The University of Cincinnati will adopt a semester calendar effective autumn 2012. A proposal to convert the university calendar from quarters to semesters was approved unanimously by the Board of Trustees at the Nov. 18 meeting.
The last time UC made such a large-scale shift was in 1964, when the university converted from semesters to quarters. The 1964 conversion was made at the request of the Ohio Board of Regents. At that time, UC shifted from a semester calendar to a quarter-based calendar as a way to accommodate the large Baby Boom cohort moving through higher education. A shorter calendar span of classes was combined with an extended school day and larger class sizes.
The current conversion plan is supported by the University System of Ohio Strategic Plan for Higher Education. That plan states: “The success of students, the integration of institutions, and opportunities to improve efficiencies and trim costs would be bolstered by a move toward a common academic calendar across all of the universities in the state.” Among Ohio’s 14 universities, only UC, Ohio State University, Wright State University and Ohio University currently operate on a quarter calendar.
The conversion back to a semester calendar will be based on the Semester-Conversion Taskforce Plan presented at the Sept. 23 meeting of the Board of Trustees. That plan incorporates a pledge to current students that they will suffer no loss of academic progress, no delay to degree completion and no increased costs for degree completion so long as students follow the written advising plan that each transitioning student will formulate with the aid of an advisor.
“This recommendation responds to the priorities for 21st Century teaching and learning as presented in President Zimpher’s State of the University address,” said Provost Anthony Perzigian. “The plan is consistent with the University System of Ohio Strategic Plan for Higher Education 2008-2017. Conversion from quarters to semesters presents an historic and unique opportunity to make fundamental and transformative changes. “
Perzigian said the conversion will provide an opportunity to review and improve the university’s academic programs. When coupled with program review, he said, conversion will result in a modernized curriculum and streamlined degree requirements. Conversion will also be coupled with collegiate restructuring, performance-based budgeting and strategic enrollment planning.
Costs for conversion over the next four years are estimated at $7.05 million, Perzigian said. The conversion will be funded through budgetary reallocation.
Following conversion, co-op will function almost identically as it does now under a quarter system, according to the conversion plan.
“Many people don’t know it, but UC’s celebrated co-op system has functioned under a variety of academic/workplace timing cycles in its history, including 13-week co-op cycles,” said M.B. Reilly, author of The Ivory Tower and The Smokestack, a centennial history of UC’s co-op program.