The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Students, professors mull benefits of summer term

Five years ago, senior English major Krystle Thompson traveled to

Florence, Italy on a high school spring break vacation. Ever since, she

said she has dreamt of living in the beautiful, historic city.

This fall, Thompson said she will be able to spend the last year of

her college education in Florence, thanks to the availability of the

two summer courses she is now taking.

When Thompson first learned in April about her trip to Florence, she

quickly began searching for a way to finish up her English courses at


‘?If I didn’t take these summer classes, I wouldn’t be able to

graduate when I come back,’ Thompson said. ‘?I’m glad I can finish up


For the rest of the CSUN community, nothing paints a better picture

of the ideal summer vacation than sleeping in, backyard barbecues or

road trips with friends.

But for some CSUN students and professors, summer vacation is

something else entirely:’#8200;a chance for students to take a whole bunch of

classes quickly, even if its a bit overwhelming, and an opportunity for

professors to supplement their regular’ salaries with extra


‘?I’d rather be sleeping in and not have to wake up for class at 8

a.m. every morning,’ said junior child development major Michelle


Beginning June 6, summer students had their choice of five different

sessions that ranged from between five and 11 weeks in duration, with

the last sessions ending Aug. 19.

‘?I like that I have so many options to choose from, because it gives

me more flexibility with work and family obligations,’ said junior

child development major Rachel Mitzman.

Fifteen Weeks Becomes Six Weeks

Shana Hammers, freshman child and adolescent development major, said

she is enrolled in summer classes and is enjoying the advantages of

summer school following her first year.

‘?I love the idea of earning six units in only six weeks, as opposed

to an entire semester,’ Hammers said. ‘?But keeping up with the constant

reading assignments is very difficult to do.’

These constant reading assignments, projects and tests are a common

disadvantage for many summer school students because of the condensed

time most courses are taught in.

As a result of the shortened version of the curricula, students must

complete the standard 15-week workload in as few as 6 weeks in some


‘?The six-week session does pose some problems with teaching, because

it is difficult to convey the same material as in a 15-week semester,’

said Geology Professor Edward Jackiewicz.

If a student misses one day of class during the summer sessions, the

work missed is oftentimes equivalent to more than a week of class

during the regular school semesters, Ghirelli said.

‘?I don’t like (some summer sessions) being only six weeks, because

once you fall behind, it’s too hard to catch up,’ Ghirelli said. ‘?You

have to constantly keep on top of it.’

‘?I can’t believe how much is assigned in these classes,’ Thompson

said.’#8200;Before going to Italy in the fall, she needs to finish taking two

400-level English courses.

‘?However, it wouldn’t be fair for teachers to allow summer students

to earn the same units … without doing the same amount of work as in

the regular semesters,’ Thompson said.

Like Thompson, many students are enrolled in two or more classes

during the summer for various academic and financial reasons.

Felicia Auerbach, sophomore psychology and child and adolescent

development major, said she feels the pressure from her political

science and child development classes.

In between juggling the workload for both classes, she said she

tries to balance working 30 hours a week for Dean Susan Curzon in the

Oviatt Library.

‘?It’s hard when the teachers arrange their summer school classes

exactly as they would their other classes during the regular semester,’

Auerbach said. ‘?(Professors are) not taking into account that there

isn’t enough time. It’s very overwhelming.’

Because the regular semester classes are sometimes condensed nearly

50 percent, some students find difficulty in understanding the large

amount of information provided.

‘?A disadvantage (to students) is that they tend to enroll in too

many courses, like three, thinking that they can handle that many

courses in six weeks,’ said Tom Lee, economics professor.

Some professors said they think summer students bring a certain

academic discipline with them to class.

‘?Students stay engaged in the class (during the summer),’ said Nancy

Tosh, religious studies professor. ‘?I also find that summer students

tend to be more highly motivated and focused on the class.’

Compared with taking a full 12- or 15-unit load during the regular

semester, many students have the advantage of not getting distracted by

other classes.

‘?Students tend to remember the material from one day to the next,’

said Evelyn McClave, English and linguistics professor.

Getting Their

Money’s Worth

Whether a student takes one or five classes during the summer depends

on many factors, and for some students, the cost of tuition plays into

that decision-making process.

For students taking between one and six units, tuition is $678. For

students taking more than six units, tuition is $1,167.

In some cases where a student would otherwise pay $678 for just one

class, some have chosen to take two summer classes to ‘?get their moneys


Senior child development major JoAnn Hill said she is paying for her

summer classes herself, and did not want to pay the full tuition for

one class.

‘?I needed to take these classes anyways,’ Hill said. ‘?I wanted to

get my moneys worth.’

Auerbach said the tuition setup was a leading factor in her decision

to take two classes during the summer.

‘?When I saw it was the same price for six units, I figured I might

as well not waste money and take another class,’ Auerbach said.

What’s in it for

the professor?

Many professors elect to teach during the summer term because of the

additional income it provides them on top of their fall and spring

semester salaries.

‘?The advantage of the sessions being six weeks is that there is

still time left in the summer to work on my own research and spend more

time with my family,’ said Christopher Shortell, political science

professor. ‘?(The pay) is absolutely the primary reason why I teach

summer session.’

‘?From a salary standpoint, summer provides me with, what for people

in the corporate world (would call), a Christmas bonus, only for me it

is a summer bonus,’ said James Mitchell, political science professor.

‘?I like to travel, so (summer term) funds travel and any other


For many professors, teaching an additional class over the summer

can sometimes help fund their daughter’s college tuition or even help

to support the income of a single mother.

‘?I teach summer session to earn money for my daughter’s college

tuition,’ McClave said.

Like McClave, Tosh also depends on the additional inco
me for

financial support.

‘?I need a job,’ Tosh said.’ ‘?I’m a single mother and (I) can’t

afford to take summers off.’

Sociology professor Vickie Jenson said that for many professors who

do not get paid as much as they would need or like, teaching summer

session is a way to supplement their incomes.

Whatever the reason, students and teachers are attending and

teaching summer session, and the result of taking additional units is a

closer graduation date for many’ ‘ students.

‘?When people will be complaining about taking another semester of

classes, I’ll just smile because summer school got me to Italy faster,’

Thompson said.

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