It’s Official: Ohio State Moves To Semester System

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Ohio State University will soon begin a three-year-long change from quarters to semesters. University trustees signed off on the big job Friday.

Ohio State University’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to switch from an academic quarter system to a semester system. The university has taught on the quarter system for 87 years and attempts to convert to semesters were met with opposition during the past 3 decades. University president Gordon Gee:

“Change is difficult,” Gee said. “But this is a transformative moment for this institution because it does set us on a course not only to move to semesters but also to be able to, in so may ways, recalibrate the nature of our academic work and to, and I will use this word, modernize the university in ways that I think will be very helpful and set us in a leadership role nationally and for that I’m grateful.”

Undergraduate Student Government president Peter Koltak says he thinks the change will benefit both students and the university.

“Converting to a semester calendar will make Ohio State students more competitive for internships and in the job market after they leave school,” Koltak said. “If we’re getting out of school in May, the same time everyone else is, instead of June, it doesn’t set us a month behind in the job hunt.

“Academically I think this is an opportunity for Ohio State to reinvent itself,” Koltak said. “Every course at this university will have to be restructured. It’s really going to be a breath of fresh air for this university.”

But Koltak thinks a number of students, especially undergraduates, will not be happy with the change. Koltak says students are leery about the conversion’s price tag — somewhere between nearly $9 million and $11 million – and about their chances for graduating on time.

“They really are nervous about the cost of the transition and that being passed along to students,” Koltak said. “As well as, If I start on quarters and end on semesters will I still be able to graduate in four years?’ And I think that the university has so far given a pretty emphatic ‘yes.’ It’s going to be on the students, though, to keep the pressure on and make sure that happens.

When the conversion occurs in the fall of 2012, Ohio State will join the ranks of 12 other four-year public institutions on the semester system.

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