CSUB President Mitchell Says Historic Transformation to Semester System Will Contribute to Student Success

CSU Bakersfield President Horace Mitchell today said the University’s historic transformation from a quarter to a semester system will play an important role in improving student success.

“I have said the most significant transformation that would positively affect student outcomes would be the pending conversion of our academic calendar from quarters to semesters, and here we are,” President Mitchell said in welcoming CSUB faculty and staff to the start of the academic year with his annual University Day address.

Seventeen of the CSU’s 23 campuses already are on the semester system. CSUB and CSU Los Angeles were selected to be the first of the remaining six campuses to make the transition in fall 2016.

President Mitchell outlined a number of reasons why CSUB students might benefit from a semester calendar, including:

  • Student learning may be facilitated by the slower pace, allowing students to think about and grapple with difficult material in smaller segments;

  • Virtually all new undergraduate students, whether first-time freshmen or transfer students, experienced a semester schedule prior to matriculating at CSUB and are accustomed to that pace;

  • Students who are struggling academically have more time to seek out academic support and resources without falling too far behind;

  • The longer term may lend itself to making changes in a course within the term in response to student performance and feedback;

  • The semester approach may better accommodate in-depth projects which ask students to conduct original research, engage in a creative production, or other applied experiences by virtue of students’ ability to wait longer for resources such as service learning;

  • Schedules for summer activities designed for faculty and students, such as conferences, in-depth workshops, research opportunities and internships, are often more compatible with a semester calendar in which the academic year ends in May rather than June; and,

  • Students seeking summer employment and graduates seeking entry-level jobs in their chosen fields will be available nearly a month earlier than under the quarter system.

    In addition to the change to semesters, President Mitchell said the University is celebrating the historic start of its first-ever independent doctoral degree in Educational Leadership in the fall semester, making CSU Bakersfield a doctoral-granting university.

    President Mitchell also emphasized the University’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, civility, and free speech by having in place appropriate policies and procedures and by responding to emerging issues through thoughtful early discussions to achieve mutual understanding and positive outcomes.

    “As we think about these issues, we will do well as a campus community to remember the core values we adopted several years ago,” President Mitchell said. “Two of those are nurturing a civil and collegial environment that values the diversity of persons and ideas, and engaging one another with respect, trustworthiness, ethical behavior, and self-reflection.”

    The University Day address is part of a number of activities leading to the start of classes on Monday, Aug. 22. Other activities include the New Student Convocation and Pinning Ceremony at the Icardo Center on Sunday, Aug. 21, at 2 p.m.

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