At its March 27 meeting, Wright State University's Board of Trustees unanimously approved a resolution to convert the academic calendar from the quarter system to semesters.

"The target for the conversion is Fall 2012," said Thomas Sudkamp, co-chair of the Exploratory Committee on the Transition from Quarters to Semesters and president of Wright State's faculty. "An important part of our process is to guarantee that the calendar conversion does not adversely affect either the time to graduation or the cost for students who entered Wright State on the quarter system."

The University System of Ohio's (USO) Strategic Plan for Higher Education called for all Ohio public universities on the quarter system to strongly consider converting to a semester academic system. In response to the USO call, Wright State's Faculty Senate authorized an Exploratory Committee on the Transition from Quarters to Semesters. The committee, made up of faculty, staff, students, and administrators, produced a transition plan and a timeline for the conversion and presented both to the university community at the February Faculty Senate meeting. At the March meeting, the Faculty Senate, with support from the AAUP-WSU, recommended a conversion to semesters no earlier than Fall 2012. This recommendation was subsequently presented to the Board of Trustees for approval.

With the official approval of the Board of Trustees, the Provost's Office and Faculty Governance are moving rapidly to jointly create a Semesters Transition Team (STT) to carry out the tasks identified in the transition plan. The Team will work with representatives from Sinclair and Clark State Community Colleges to create a unified regional approach to the transition.

"Wright State's move to a semester calendar represents a watershed moment in the university's history, for it permits us to rethink, within the context of the 21st century global community, virtually everything that currently defines the university, particularly the curriculum," said Lillie Howard, senior vice president for curriculum and instruction and committee co-chair.

"We have not experienced a time like this since the founding of the university more than 40 years ago," Howard explained. "The move to a semester calendar offers faculty the rare opportunity to re-envision and reinvent the entire curriculum, with a strategic eye toward creating transformative pedagogies and global educational experiences for our students that will serve them well into the future. It's a heady time!"

More than 90 percent of the universities in the United States are on semester calendars. The trustees at both the University of Cincinnati (UC) and Ohio University (OU) have voted to adopt the semester calendar. The Ohio State University (OSU) Senate recently approved a conversion to semesters; the recommendation will be voted on by their Board of Trustees this month.

Wright State's transition to semesters will produce a calendar that is in alignment with other universities to facilitate collaborative academic programs, student transfers, and articulation. In making the transition, Wright State faculty will have the opportunity to work with faculty at the three other four-year institutions—UC, OU, and OSU—that are also moving to a semester calendar, as well as with faculty at two-year partner schools—Sinclair Community College, Clark State Community College, and Edison Community College.

"It makes sense that we would collaborate, where possible, on the redesign of General Education transfer module courses and TAG (Transfer Assurance Guides) courses that are currently approved by the Ohio Board of Regents for all of our institutions," said Howard. "Some of our deans have already initiated this conversation with their counterparts at the other institutions."

"The conversion to semesters presents a daunting challenge, but also offers a unique opportunity," said Sudkamp. "Within the next year, the faculty will review all aspects of the curriculum, from university-wide programs like General Education and Writing Across the Curriculum to the details of each individual certificate, bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. program. This global revision of the curriculum provides the opportunity to create innovative programs that meet the needs of our students in the 21st century."