As higher education institutions across Ohio prepare to fully transition to semesters by 2012, about 400 faculty and staff from 24 institutions gathered Wednesday at Wright State University in Dayton for a Quarters to Semesters Summit. Nine representatives of Ohio University's Q2S group were at the event, where schools shared information and questions about their experiences in the process of Q2S conversion.
"The reason we're going to semesters is so we can have a stronger University System of Ohio," Paula Compton, Ohio Board of Regents Associate Vice Chancellor, Articulation and Transfer, said in the opening address. Although Compton acknowledged the transition could be challenging, she added, "I have total confidence in this state, the faculty we work with and the University System of Ohio."
The day-long summit included sessions focusing on curriculum conversion, systems conversion, academic advising and core business processes. A panel presentation featured lessons learned by three schools that have completed the conversion process in recent years: University of Toledo (1997), Lakeland Community College (2000) and Central State University (2005).
Introducing a session on redesigning general education, David Thomas, Ohio University professor of film, called the opportunity that is presented by the Q2S transition "the transformative moment."
During the session, presenter Amy Jessen-Marshall, dean of college programs and associate vice president for academic affairs at Otterbein College, stressed that the global community of the 21st century will be based on interdisciplinary knowledge and action.
"It's going to be about cross-talk," Jessen-Marshall said of the future professional environment. "If we're thinking just about the nuts and bolts and not about the future curriculum we are doing a disservice to our students," she added, referring to the need for general education redesign.
Thomas told the group that general education is vital.
"We've got to reimagine it," Thomas said. "We've got to re-vision it. Reinventing general education is an astonishingly intellectual enterprise and it is going to take everybody coming together."
"It's politically very difficult," Thomas added in reference to changing general education, "and it's probably the most important thing we can do."
Gary Neiman, co-director of the Q2S Transition Office, served as facilitator in a session on the impact of semester conversion on faculty and staff appointments and workloads. David Descutner, University College dean and associate provost for undergraduate studies, participated in a panel discussion about institutional communication.
The event raised awareness of the value of sharing between institutions during the transition process. Closing recommendations included developing a method for ongoing communication between attendees and scheduling another Q2S summit in the future.