The president’s Semester Review Task Force unanimously recommended that Cal Poly stay on the quarter system Tuesday, ending a months-long debate on the university’s possible conversion to the semester system.
In a report sent to Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong, the task force recommended halting all conversion efforts because it “did not see significant evidence that a calendar conversion from quarters to semesters would result in improved student outcomes.”
Among the findings published in the report were the results of a campus-wide survey on opinions toward switching to semesters. Of the 7,171 respondents, 74 percent were either opposed or strongly opposed, with students being the demographic most opposed to the conversion, according to the report. Faculty followed closely behind with nearly 56 percent opposed or strongly opposed to the switch.
Another factor in the task force’s decision was the estimated cost of conversion — at a minimum it would cost the university $18 million to switch, but the true cost could increase to as high as $21 million.
With these factors in mind, the task force recommended that the university look to improve other areas of the university, rather than converting. It recommended that Cal Poly look to improve curriculum and administrative concerns, of which task force members found “there is much enthusiasm among our constituents,” according to the report.
In a response published on the President’s Office website, Armstrong thanked the task force for its hard work.
“The task force members investigated this issue in a thorough, open-minded way,” Armstrong wrote. “I am grateful to them for the depth of their thinking and their expeditious completion of the assignment.”
Though the task force has recommended abandoning the switch to semesters, Armstrong wrote in the letter that he would continue to seek advice on the topic from the Academic Senate, the Associated Students, Inc. Board of Directors and the Cal Poly community.
Armstrong said he hopes to have enough information to make a recommendation to the California State University system chancellor by the end of winter quarter.
“Rest assured that any changes to the calendar or curriculum would be done with one objective: to strengthen Learn by Doing, which has been an indispensable factor in our students’ success since our founding more than a century ago,” Armstrong wrote.
Two open forums on the subject have been scheduled for the beginning of winter quarter: the first on Jan. 24 and another Jan. 30. Both forums will take place in the pavilion of the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center at 2 p.m.
Kaytlyn Leslie contributed to this report.