The sunny weather may be tempting, but thousands of students are hitting the books instead of their beach towels as Berkeley's 1995 Summer Sessions get under way.
The summer program, which is divided into five different sessions ranging in length from three weeks to 10 weeks, started May 22 and has drawn a mix of Berkeley students, international visitors, high school students and other Bay Area residents. Some 10,700 students are enrolled this summer--an increase of more than a thousand students from last year.
"The numbers have been going up every year since the budget crisis started in 1991," said Summer Sessions Director Gary Penders. "As fees increase, more students are concerned about graduating on time. Summer courses are one way to get ahead."
The growing interest in summer school may also be linked to a brand new program offered this year called the American Studies Institute. This series of short courses introduces students to various aspects of American culture. The list of topics includes "The Beats in San Francisco," "The American Detective in Fiction, Film and Television" and "American Film Noir."
The three-week American Studies Institute starts July 24. Each of the 13 courses is worth one semester unit and many of the classes still have room for more students.
If you work on campus and find yourself longing for some learning, the Summer Sessions program is providing one more good reason to sign up for a course this year: a new staff discount.
Starting this summer, any career staff or casual staff working 100 percent time can take summer courses without having to pay registration fee. The only cost is the course fee, plus books and other supplies.
Penders hopes this offer increases the number of Berkeley staff members enrolled in the summer program. "We'd really like to see that population grow," Penders said. "We on the staff get so far away from the classroom experience, we tend to forget why we're here. It's so invigorating."
Staff members interested in signing up for classes this summer can call 642-5611 for information.