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 VOL. 23, NO. 19APRIL 3, 1998 

New Courses Debut in Summer Session


The new director of Columbia’s Summer Session has fashioned a curriculum that promises to wake a traditionally slow period of the University’s academic year. Moreover, it is just the first step in her plans to build the summer into a term on par with the fall and winter semesters.

  Carole Slade, previously an adjunct associate professor in the English and comparative literature department, took over the directorship of the Summer Session last September when Joseph Kissane retired from the University after more than ten years in the post. Slade said that she immediately began to “work with the chairpersons and deans to find out what the students’ needs and wants were, so the summer would be a complement to the regular school year.” To this end, she put together a summer curriculum that has a wide range of fascinating and challenging courses.

  To begin with, the 1998 Summer Session, which starts May 26 and ends Aug. 14, offers a dozen more courses than last year. Popular classes that often closeout during the school year—Digital Documentary Photography, Public Speaking and seminars necessary for the history major, for example—can now be taken in the summer.

  Slade has also scheduled more classes for after-work hours, in particular the heavily subscribed ones such as Principles of Economics, Introduction to Sociology, The Science of Psychology and Anthropology: The Interpretation of Culture, for the majority of summer students who have jobs.

  Students needing to fulfill distribution requirements will find that they have more classes in Major Cultures and science to choose from, along with the usual summer fare of Music and Art Humanities. Among them are Latin American Humanities II, History of Modern China and Eastern Europe in World Affairs, as well as a broad array of physics, chemistry, math, biology, earth sciences, statistics and psychology classes.

  Several courses are offered this summer which will be taught by May ‘98 Ph.D.s: Melissa Fisher’s Corporate Cultures in Contemporary America; Yuelin Li’s Thinking and Decision Making, and Christine Flaherty’s Archaeology and History in Europe: The Iron Age.

  Some of the language courses that are a staple of the summer curriculum will this year be given in accelerated formats. German will offer a reading course that covers a year in six weeks and allows its students to take the proficiency exam when completed. And the Russian department has designed an accelerated class that compresses a year into eight weeks, at four hours a day, five days a week.

  Slade, who directed Columbia’s composition program for seven years, has decided to highlight the importance of writing by instituting two cash prizes for the best work done in a Summer Session course. She will herself teach a new class in scholarly writing designed for students in the midst of composing theses and dissertations.

  “I want a curriculum that gives our Columbia students the high quality of academic-year courses,” Slade said, “and that in addition offers courses they wouldn’t necessarily find during the [school] year. If professors propose interesting courses to me, I’m willing to try to work them in; the Summer Session has the flexibility to do that.”