When looking to get ahead in their college education, students often turn to elective classes when filling out their schedules. Whether it's to serve as an extra challenge for students looking to push themselves in their respective major, or as a filler class for students needing a full schedule, there are many electives that can fill these voids.
Gonzaga University’s School of Business has continually provided these opportunities to students in the form of one-credit weekend classes geared toward all students, no matter their major. The department will continue this trend for the spring semester, as new courses will be available throughout April.
“The classes are very popular with students who enjoy the topics and the intensive nature of the courses,” said Molly Pepper, associate dean of undergraduate programs in the School of Business, in an email.
Following spring break, four classes were added to the slate, including “The Expert Within” (BUSN 269), “Economics of the Side Hustle” (BUSN 269), “Effective Negotiations” (BUSN 255) and “Rhetoric, Influence, and Power” (BUSN 270).
While there is a focus on certain aspects of business, the electives also provide universal skills that can be applied in any career, such as how to become an expert in a given field of study. Or, if one desires to turn their hobby into a business idea, there’s information on how to get it started from the ground up. Other subjects featured in these courses include the art of negotiations and the impact businesses have on their consumers.
These courses have three general purposes outside of the respective guidelines. Along with developing skills such as negotiations, personal finances and communications, students are also expected to engage with community members outside of the department as well as complete all assignments in the given weekend.
According to Pepper, the duration of the electives serves as flexibility for students who have busy schedules during the week.
“During a regular semester, students would have classes during the week so we wanted to schedule these when students would be available,” she said. “Also, the weekend allows us to complete the 15 hours of classwork in a few days.”
Along with the courses previously mentioned, “Leadership” (BUSN 267.01) and “Personal Financial Planning” (BUSN 268) are scheduled to be held during the third weekend of April. Both were intended to be held in-person, but due to the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, they will transition to an online teaching format.
In an attempt to maintain face-to-face interactions between students and their instructors, many of these electives will be held through Zoom meetings that will take place according to the determined time frame of class.
Gene Hoxha, clinical experience coordinator for GU's School of Nursing and Human Physiology, teach the leadership elective. Hoxha said she recognizes and embraces the challenges associated with teaching such a course online.
“While it is difficult to replicate the organic dynamic of a face-to-face learning environment,” she said in an email, “I am excited to teach this course online, from a leadership perspective.”
Hoxha, who is completing her doctorate in leadership studies, has even incorporated the sudden transition into the class’s curriculum.
She has made class materials available through Blackboard and Zoom meetings will be held according to the class’s previously determined schedule.
Similar to the other electives mentioned, these courses allow students to learn certain nuances that can be beneficial in everyday life. From developing skills to be an effective leader to learning the fundamental concepts of personal financing, the elective program expands beyond the classroom and reaches out to students of all majors.
“Given the current situation happening, special attention will be devoted to adaptive leadership,” she said. “I am hoping my students will walk away with a toolkit to handle uncertain organizational situations with confidence.”