STUDENTS TO BENEFIT FROM CHANGE TO SEMESTERS
Change at a university as large and complex as Ohio State is never easy. But it is vital to our success and to the success of our students. Never has this fact been more apparent than in the case of our academic calendar conversion from quarters to semesters.
For 90 years, The Ohio State University operated on a four-quarter system and it worked efficiently. Then came the 21st century. It became obvious to many of us— students, faculty, staff and administrators—that a semester-based system was in our best interests. Yes, change would be difficult. It would be messy, problematic and time consuming. It would also be one of the most important steps ever taken by the university.
When I returned as president of the university in 2007, one of my goals was to put the students first initiative in place. One of the best ways we could do that was to adopt a semester system, in a carefully planned and thoughtfully executed manner that would provide the most benefits with the least disruption. I believe we have accomplished exactly that, as summer 2012 will usher in our new academic calendar. We are continuing to impress upon our current students the importance of meeting with their academic counselors to ensure a smooth transition. Students and parents should know that the conversion will not impact the cost of attending the university nor the length of time it will take to graduate.
The benefits of the semester conversion are significant. Students will now be on a level playing field with their counterparts at other major universities across the country and with other Ohio institutions. They will have opportunities for earlier summer internships and job openings after their May graduation. Students will also find it easier to transfer their academic credits. The learning experience will also be enhanced. A 14-week study period will allow students to explore subjects in more depth than the former 10-week calendar allowed. And our special four-week May session will expand opportunities for service learning, cross-disciplinary seminars and study abroad.
Our faculty has stepped up to reconfigure and reimagine course content in ways that allowed them to take a fresh, forward-thinking approach to student learning. The resulting changes are well worth the enormous effort required, and I join our students with grateful thanks to our faculty and academic leadership. Along with our students, faculty and staff, I look forward to our semester-based future with great anticipation. As renowned author and management expert Peter Drucker noted, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”