By Casey S. Elliott
Retiring College of Health and Human Services Dean Gary Neiman and Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Jeff Giesey will co-direct Ohio University's new Quarters to Semesters Conversion Office.
Executive Vice President and Provost Kathy Krendl named Neiman and Giesey, whose appointments were announced to the Quarters to Semesters Transition Team this morning. The two will be responsible for overseeing the conversion, which is to take place in the fall of 2012, based on a blueprint the transition group will recommend to Krendl by the end of winter quarter.
Giesey, a member of Faculty Senate, will work two-thirds time on the conversion, effective immediately. Neiman will be involved from the outset, but will ramp up that involvement after retiring as dean in June.
The transition team has been meeting since September to develop timelines and guiding principles related to the conversion. During winter quarter, while the transition team completes its work, the conversion will provide support to that group and help create informational materials for students entering the university in fall 2009.
Other tasks will include:
- Assisting the Quarters to Semesters Guidelines Workgroup, which is helping to ensure that curricula review and approval moves forward as efficiently as possible under the existing University Curriculum Council (UCC) process. The workgroup includes members of the transition team, UCC, Individual Course Committee and Faculty Senate's Educational Policy and Student Affairs (EPSA) Committee.
- Establishing program coordinator workgroups for inter-program courses
- Convening the more than 100 quarters-to-semesters coordinators named by chairs and directors to oversee the curriculum work to be done in schools and departments
- Integrating the conversion with UCC's automation project to streamline and improve the course approval process.
The knowledge Giesey and Neiman bring to the table about curriculum conversion was a major factor in their selection, said Interim Associate Provost for Strategic Initiatives Ann Fidler.
"(Giesey) is eminently qualified and well-respected by his colleagues," Fidler said. "He has been serving as chair of the Educational Policy and Student Affairs Committee on Faculty Senate, which along with University Curriculum Council is a key component for the quarters-to-semesters conversion process."
Giesey, who will step down as chair of EPSA but remain on the committee, also serves on the transition team and has assisted with curriculum revisions in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology.
"Gary has a vast array of administrative experience and brings a wealth of knowledge of the university to the (conversion) office," Fidler added. She noted that Neiman has chaired several projects, committees and task forces, most recently the Academic Support Unit Program Review Committee. He also was a faculty member at Kent State University when it moved from quarters to semesters.
Neiman said that conversion took place in 1979, just two years after he joined the faculty to teach speech language pathology. He had previously taught at a semester school.
"I first had to convert courses to a quarter format, and then I had to convert them back to a semester format," he said. "It gave me an opportunity to repackage my information in different ways for students."
Neiman cautions against looking at the conversion as a strictly mathematical switch from quarter to semester hours.
"This is an opportunity to rethink the macro curriculum (and) one's individual contributions to a curriculum and to package (them) in ways that might facilitate student learning in a more effective way," he said. "It's really one of those opportunities to throw everything in the blender and have it come out in more palatable units.
"Faculty are always engaged in fine-tuning their courses," he added, "but this is an opportunity to really remodel their curriculum."
Giesey said his goals for the conversion office mirror the guiding philosophies of the transition overall. Among those is to ensure that students are not harmed academically -- and that, in fact, their education is enhanced -- by the switch to semesters. He also wants to ensure that the transition is done as economically as possible and that the workloads of faculty and staff are not overly taxed by the change.
"We want to minimize the workload on the rest of the campus," he said.