The Engagements Experience

The Engagements Experience

Introducing the Engagements Experience (EE), a year long component of the general education curriculum designed to welcome students into the diverse and dynamic intellectual community that is the University of Virginia. Students will make their way through the EE "bucket list" in dialogue with Engagements faculty, and in conversation with their pod for the year: a group of nine other first-year students and an accompanying TA guide.


  1. For Each seven-week Engagements course, you will complete three experiences from a bucket list of intellectual opportunities, one from each of the three categories below.
  2. From each experience, you will submit a Ticket Stub to your Engagements course Collab site (selfie, screenshot, other) demonstrating your participation. See below for details.
  3. Towards the end of the quarter, you will reflect on these experiences in a 250-word Domain Reflection that will be graded by your instructor.
  4. We encourage you to consider discussing or participating in events with your TA or members of your EE group.
  5. More details about the EE can be found in your Engagements course syllabus.

Experience 1 – Scholar Speak

Select one of the following experiences on the Scholar Speak calendar and attend the event in its entirety. Scholar Speak experiences are presentations given by scholars and thinkers from across the university, the community, and beyond. For a more intimate experience, choose a Faculty Shop Talk. These are informal, interactive discussions in which College Fellows (the professors who teach Engagements courses) present on a topic and then conduct Q&A with participants.

Acceptable Ticket Stubs: Selfie while attending talk; screen shot of virtual session; other as assigned by your College Fellow. 

Experience 2 – *New* One Hour of Self Care

In recognition of the continuing stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the long-standing importance of health in student life, we are asking everyone to engage in (at least) one hour of self-care during the quarter. Examples include:

  • Going for a walk
  • Catching up with friends or family
  • Engaging in one of your favorite relaxation activities
  • Meditating before bed or when you wake up in the morning
  • Exercising
  • Reading something for pleasure
  • Making a nourishing meal

.Experience 3 – Engaging Grounds

Each quarter, you will visit an on-campus resource that will inform your intellectual exploration in your Engagements course. These events are designed to give you a sense of the broader UVA intellectual community at large.

 Choose one different resource out of each of the following options each quarter. Your Engagements professor might add to or amend this list, or require a particular event:

-Enslaved African Americans at UVA Self-Guided Tour. After downloading the “Walking Tours of Grounds” app, you will complete this tour (either in-person or virtually) before the end of the quarter.

-A visit to McCormick Observatory where you participate in one of their “Public Night” programs or attend an event there hosted by the Department of Astronomy.

-A visit to the Fralin Museum where you view at least one of their special, rotating exhibits, and at least one of the exhibits that are part of the permanent collection.

-A visit to the piece of the Berlin Wall by Alderman Library after reading this UVA Today article. Reflect on what it means to transport this piece to another national context and a public university, in particular.

-A visit to the former site of the George Rogers Clark monument. Read this UVA Today about the statue’s history and this call for its removal. What is this space like now?

-A visit to special collections where tour one of the exhibits (pending their reinstatement following COVID procedures) and view one item from their collection in the reading room.

-A visit to the UVA gardens after exploring these visualizations about UVA at the time of its founding.

-A visit to the Rotunda and one of the Rotunda tours.

Acceptable Ticket Stubs: Selfies with a site; other as assigned by your College Fellow.

Domain Reflection

Each quarter you will submit a 250-word reflection that brings your experience of and thinking about your Engaging Grounds experience into dialogue with your current Engagements course. Please find the specific prompt for your Domain Reflection in your Engagements syllabus.

**See your Engagements course syllabus for all due dates.