LIMA — The job will be massive, but when the transition from quarters to semesters is complete, local officials believe the effort will benefit schools and students.
Rhodes State College, OSU-Lima and Wright State-Celina have all begun converting to semesters, a task that won’t be complete until the fall of 2012. It will force schools to look at every facet of their programming and infrastructure.
“We are going to look at all the curriculum, and that is rarely done. That is probably a once in a lifetime thing for most of us,” said Roberto Gutierrez, vice president for academic affairs at Rhodes.
Fewer than 15 public schools around the state are still on quarters. They will convert, a mandate from the Ohio Board of Regents. Local students won’t see tuition hikes and won’t lose credits because of the transition.
“They will primarily see a difference in stop and start times,” said OSU-Lima Dean and Director John Snyder. “They should see no difference in the time to graduation or the cost of their education or an increase in requirements.”
Classes will start sooner, in late August, but get out in early May, rather than June.
The move allows for easier student transitions from one school to another, especially positive for students moving from a two- to a four-year institution.
Rhodes is looking at moving from a 10-week quarter to 15 weeks plus one week for exams. OSU is going with a 14-week semester, plus an exam week. OSU’s medical and law schools are already on semesters.
Smaller sections will likely be available within Rhodes semesters, President Debra McCurdy said. The sections would allow for accelerated programs.
“For some, 15 weeks will not work,” she said “And if it doesn’t, for them a five- or seven-week, whatever we come up with, are really there to service the students.”
OSU-Lima will offer an accelerated May session, in addition to a traditional summer semester. The semester format will be better for students looking for summer jobs, Snyder said. Before, students on semesters had already gotten jobs before an OSU-Lima student became available for work.
“There is actually more opportunity here for people to be creative with when they need to be employed over the summer or when they need to get some course work,” he said.
The curriculum content work for OSU-Lima will be done in Columbus. Local officials will figure out space and time for courses, Snyder said.
Rhodes has established a steering committee and six smaller committees. It will involve the entire campus, McCurdy said. Every class for the school’s 45 majors and 60 certificates will get examined.
“Every course changes,” she said. “Every program will come up under some level of review. It is a wonderful opportunity to be able to take what you have at the college and look and review all of what is there.”
School infrastructures, including registration and advising, all will change. OSU-Lima and Rhodes officials are working together to work out facility questions.
McCurdy went through a conversion at her last job in Georgia. Typically enrollment drops a little bit, she said, but then increases when students realize their options.