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Peggy: Civil Engineering major with interests in sustainable materials

Peggy is a sophomore Civil Engineering major interested in working with sustainable materials. In her freshman year, she takes the Seeking Sustainability courses GEOG 1115 and GEOG 1116 to fulfill her 6-credit requirement for Reasoning in the Social Sciences. While meeting with her advisor, Peggy learns that the classes she took also count toward the Pathways to Sustainability minor. Curious to know what other courses would count toward this minor, Peggy gets on the Pathways website to view the list of approved Pathways courses. She learns that 2 of the 4 remaining courses she needs to earn the Pathways to Sustainability minor could also count as general education credits in concept areas such as Critical Thinking in the Humanities or Critique and Practice in Design and the Arts. Ultimately, Peggy decides to complete the minor. Because Peggy follows her interests, she not only graduates with a minor showcasing her interests in engineering and sustainable materials, but she also makes herself more competitive in the job market.

Tia: History major interested in community health

Tia is a sophomore History major who is already thinking about going to graduate school, and she’s looking for paths that would set her apart. Her advisor suggests that Tia consider pursuing a minor that would not only complement her degree, but also help her complete some general education requirements. ​On the Pathways website, ​ Tia discovers the Global Food Security and Health minor, which lines up nicely with her interests in community health and wellness. Upon looking at the minor’s required courses, she sees that she could fulfill general education requirements in a couple of areas – including Reasoning in the Social Sciences and Reasoning in the Natural Sciences – while taking the courses she is interested in to complete the minor.

Davos: Business major interested in corporate communications

Davos is a freshman Business major focusing in entrepreneurship and innovation, and he is thinking about pursuing a minor that will complement his degree. His advisor gives him a list of Pathways general education courses that also count as introductory courses for various minors. Davos notices that one of the classes he’s taking for his major, COMM 2004: Public Speaking, is simultaneously part of the Strategic Communication minor and a course that counts as the Advanced Discourse general education requirement. Interested, Davos looks into the the minor, and he realizes the completing it would also help him to meet his design requirement for Critique and Practice in Design and the Arts, in addition to helping him complete some of his free elective courses required by his major. He sets up a meeting with his advisor to find out what paperwork he needs to submit to declare a minor.

Arnold: Engineering major looking at Alternative Pathway options reflecting his interests in public policy

Arnold is a junior engineering major with interests in public policy and infrastructure. He has met most of his requirements under the Pathways to General Education curriculum by taking a variety of courses in different concept areas. ​However, ​ Arnold wonders if an internship experience might allow him to earn general education credit in Reasoning in the Social Sciences​,​ ​a concept ​he still needs to complete. When Arnold tells his advisor about an internship opportunity with a ​st​ate senator from his home state that would involve a lot of ​research and ​report writing, his advisor ​thinks​ ​an Alternative Pathway sounds promising. They begin looking into ​who might serve as the faculty mentor, as well as which courses he would need to take before and after his internship to complete the Alternative Pathway requirements. Arnold knows that an internship will provide invaluable experience and make him more competitive in his future career, and by pursuing the Alternative Pathway, he will also build on his academic experiences at Virginia Tech while developing additional skills in areas outside his major.

Abram: Architecture major interested in entrepreneurship and leadership

Abram is a sophomore Architecture major whose career goals include owning his own business and leading his own team on a major design project. In addition to his architecture studies, he wants to acquire skills that will make him a better entrepreneur and employer. Specifically, Abram thinks that leadership skills will come in handy since he will often be working with other people. He decides to earn an academic minor in Organizational Leadership. As a result, he begins to build knowledge that will prepare him to fulfill his career goals, and he also earns general education credit in Reasoning in the Social Sciences and Critical Thinking in the Humanities.

Marian: Forestry major with interests in environmental legal issues

Marian is about to start her junior year as a Forestry major with a focus in forest operations and business. In high school, she took 13 credit hours of dual enrollment courses, including two semesters of first-year writing, biology, a biology lab, and calculus. As a result, she’s ahead in her coursework. With a little extra room in her schedule for free elective courses beyond the restricted electives required for her major, Marian decides to pursue a minor in Science, Technology, and Law so that she can explore related interests in environmental legal issues. Some of the courses she takes toward the STL minor count as free electives, while others fulfill general education requirements in Advanced Discourse, Critical Thinking in the Humanities, and Critical Analysis of Identity and Equity in the United States.

Faculty and Advisors:

To see more drafts in progress, visit this Google Doc.

For an overview of the scenarios we are developing, visit this Google Sheet.


Please send feedback about the Pathways scenarios to Rachel Corell (rcorell@vt.edu)