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Semester Conversion Overview

 

 

INTRODUCTION  

On April 23, 2009, during a regularly scheduled meeting of the faculty caucus Dr. Karen Reed, Vice President for Learning addressed the group and asked for their support to convert from Quarters to Semester in the Fall of 2012.  A motion was made and the caucus voted unanimously to support conversion to semesters.

 

II. BOARD OF TRUSTEES RESOLUTION

CONSIDERATION OF APPROVAL TO CONVERT THE ACADEMIC CALENDAR OF NORTH CENTRAL STATE COLLEGE FROM ONE BASED ON A QUARTER HOUR SCHEDULE TO ONE BASED ON A SEMESTER HOUR SCHEDULE TO TAKE EFFECT NO EARLIER THAN AUTUMN 2012

R-2009-20

WHEREAS: the Ohio Strategic Plan for Higher education, 2008-2017 establishes a University System of Ohio that facilitates the Ohio Credit Transfer System initiated by the Ohio GENERAL ASSEMBLY; and  

WHEREAS: the Ohio Strategic Plan for Higher education calls for all state two- and four-year institutions still on a quarter calendar to move to a semester calendar to better facilitate course equivalencies; and

WHEREAS: the four higher education institutions in Ohio that currently remain on a quarter calendar (Ohio State University, Ohio University, The University of Cincinnati, and Wright State University) have declared plans to convert to a semester calendar; and

WHEREAS: a flexible semester calendar would facilitate and enhance opportunities for transfer, internships, service learning, and other specialized learning experiences; and

WHEREAS: North Central State College has studied and widely discussed the feasibility of a conversion from quarters to semesters in 2004-05; and

WHEREAS: on April 23, 2009 the Faculty Caucus of North Central State College unanimously supported a recommendation for the College to move from a quarter-based calendar to a semester-based calendar.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: by the Board of Trustees of North Central State College that North Central State College adopts a semester calendar to take effect no earlier than autumn, 2012

 

III. ESTABLISHING THE STRUCTURE

Following the approval of the resolution to convert to semesters, seven sub committees were formed, with representation from all departments on campus.  The seven committees each elected 2 chairs to serve on the Semester Conversion Steering Committee.

Those seven committees are as follows:

  • Articulation/Advising
  • Budget
  • Calendar
  • Communication
  • Curriculum Conversion
  • Infrastructure/Technology
  • Polices/Procedures

 

IV. GUIDING PRINCIPLES

All students who have an individual advising plan called a (MAP) and follow that plan will transition quarter coursework into semesters with the following three guarantees:

 

V. THE END RESULT
  1. A successful conversion from quarters to semesters will yield the following results:

    • A semester calendar will protect and enhance the intellectual mission and content of all academic programs.
    • The commitment to a strong general education component in all majors will be preserved.
    • The distribution of courses by credit hour will be justifiable as judged by the impact on faculty workload and on student progress toward a degree.
    • The total amount of instruction needed to meet degree and accreditation requirements offered in any major will be approximately the same in a semester calendar as in a quarter calendar.
    • The beneficial relationship among programs will be maintained and enhanced, particularly in the service of one program area to another and especially in inter-departmental and interdisciplinary course offerings.
    • A semester-based calendar will not require substantially greater financial resources when implemented than its quarter-based predecessor.
    • A semester-based calendar will be justifiable in terms of space requirements for classrooms, laboratories, offices, and other college resources.
    • A semester-based calendar will not significantly alter faculty allocations of time.
    • A semester-based calendar will enable substantial flexibility in stimulating and accommodating innovative approaches to course length and scheduling.
  2. A successful conversion from quarters to semesters will ensure consideration of the following concerns:

    • The conversion of academic programs should be carefully coordinated to preserve the integrity of programs, especially those with an interdisciplinary focus and involving the intellectual resources of more than one department.
    • The impact of the conversion to semesters on students should not disrupt the academic progress toward degrees.
    • Provisions should be made to minimize complications created in the transition year by providing for additional and intensive student advising that accommodates the transition with a liberal treatment of exceptions, course substitutions, and other requirements.

 

VI. AN OVERVIEW OF THE PROCESS

The work of conversion is being led by the NCSC Semester Conversion Steering Committee Chaired by Dr. Karen Reed, Vice President of Learning, and Gina Kamwithi Project Coordinator for Semester Conversion.

  1. FIRST-PHASE PLANNING: CURRICULAR REVISIONS

    Most of the current preparation work toward converting to semesters is invisible to students and the general public. Currently, NCSC faculty in every department are working on revising college courses – currently offered on the quarter system – so that these offerings and their content will cohesively fit into a semester calendar, with each course offering integrating with others across degree programs.

    Currently, under the quarter system, NCSC has an inventory of about 650 courses.  When the college converts to semesters, all of the courses will have been comprehensively reviewed in terms of integration with other coursework to effectively and efficiently meet the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s workforce, industry and community needs.

    The timeline for redesigning NCSC curriculum by faculty calls for completion of that work by Spring 2011.

  2. SECOND-PHASE PLANNING: ENCODING ,CATALOGING, UPDATING

    Once the curriculum is revised to meet future academic needs, behind-the-scenes encoding and cataloging of the new curriculum will get fully underway. This work will be complete by Summer 2011. This encoding and cataloging will not only affect our internal student management system, but will affect all courses listed in the CAS transfer catalog. At the same time, training of student advisors will be ongoing in anticipation of the final phase of preparation for conversion to semesters.

    Another area invisible to the public but of primary importance will be the revision of all forms, processes, and procedures related to the everyday operation of the college that are affected by the conversion.

  3. THIRD-PHASE PLANNING: ADVISING

    From Winter 2011 through August 2012, faculty advisors and advisors from the student success center will meet with all students who will be affected by the transition from quarters to semesters.

    It is expected that every student who will transition from quarters to semesters will meet individually with an advisor to formulate an advising plan, which we are calling My Advising Plan (MAP).  So long as a student adheres to that plan, safeguards will be put in place to ensure completion of the degree.

    Thus, with that assumption we can make this  Pledge to Students.

    Students will see:

    • No loss of academic progress
    • No delay in time to degree completion/graduation
    • No increase in total tuition and fees expended for the degree program.

    In March 2012, students will begin registering for Fall 2012 courses.

 

VII. IMPORTANCE OF CONSTANT COMMUNICATION WITH OUR STAKEHOLDERS

We understand the importance of communication of all of these processes to anyone affected by this conversion process.  Thus, we have created a comprehensive communication plan for not only the 2 1/2 years we are undergoing conversion, but the critical time period after we have converted to semesters.

Our three main constituencies are the general public, our employees and most importantly our students.  We have developed a plan to meet the communication needs of  the above mentioned sectors.

 

VIII. ADVANTAGES OF A SEMESTER CALENDAR

Academics
The main academic advantage of the semester system is that is provides greater opportunities for In-depth teaching and classroom projects.  In addition, a semester calendar will allow under prepared students greater time to adjust to the rigors of college  academic life.

Ease student transfers
Conversion will ease the transfer of students into and out of NCSC programs from other national institutions, most of which (90 percent) already follow the semester system. This is especially true for minority students since 94 percent of historically black colleges and universities follow the semester system. Students’ careers in higher education are marked by change, and transfers between institutions or attendance at multiple institutions are common. According to the November/December 2007 issue of Currents, published by the Council for the Advancement and Support of education, 60 percent of all undergraduate students (including those at community colleges) attend multiple institutions.

Conversion will help NCSC to “capture” more summer-school students returning home for the summer months from other institutions and wanting to enroll in courses (and in a time frame) compatible with their academic careers.

Job-market advantages
Conversion will provide graduating students a “first-mover” advantage when entering the job market. Most large employers schedule recruitment of new hires according to the semester calendar

Flexibility for students
A semester calendar allows students greater flexibility in regard to switching, dropping, adding or otherwise switching classes because of the extended length of semesters vs. quarters.