If Utah Valley Community College's new president has his way, UVCC could be the first of Utah's nine public colleges and universities to drop the quarter system and adopt a semester schedule.
Kerry D. Romesburg plans to present his proposal next month to the Utah Board of Regents. At 3 p.m. Monday, he will hold an open discussion on the pros and cons of changing to the semester system.The discussion will be in room 204 of the administration building. Faculty, staff, students and the public are invited.
"It looks to me like it's mixed," Romesburg said of faculty and staff views regarding the proposed change. "There will be opposition, there's no question about that. If the reasons for not changing outweigh the reasons for changing, we'll simply back away."
Romesburg said changing to a semester system offers academic and financial advantages to the college, as well as benefits to students.
"Utah Valley Community College is currently unable to meet student demand, and all projections are for that demand to continue to increase through the next 10 to 15 years," he said. "If, as all the literature suggests, a semester system is more efficient in terms of space and facility utilization, enrollment management and administrative expenses, a conversion to a semester calendar must be seriously considered."
Because many UVCC students are concurrently enrolled at Brigham Young University, Romesburg said, a semester system would greatly enhance UVCC's ability to serve those students and facilitate transferring credit between the two schools.
In light of possible revenue reductions that could result from passage of tax-limitation initiatives, the change to a semester schedule could provide needed revenue savings, Romesburg said.
"I would like to move forward with the semester program even if they (the initiatives) don't pass. It makes sense in either case."
Under a semester system, UVCC students would be able to better compete for summer jobs with BYU students, who currently finish classes six weeks earlier than UVCC students.
Despite the disadvantages associated with adoption of a semester system, Romesburg said, "It seems that for Utah Valley Community College, the advantages - academic, financial and student - greatly outweigh the disadvantages."
Academically, a semester system would improve instruction quality by offering more classroom hours per term and longer exposure to each subject, and by eliminating one registration period, one transition week and one examination week, Romesburg said.
In addition, a semester system would require less course preparation and permit more faculty attention to course development, student assessment and advisement, while enhancing textbook use and reducing scheduling problems.
Romesburg said disadvantages would include a reduction in course variety and flexibility for vocational programs. Full-time students would be required to carry more courses at one time than under a quarter system, and faculty would have to revise curricula from the quarter to the semester system.
Financially, the semester system would eliminate one full cycle of admissions, registration, final examinations, financial aid advisement, grade submission and recording. Romesburg said a semester system would better utilize the campus year-round, enhance enrollment and provide increased revenue from slightly longer-term investment opportunities of greater student fees.
Financial disadvantages would include one-time conversion costs and a reduction of bookstore textbook revenues.