OSU semester switch set in motion
Committees being formed to focus on curriculum change
Published: Monday, September 21, 2009
Updated: Saturday, June 16, 2012 01:06
University officials told the Board of Trustees last week that they are aggressively moving forward with the semester switch. After the University Senate approved an academic calendar for semesters at Ohio State, they can now begin to iron out the many complex details of the switch.
The university is now in the process of creating the Calendar Conversion Committee, said Randy Smith, vice provost for academic programs, at Thursday's Board of Trustees meeting. The committee will meet regularly with representatives from each of the university's departments, working together to implement changes. The committee will meet at least once a month for the next three years.
Smith told trustees of details that have already been worked out regarding the semester shift. He said that one-third of available classes may disappear, class times will extend to 55 minutes, and the time between classes will increase to 15 minutes. Course numbers will also change and will have four digits in the reference number, rather than three.
The committee and its advisory groups will be paying close attention to students who start on the quarter system and then switch to semesters, Smith said.
"Advising needs to be sensitive to students, specifically those who switch from quarters to semesters, making sure they are advised properly," he said. "During orientation we reiterated to students and parents that [the switch] will not harm them."
The committee has also sought out community opinions from businesses and property owners on High Street because a semester calendar may change the flow of students, Smith said. To prepare for the shift, departments and colleges are expected to review their curriculums and requirements.
"It's the first time I've really seen an openness to change [in the curriculum]," Smith said, adding that the last time General Education Curriculum requirements were changed was in 1988. "We will have several waves of changes. Some may be done as early as spring 2010 to review."
The University Senate approved the academic calendar on June 11, amid debate among professors about their work calendar and how the switch might limit their time to perform research. Timothy Gerber, chair of the Faculty Council, was unavailable for comment.
Another controversial element of the switch was the "Maymester," a three-week semester between Spring and Summer quarters. The shortened semester, which was proposed by former president of the Undergraduate Student Government Peter Koltak, has been incorporated into the new student calendar, which is available online.