Online Course Helps Students Put their Liberal Arts Education on the Map

Oct. 7, 2010

AUSTIN, Texas — Dr. Katharine Brooks, director of career services at The University of Texas at Austin, helps students studying in liberal arts fields such as English, economics and history market their education to future employers in her new online course "Taking Your Major from College to Career."

The unique one-credit course challenges the view that liberal arts majors are limited to few career options. It is available through University Extension to college students seeking to enhance their understanding of the value of their degree in the workplace, as well as people who are transitioning between careers and want to strategically analyze their position in the job market.

The course is open for registration any time of the year at the University Extension Web site. Tuition is $200.

The course, which Brooks has offered in a traditional classroom setting for more than 10 years at The University of Texas at Austin and other institutions, introduces students to her "Wise Wanderings" career coaching system, which helps students move into their futures through visual mapping techniques, scenario planning and storytelling. Brooks uses the chaos theory to explain the 21st century job search, including taking advantage of the butterfly effect: an unexpected and seemingly insignificant event that can change their career path. Students learn how to discover their strengths and interests by examining "butterfly moments," such as an unexpected meeting with an alumnus who has an internship opening or publishing an article in a school newspaper that could lead to a position in journalism.

The goal of the class is to help students understand and articulate the value of their degree and their life experience to enhance their position in the job market. Using Brooks' book "You Majored in What?: Mapping Your Path from Chaos to Career," students will learn how to identify needed mindsets, develop a career action plan, write targeted marketing documents and take advantage of their liberal arts education.

Brooks, who has worked in career services for more than 20 years, is a nationally recognized career coach, trainer, professor and counselor. She provides career development and job-seeking advice on such topics as handling the stress of the job search, improving networking techniques and targeting resumes and cover letters in her Psychology Today blog, Career Transitions.

For more information, contact: Jessica Sinn, College of Liberal Arts, 512-471-2404; Katharine Brooks, director, Liberal Arts Career Services, 512-471-7900.