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July 2011

Quarters to Semesters Update 

July 2011

Dear Colleagues,

As Ohio State’s final academic year on the quarter system comes to a close, in this issue of QSU we want to provide some important reminders to make the calendar transition as smooth as possible.

You should be aware that…

  • A formal calendar was approved and is available at Please pay special attention to start and end dates and exam schedules.
  • A distinctive feature of the new calendar is the May session, which will be inaugurated in May, 2013. Information about this four-week session within the summer term is available at
  • A semester credit hour has been defined by the Ohio Board of Regents as 750 minutes of formalized instruction that typically requires students to work on out-of-class assignments an average of twice the amount of time as the amount of formalized instruction (i.e., 1500 minutes per credit hour). A weekly semester calendar anchored around a 55-minute class block and a course numbering system for semester-based courses have been developed.
  • All semester-based programs -- undergraduate, graduate, and professional -- are in the final stages of review and approval. Academic advisers have details of these programs. We are in the final stages of approving all semester-based courses.
  • Electronic templates have been developed for the submission of the semester-based courses and programs for all units. In the future, they will substantially streamline the submission/review of new/revised courses and programs.
  • Considerable attention has been paid to easing the semester transition for students:
    • A pledge to students has been created to assure students that their progress to degree will not be hampered if they follow the guidelines set forth in the pledge.
    • The Graduate School Handbook has been revised for the semester calendar.
    • An online semester course conversion guide has been developed to help users find information about equivalent, transitional, and new courses and converted sequences. The link to the course conversion guide is available on right-hand side bar of the Office of Academic Affairs semester conversion web site.
    • Academic advising has been a major focus.
      • A Transitional Academic Plan (TAP) has been developed to help map the courses students need to fulfill their remaining curricular requirements.
      • In addition to the TAP, enhanced functionality in the Student Information System (SIS) will create checklist items to identify and remind students who still need to complete a plan.
      • The Office of the University Registrar is developing multiple versions of the Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS) to help both advisors and students track the conversion of completed course work and progress toward a degree.
      • Funds have been made available to the colleges and regional campuses to enhance the advising process.
    • The Undergraduate Student Government, in coordination with the Offices of Academic Affairs, Student Life, and the Chief Information Officer, is in the process of creating the MySwitch website, a portal through which students can access information about semester conversion.
    • The University Center for the Advancement of Teaching (UCAT) has been holding a variety of workshops and Course Design Institutes to assist faculty in effectively creating and adapting courses to the semester calendar. 
    • Academic support systems and their functionality on the semester calendar have been thoroughly reviewed.
    • Classroom usage under semesters has been projected and analyzed to ensure that Ohio State will have the right amount and types of instructional space on the semester calendar.
    • Issues involving information technology—for example, enterprise-level applications for the student, finance, and human resources areas and local systems in the colleges and business offices—are being addressed.
    • Core business processes in all business office areas affected by the conversion of the academic calendar have been identified and are being addressed, as necessary, to perform effectively on the semester calendar.
  • The Rules of the University Faculty have been revised to accommodate the changes necessitated by the calendar conversion.

As these results clearly demonstrate, the move to semesters is truly a university-wide effort. In calling on the expertise of an ever-growing number of colleagues throughout the institution, the semester conversion may well be the most encompassing example to date of the “One Ohio State” concept. It is thanks to the continuing good will of all these colleagues that Ohio State will be ready to make the switch to semesters in June, 2012. We continue to be gratified by their selflessness in doing this hard work.


 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,