Summer Session Offers Variety of Opportunities for Students and Faculty

July 9, 2008 — Summer's here, and the time is right for … going to class.

At the University of Virginia, about 4,500 students are taking advantage of the summer sessions to fulfill major requirements and take interesting electives. Among this year's notable courses is an examination of amnesia in film, a look at deafness in literature, the sociology of eating and exploring kinfolks, families and relating in the African diaspora.

Summer session can be an incubator for developing courses that would have to pass rigorous review before moving into the regular terms, said Dudley Doane, director of the summer program. About one-quarter of the courses offered in the summer are not available during the school year.

There are also standard courses, such as introduction to biology, principles of microeconomics and applied calculus.

Arabic, which is offered in the fall and spring, is making its summer session debut this year. "There was a lot of student interest and there is a great need for it in the country today," Doane said.

Doane said about 90 percent of the summer session students regularly attend U.Va. The bulk of the remainder are visiting students transferring credits back to their home schools.

"There is a very small group taking the courses not for credit," Doane said. "Most of them are here for a particular purpose."

About 37 percent of the teachers at the summer session are graduate students teaching 100- and 200-level courses.

"That's good for the résumé, especially in the humanities, because they have fewer work opportunities," he said. "It is also an opportunity for them to try their own ideas under the guidance of their mentors."

Starting this Wednesday, look for profiles on several of the Summer Session courses. They will be featured each Wednesday on UVA Today for the next few weeks.