12:00 AM

Ohio State trustees approve switch to semesters

COLUMBUS – The Ohio State University will soon join the ranks of Ohio's other 12 four-year universities when it switches to a semester-based academic year in Autumn 2012.

The university's Board of Trustees voted unanimously today (4/3) to adopt a resolution approving the conversion from an academic quarter system, in place since 1922, to a semester calendar.

"Ohio State is acting partially in response to the University System of Ohio's Strategic Plan for Higher Education, 2008-2017, which calls for a common academic calendar across all state universities," said Ohio State Provost Joseph A. Alutto. "But the move to semesters has been seriously considered for some time."

In 1991, during E. Gordon Gee's first tenure as university president, the prospect of a calendar conversion was rejected in the committee stage. In 2001, the conversion was approved by committee, but tabled by the University Senate, citing an inadequate student information system at the time. The university has since implemented a new, modern system.

"The conversion to semesters will allow us to better integrate with other universities, facilitating the transfer of credits and students," said Alutto.

Among the benefits to students will be an earlier entrance into the job market following graduation. The current quarter system keeps students in school a month longer than their competitors for jobs from semester schools. The conversion will also facilitate opportunities for student research, international study, internships, service learning and other specialized learning experiences for undergraduate and graduate students.

According to the final report of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Semesters, formed last year to study the feasibility of a switch, the conversion process should be complete by 2012 at an estimated cost of $8.7 million to $11.2 million for such expenses as technology modifications, course redesign and curriculum alignment.

The Committee for Enrollment and Student Progress is working on the structure of the overall academic calendar, which will be voted on by the University Senate. Trustees will then vote on the rule change to accommodate that calendar.

The Office of Academic Affairs, the University Senate and the academic units – including the regional campuses – will begin identifying how to implement the changes. In addition, Ohio State will work with other universities that are changing to semesters, including Wright State, Ohio University, the University of Cincinnati and Columbus State Community College.