Picking the Division of Continuing Education (UCI DCE) at University of California, Irvine was easy for Brazilian Ana Beatriz Barbosa. It offered certificate programs in digital marketing and project management — two subjects she wanted to focus on. Due to the pandemic, however, they are now offered remotely. Still, Ana believes she made the right choice. “Everything that I learned during this time and was able to develop through my studies and internship, was very rewarding,” she says. “Today, I find myself more prepared and more secure to take on the new challenges that lie ahead.”
Having innovative instructors helps. Her favorite is Marty Wartenberg. His final project management class on global leadership was never intended to be remote, but he took the changes in stride. “We moved away from the lecture model to a much more inclusive and extensive participative mode, a lot of discussion and back-and-forth questioning,” he says.
Wartenberg was not teaching in a traditional, physical classroom. To Ana, he was still like “a grandfather who guided me through this experience and always encouraged me.” She found his classes and life experiences made the courses much more relaxed and interesting. “In fact, every day Marty showed us a different flash mob video from around the world. It was a happy way to start the class and it had everything to do with what we were studying: different cultures, ways of leading, and working environments. It was incredible to be able to hear what he had to teach sitting at my computer,” she shares.
Established in 1962, DCE has served the lifelong learning and career development needs of individuals, organizations, and the community on a local, regional, and global scale. The Division offers international programs that include English Language; Certificate and Internship; Success Through Academics and Research (STAR); Experience UCI; and Custom Designed programs.
These programs enrich lives. Experiences encompass everything from the academic to the professional and cultural. These include superior English-language instruction, high-quality certificates with pathways to internship options and Optional Practical Training (OPT), academic study abroad programs, and comprehensive preparation for successful undergraduate and graduate studies. Learning at DCE happens inside and outside of the classroom. Festivals, movie screenings, and comedy nights let students have an immersive experience into American life even while students are currently learning remotely due to the pandemic. When in-person programs return, students will have the opportunity to tour iconic US cities — Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas — and cheer for local teams — like the LA Lakers, LA Clippers, and LA Angels. Excursions to theme parks, museums, beaches, and performances are always highly popular with students and are a great way to enjoy Southern California. But even now, DCE’s Student Life & Activities team will keep you entertained and engaged through remote events such as Hip Hop Dance and Leadership workshops.
There has never been a better time to take learning online. With developments in technology and more innovative teaching strategies, DCE has pivoted to the new norm confidently. “At DCE, I learned to never give up and pursue my dreams,” says Digital Marketing and Communications student Emma Scarfe, who hails from France. “I think that you can learn as much as you can when you are in class as when you are online. I’ve made so many connections and the university provides a very human structure and made my e-learning experience as good as normal. I would like to thank my instructors, the team and everyone who made this possible.”
Accelerated learning that kickstarts careers
Iran-native Davood Shahabi’s ultimate dream was to experience the finest American higher education had to offer but would not keep him away from work too long. With considerable persistence, Davood’s dream came true when he finally got his visa to attend UCI, where he completed two Accelerated Certificate Programs (ACPs): International Business Operations and Management (IBOM) and Project Management. He followed these with Optional Practical Training (OPT), a life-changing opportunity at CalOptima health insurance agency. “I highly recommend taking online courses from UCI to my friends and colleagues. It’s an excellent way to refresh your skills and knowledge,” says Davood.
Today, he lives in St. Louis, working as the senior research analyst at Kindred, in charge of data analytics for more than 140 hospitals. Davood is also lending his expertise on a DCE Advisory Committee for a new public health program currently in the works. His professional trajectory is typical of DCE graduates — armed with new skills and knowledge, they are ready to chart their success in their current or different field.
As for Ana, she plans to stay in the US and apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT). She’s anxious but confident her DCE experience will guide her through her interviews, job applications, and anything and everything that come after that. “I thought this international experience would change my life and today I am sure of it,” she says.