What you don’t know about semester conversion

By Amanda Lowe

In the fall of 2003, Northeastern University converts from the current quarter calendar to the new semester calendar.

What does this mean for students?

Major adjustments will be made. With semester conversion, the rhythm of the academic year will change. The new calendar will consist of fifteen week fall and spring semesters, and two seven week summer sessions. The second major adjustment is related to the number of courses each student will take. The number of courses taken will decrease because they will be longer; however the content in these courses will not change.

The final major adjustment is in regards to tuition. According to Executive Vice Provost and head of semester conversion, Coleen Pantaole tuition will not change.

“President Freeland is committed to not make his students pay more,” said Pantaole, “However when you open your first bill you may be in for a shock because tuition will be charged per semester rather than quarter so each individual bill will be larger but there will be fewer bills throughout the year.”

There will be major adjustments but the Vice President of Academic Affairs Tina Penman of the Student Government Association said the students will reap the benefits.

“Semester conversion will improve the academic experience because it will give students a longer time to absorb and understand the material, it will also enhance the student’s cooperative education experience,” Penman said.

Pantaole agrees with Penman.

“The decision has been pending for 40 years. It really heated up in 1990. The faculty argued that the semester is a better time period not only for learning, but also for co-op and exchange programs,” Pantaole said.

The faculty has been devoting their time to the conversion; computer programs and curriculums needed to be rewritten and transition plans needed to be made.

“The whole conversion is pleasantly and surprisingly smooth. It is coming along well. I am very excited. A lot of work has been put into this and will continue to be put into this for the next couple of years but it’s a great chance for faculty to take a global view of their curriculum,” Pantaole said. “The university will be better able to track its students with a new audit program and the web will be better, everything at Northeastern University will be better operated.”

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