It’s always amusing to hear people say, “It’s summer. Things must be pretty quiet at UC Irvine.”

Not exactly. Between the summer academic session and the community programs and camps, there’s always something going on here.

The campus accommodates more than 12,000 students enrolled in summer classes covering everything from African American studies to writing. The extra class time helps students complete their educations more quickly. Indeed, the rate of students graduating in four years has risen substantially – from 51.4 percent for the freshman class entering UCI in fall 2001 to 67.6 percent for those entering in fall 2007.

UCI also hosts a number of camps and instructional programs serving the community each summer. These are the kinds of summer learning and extracurricular activities that School of Education Dean Deborah Vandell says are crucial to establishing a foundation of excellence in California education.

“When you talk to successful people, you invariably find that they spent their summers and other out-of-school time with interests that were extremely important to them – band, sports, yearbook, church, music,” she says. “These are activities that they worked hard at and focused on, where they found their friends, their identity and their discipline. These UCI programs help provide such opportunities to the community.”

Some examples:

  • For the 14th year in a row, UCI hosted high school science students – about 150 this year – as part of COSMOS. The program’s mission is to motivate the most creative minds of the new generation of prospective scientists, engineers and mathematicians who will become leaders for California, the nation and the world. Course clusters were offered on robots and rockets; astronomy and astrophysics; tissue and tumor biology and mathematical/computer modeling; biodiversity and the ecosystems of coastal California; mobile digital media; biomedical research; and molecular chemistry.
  • The Mesa Court housing complex was teeming with cheerleaders this summer. Nearly 600 spirited high school students attended instructional sessions.
  • The Anteater Recreation Center enrolled more than 100 young people a week in swimming lessons and cooking, rock climbing, fencing and other summer camps.
  • The Claire Trevor School of the Arts and the Beall Center for Art + Technology sponsored Mathobotix, a camp that involves young children and teenagers in team problem solving, creative thinking and, ultimately, building some really cool robots.

With all this, UCI is a center of learning year-round. No quiet season here.