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Summer Quarter

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Most Classes Begin Jun 24
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About Us

Summer Quarter: Letter from the Director

Thank you, as always, for your loyal support of Continuing Studies. We’re very proud to share this summer’s lineup with you. And with the theme of creativity cutting through many of this season’s offerings, it seemed like the perfect time to invite Malena Watrous, our Writing Certificate Lead & Creative Writing Coordinator, to write this quarter’s catalog letter. Under Malena’s leadership, our creative writing program has expanded and flourished in ways I could never have imagined. Drawing on her own extensive experience as a writer and a teacher, she has redesigned our curriculum to better serve both new and experienced writers, whether their goals include improving their craft or taking steps toward building a professional writing career and pursuing publication. I am so grateful for Malena’s incredible work for Continuing Studies and for the warmth, creativity, and joy she brings to her role. I hope you’ll enjoy hearing her reflections.
Jennifer Deitz
Director & Associate Dean

Dear Friends,

Ever since I can remember, summer has been my favorite season—a time to rest, seek adventure, and take a break from stale routines. Growing up in San Francisco, the last day of school often brought gray skies and chilly weather. But within a few weeks, the “June gloom” would dissipate, giving way to the joys of summer: barbecues, beaches, stacks of novels to be devoured on long road trips, and plenty of time for play.

In the summer between fourth and fifth grades, my mom signed me up for a month-long creative writing class at a local university. Because of my love for reading, she thought I’d enjoy the opportunity to write my own fiction. To be honest, attending school didn’t fit into my vision of a carefree summer. However, my perspective changed as soon as I began that transformative writing class.

To spark our imaginations, the instructor had us do a variety of exercises. Asked to rewrite a fairy tale, I chose the story of King Midas; in my version, he got turned into his own gold coffin handles. Sharing my writing with the instructor and classmates for feedback felt exhilarating. This class not only planted the seeds for my future as a writer but also inspired me to become a writing instructor, a role in which I get to share the joy of storytelling with others.

As I discovered, the right class can provide adventure and a break from routine, and our Continuing Studies summer catalog offers a diverse array of classes that will offer ample opportunity to play while learning (or learn while playing). For those who are curious to experience the joy of creative writing, we have several beginner-friendly courses, including “Establishing a Creative Writing Practice,” with Ammi Keller, and “Getting Started in Creative Nonfiction: A Ticket to the Truth,” with Liza Monroy. Got a novel idea? You might try “Novel Writing for Absolute Beginners,” with Angela Pneuman, or “Historical Fiction Workshop: The Past Is Never Past,” with Deborah Johnson. And if you’re eager to turn a personal story into a book-length memoir, you might consider applying to our new Memoir Writing Certificate, a two-year online program inspired by the success of our Novel Writing Certificate.

Of course, writing is far from the only way to express yourself creatively. In fact, Tina Seelig’s “Creativity Rules: From Inspiration to Implementation” course will offer practical strategies to imbue all aspects of your life with creativity. If your vision of summer includes making your way through a tall stack of books (as mine forever will), then why not try Elaine Treharne’s “The World’s Most Powerful and Extraordinary Books,” and discuss literary classics with fellow bibliophiles? After all, who says Shakespeare can’t be a beach read? Or shake your booty while taking Ronnie Reddick’s “Introduction to Hip Hop Dance.” (Bonus: Did you know that learning new dance moves helps to keep the brain young and nimble—and is arguably more fun than crossword puzzles?) Additionally, Joel Simon and John Lambert’s “Travel Photography: Around the Corner and Around the World” is the ideal course for those eager to document their summer adventures.

Adventure isn’t always physical—sometimes it’s mental—and “fun” is in the eye of the beholder. This summer, we are offering a joint course with the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI), designed for those interested in exploring some of AI’s more profound impacts. Or you might be interested in Charlie Flanagan’s more “hands-on” course, “Large Language Models for Business with Python,” where students can meet like-minded people while developing a variety of generative AI models using the latest in LLM technology.

Learning something new keeps us young by offering a break from the routine, pushing us to try new things, and ensuring continuous growth and self-discovery. My childhood perception of summer as a season for relaxation, rejuvenation, and play aligns perfectly with the joy of taking classes.

Malena Watrous
Writing Certificate Lead & Creative Writing Coordinator