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May 2012

Quarters to Semesters Update 

May 2012

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

Dear Colleagues,

As noted above, we are now just weeks away from the start of the semester calendar. In this May issue of QSU, we wanted to share some last-minute student perspectives about the semester switch. For those perspectives, we turned to Nick Messenger, immediate past president, Undergraduate Student Government (USG); Vijay Gadepally, president, Council of Graduate Students (CGS); and Megan Conroy, president, Inter-Professional Council (IPC).

Getting Ready for Semesters: The student point of view.

From Nick Messenger ( The semester switch will bring many exciting new changes and opportunities to Ohio State students. By making this leap forward, we are positioning our university and our students to better compete in the world of 21st-century higher education. This year, it has been my pleasure to partner USG with the Office of Academic Affairs and the Office of Student Life to launch Our goal was to better connect students to all of the information surrounding the semester conversion and ensure that nobody gets lost in the shuffle and that every student can make the most of the many exciting new opportunities that will become available. Having hit over 50,000 views, MySwitch has been and will continue to be a resounding success for the Ohio State community.

From Vijay Gadepally ( The Council of Graduate Students has been involved with planning for the upcoming quarter to semester transition through our participation in a variety of university committees. While CGS has done much to prepare for the conversion, such a change will undoubtedly require our continued attention. I ask that graduate students keep CGS in mind and apprised of any issues you face — be it academic progress, GA appointments, or otherwise. We will continue to keep you informed and work with you to make this transition as smooth as possible.

From Megan Conroy ( For professional students the conversion to semesters will be experienced very differently than by our undergraduate and graduate student counterparts. While students in Law and Medicine will not experience much change in their academic calendar, those in the other professional colleges will see a re-molding of the current curricula. The professional colleges have worked diligently to translate not only single courses but also entire professional degrees into the new academic calendar. As a community of professional students, we are excited to be all on the same academic calendar for the first time. The IPC is excited for the opportunities that the conversion to semesters presents to us to create a stronger, more cohesive community within professional students, as well as the opportunities it creates to better include professional students within the Ohio State community.

Frequently asked questions from MySwitch. The MySwitch website, created by Undergraduate Student Government with input and support from the offices of Academic Affairs and Student Life, has been in operation since September 2011. In that time, as Nick Messenger mentions above, it has had more than 50,000 unique visitors. The site provides students and others with links to advising and scheduling tools, financial aid information, housing deadlines, study abroad and summer jobs considerations, and calendars. It also includes frequently asked questions and answers about the semester conversion. Here are some that the site’s visitors have reviewed most often.

  • When do classes begin and end each year under the semester system?

    Generally, fall semester classes begin on Wednesday of the third or fourth week in August and end the first week in December. Spring semester classes typically begin on Monday of the second week in January and end the third week in April. Dates for academic-year 2012-2013 are available on the academic calendar.

  • How will students know what courses taken on the quarter system will count toward their degrees when they graduate on the semester calendar?

    It is crucial that students work with their advisors during the transition. The Quarter-to-Semester Course Conversion Guide is a helpful tool because it displays the quarter and semester course equivalencies. Details about sequences and bridge courses are also available in the guide.

  • Will three classes per semester be considered full-time?

    No. To graduate in four years, students should take five classes per semester. This means taking classes every day of the week, two or three per day.

  • How will the hours earned on quarters be combined with the hours earned on semesters?

    The Office of the University Registrar will multiply the credit hours taken on the quarter system by .67 to calculate total semester credit hour equivalent.

Summer 2012: Its unique challenges. The transitional summer of 2012 will make it unlike any other academic term, past or future. Here are some of its unique challenges.

  • Summer break in 2012 will be shorter than the summers we are accustomed to on the quarter system. Summer break, 2012, will be 72 days in length, measured from the last day of final examinations on June 7, 2012, to the start of fall semester on August 22, 2012. By contrast, the 2011 summer break was 102 days long. One-time implications of this shorter timeframe include student work schedules, vacation planning, and leasing arrangements.
  • There is no May session in 2012. The inaugural four-week May session will start on May 6, 2013, and will conclude on May 31, 2013.
  • Summer 2012 will consist of a single seven-week session, with classes beginning on Monday, June 18 and concluding on Friday, August 3. Exams will take place Monday, August 6 through Wednesday, August 8.
  • Full-time undergraduate enrollment for summer session, 2012, is 12 credits. Given the one-time shortened length of that session, students should be sure to check with their advisors about how many hours they should plan to take.
  • In anticipation of the nearly 2,000 new international students expected for fall semester 2012, Student Health Services will be conducting eight health screening sessions during the first three weeks of August, one month earlier than on the quarter system.
  • Housing and other dates:

June 10

Summer fees due

June 17

Residence halls open for summer housing

August 8

Residence halls close for the summer except for graduating seniors

August 12

Graduating students move-out after Commencement

Preparing to teach in semesters. The Academy of Teaching invites the campus community to join a discussion about the differences between teaching on the semester vs. quarter system and how faculty, instructors, and GTAs might prepare. A free mini-conference, "The Last Quarter: Preparing to Teach in Semesters," will be held on Friday, May 11, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Room 150 of the Younkin Success Center. Faculty members will share their experiences of teaching in semesters, academic support units will offer tools and resources, and administrators will be on hand to shed light on lingering questions. Registration is now open at

The semester switch at Ohio University. Last month we brought you news of how the University of Cincinnati and Wright State University were readying for the semester calendar. This month, we feature Ohio University and its preparations for the shift.

“Make a plan!” — the focus tag line since the first of the year for Ohio University’s semester transition — was introduced to encourage students to meet with their advisor to finalize a degree completion plan before May 1. The line has taken on added meaning as transition questions have presented opportunities for improvements to normal processes and policy. Groups have stepped up to proactively “make a plan,” then to implement it, addressing situations in ways that often have resulted in longer-term benefits. Examples include improved communication channels between campuses, increased efficiency in scheduling classroom spaces, heightened discussion and development of course delivery formats to serve the needs of multiple student populations, and developing a technology application to facilitate the curriculum approval process. The transition, to date, has gone very smoothly at OHIO, credit for which can be given to the original Transition Team that “Made a plan!” early in the process. Of course, things remain to be done, such as finalizing the fall semester schedule. But the focus will be on thousands of students who will meet with their advisors in one-to-one meetings to map out a plan that will take them successfully through transition. Read more about how OHIO’s focus continues to be on the students’ successful transition at

As at Ohio University, final semester preparations are also in process here at Ohio State. In next month’s QSU, we will share last-minute tips, suggestions, and reminders to help you make the transition as smoothly as possible.


 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,