Campus: CSU, Bakersfield -- April 03, 2001
CSUB Studying Conversion To Semester System
California State University, Bakersfield is studying the feasibility
of converting from the quarter system to the semester system.
CSUB President Tomas Arciniega said the purpose of the study is to examine
all the issues concerning a conversion before making a decision.
The CSU Chancellor's Office has been exploring the possibility of converting
the six quarter-system campuses to semesters as part of Chancellor Charles
B. Reed's commitment to making all CSU campuses more accessible.
Three primary reasons have been cited for conversion:
- Cost savings - Two 15-week semesters instead of three 10-week quarters
would cost less from an administrative standpoint since campuses would
have two registration periods instead of three.
- Improved access - Converting to a semester system would align all
CSU campuses with community colleges and high schools, thus providing
better access. Since all community colleges and high schools in the
state are on the semester system, converting all CSU campuses to a
semester system would mean a smoother transition for students to a
- Improved efficiency - Having all 23 campuses of the nation's largest
university system on a common calendar would achieve greater systemwide
The six CSU campuses on the quarter system are Bakersfield, Cal Poly
San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly Pomona, Los Angeles, Hayward and San Bernardino.
Arciniega said that Reed, "with the full support of the Board of
Trustees, has been exploring how best to move forward with conversion."
He said that the presidents of the affected campuses had raised several
issues, principally about costs associated with such a move. "A
major concern has been securing the additional funding necessary to
support the conversion,"
Arciniega has asked Provost Robert Catlin to chair the study, and "undertake
a systematic consideration of the issue." He also has asked the
deans of CSUB's four schools to discuss it among their faculty "to
secure their advice" before consulting with the Academic Senate
about its recommendation. The president said he wants to complete the
study by mid-May.
He cited factors that he believes makes conversion a viable option for
"From a systemwide perspective, efficiency of operation and student
access are the overriding considerations," he said. "From
our perspective, since conversion appears inevitable, and the system
has secured funds to assist with the process, CSUB should move this
year to begin conversion. If we wait, funding to support conversion
will probably be less generous.
"Also, a semester has a number of advantages for faculty. These
range from more generous funding of sabbaticals to one-third fewer administrative
operations connected to a term's start and close.
"On workload, the most controversial issue, many if not most faculty
would find themselves better off and certainly no worse off than under
the quarter system.
"I believe conversion by all quarter campuses is inevitable and
want us to take advantage of the special inducements now available,"
James George, vice president for undergraduate studies, is involved
with the study. "The president has invited CSUB faculty to consider
it (conversion)," George said. "He believes it's inevitable,
and that we won't get the financial support for conversion later that
we'll get this year. Being on a semester system increases accessibility.
"What the president has asked for is a university-based scrutiny
of the issues, followed by consultation with the Academic Senate. Faculty
input is crucial," George said.
Ken Swisher, a spokesman for the CSU Chancellor's Office, said converting
to semesters makes sense. "The CSU is in the midst of a 10-year
period in which enrollment will grow by about 130,000," he said.
"In the past six years CSU enrollment has grown by about 50,000
to 370,000 systemwide. We want to do everything we can to increase efficiency
and ensure access to
all qualified students. Having all our campuses on a semester system
is an important step in accomplishing that."