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October 2011

Quarters to Semesters Update 

October 2011

Countdown to Semesters!!
8 months and counting
Semesters start on June 18, 2012

Dear Colleagues,

We hope your autumn quarter is off to a fine start. Within months—as the countdown above reminds us—the word “quarter” will have been replaced in the university lexicon by “semester.” That means updating everything from calendars to governance documents to websites to syllabi to student fee notices. The conversion to semesters touches every office and individual in the institution. In this issue of QSU, we want to provide you with a few helpful reminders and update you on the latest efforts to move us smoothly and transparently into the semester system.

Class schedule reminder. On the semester system, classes will vary in length from 55 minutes to 165 minutes. Shorter classes will meet three, four, or five days per week, while longer classes will meet once or twice weekly. To view the approved weekly class schedule, please go to

Semesters and special events. Just as class times have been revised for the semester calendar so must the many programs and events that the university sponsors throughout the year. New schedules are being devised for the Bucks for Charity Drive and Operation Feed, as are the deadlines for Ohio State’s distinguished awards and staff career development grants. Staff Appreciation Week is likely to be held as much as a month earlier than in the past, possibly as early as spring semester. The Office of Human Resources is seeking input from groups across the university, including the Medical Center, the regional campuses, and USAC, and is working with external stakeholders in revising the dates for all such events. We will keep you apprised of these changes when they become final early next year.

Program and course update. In preparation for semesters, all programs and courses must be redesigned for the semester calendar. To date, the Council on Academic Affairs has received approximately 600 semester-based program proposals, and, with the exception of a small number of graduate programs and undergraduate minors (now in the final stage of review), all have been approved. In addition, nearly 6,000 courses have been fully approved and finalized by the University Registrar. The full course review/approval process should be complete this month.

The review process is complex and time intensive. That so much has already been accomplished is due to the heroic efforts of Provost’s Faculty Fellow Ann Christy, Associate Provost Alexis Collier, and Program Manager Melissa Soave. Ohio State is much indebted to them for their diligence and professionalism.

Classrooms update. Many of you are already thinking about your teaching schedule for autumn semester 2012, and your departments have begun conversations with the Registrar’s Office about what courses will be offered then. Over the past six months, scheduling coordinators, curriculum chairs, and others have been meeting with staff members from the Registrar’s Office to plan next autumn’s courses and, so, gauge the demand for classrooms. The Semester Conversion Space Subcommittee is also continuing to work with colleges and departments to determine lab space needs and identify partnerships to better utilize departmentally managed classroom space under semesters.

Meanwhile, the university is anticipating increased enrollments in winter and spring quarters as students try to complete general education or series courses or prepare to graduate before the transition. The Registrar’s Office urges that you consider class size and the number of sections necessary to accommodate the expected increased demand.

We all also need to bear in mind that planning and placement of courses for summer, 2012—Ohio State’s first semester—will begin before the end of this calendar year.

For more information on course planning and scheduling, please contact Associate Registrar Jack Miner. Those of you who have interacted with him know what a wonderful job Jack is doing in coordinating the university’s ongoing classroom needs.

Carmen support for the semester conversion. As a part of the OCIO's support for the transition to semesters, the Carmen team is providing development space for semester courses on the Carmen site. A Carmen Semester Development course shell will automatically be created for each new semester offering. The first of these shells was created in early August, with additional shells being created as the courses appear in SIS, following their approval. More information about this initiative can be found at

As we noted above, and as you surely know by now, Ohio State’s shift to semesters affects all of us. That means that the conversion effort depends on your cooperation and great good will. We continue to be grateful for all that you are doing to ensure its success.


 W. Randy Smith
Vice Provost for Academic Programs and Co-Chair,
Semester Conversion Coordinating Committee

 Steven S. Fink
Associate Professor of English and Co-Chair,
Semester Conversion Coordinating Committee

Questions or comments about the transition to the semester calendar?
Contact Assistant Provost Jay Johnson,