‘We’re on a bridge to a new normal’: Cabrillo, UCSC summer sessions in full swing

This year, summer school at Cabrillo College and UC Santa Cruz is quiet, but still very lively.

In one of Cabrillo’s art department buildings on Wednesday afternoon, Bibi Bartlett focused on the lighting and shading of a pear on top of a cube as they drew the objects in a beginner drawing lessons. Sixteen other students did the same in the large studio – which played alternative rock music and was lit with only several lamps focused on the various object supports.

Bartlett — who prefers the pronouns he and they — completed his first full college year of classes at Cabrillo this year, with all instruction delivered remotely. Drawing was their first in-person class.

“First day [of drawing] I was really anxious about everything,” they said. “Just thinking, ‘Oh, where’s my classroom? Do I have everything? … Now I have everything. So I feel better. »

In the fall, Bartlett thinks they’ll take two in-person classes and one distance class.

As conditions edge closer to pre-COVID times, teaching at Cabrillo and UCSC appears to be settling into what could be a new normal since the pandemic pushed all teaching online in spring 2020 Although enrollment numbers are not yet final for this summer, both schools estimate slight declines.

This is the first summer since 2020 that UCSC has offered in-person classes, while at Cabrillo the story is slightly different. In 2020, approximately 45% of its teaching was online; last year, 78% were online, compared to 61% this year.

“It feels like we’re on a bridge to a new normal,” Cabrillo College President Matt Wetstein told Lookout on Wednesday. “And this new normal has a higher percentage of online learning.”

Bibi Bartlett adds shading to a project in their drawing class at Cabrillo College.

(Hillary Ojeda / Belvedere Santa Cruz)

Summer courses began on June 13 in Cabrillo; courses last four to eight weeks. Wetstein said the student experience this year will likely be similar to last summer: Of all enrolled students, 71.3% are returning students to Cabrillo, while first-time transfer students to Cabrillo, first-timers, and high school students make up the rest. in almost equal parts.

Compared to last summer, Wetstein said full-time equivalent student enrollment was down about 14% — a trend reflected by colleges and universities across California and the country. In Cabrillo, math, biology and chemistry are seeing the biggest declines in enrollment, while visual and performing arts enrollment is up, he said.

Wednesday afternoon, the campus was quiet. Sometimes students outside the art department buildings walked from studio to studio. A student, on his knees, was painting on a large canvas leaning against the wall of one of the buildings facing the small courtyard.

Tobin Keller teaches Bartlett’s six-week drawing course. He is a full-time tenured professor and has taught at Cabrillo for over 30 years. He is also president of the teachers’ union, Cabrillo College Federation of Teachers.

Cabrillo hadn’t offered a summer art class since 2019, he said. He’s glad to be back this summer because he sees a different mix of students – mostly more high school students – during the summer.

Four days a week, students come to the studios for five hours of lessons. They start with morning drawing exercises, then watch an art film followed by a discussion. After a lunch break, they continue to draw.

“I missed watching the students work,” Keller said. “Because, you know, their Zoom camera might not even be on sometimes. [In-person] is much more personal, much more rewarding and increasingly satisfying as a teacher.

At UC Santa Cruz, the summer session began on June 20, with eight-week and 10-week courses. Session 2 does not start until July 25. Students taking in-person classes have the option of living on the Porter College campus.

UCSC spokesman Scott Hernandez-Jason said while summer school enrollment has increased in 2020 due to the widespread impacts of the pandemic, it appears enrollment will be slightly lower this summer, as at Cabrillo and other colleges. UCSC registration numbers will only be finalized after the sessions have ended.

Monica Parikh, director of UCSC’s summer session, said the majority of students taking classes are continuing students and fall “admissions,” while a small number of students come from other colleges and universities, and more than 100 are high school students.

“So my top priority is to provide courses that continuing UCSC students can use to progress in their studies,” she told Lookout on Monday. “And then helping the drop admits, or the new Slugs, get started early.”

This summer, UCSC is bringing back summer courses that weren’t offered for in-person instruction last year, such as improvisational theater, metalwork, screen printing, game design, and art. art of bookmaking. The campus has also revived courses that involve field study, including a photography class that takes students to do field study in the desert.

But of all the summer semester courses, the most popular is personal finance.

“You don’t teach us that in high school,” Parikh said. “It has 250 students, which for the summer session is certainly the largest.”

As for the general atmosphere, the campus is calm and seems almost empty, which the local fauna already appreciates. Campus recreation facilities are open and several dining options are also operating. While on campus, students have access to the Porter Dining Hall, Iveta Cafe, Global Village Cafe in the McHenry Library, and Perk Coffee Bar in the Physical Sciences Building.

The summer session saw a slight influx of traffic last Friday when UCSC Summer Concert Series opened with a performance by singer-songwriter Carla Morrison.

“The libraries are nice and quiet – and there are smaller classes, plus access to all the resources, the libraries, the tutoring center, the fitness center,” Parikh said. “It just feels like a win-win.”

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