Semester Conversion Process Challenges Faculty to Transform Curriculum

  • February 5, 2016

As Cal State East Bay prepares to transfer from quarters to semesters by fall 2018, faculty are working through the conversion process. As semester conversion Co-Director Jason Singley noted, “The process of transformation has allowed faculty to rethink and, in many cases, completely redesign their curriculum. The result is a curriculum that has deeper connections with our Intuitional Learning Outcomes and incorporates more high-impact practices that improve student retention and success.”

Several academic departments are taking the challenge of the transformation to heart. The History Department, for example, is using the conversion process to rethink and restart its entire curriculum.

“Initially we were afraid, but now it’s kind of exciting,” said Associate Professor Linda Ivey, who chairs the department. “We are revamping our whole major. It’s a lot of work, but we get to build a major and figure out what we want to teach. It’s a chance to be creative and innovative as we come up with ways to challenge our students to be more creative themselves.”

Ivey also noted that it’s a challenge to ensure that new course offerings meet the necessary requirements to produce expected learning outcomes.

“There’s a lot at stake. Like most public universities, especially in the Cal State system, we’re enrollment- and-numbers driven. So part of my job in this conversion process is to not only make sure that new courses are approved for general studies and major requirements, but also that they are courses that students want to take. It’s a lot of work but it’s also very inspiring. How often do you get to tear down a major and rebuild something new and fresh?”

Eighty percent of CSUEB programs are transforming their curriculum, so the Office of Academic Affairs has set aside additional funding for faculty to take a more transformative approach beyond what will be required to move classwork from quarters to semesters. At the same time, the University has made a pledge to students that during the conversion process it will maintain the quality of education and academic programs and that it will have no impact on their progress toward their degrees.

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