A very Vegas education: Five UNLV courses you don’t want to miss

Photo: Leila Navidi

Sure, UNLV students are taking the usual core requirements that other college kids across the country take (and yawning through them just the same). But as the hospitality and entertainment industries are important threads woven into the fabric of Las Vegas, it’s no surprise that the UNLV course catalogue would mirror the business of the Boulevard. With the semester beginning on Monday, the Weekly highlights a few of the school’s very “Vegas” courses.

Dance 103: Sex, Dance and Entertainment No, UNLV students aren’t learning pole dancing or how to take their clothes off. The non-technical dance class (meaning you don’t dance) focuses on the appreciation of both the beginnings and progression of sexuality in dance. Get your mind out of the gutter!

Gaming 442: Sociology of Gambling It’s fitting that UNLV has an entire department devoted to casino games; the school even boasts the International Gaming Institute. But this course isn’t about the intricacies of craps or blackjack. In this class, students learn the social effects of gambling (on communities, lifestyles and value systems) and other related topics.

Food and Beverage 190: Bartending Want to be a hotel mixologist? This one’s for you. And not only does UNLV have a course devoted to the pouring of drinks but also classes for the drinks themselves—Old World Wines (FAB 365), New World Wines (FAB 364), Beers (FAB 367) and Distilled Spirits and Liqueurs (FAB 362). Drinking in class? Gives a new definition to the term “party school.”

Entertainment Engineering & Design 220: Design for Live Entertainment The first graduates of UNLV’s Entertainment Engineering program received their diplomas just last May—and all of them had to take this class to walk (or fly) across the Thomas & Mack stage. The course introduces students to aesthetic principles and includes the practice of live entertainment design.

Tourism and Convention Administration 373: Hotel Entertainment The class, housed under the Harrah Hotel College, is a survey of hotel/casino entertainment (production shows, nightclubs and lounges, attractions and the like) and its relationship to the management of the resort as a whole (marketing, finances, etc.). I actually took this class during my time at UNLV, and local producer David Saxe (owner of Planet Hollywood’s V and Saxe theaters) was the adjunct professor. If anything, UNLV is all about giving students the “real-world” experience. Highlight: watching my classmates get hypnotized by Marc Savard.


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