UC Berkeley is offering six new minor programs for students this summer, in addition to global public health and journalism.
The new minors offered over the summer include the developing child, digital humanities, educating for the 21st century, race and law, teaching English to multilingual students, and sustainability. Many of the minor programs take an interdisciplinary approach to learning the material.
In summer 2016, the first minor marketed as a summer minor program was journalism, according to Richard Russo, associate vice chancellor of undergraduate education and dean of summer sessions, study abroad and lifelong learning. The global public health minor was offered the following summer.
“The only thing that’s different this summer is that there’s an expansion of offerings based on popularity of the first two,” Russo said.
Students who take advantage of the summer sessions and the new minor programs provide additional revenue for the university, according to Russo.
According to the Budget and Financial Outlook from the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, the campus’s target revenue is $7 million in executive education, summer sessions, sales and services for the 2017-18 academic year.
Students who choose to complete a minor program within one or two summers will qualify for a $2,000 scholarship, according to Russo.
“We have offered an incentive for students for completing a summer minor in the first or second summer,” Russo said.
Margaret Bridges, a campus developmental psychologist and research scientist, is directing the new Early Development & Learning Science Training Program at the Institute of Human Development.
This minor focuses on addressing challenges facing young children while looking through the lenses of different academic fields of study such as psychology, policy, public health, social welfare or even economics, Bridges said.
“Generally in the academy there’s a push for interdisciplinary studies. These studies are where students learn to think in more complex and innovative ways,” Bridges said.
As part of the coursework, students will be placed in the early childhood education programs on campus to interact with kids and bring back what they learn to their classes. Students will videotape their interactions and get feedback from their professors to have a chance to reflect on the material they are learning in their classes.
Kathleen Donegan, associate dean of arts and humanities and head organizer of the digital humanities minor, said that this minor program is a “meeting place of humanistic inquiry and computational sciences.”
“There’s a real synergy in the classroom that you can’t find anywhere else,” Donegan said. “I would just encourage people to check it out. It’s something that seems unfamiliar at first, but you can learn how powerful it is later on.”