how to employ various qualitative research methods used in rhetorical criticism to unearth deep-seated and often subconscious meanings.

Enslaved Labor & Descendants-UVA (Lilian Feitosa)
Section 022 | 11297 | Monday | 3:30PM - 4:45PM
In this course, we will collaborate with the Descendants of the Enslaved Communities and the Equity Center to learn about the role of slavery in the history of the University of Virginia, and recent efforts to document this history and bring its centrality into view. We will learn about enslavement in Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and how it is represented in books for younger readers and history books. We will have a guided visit to UVA’s Memorial to Enslaved Laborers and do the UVA Walking Tour about Enslaved African Americans at the University. We will also read and discuss the report of the President’s Commission on Slavery and the University. There will be various field trip opportunities possibly to Monticello, Highlands, and Montpelier and we will have the chance to hear directly from various Descendants of the Enslaved Communities.

Narratives of African Refugees (Anne Rotich)
Section 023 | 11874 | Wednesday | 3:30PM - 4:45PM
This course examines the experiences of African refugees through the lens of race, ethnicity, and migration. We discuss notions of displacement, genocide, ethnic and racial formation among other factors. Through an engagement with the International Rescue Committee in Charlottesville students will engage African refugees and immigrants in area as we address some key issues they face as they create new homes such as, cultural barriers, language barriers, racism, and other societal issues. Utilizing literary texts, we will examine the historical roots of ethnic and racial conflicts, causes of displacement, and what it means to be a ‘refugee’. It is expected that this experiential learning will help students understand notions of being an immigrant and a refugee away from home and develop mutually beneficial ways of engaging refugees. 3.Criteria: This course is intended to engage the African refugees in Charlottesville area. Because of my previous experience with the teaching a Community Engagement Course(CCE), I plan to introduce a similar experience to COLA students. I will bring in speakers from the community to the classroom in case of virtual learning and I will work with International Rescue Committee in Charlottesville to discuss opportunities that can be available for the COLA students to interact and engage our African community members. Some opportunities that am thinking of can be; students meeting the community members in the community gardens or local markets around Charlottesville organized by IRC; or spending a day volunteering at the IRC. Such meetings are intended to be interactive for the students while supporting local activities.

Stats/Qualitative Mental Model (Dan Spitzner)
Section 024 | 11192 | Wednesday | 3:30PM - 4:45PM
This course explores the intersections of statistical practice with research modes that emphasize the social context of inquiry, and whose aims may derive from ethical rather than scientific criteria. It takes a student through survey-level discussions of non-traditional, socially-aware quantitative methodologies, some of which overlap with qualitative methodologies, arts-based inquiry, and community-based practices. It furthermore explores the involvement of the statistics discipline in unethical projects such as eugenics, and circumstances surrounding the reputation once earned by the University of Virginia as a “center of scientific racism.”

Nature & Nurture of the Senses (Gregory Goering)
Section 026 | 11193 | Monday | 3:30PM - 4:45PM
We use our senses every second of our lives—to navigate our world, experience pleasure, avoid danger, and relate to others—in short, to be human. Yet much of our sensory experience happens without our conscious awareness. In this seminar, we will draw on disciplinary approaches from history, anthropology, psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy to reflect consciously and critically on sensation and its companion process perception. Considering the senses as cultural as well as physiological capacities, we will discuss questions such as: How many senses are there? What are they? Which senses are most important or most highly valued? Can we trust our senses? Do the senses have a history? How do new technologies and media shape our sensory experiences? Do differing conceptions of the senses result in varied understandings of the self? Material for our reflection will include not only a variety of readings about sensation and perception but also our own sensory experiences.

How The Arts Transform Life (Ari Blatt)
Section 027 | 11202 | Monday | 11:00AM - 12:15PM
Students in this comparative, interdisciplinary advising seminar will explore the myriad ways in which artists manage to find, and represent, beauty in the banal.  While critical readings on the aesthetics of the everyday will inform our discussions of work from the modern and contemporary periods that testifies to the transformative power of art, a series of short assignments will encourage students to become more sensitive observers - and practitioners - of the quotidien. Topics may include, but are not limited to: urban poetics (Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Whitman, Beastie Boys); extraordinary edibles (Manet, Proust, asparagus); shocking Surrealist objects; how to make a good metaphor; photographers of everyday life (from Atget to Gursky); making something from “nothing” (Flaubert, Toussaint, Seinfeld).

Toxic Fashion (Marcy Linton)
Section 028 | 11207 | Wednesday | 11:00AM - 12:15PM
Have you ever considered the life of your garments? Where did they come from or who made them. How often do we consider the impact our garments have on the environment, human beings, or society when we score that “good deal”. This COLA will explore the darker side of fashion by looking at documentaries such as The True Cost and RiverBlue. We’ll discuss the impacts from fiber to consumer, how the industry is unregulated and how as consumers we can make a diIerence. We’ll also look at sustainable alternatives considering how each one of us can contribute to living a more sustainable life without forgoing fashionability.

Acts of Justice & Equity (Eric Ramirez-Weaver)
Section 030 | 11342 | Friday | 11:00AM - 12:15PM
This COLA course will introduce students to the transformative possibilities of community-based theater and dance. Emphasizing the rich resources in central Virginia from Charlottesville to Richmond, we explore the local history of the Theater Owners Booking Association (TOBA), and the ways that vaudeville and tap dance have played a prominent role in defining social and cultural mores, or reflected the inequalities of the Jim Crow era. This course will explore twin dual trajectories. On the one hand, the life and legacy of Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, as cultivated through the enduring work of the Copasetics, supplies one personal connection to this material. The Copasetics through Charles “Honi” Coles and Brenda Bufalino trained my teachers at the American Tap Dance Foundation. On the other hand, students will learn through a series of public outreaches how to study performance historically, and how to use performance to tell the living history of great performers. The graded work for the course will result in a public performance of student composed, rehearsed and performed work, celebrating the legacy and contributions of African-American artists in our region of Virginia. Our community partners include: the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, Paramount Theater, Live Arts, and Charlottesville Ballet.

One Great Book (Cristina Griffin)
Section 031 | 11404 | Tuesday | 2:00PM - 3:15PM
What makes something or someone "great"? In this course, we will explore the concept of greatness together by reading one recent novel that has been hailed as "great" or "the best." We will read the novel slowly over the course of the semester, digesting the book in small manageable increments each week. As we read and discuss together, we will amass different conceptions of greatness and question what cultural values these definitions reveal. Who has the authority to declare something or someone great? How are these definitions useful and how are they harmful? How do these ideas of greatness create or resist social hierarchies? Along the way, we will also think self-reflectively about our own personal relationships to the idea of greatness. What does striving to be great look like in our own lives? President Ryan has said that he strives for the University of Virginia to be “both great and good”; as you begin your journey at UVA, how do you want to define being “both great and good” for yourself? (also offered as section 015)

The Achievement of Desire (Sethunya Mokoko)
Section 032 | 11405 | Monday | 5:00PM - 6:15PM
Inspired by Richard Rodriguez's “The Achievement of Desire” and his recounting of life as a student and learner, his writing, and his emphasis on the importance of formal education - This course illuminates how this class/essay is grounded on my lived experience and understanding that it involves advising and understanding the call to help students realize their potential to use education to value their communities, diversity, and backgrounds towards success. The course is designed to include first-generation academics, minoritized communities, and more. Selected readings and discussions will consist of storied essays from diverse backgrounds and professionals narrating the art of navigating success across the university and beyond. This course helps students interrogate what they learned about their desires in college and how they can balance these goals in academia—with the guidance of their professor until graduation.
 
Explore Race & Place Writing (Kate Stephenson)
Section 034 | 11406 | Monday | 2:00PM - 3:15PM
This seminar will explore the connections between walking, writing, social justice, and activism. By walking together, we will learn about the places and histories around us. The course will be structured around biweekly walks themed around race and social justice. Walks will include a tour of Vinegar Hill (arranged with The Jefferson School), a housing walk (in partnership with Map Cville and The Haven), an African-American history tour of Grounds, as well as walks to particular places on Grounds, including The Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, the Kitty Foster Memorial, and The University Cemetery. A trip to the Monacan Indian Nation Ancestral Museum is also possible. All walks and place-based visits will include time for reflective writing. Readings will include, but are not limited to, selections from The Color of Law (Richard Rothstein), The New Jim Crow (Michelle Alexander), Why are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria(Beverley Tatum), Eloquent Rage (Brittney Cooper), Between the World and Me (Ta-Nehisi Coates), Charlottesville 2017 (Louis Nelson and Claudrena Harold, eds.), and The Monacan Indian Nation of Virginia: The Drums of Life (Rosemary Whitlock). Literary texts will include selected poems and short stories by local authors.

Chemistry of Life (Jelena Samonina)
Section 035 | 11418 | Friday | 12:30PM - 1:45PM
The Chemistry for Life course will take you on a fascinating journey through introductory general, organic, and biological chemistry to help you understand how molecules are created, why they react, how they interact, and their roles in living organisms. We will focus on the oxygen atom by investigating and tracing oxygen (including molecules containing oxygen) in processes that occur in nature and the human body. The journey will take you from small to giant molecules such as DNA, RNA, proteins (natural polymers) and plastics (synthetic polymers) and their role in everyday life. Throughout the course you will discover how chemistry principles enable homeostasis, and how disruption of the chemical balance gives rise to genetic mutations, metabolic disorders, and diseases. You will find out how we use chemical principles to develop diagnostic tests and design drugs for the targeted therapies. No previous knowledge of chemistry is required.
 
Getting Grounded: Trees & UVA (Natasha Heller)
Section 037 | 11477 | Thursday | 3:30PM - 4:45PM
This course will use trees as means to explore the history of UVA and of Charlottesville. We’ll begin by learning about some of the spectacular and important trees on Grounds, along with their individual biographies and species histories. We’ll examine how and why UVA’s trees today are different from the past—and what this might tell us about our arboreal future. We’ll discover how trees shaped the history of Charlottesville, and how in turn forests are shaped by historical developments. Thinking through how trees and shade shape our experience of spaces and places will lead us to consider ethical questions around trees and forests, especially as they pertain to UVA’s central Virginian home. Along the way, we’ll also learn more about UVA beyond the trees, and how to get the most out of your time on Grounds. Weather permitting, we’ll try to spend as much time with trees as in the classroom.

C'ville Forgotten-Civil War History (Brian Neumann)
Section 038 | 11484 | Wednesday | 11:00AM - 12:15PM
For more than a century, the public memory of the Civil War in Albemarle County, Virginia, focused almost entirely on the area’s Confederate history. Local leaders unveiled towering Confederate monuments and claimed that the county had staunchly and overwhelmingly supported the Confederacy. This public memory, however, marginalized and excluded African Americans, who made up the majority of the county’s 19th-century population. This COLA course helps uncover their stories, shedding light on the 257 Black men from Albemarle County who served in the Union army. Building on the Nau Civil War Center’s Black Virginians in Blue digital project, this course uses these local stories to examine national themes. It underscores the tragedies of the domestic slave trade and the hardships of military service. It demonstrates African Americans’ determination to assert their freedom, serve their country, and demand justice and equality in the wake of war. And it highlights the fault lines within the Civil War South, and the centrality of Black Southern Unionists to the defeat of the Confederacy.

Transnational Aspects of IT (Zvi Gilboa)
Section 039 | 11562 | Tuesday | 5:00PM - 6:15PM
Since the early days of the web and with the advent of search engines, social media, data mining and deep learning, as well as hardware affordability and increasingly faster network connections, the notion of a "global village" had not only dominated contemporary discourse, but had also been widely considered a done deal and a fact, and thus a reality which should no longer be questioned. To that effect, the idea that "we all live in a global village" had been coupled by a view of the nation-state as an anachronistic entity of the past, and similarly the belief that at its very core and by its very nature, technology is not only culturally blind and culturally neutral, but also possesses egalitarian powers.

Global Artivism (Nicole Bonino)
Section 040 | 11862 | Friday | 2:00PM - 3:15PM
Around the globe, new creative processes are born that reflect postcolonial issues related to representation, belonging, and self-determination. The artistic production of national and international activists can be analyzed within the frame of “Decolonial Aesthetics,” a theoretical concept that reflects the ways in which decolonial artists operate from perspectives oppose to canonical western aesthetics in favor of a democratic, inclusive, and community-oriented aesthetics. Within this intellectual framework, this course offers a global, intersectional, and interdisciplinary excursus of contemporary forms of activist art, also known as ARTivism. Due to its versatility and accessibility, ARTivism deals with all the realms of global literacy, from mobility, ecocriticism, and political science to issues related to race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, and religious studies, among others. By exposing students to urgent aesthetic debates and collectives’ activities, this course will provide them with the practical and theoretical skills necessary to navigate global aesthetic representations through different artisatic media.

College! (Bo Odom)
Section 042 | 11864 | Thursday | 3:30PM - 4:45PM
What is College? Is it a system? A people? A network? A tribe? It’s certainly an institution, but is it an effective one? An efficient one? What happens in College? What is it supposed to do? What are you supposed to do? Will it change you? Will it form you? Will you be different at all after College? How? Why? This class will consider the contemporary university through a number of lenses based primarily in the social sciences. We will study various “student impact models” to gauge the influence of an undergraduate degree on economic, psychological, and sociological outcomes ranging from the pecuniary benefits of a degree to the cognitive and non-cognitive benefits of four years at a residential research university like UVA. We will ask if higher education plays a meaningful role in our futures after controlling for sociocultural factors such as gender, race, and class (among others). We’ll learn both through quantitative (statistical) inquiry and qualitative experience. At the heart of our inquiry will lie a seemingly simple yet complex question: will your next four years be consequential?

Stories Beyond the Wall (Melissa Frost)
Section 044 | 11419 | Thursday | 9:30AM - 10:45AM
This course considers the social, political, and cultural space of the southern border based on representations in art (including literature, fine art, performance, and music) and reflects on how media (both traditional and social) shapes our perspective of the border, the topic of immigration, and the many Spanish-speaking communities that live in the United States. Students will develop a more nuanced understanding of the many historical factors that have contributed to the current popular discourse surrounding these topics while they work towards a final project aimed at shedding light on a lesser-known cultural or social aspect of the southern border.

Language, Culture & Cognition (Jun Wang)
Section 045 | 19961 | Thursday | 3:30PM - 4:45PM
We all know a language carries its rich culture behind it. Do you know that the language we speak affect our cognition and worldview—the way people think and perceive the world is heavily influenced by the language?  This course invites freshmen to embark on a fascinating journey exploring the intricate relationships between language, thought, and cultural contexts. We would discuss on how language shapes our perception of the world and, conversely, how our cognitive frameworks influence linguistic structures. Students will uncover the profound ways in which language mirrors and molds our cultural and cognitive realities. 
This course contributes to the DEI. The course fosters a deep appreciation for the diversity of languages, cultures, and its implications for cognitive processes. Learning outcomes include enhanced linguistic and cultural awareness, critical thinking skills in cross-cultural analysis, and a foundation of understanding the role of a language in cognitive processes. This course aims to ignite a passion for linguistic and cultural exploration, encouraging students to pursue further studies in languages or culture related majors/minors, such as foreign languages, linguistics, East Asian studies, public policy, foreign affairs etc., recognizing the profound impact of linguistic diversity on personal and intellectual growth.

Battling Self-Doubt in Performance & Everyday Life (Maximillian McNutt)
Section 046 | 20134 | Tuesday | 12:30PM - 1:45PM
Performing can be tough and a really daunting idea for many. Why is it that sometimes it is really easy to perform at a high level and other times it feels like nothing is working and we question everything that we are doing? In this course we will read and analyze “The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance” by Timothy Gallwey. He talks about how the mental side of performing is often neglected and that by winning the internal game we are playing against selfdoubt, self-condemnation, nervousness and lapses in concentration we can retain excellence in performance. He uses tennis for his examples but the concepts translate well for any performing activity like public speaking, other sports, performing arts, test taking and anything where we get in our own way by questioning ourselves. In this class we will focus on relating his ideas to our own careers and everyday lives to help provide ways to think differently and problem solve on our own. We will also have additional readings from:
The Talent Code-Daniel Coyle
Fight Your Fear and Win-Don Greene
Life is Not a Game of Perfect-Dr. Bob Rotella
Wooden-John Wooden and Steve Jamison
Audition Success-Don Greene
How to Win Friends and influence People-Dale Carnegie

Memoirs of Jews from Arab Lands (Jessica Andruss)
Section 047 | 20135 | Thursday | 2:00PM - 3:15PM
At the turn of the twentieth century, one million Jews lived in the Middle East and North Africa. These “Jews of Arab Lands” spoke Arabic, practiced their trades and their religion in a Muslim-majority society, and navigated the forces of modernization, colonialism, nationalism, prosperity and poverty alongside their neighbors. By the last quarter of the century, these communities had dispersed through large-scale immigration to Israel, Europe, North America and beyond. In these new environments, some Jewish intellectuals wrote and published their memories, publicly reflecting on Arab-Jewish culture and identity through memoir and fictionalized biography.
In this course, we will explore Jewish life in the Arab milieu through literary memoirs and historical documents. Together these sources invite us to consider questions about the culture, politics, and society of Middle Eastern Jewry, as well as the interplay between history, literature, and memory.

What's the MAJOR deal? (Christy Rotman)
Section 049 | 20136 | Monday | 9:30AM - 10:45AM
What is a major? Why do we choose a major? How do we choose a major? What can we expect from a major? How do we know a major is a “good fit”? These are just some of the questions we will explore together as we think about majors, the liberal arts degree, career questions and possibilities and more. We will complement our discussion of these topics with self-exploration and reflection and an introduction to a variety of university support resources.

Last updated: June 6, 2024
Suggest an edit to this page.