Cal State East Bay Semester Conversion staff recently met with California State University, Los Angeles representatives to discuss CSULA’s recent switch from quarters to semesters, and what advice faculty and staff would give to Cal State East Bay during its transition.
Mike Hedrick, director of semester conversion, said staff at Cal State East Bay have been following the transition at CSULA closely and wanted feedback on how the first year went from a faculty perspective.
Among faculty, there was a consensus that the transition — especially the first semester — was difficult.
“Summer was shorter and some people felt that contributed to some burnout by the end of the first semester,” Hedrick said. “It made the semester feel very long for faculty and students. We are aware of how the shortened summer of 2018 will impact faculty, and our Semester Conversion faculty development subcommittee is planning workshops and events to help faculty through the first year of teaching under semesters in an effort to lessen the incidents of burnout.”
The CSULA representatives also expressed the importance of bridge or “gap” classes — courses designed to help ensure material is still as fully covered in semesters as it would be on a quarter system.
“When you have a sequence course that is two or three quarters, that could leave you short in terms of covering content when you go to semesters,” Hedrick said. “A shortened bridge course makes sure to get students caught up on material and in the right academic framework, so they still graduate on time.”
Hedrick said he and others plan to make bridge classes a part of the Cal State East Bay plan right away.
He added that the meeting, also attended by CSU San Bernardino (which is converting two years from now), was invaluable.
“The nice thing about [this process] is CSU Bakersfield and CSULA were the first two campuses to convert and they’ve been very helpful to those of us behind them and for that we are thankful.”