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September 29, 2023

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Ohio universities still adjusting after switching from quarters to semesters

The state of Ohio required all of its colleges and universities on a quarter system to switch to semesters by the fall of 2012.

The change was made in order for graduation rates to increase within the state and to help raise the percentage of adult Ohioans with a bachelor’s degree higher than the current 26 percent, which is 5 percentage points less than the national average, said Jeff Robinson, acting director for communications at the Ohio Board of Regents, by email.

“Time and money are the enemies when it comes to students in school,” Robinson said. “When a student runs out of one or the other, he or she is less likely to finish school.”

Dave Kielmeyer, senior director of communications, said the University has been on a semester system since the early 1980’s and knew it was the right way academically to begin with.

“A semester system clearly has benefits and the University recognized it quite sometime ago,” Kielmeyer said. “The positives of a semester versus a quarter system still hold true today and the state of Ohio seems to agree.”

More than 15 schools have made the transition, such as Wright State University, Ohio State University, Ohio University and the University of Cincinnati.

Jeff Giesley, quarter to semester transition co-director at Ohio University, said the change required major planning from many people and had to completely redesign the curriculum for all of the courses. Students have been complaining about the length of the semester since the switch, he said.

“Students have complained about the semester taking forever and them getting tired of the course after 12 weeks,” Giesley said. “It was quite a bit of work on everybody’s behalf.”

The transferring of credits and degree completion are two of the main goals with the transition process, he said.

The semester system change went smoothly and students haven’t complained often, said Kristi Nelson, senior vice provost at the University of Cincinnati.

“Things seem pretty normal, just on a different time frame but other than that things have been moving along and are in really good shape,” Nelson said.

Schools on semesters will make it easier for students to transfer their credits, without losing time or credits in the process, Robinson said.

“Everyone is on the same schedule, and a single academic calendar will increase student transfer, mobility, student success and system-wide efficiencies.”

Junior Alexandria Lahey said she enjoys being on semesters because it helps her get to know her professors more.

“It’s an opportunity to get to know your professor a little bit more, especially if you only get that professor for one class,” Lahey said. “I don’t understand how classes can be that quick with quarters and semesters already go by pretty fast.”

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