Discussion re-opened on quarters to semesters

Discussion re-opened on quarters to semesters

The discussion about switching Eastern’s calendar system from quarters to semesters has been on and off for a few years and recently a new push has begun.

According to Julia Smith, president of the faculty organization, there is no evidence supporting that semesters are better than quarters or vice versa.

“It’s just a pain, and it costs,” said Smith.

A recent study done by Cal Poly’s Semester Review Task Force recommended that Cal Poly’s focuses on student and administrative improvements were better options than changing the calendar system from quarters to semesters.

This recommendation was made after the task force found no significant difference between quarters and semesters when it came to student improvement.

If Eastern were to make the transition, major parts of the school would have to change. According to Smith, this would include everything from curriculum revisions to changes in the housing system.

“I can think of a lot of things that would make for better student success,” said Smith.

She said that Eastern should be focused on bettering its general education system.

Eastern’s senate did a poll in the spring asking individual faculty if they would like to see a change from quarters to semesters. Out of 311 of 433 faculty members who participated in the poll, 55 percent were opposed to the transition and 32 percent favored it. Thirteen percent either abstained or were undecided.

ASEWU President D.J. Jigre said that polling of students on the topic done last year by the administration was informal and has encouraged this years administration to get more hard data.

“I think presenting the board of trustees with anything less than a solid, informed summation of the student’s voice would be a disservice to the student community,” said Jigre.

In a costs and savings report done by the faculty committee, the estimated cost of switching from quarters to semesters is about $8.7 million over a three-year span. Older attempts at this switch have been cut short due to funding.

Students who want to get involved can participate in an upcoming poll being done by the ASEWU to get students’ opinions.

According to Jigre, there will also be an open forum meeting hosted by the board of trustees on Nov. 8.

The ASEWU has a spot on the agenda that day to present student opinion. In the afternoon, the board will allow public comment where students can voice their opinions.

Students must sign up to speak beforehand. It is encouraged by the board that students submit written statements, so students who wish not to speak will still be able to submit statements.

Students who want to participate in this public comment session can sign up on the administration page on the EWU website. Students can also email the board at [email protected] to get their spot.

To further inform students on the proposed switch, Jigre said that the ASEWU will be holding an informational session on Nov. 4 in the MPR.

Jigre is organizing a formal suite of committees to inform students about this event, seek out guest speakers and organize presentations.

He is also organizing a committee to handle the food because he wants to make sure that “students are getting their fill of information on a full stomach.”

The board of trustees is expected to make their final decision on the proposed switch on Dec. 3.