Start With a Short Course and See What Fits You Best!

By Jeff Nazzaro

For busy working professionals seeking to kick-start their foray into personal and professional growth and development, UCR University Extension’s Short Courses—flexible, bite-sized, power-packed learning units made to fit any schedule and budget—may just be the perfect jumping-off place.

“For people with busy work lives who are interested in exploring new content and taking on some new ideas, Short Courses tend to be a good fit,” said UCR University Extension Academic Director, Dr. D Dayton. “We view them as kind of the entry-level offerings for our more robust content. Students can start with a Short Course and from there, bridge into a full course. And then there are the full programs: our Professional Certificate Programs.”

“For people with busy work lives who are interested in exploring new content…”

Young black female wearing headphones and sitting at a desk working on a laptop Two of the eight self-paced, deadline-free Short Courses—run approximately four hours each, are divided into modules containing several videos of both UCR instructor-generated and leading-edge outside content, alongside readings and worksheets. These courses lead learners directly to corresponding UCR University Extension Professional Certificate Programs: Human Resources: Hiring and Managing Talent in the 21st Century; and Project Management: Foundations for Success.

“We’re developing these courses as “teasers” that lead into our professional certificates, which allow a learner who’s curious, but not yet sure about the content to try it out and from there, if they’re interested, commit to a full program,” D said.

The Gifted and Talented Education Structures and Supports Short Course guides educators in reaching, teaching, and classifying gifted and talented youth and leads into UCR University Extension’s other educational offerings, including their Content Specific Pedagogy courses.

“These courses are a teaser that can lead to a full Professional Certificate program…”

Similarly, Basics of Applied Data Science, taught by renowned UCR astrophysicist Bahram Mobasher, helps the layperson understand data science and how it can be applied in an array of professional settings, but also can specifically prepare teachers for UCR University Extension’s more rigorous Applied Data Science for Educators Specialized Study Certificate.

Other Short Courses address mental and physical well-being, respectively, with Psychology: Understanding Your Emotions and Improving Your Social Skills; and Nutrition and Healthy Living.

But the ideal starting point for all these Short Courses, and what lies beyond, might be the 90-Day Playbook for Success, which is currently being offered free to all UCR University Extension Professional Certificate program graduates.

“The 90-Day Playbook for Success is being offered free to all UCR University Extension alumni…”

Created by Assistant Dean Antonio Pagano, the course provides an overview of personal and professional growth principles and practices, and includes self-assessment exercises, downloadable resources, links to external assets, and a 90-day journal and planner.

“When I came across personal development, for the first time I knew there was something more that I was put on this earth to do,” said Antonio, who has previously worked in corporate, sports, and academic marketing. “I love people. I love helping and supporting others to bring out the best in themselves. And the best way to do that is through personal and professional development.”

Front cover of the 90-Day Playbook for Success The comprehensive self-improvement course comprises four modules—Module 1 guides learners in discovering their life purpose and true passions; Module 2 deals with setting smart goals for improving personal and professional performance; Module 3 focuses on self-motivation, developing a winning mindset, and visualizing and modeling for success; and Module 4 teaches enrollees how to track their progress and assess their results. There is also a bonus module, inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic but applicable under any trying circumstances, on turning crisis into opportunity.

“This comprehensive self-improvement course will trigger your winning mindset…”

“The goal is to trigger your winning mindset shift, so you always see the possibilities, the opportunities, and not just the problems,” Antonio said. “That’s what this course is about. That’s what I am about. It’s my honor and privilege to teach, and I love sharing my ideas, thoughts, and experiences with the rest of the world—and now with you!”