Professional Skills Courses

Valparaiso University offers skills courses to give students a competitive edge.

Students may not realize the variety of essential skills that are needed to excel professionally. Employers are looking for candidates who will be able to solve problems, make sound decisions based on pertinent information, communicate ideas effectively, contribute to a diverse team of people, and offer leadership abilities.

This set of courses is designed to equip students with critical skills that employers desire in successful candidates for employment. These professional skills assist students in obtaining valuable internships and jobs, and the skills give job candidates a competitive advantage in the workplace. The classes are a valuable complement to the academic, technical, and liberal education provided by a Valpo degree.

Professional skills courses:

  • Are optional and not required.
  • Contribute to elective credits.
  • Have no prerequisites.
  • Provide credit that can be applied toward a Professional Skills Certificate.
  • Offer career exploration.

Each student will create an e-portfolio, and junior and senior students will create professional e-portfolios.

Courses Offered

Identify how our behaviors, perspectives, attitudes, values, and choices directly impact our future. Students will read and analyze texts directly related to character building.

Explore the world of work, non-profits, and politics through presentations given by professionals. Students read works selected by presenters in preparation for this bimonthly class schedule. Professionals provide timely, real-world advice, stories, and inspiration with question and answer follow-up.

Participate in civic engagement and leadership through experiential activities geared toward self-assessment and self-exploration. Students will develop critical thinking, problem solving, and decision-making skills that are essential for successful personal and professional development.

Cultivate critical leadership dimensions including: exercising formal authority, leading people and institutions, leading in opposition, and leading outside formal frameworks through a study of historical leaders through literature. The course explores factors that complicate but also enhance leadership, such as professionalism, the apparent relativity of values, the role of leadership in society, and the relation of leader to follower.

Explore information-seeking skills to support life-long learning. This hybrid online/ in-person course provides tools and strategies for finding, evaluating, and using information in professional contexts.

Discover and identify individual strengths, interests, values, and beliefs to make well-informed and fulfilling career decisions throughout your life. This course will prepare students to conduct effective career exploration, facilitate self-awareness, and develop the skills needed to secure meaningful internships and jobs.

Prepare for the job search process through the implementation of a strategic career plan that involves effective marketing in resume writing, cover letters, networking, and job interviews. This course focuses on the transition from student to professional.

Develop necessary life skills including self-assertion, self-expression, persuasion, collaboration, conflict resolution, empathy, and inspiration. Students will actively participate in simulated workplace scenarios.

Incorporate visual design principles into technological best practices to create effective and attractive presentations. Students will learn the process of content development, audience analysis, and presentation creation and delivery in various formats.

Explore software uses and operability of productivity software, online collaboration, and productivity tools using cloud technology. A hybrid class with lecture and online discussions, students will prepare for working in an environment that is diverse in software needs and uses.

Discuss topics related to race, ethnicity, culture, religion, social and economic status, and disabilities and embrace how these contribute to diversity within society. Students will explore and share personal experiences and behaviors, and they will analyze perspectives in identifying cultural difference.