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April 2012

Quarters to Semesters Update 

April 2012

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

Dear Colleagues,

Ohio State’s final academic quarter began last week, almost exactly three years since the University Senate’s endorsement of the move to semesters. In this 30th issue of QSU, like its 29 predecessors, we want to keep you apprised of the latest efforts to ensure that our transition from quarters to semesters is as seamless as possible. For this issue, we have invited Carol Whitacre, vice president of research, to tell us what her office is doing to prepare for the calendar shift.

Getting Ready for Semesters: The Office of Research.
By Caroline C. Whitacre, Vice President, Office of Research

The Office of Research has been fully involved in the semester conversion process from the beginning, primarily through its membership on the Semester Conversion Executive Coordinating Committee. The conversion raises a number of issues for researchers across campus.

The first such issue has to do with faculty effort on grants. Many individuals have been working hard on this issue over the past two years, especially James Beatty (Physics), Susan Williams (OAA), Leslie Flesch (Business and Finance), and Anne Moffat (Research). They have focused on the impact of semesters on faculty with nine-month appointments. Last summer, Ohio State faculty with nine-month appointments were permitted to charge only 2.5 months of summer salary to federal grants rather than three months as done previously. This change came as a result of more stringent audit interpretation of federal regulations. Because of the move to semesters, faculty can only charge 2.25 months of off duty compensation to their grants in 2012. This change to 2.25 months is only for 2012 because of the shorter ‘year’ as we transition from quarters to semesters. A more detailed description of this requirement and timeframe is available here.

Appointment of graduate research associates is also of utmost importance as we make the transition to semesters. The Graduate School has developed a semester version of the Graduate School Handbook which outlines the appointment process in detail.

Finally, we have begun scheduling some important annual events for the upcoming fall semester. Many events will be earlier than in the past since we will be starting fall semester almost a full month earlier than fall quarter. For example, the State of Research address will be held on Tuesday, October 2. Also, earlier deadlines may apply for the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum and the Hayes Graduate Research Forum. Updates will be posted on the OR web page,

Semester conversion beyond Ohio State: Wright State University, University of Cincinnati among those also making the shift.

By this coming autumn, all of Ohio’s public institutions of higher education—universities, two- and four-year colleges, and technical schools—will be on a semester calendar. Here is what our partners at Wright State and the University of Cincinnati have been doing to ready themselves for the new academic calendar.

The Semester Conversion at Wright State University is in good shape. Final edits are being made on the curriculum and everything should be in place before registration begins for fall, 2012. As the schedule will be completely new, WSU is planning to post the fall, 2012 schedule two weeks early to give students and faculty an opportunity to review the changes. A pilot group of volunteer students from across campus has been selected to register two weeks early to test the system.

Students are aware of the semester conversion, are running DARS degree audits, and are scheduling meetings with their advisors. As an alternative to our electronic MAP (individual advising plan) we are offering a paper format. This will allow students two different options for creating and submitting the plan. A “Take 5”; campaign will be launched in spring quarter to remind students to enroll for five classes (15 semester hours) when they register for fall classes. A good deal of time is now being committed to processes and procedures. Websites and materials are being converted. The 2012-13 academic catalog is being constructed, which will combine the undergraduate and graduate catalogs and be available only online. While items will undoubtedly arise unexpectedly, we are making very good progress on the conversion and will make a seamless (hopefully) transition on August 27, 2012.

At the University of Cincinnati, we continue to move forward with preparations for calendar conversion effective August 27. Faculty are finalizing semester syllabi, advisers are working with students to complete IAPs (Individual Advising Plans), students are planning a cookout in May, and we are wrapping up changes to board rules and other policies. 

To date, 8,500 semester courses have been ordered for fall term; registration for students will open on April 9. Degree audits have been finalized, and our conversion web site continues to see a great deal of traffic with about 20,000 unique hits each month. For the record, as of Monday, March 26, 7,500 IAPs have been created, 3,250 have been agreed to by students, and another 650 are in process. Our goal is 20,000, so we are about 40% there. As an added bonus, we have upgraded our schedule of classes, degree programs website, and catalog. And best of all, our gift to our Ohio colleagues is that the college number will disappear from the course ID, vastly simplifying credit evaluation for transfer students.

Academic records recalculation. Ohio State’s conversion to the semester calendar requires a recalculation of academic records from quarter hours to the semester equivalent. On April 15, the university will make this recalculation by multiplying by .67 the cumulative credit hours attempted and completed by each student under the quarter system. The recalculation of cumulative statistics will not change a student’s GPA and will have no impact on Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for financial aid. Any retroactive changes to the academic record that alter hour-based student statistics after April 15 will be recalculated to cumulative semester credit hours. 

The recalculated statistics will appear after spring quarter 2012 and before summer term 2012 on Advising Reports. They will also be noted on the official transcript of any student who started under the quarter system and who will continue under the semester system.

As you can see from this issue of QSU, the university is continuing to take all the necessary steps to move us to semesters. For the last three years, countless faculty, staff, students, and administrators have worked to make the transition happen. The success of this process will be thanks to the efforts and great good will of our entire university community.


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

 Steven S. Fink
Associate Executive Dean,
Curriculum and Instruction,
College of Arts and Sciences, and Co-Chair,
Semester Conversion Coordinating Committee

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