Cal Poly students voted overwhelmingly against a university transition to the semester system in 2013. Now, the push to go to semesters is one that spans the California State University system.
Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) President Jason Colombini has made it clear that Cal Poly has no interest in converting from a quarter to a semester system.
The ASI Board of Directors voted against the switch in December, but California State University (CSU) Chancellor Timothy White has said he is a strong supporter of the conversion.
Of the six remaining CSU campuses on the quarter system, three are already in the process of converting to semesters: CSU Bakersfield, CSU San Bernardino and CSU Los Angeles. Cal Poly, Cal Poly Pomona and CSU East Bay have yet to make any major changes.
CSU East Bay
CSU East Bay is currently using the quarter system, but converting is a possibility.
As of October, there was no set date for the conversion, said Michael Uhlenkamp, director of public affairs for the CSU Office of the Chancellor.
“We are already starting to move forward on the process with Bakersfield and Los Angeles,” Uhlenkamp told the student-run newspaper, The Pioneer. “In terms of East Bay, we haven’t necessarily been engaged in those discussions yet.”
Uhlenkamp said the process will include both CSU executives and campus officials.
Cal Poly Pomona
Cal Poly Pomona is still on the quarter system, but plans are in the works for the conversion. Pomona was originally expected to convert by 2020, but it has recently been moved to 2017.
There have been several meetings about switching to semesters, but no official committees have been created to execute the plan, Pomona’s ASI President Christine Hall said.
There are both pros and cons to switching to semester system, Hall said.
“In a semester system, if you notice by week three or four that you’re struggling in a course, you still have time to intervene and improve your grades,” she said. “But as students of a polytechnic, we will struggle with the after effects. They’re going to have to significantly change our curriculum.”
Hall hopes to include students as much as possible in the discussion, but for now the decision is unclear.
“I’m graduating, but I still feel significantly responsible for what happens to the future of this institution,” Hall said. “The future of Cal Poly Pomona right now is very unknown.”
CSU Bakersfield is currently in the process of converting to the semester system.
Bakersfield’s student-run newspaper, The Runner, reported that the original plan estimated that the switch would occur in the 2014-2015 academic year. But because of budget issues, the switch has become more difficult, CSU Bakersfield’s ASI Vice President of External Affairs Emily Schnell told The Runner.
“It takes a lot of extra hired hands and man power to change to a semester system,” Schnell said. “This is because all of the curriculums have to be reworked.”
Despite the cost, CSU Bakersfield hopes to create a smooth transition for incoming students.
“The main idea behind the switch is so that all 23 schools under the CSU system would have easier transitions between schools, and the administration would be able to function more effectively,” Schnell said.
The conversion to the semester system would highly benefit high school and community college students, Schnell said. The fast-paced quarter system makes that transition difficult.
Bakersfield is now planning to switch to the semester system for the 2016-2017 academic year.
CSU San Bernardino
In May, CSU San Bernardino planned an open forum for students to ask White about the conversion to the semester system. There are still no official plans, but the university is in the process of making those plans.
“The plan is still being evaluated,” said Joe Gutierrez, assistant director of public affairs.
San Bernardino is still using the quarter system.
CSU Los Angeles
In November, Chancellor White visited the CSU Los Angeles campus to meet students and answer questions. Several there were concerned about converting to the semester system.
Converting to the semester system would be beneficial for students because of the fast paced nature of the quarter system, White said at the Los Angeles campus. Transitioning all 23 campuses to the semester system would also create an overall unified CSU system.
“Semesters allow more time for students to learn material and would buy less textbooks,” White told CSU Los Angeles students and faculty.
Although the campus is still on the quarter system, it is planning on converting in Fall 2016.