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September 2012

Quarters to Semesters Update

September 2012

Semesters Are Here!

Dear Colleagues,

On June 18, 2012, Ohio State inaugurated a semester calendar, ending 90 years on the quarter system and opening a new chapter in the university’s history. That milestone moment, three years in the making, was the result of thousands of individual efforts by faculty, staff, students, and administrators. I am grateful for the imagination, enthusiasm, and great good will that you unfailingly brought to this effort.

All of us are especially indebted, however, to two leaders of the conversion process whose role was so vital that the Board of Trustees issued a public expression of appreciation to them. At its June, 2012, meeting, the Board recognized Professors and Faculty Fellows Ann Christy and Steven Fink “individually and collectively, for their leadership and expertise in effectively implementing the university’s conversion from quarters to semesters in a timely and successful manner.” The resolution of appreciation went on to hail Ann and Steve as “extraordinary,” which is a most fitting description of their commitment and contributions.

Ann has now returned to her regular job as associate professor in the Department of Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering. Steve has been named executive associate dean for curriculum and instruction in the College of Arts and Sciences.

I will continue to convene and chair the Semester Conversion Coordinating Committee to review and monitor aspects of the first year of implementation. And you will continue to receive QSU updates every two or three months throughout this academic year.

Semesters thus far: an overview.

  • 12,000 courses and 700 programs were approved for the semester calendar.
  • In June and July we hosted the incoming class through Freshman Orientation to prepare these future students for autumn semester.
  • Summer 2012 enrollment was down approximately 30 percent, a decline anticipated with the advent of semesters. Some 62,500 students across all campuses are enrolled this autumn.
  • Autumn move-in on August 19 went seamlessly, despite the shortened summer timeframe for planning. In addition, the Office of Student Life added two residence halls this semester, which meant an increased number of students for the move-in. A special Move-in Sunday Sundae reception with President Gee was attended by hundreds of parents, all of whom seemed pleased with the move-in process.

Wait lists. As autumn semester enrollments settle, a number of questions have arisen about the class waitlist system. Here are some reminders for spring semester.

  • Waitlist within SIS (Student Information System): Students can sign up for a class waitlist via Buckeyelink and SIS. As spaces open, students are moved from the waitlist to the class in the order they signed up. Important note: When an instructor approves a “Course Enrollment Permission Form,” the electronic waitlist is overridden, and the student with the permission form is added to the class ahead of those on the waitlist.
  • Room capacity: While the class registration process and the electronic waitlist control for room capacity (number of seats or fire code issues), the “Course Enrollment Permission Form” does not. If an instructor, by signing this form, allows more students into a class than the room can accommodate, a department may need to find an alternative space for the class.

If you have questions about waitlists, please contact Senior Associate University Registrar Jack Miner at

Faculty salaries: final payment of 2011-12 and first payment of 2012-13. On the quarter system, nine-month faculty appointments were paid over 12 months, with the first payment in October and the last payment in September of the following academic year. On the semester system, faculty with nine-month appointments will receive their first payment in September and their last payment in August.

This month, September, 2012, nine-month faculty who held appointments in AY 2011-12 and who are re-appointed for AY 2012-13 will receive both their 12th payment from their 2011-2012 quarter system appointment and the 1st payment from their 2012-2013 semester appointment.

payment chart

This overlapping payment will be processed automatically through the payroll system. The portion of the payment associated with the new appointment will be processed as the primary payment and will have all deductions withheld. The 12th payment from the 2011-12 appointment will be processed as a separate additional payment and will be subject only to withholdings for expenses external to the university. Those deductions will include income taxes, retirement contributions, and Medicare (where required). Questions about the September, 2012, paycheck can be directed to 292-2311 or

First May session starts on May 6, 2013. As the table below illustrates, Ohio State’s inaugural four-week May session will start on May 6, 2013, and will conclude on May 31, 2013.


May Session begins

May 6 (M)

Memorial Day - no classes, offices closed

May 27 (M)

May Session ends

May 31 (F)

Here are some other important details about the May session.

  • The May session is considered the first part of the summer term, not the concluding part of the spring semester.
  • Students enrolled full time in spring semester may take up to three credits during the May session with no tuition costs. Fees, however, will continue to be charged. Tuition for enrollment beyond three credits will also be charged.
  • Credit hours earned in the May session will be added to credit hours earned in the summer session to determine the amount of a student’s federal financial aid.

A number of May session courses have been approved, and more are in process. If you would like to propose a course for the May session, please follow the normal curricular process, but do indicate that the course length will be four weeks.

Ohio State has transitioned to semesters as smoothly as any of us could have hoped. The next issue of QSU, to appear in late 2012, will keep you abreast of how the conversion is going.


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

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