University Takes Realistic Stance on Academic Calendar Transition

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by Irma Pelt
Senior Staff Writer

Hemmer State University is getting closer to finalizing details that transition the school from a trimester-based academic year to semesters. The change, effective Fall 2012, will move Hemmer in line with more of its institutional peers. The university also anticipates reducing administrative and operational costs with the new timeline.

More than 100 committees were created to aid in the transition planning. June Tuttle, chairwoman of the Trimester to Semester Advisory Committee, estimates that more than 3,000 faculty, staff, and students are represented on those committees. Academic Advisor Alec Haines currently serves on two transition committees.

“It’s a daunting task,” said Haines. “We’ve been asked to look at trimesters and squish everything the university does into semesters instead. That’s a lot of squishing of timelines.”

Haines said that neither of the committees he serves on has considered looking at other institutions that are already using the semester system as guidelines.

“Taking the time to look at what other institutions are doing would have required more person-power than the institution can devote,” explained Tuttle. “We’ve focused our efforts where they are most needed and that is through thousands of hours of discourse weekly about how we’re going to make this work.”

A sample list of assembled committees provided to press included the following:

  • Generating New Complaints About Our Jobs for External Stakeholders, Especially at Conferences
  • Students Arriving in August and Leaving in May: What This Means for Vacation Scheduling
  • You Are Still in Class the Same Number of Hours: Helping Students Make Sense of the System

Tuttle also announced that an additional committee is being formed in light of concerns recently brought to the advisory board.

“The idea of the world ending on December 12, 2012 is terrifying. All of our hard work could be ruined by the Mayan calendar. We’ve assigned a group to analyze Mayan texts and see what their recommendation is on the matter of trimesters versus semesters,” said Tuttle.