Dexter lawn. Credit: Tiana Reber | Mustang News

Cal Poly is set to be the final California State University campus to switch to semesters, despite years of pushback from the campus community.

Calling it an “eventual transition,” University Spokesperson Cynthia Lambert said Cal Poly is still finalizing plans with the CSU and has yet to make an official announcement. 

President Jeffrey Armstrong told the Academic Senate the semester system would be implemented no sooner than the 2025-2026 school year.

As opposed to quarter terms, a semester schedule consists of two, 15-week terms in the fall and the spring. Students would take an average of 15 units each term, and classes typically start in late August and end in May.

The transition comes after pressure from CSU Chancellor Joseph Castro. Castro held virtual meetings with all campuses earlier this year, where he made it clear he expected Cal Poly to move to semesters, Lambert said.

At an Oct. 5 Academic Senate meeting, faculty raised concerns over the conversion. They cited Cal Poly’s commitment to rigor and the consequence of faculty having to rework their curricula. 

California Faculty Association (CFA) San Luis Obispo President Lewis Call said the semester debate has persisted throughout his entire 25 years at Cal Poly.

“I’m sorry to hear that it might now actually be happening,” Call said at the meeting. “I have talked to a number of faculty at other CSU campuses who have gone through this transition, and one thing that’s very concerning is that usually the university does not provide the necessary resources to make that shift.”

In 2013, the Pomona, Los Angeles, Bakersfield, San Bernardino and East Bay CSU campuses switched to semesters after a systemwide push from former CSU Chancellor Timothy White. Cal Poly didn’t give in.

At the time, Armstrong told Mustang News he would not focus on semester conversion for “four or five years.” 

Both the Academic Senate and Associated Students Inc. have been against semesters. 

California State University Chancellor’s Office did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

Chloe Lovejoy contributed reporting to this article.

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