Teachers at a Columbus charter high school have narrowly voted to form a union. But the election outcome is contested.
Ohio State “Culture Change” Nearly Complete
The head of Ohio State University, president Gordon Gee, says the school has changed its academic culture this year by adopting a semester calendar.
“I think we’ve seen some real challenges in that regard. Kids have been used to ten weeks and all of a sudden it stretches out to 16 weeks. Faculty has been used to ten weeks, it stretches out to 16 weeks. So how do you calibrate those issues?” Asks Gee.
Students and faculty were forced to change routines, everything from study habits to class schedules. And during the first weeks of the new school year a string of pedestrian and bicycle accidents involving students forced more changes. In one case, a student was critically injured while riding his bike on a campus sidewalk.
“Now, you know, for example, we no longer allow kids to ride their bicycles across the oval, a number of things, which are all consequences of a much busier, more engaged institution.” Says Gee.
Gee says class start times are now staggered so there are few lulls in activity on campus sidewalks and streets. In the classroom, Writing professor Alexis Martina says she see more anxiety on the faces of students.
“It’s definitely the most stressed I’ve ever seen students, through the semester switch. It’s a struggle for instructors and we’re learning just as much as the students are learning. But, I think that there’s bound to be that kind of, those growing pains, and you did definitely see that in my students.” Martina says.
4th year student Alex Graves and junior Joe Hosa say the change to semesters brought more pressure in the classroom.
“Definitely apparent when it comes to finals week. Because back on quarters, actually would normally have one or two finals and now I have four or five.” Says Hosa
“That’s like what I was most confused about, I thought with semesters that taking like a bunch of classes throughout a long time would may be easier. But I feel like I have an exam every week.” Graves says.
Ohio State University is among the last state campus to change to semesters. Assistant Provost Jay Johnson urges students to voice their concerns to their professors.
“Have a conversation, a frank conversation with the professor and ask them about the content, about the pacing and to just point out some of the things since I think the professors will at least be willing to hear them out.” Says Johnson.
Johnson contends the new academic calendar gives long term advantages to students like Graves and Hosa. He says now that course credits have been converted students can get an earlier start on job searches or internships.
“One of the main goals is that one is the ease of credit transfer for students who have taken some courses on a quarter basis, some on semesters. The other one of the benefits is that with students getting out a little bit earlier in the school year now, they’re going to be, the different internships and job opportunities are going to be available to them.”
Ohio State University is among the last state campus to change to semesters. On Sunday, more than 10-thousand Ohio State students will graduate.
WOSU Intern Kayley Doyle contributed to this story.