Semester Conversion Draft Calendar Prototypes


The semester conversion process is underway at Cal State East Bay with plans to transition to semesters in Fall 2018. On February 3, the Academic Senate charged the Faculty Affairs Committee (FAC) to create a 10-year academic semester calendar for Academic Senate approval by the end of Spring 2015. A FAC subcommittee has studied semester calendars at other CSU campuses and collected external and internal requirements and constraints that apply to the CSUEB semester calendar.

After considering over a dozen possible models and discarding most of them based on the requirements, considerations affecting student learning, and existing norms at East Bay, two prototypes have emerged as possible models for the East Bay academic calendar. The FAC subcommittee now invites comments on the prototypes from all students, faculty, lecturers, and staff.

Please be assured that all comments will be collected, read, and documented. Those comments suggesting alternatives that address the requirements, constraints, and trade-offs provided with each prototype will receive the most serious consideration. It can be difficult to assess calendars for semesters, which are quite different from quarters, without using our current quarter term format as the primary frame of reference. But we urge you to consider the merits of these prototypes in terms of what is possible in a semester system instead of what has become routine under a quarter system.

The idea of "conversion" can mean many different things. For everyone in our campus community, however, the semester conversion process will at some point undoubtedly pose uncomfortable trade-offs. We look forward to receiving your comments that help bring reasonable and equitable balance to the trade-offs that matter to you.

Thank you in advance for your time and for participating in this process. 


NOTE: These semester calendar requirements, constraints, and trade-offs explain the parameters that limit how days are allocated in a CSU East Bay semester calendar. Constructive comments on the prototypes will account for a calendar that continues to conform to the requirements listed here.

Although the Trade-offs logically follow from the requirements and constraints, they are presented here first for those who would rather skip the technical minutiae of semester calendar construction on page 3. Please remain aware, however, that developing an academic calendar that meets the conditions for accreditation and approval of the CSU Chancellor’s Office (CO) is undeniably a process bound in technicalities. 



No trade-offs alter the CO’s 170 Academic Work Days/Academic Year (AY) minimum; it is absolute. Consequently, the CO’s mandated 147 (+/- 2) Instructional Days/AY leaves 23 (+/- 2) Non-Instructional Days/AY. The CSUEB proposal in both presented prototypes is 149 Instructional Days and 21 Non-Instructional Days/AY.

  • IF instruction in a new semester does not begin on a Monday, THEN courses scheduled on Mondays typically meet fewer times than those meeting on other days of the week.
  • IF Thanksgiving Break is 5 days long, THEN several complications arise that could outweigh the benefits of taking the entire week off. First, because Thanksgiving occurs one or two weeks before Final Exams in Fall Semester, taking off an entire week so close to the end of the term is unnecessarily disruptive for most courses. Second, since Labor Day always falls on a Monday earlier in the semester (1st Monday in Sept), a 5-day Thanksgiving Break creates an automatic deficit in numbers of Monday meetings. Third, to regain conformance with the CSU Instructional and Academic Work Day requirements, then, an additional 3 Instructional Days must be added to the beginning of Fall Semester (more than 3 additional days would exceed the required 147 +/- 1 or 2 days per year); this results in a Wednesday start day, adding yet another day to the Monday deficit (second complication, above).
  • IF Thanksgiving Break is 3 days long, THEN those who plan to travel on Wednesday to be at their Thanksgiving holiday destination do not miss a class and the deficit of Monday class meetings is kept at a minimum. On the other hand, the week is very short and impacts Monday-Wednesday courses.
  • IF Winter Break is shorter, THEN programs forgo opportunities to offer Winter Intersession offerings such as special topic or remedial courses. The campus also has less time to recuperate from Fall Semester before a new Spring Semester commences. On the other hand, Spring Semester ends earlier.
  • IF Winter Break is longer, THEN Spring Break, Summer Session(s) and/or Summer Break are shorter. Winter Intersession is longer and/or is scheduled to begin slightly later than in the first few days of the New Year. Also, the campus has more time to recuperate from Fall Semester.
  • IF Spring Break is scheduled earlier/later [at your convenience] or at the same time as [name of your preferred institution], THEN someone else’s preferred Spring Break schedule does not match ours; local school districts have different Spring Break schedules and deciding based solely on that criterion would not be equitable for our campus community. On the other hand, a course scheduling complication that is created when a holiday occurs during the week can be consistently addressed for CSUEB by scheduling Spring Break around Cesar Chavez Day (when appropriate).
  • IF we have more time between Spring and Summer Semesters, THEN Winter Break/Spring Break decrease by the same amount of time. On the other hand, the additional time could allow a May-June Intersession (as at Fresno State), longer Summer Session(s), and/or longer Summer Break.
  • IF Summer Break is longer, THEN Winter Break/Spring Break decrease by the same amount of time.

A. CSU Chancellor’s Office Requirements (Norms and Definitions; HR 2014-01)


 Norms and Definitions

 Proposal for CSUEB

Typical Year The typical academic year shall consist of 147 instructional days, or the equivalent in effort. From year to year and from campus to campus, a variation of plus or minus two days is permissible.


Minimum Work Days

There shall be a minimum of 170 academic work days, or the equivalent in effort, in the academic year.


Maximum Work Days

The work year of an academic year employee shall not exceed 180 workdays, pursuant to the California Faculty Association Collective Bargaining Agreement (Provision 20.4).


Instructional Day

Any Monday through Friday during regular academic terms when class meetings are scheduled on a regular and extensive basis for the purpose of instruction. During a summer term that satisfies the criteria to be equivalent to a full semester, designation of a Saturday as an instructional day will be approved by exception only.

See “Typical Year”

Weekend Work Day

Any Saturday or Sunday that is within the period of instruction for a term and that is counted as an Academic Work Day.


Examination Day

Any day that is set aside for the exclusive purpose of administering final examinations for the term. When comparing campus calendars, institutions which integrate all or part of examination activity with regular instruction will be presumed to have four examination days per term. EIGHT (8) DAYS MAXIMUM MAY BE SCHEDULED.


Registration Day

Any day during the academic year during which faculty members are on duty for the purpose of advising, orientation, course enrollment, and similar activities. For purposes of counting work days, registration days which are also instruction or examination days will not be included a second time.


“Other” Day

Any day during the academic year when faculty members are on duty for such purposes as faculty and departmental conferences, committee meetings, faculty development activities, etc.


Grades Due Days

Any day(s) prior to or at the close of the term that is designated specifically for the purpose of turning in final grades. This day must be included when computing total academic work days. Campuses that schedule grades due over several dates may count up to two (2) days per semester or one (1) day per quarter as academic work days. One day is preferred.


Evaluation Day

Days that are set aside for the reading of examinations and papers and for submission of final grades. A maximum of one (1) day per term may be scheduled.



Any day set aside for graduation ceremonies. Commencement is counted as an academic work day only if faculty participation is expected and normal, and if the day is not otherwise credited as an academic day. Campuses with school commencements extending over several days may count only one (1) day in computing total academic work days.


Academic Work Days

The total of all of the above that occur between the beginning and ending dates of the academic year.



For the Academic Year:

Total Instructional Days  =     149

Total Non-Instructional Academic Work Days  =   +  21

Total Academic Work Days  =     170



B. Academic Holidays (required days off):



C. Operational Requirements:

Grades due days on Tuesdays to leave sufficient time to process student records for following term (Dec 24 not included as a processing day). Includes Summer Session but not Winter Intersession.

Where do 365 days go?


 Category of Allocation 

 Number of Days Per Academic Year

 Cumulative Subtraction from 365 Days in a Year 










Instructional Days


(i.e., 365 – 148 = 217)









Non-Instructional Academic Work Days

(proposed; incl final exam periods not in intersession or summer) 


Days allocated for processing grades after semester ends



Official CSUEB holidays





(approx; not incl final exam periods) 




Winter Break

(proposed; approx; incl intersession; not incl holidays; +/- 5)




Spring Break

(proposed; not incl Cesar Chavez Day holiday which is accounted for as an “official CSUEB holiday,” above)




Summer session

(proposed; approx; incl non-weekend final exam and grading period days)

… which is effectively 0






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