By Christopher Galvan
The Cal Poly Pomona Semester Conversion Committee held its first of two campus forums to educate students about the quarter-to-semester conversion slated for fall 2018.
The forum, held on Tuesday in the Bronco Student Center, opened with a presentation by Director of Semester Conversion Francelina Neto. The event also included a question-and-answer session for students, faculty and staff with Associated Students, Inc. representatives and other committee members.
Neto said that students need to be more aware of the semester conversion process, even though the majority of students currently enrolled will have graduated by the time the university switches to semesters.
“We want to create awareness so students start planning now and know [conversion] is coming,” said Neto, who is also a mechanical engineering professor. “Those students that will not graduate before the conversion goes live maybe are not prepared.”
Incoming freshman and transfer students will now have information about the semester conversion, said Neto.
“In order to help prepare students from the start we are going to be educating incoming freshman and transfer students with presentations from committee members and faculty during the orientations,” said Neto. “They will be able to ask questions and see how they might be affected by this transition.”
Neto said that the culture of academic advising at CPP needs to change for faculty to better predict the needs of students transitioning into the semester calendar. In order for departments to accurately predict how many sections they will need to provide during a given term, students need to be active in the advising process, Neto said. Given that classes will be available twice a year on the semester system as opposed to three times per year on the quarter system, it is imperative that faculty know how many students need what courses.
“There are lots of things advisors cannot do because they do not know your working constraints or what courses you want to take,” said Neto. “Students can start themselves by creating a plan of studies and then going to their advisors to see if it is feasible. Not only does it save time, but the student has more time to look into other details.”
CPP is among six other California State University campuses switching to the semester system as part of an initiative to better align the calendars of all 23 campuses. The university says that the semester system will allow for more involved and meaningful research projects, and provide students the time to foster deeper mentoring relationships with professors.
Although the CSU and CPP say that the semester system will benefit all campuses, some students feel that quarters are better than semesters. Fourth-year public relations student Cynthia Garcia said that the quarter system is an important part of the educational structure for students.
“I’m going to be gone before the conversion happens,” said Garcia. “But for the students that will be here it’s going to be pretty bad for them; I think that students prefer quarters. I saw on Facebook that a student said they decided to come to Cal Poly Pomona because it is a quarter system school.”
ASI Attorney General and fourth-year political science student Andrea Cendejas said she would like to see more student awareness about the conversion.
“We are trying to spread awareness,” said Cendejas. “Students need to start thinking about whether or not they are going to be here in 2018. Some students think they might not be here, but are not sure. These forums are to designed start creating awareness and help students think about the semester conversion and plan ahead.”
Jairo Pineda / The Poly Post
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