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Vision Quest: A Program of Discovery

Is it okay to be Undeclared at Dominican? Yes! Can I have a declared major, but still explore? Yes! Vision Quest is a unique program for incoming first-year students who are exploring academic, career, personal, and social options. Whether you are trying to narrow down your choices, or don't know where to start, Vision Quest is for you!


Vision Quest Highlights from the Fall 2013 Semester

VQ Exploratorium 2013a

The Fall 2013 Vision Quest (VQ) Seminar traveled across the Golden Gate Bridge on a voyage of discovery to the Exploratorium Museum in San Francisco. The students were joined by Dominican's faculty: Psychology Professor, William Phillips, Organic Chemist Professor, Ken Frost, and Graphic Art Professor, Steven Polacco. Four VQ Student Leaders and a number upperclassmen also collaborated. This learning group was led and organized by the Undeclared Advisor, Christina Mayes.       (photo taken by E. Mayes)

What are the highlights of the Vision Quest program?

  • You will be enrolled in HCS 1000 Vision Quest Seminar (1.0 unit), a class that focuses on major and career exploration.

  • You will explore and identify personal values, interests, skills, and strengths.

  • You will meet faculty and students who will visit the Vision Quest Seminar to give you a glimpse of the richness of their programs.

  • You will engage in a community of other curious, exploratory students.

  • You will learn how to create a four-year degree plan.

  • You will participate in extracurricular activities with your student and faculty colleagues.

  • All students in the Vision Quest program work with the same academic advisor.

Students learn a great deal in and out of the classroom. The purpose of Vision Quest is to inform students of the many diverse academic programs. It also connects students to services and resources such as Study Abroad, Tutoring, and Career and Internship Services.

VQ Student Feedback 2013:

  • "I really enjoyed our field trip to the Exploratorium! I also really enjoyed our class in the science building and experimenting with acidity in household items. I also really enjoyed learning about the Spanish minor and decided to pursue a minor in Spanish because of her presentations. The presentation on studying abroad was also very interesting and informative. I am really considering study abroad." 
  • "I enjoyed most, that all the different instructors came to class explaining what and how the academic classes are.  I also enjoyed the presentations of the instructors, making the academic more creative and approachable for us students and me.  I also found the discussions and answering the questions of the instructors helpful, to understand the academics more thoroughly."
  • "I loved the trip to the Exploratorium! Every week it was nice to have a different topic covered and find out about the different opportunities on campus. Vision questions definitely brought me closer to Dominican." 
  • "I like how someone from each major came in and how it gave us the opportunity to see what DU offers...I really had fun in this class! Very interesting to see different opportunities." 
  • "I enjoyed the Exploratorium a lot! It was a blast and a great bonding tool. I wish I could go back! I also learned a lot from teachers and staff members." 
  • "What I liked was how enthusiastic you are towards our success and our discovering and declaring of majors." 
  • "I feel I have been educated enough to pick the right major for me." 


Faculty involved in the Vision Quest program give engaging and thoughtful presentations. Some would share their personal journey to becoming a Professor, while others gave real life application of their field of study.

Sample of the Fall 2013 Curriculum:

  • Communication Skills and the 21st Century Student - What do employers really want? The Chair of Communications and Mass Media Study, Bradley Van Alstyne and Public Speaking Instructor, Stuart Horne, set up radio equipment to place the VQ students live on the Penguin Radio for impromptu interviewing. Both instructed the students on how to conduct an Informational Interview as well as an Elevator Speech.
  • Community Engagement and Art: Topic - Service Learning The Chair of Art, Lynn Sondag, and Director of Service Learning/Philosophy Instructor, Julia Van der Ryn shared a video displaying the impact of meaning making messaging through art. Their presentation expressed the value of Service Learning which is the Community Service component for some courses, as well as, connecting art to all aspects of life.
  • Reflection through the Humanities: Preservation of Cultural Heritage The Chair of Art History, Leslie Ross, and Professor of Political Science, Christian Dean, gave an overview of art history and how there are crimes within the art world destroying our cultural history. Students took away snapshots of historical war crimes that impacted political policy and messaging to civilizations. 
  • Psychology of the mind or is my mind playing tricks on me? How does research play a role in this field of study and other disciplines? The Co-Chair of Psychology, William Phillips, led the students through visual perception activities to demonstrate theories in the field of Psychology. He also gave a breadth of knowledge of our Psychology program requirements and careers based upon this area.
  • You are our future leaders - Do you usually feel like a leader or a follower? Professor in Business and Leadership, Alice Cochran, led the students through a team building exercise. The students became alive and empowered through this demonstration.
  • Study Abroad: Where will you be traveling next? Study Abroad Advisor and Instructor in Business and Leadership, Giulia Welch, gave a brilliant visual overview of the Study Abroad program. The images of past students made this option of study abroad feel possible. The students were guided in an exercise identifying their motivations to study abroad and why the experience will forever change their perspective.
  • Science and Writing: Do Chemistry and Poetry have anything in common? Yes!  Chemistry Professor, Maggie Louie, and English Professor, Judy Halebsky, joined students in the Science Lab to conduct a basic group science experiment and then transitioned to exercises in poetry. The students were challenged on critical thinking and expressive writing. The creativity spoke to the many ways students learn in the classroom.
  • Career and Internship Services Career Counselor, Vanessa Ioannides, instructed the students on how to create a resume. This exercise was also built upon an online assessment the students completed before class to identify their various skill sets. Students learned a great deal on professional language and structure in resume writing. Even if the student has never had a job, the student can still articulate and pitch themselves to a potential employer or internship.
  • All students attended the Dominican Job Fair, Major and Minor Fair, and Group Field Trip to the Exploratorium.
  • All students completed an Informational Interview with a person of interest such as a faculty, staff, student, or community member.


How do I sign up?

If you are interested in this Vision Quest program, contact your Admission Counselor today! Also, be sure to check "yes" on the Pre-Registration Form. You may also contact the first-year advisor, Christina Mayes, at 415-458-3781 or at

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