Organizational Problem Solving

students on an internshipsThis unique course will require students to solve real-world problems. Led and mentored by a faculty member, students will work in teams with a successful local organization (listed below) to come up with dynamic solutions to organizational and business challenges.

The OPS courses will require students to be creative in their approaches while learning to work cooperatively. It will bolster each student's interview, resume writing and presentation skills, as well as research techniques and business etiquette. Students will choose among the following types of organizations (see descriptions below): a software development firm, an outdoor sports equipment company, a financial services company, a food service company working on sustainability, and non-profit social service providers. Enrollment in particular sections working with particular organizations, as well as enrollment in the course overall, may be limited, so those who deposit early for the Accelerated Summer College may be more likely to get their first choice.

Upon completion, OPS students will have strong professional connections with a reputable local organizations, an impressive resume item, and a solid knowledge base to take into any future employment.

Learn more about the organizations you will have an opportunity to work with:

Sodexo logo

Sustainable Food Systems on College Campuses:
Instructor: Heather Ellis-Lynch

Students will learn about the business side of a college’s dining service. They will understand the various types of contracts, the supply chain of the food system, and how local farmers and food providers get their products into colleges and universities. Students will be challenged to develop a sustainable food purchasing plan for presentation both to key decision makers from Sodexo Food Services and potentially to their own home campuses.

Catamount logo

gearX logo

Wilderness Photography:
Instructor: Jerald Swope

This digital-based photography section of OPS will explore the methods and artistry of outdoor, adventure photography and multimedia storytelling.  Through the analysis of historical and contemporary work, students will develop the technical skills and creative approaches necessary for documenting recreational and adventure sports pursued in the natural world.  Additionally, in the experiential learning component of this class, students will be responsible for creating a multimedia marketing presentation for either the Outdoor Gear Exchange (a local retail sporting goods store) or the Catamount Outdoor Family Center (a non-profit recreation center).  By the end of the class, students will be proficient in the following Adobe programs: Photoshop, Audition and Premiere. 


Sports Marketing:
Instructor: Robert Letovsky and Angela Irvine

The Vermont Lake Monsters are Burlington’s minor league professional baseball team, affiliated with the Oakland Athletics.  Participating students will work on a marketing research project to give the team’s management a better understanding of the local sponsorship market.

VIP logo

Software Services Company:
Instructor: Robert Letovsky and Angela Irvine

Vermont Information Processing is the nation’s leading provider of software solutions to the three tier beverage industry including manufacturers, distributors and retailers.  They provide products and services to automate and streamline the passage of finished goods and data across all three tiers.  VIP wants a team of consultants to make recommendations on how best to leverage crowd-sourcing using modern badging and gaming techniques as a way to help their customers better understand the placement of products in the marketplace.

COTS logo

Tackling Homelessness:
Instructor: Heidi St. Peter

Students will explore firsthand a local organization’s, Committee on Temporary Shelter, approach to providing emergency shelter, services, and housing for people who are homeless or marginally housed in Vermont. This organization also advocates for long-term solutions to end homelessness. In the classroom, students will explore homelessness as a social problem and experience the organization’s programs firsthand through tours, interviews, and volunteer opportunities.   Students will conduct varied research for the development office regarding new fundraising initiatives to sustain their service programs and increase funding for permanent solutions to homelessness.  They will present findings and creative solutions to the staff.

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