Board votes to move to semesters

Nick Schreiter, Student Reporter

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The SCC Board of Governors unanimously voted to move to semesters at its May meeting, setting in motion a change that will affect all areas of the college.
“Having worked in both the quarter and semester systems, I believe students will benefit from the switch to semesters,” said Jeanine Jewell, an English department chair and member of the calendar team that met to establish a model of what such a transition would look like.
“Instead of 10 weeks, they will have 16 weeks to not only learn information, but to demonstrate their knowledge and mastery,” Jewell added.
“Students will also feel less crunched between the end of one quarter and the start of another,” Jewell said.
In addition, two-year and four-year colleges are building more partnerships in a variety of “2 plus 2” formats, and SCC has developed partnerships with a number of four-year universities such as Peru State College, Doane University and the University of Nebraska.
Furthermore, for the past 20 years, higher education has changed. Colleges are more involved with high schools, more students take dual-credit classes on a semester calendar, and more college students are transferring credits from college to college.
“The fact that the SCC calendar will be in sync with other schools, both surrounding colleges and public school systems,” Jewell added, “will benefit the community as SCC offers classes via dual credit and through its learning centers.”
Having SCC switch to semesters will also make it easier to transition into these four-year colleges, because the start times will be much closer.
“Also, students from surrounding 4-year institutions who want to pick up a class will be better served once SCC’s calendar no longer overlaps with their semester classes,” said Jewell.
While the calendar team first looked at having two 15-week semesters and one 10-week summer session, the team eventually recommended two 16-week semesters and a variable-length summer session within a 12-week period.
The team’s proposal presumed a semester calendar would allow programs to continue with 40 weeks of instruction and for instructors to continue on a similar-length calendar if the program felt that was in the best interest of the students and faculty.
The Team has also put together a draft of three one-year academic calendars for 2018-2019, 2019-2020 and 2020-2021.
The 2018-2019 academic year would be continuing on a quarter calendar to allow for time for programs to convert and for other transitions to take place.
The 2019-2020 academic year would be the transition year to the semester, with a short period in July in which short-term classes could be offered along with other transitional work.
This calendar would contain a 16-week Fall Semester starting in August of 2020, a 16-week Spring Semester in January, and a 12-week summer term in June.

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