Dynamic issue of quarters versus semesters sends task force into data-gathering mode
ATHENS, Ohio (March 26, 2007) -- The Task Force on the Academic Calendar and System intends to gather as much data as possible before making its recommendation on whether to stay on the quarter system or switch to semesters. Five subcommittees, each taking on an area for further investigation, have divided the research.
The task force recently was granted an extension on its deadline to submit its final recommendation by the end of spring quarter. In January, President Roderick McDavis charged the group with recommending quarters or semesters. He also tasked the group with recommending the best academic calendar -- when the university should start and stop classes (including whether or not to preserve the long winter intersession). McDavis, who has allowed the group to submit its proposal this summer, acknowledged that the complex issue requires in-depth research.
"I felt that it's more important to get the report right than to get it by the end of the spring quarter," he said.
Five teams of four task force members each will handle one focus area. The subcommittee assignment areas are:
- Investigating experiences of other institutions: This group will talk with universities that switched from quarters to semesters as well as those that decided not to make the change
- Developing surveys: At this time, this group is planning a survey of three groups -- faculty, students and staff
- Modeling costs: This group is considering the effect that a decision to stay on quarters or move to semesters would have on workloads, budgets and other areas
- Interviewing representatives from various "functional areas": This subcommittee's members will ask how scheduling and the calendar affect interviewees from Admissions, Financial Aid, Office of Research and Creative Activity, and internship programs
- Coordinating a communication plan: Members will determine how to keep campus apprised of the task force's progress
"We really want to focus on how people do their jobs, and all of this is tied to academic quality and our competitive position as an institution," said Professor Phyllis Bernt, task force chair.
The group, which meets every other Wednesday, will convene for the fourth time this week. The meeting minutes, membership roster, schedule and guiding principles are on its new Web site (www.its.ohiou.edu/calendar).
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Written by: Elizabeth Boyle
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