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CSU pushes Poly toward a semester schedule 

Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong announced March 11 that the school plans to abandon the quarter system and schedule its course offerings by semester, despite an in-house report published in December warning that the costs associated with conversion would outweigh any benefits and that 64.2 percent of students oppose the change.

According to a letter from Armstrong, the decision came after several weeks of “thoughtful conversation” with the California State University chancellor and the presidents of the five other CSU campuses that use quarters. All agreed that the benefits of a common calendar outweigh individual campus preferences.

The six campuses will convert in phases, with Cal Poly changing its schedule last, sometime around 2020. In the meantime, Armstrong said Cal Poly will focus on other plans to increase graduation rates, improve diversity, and raise funds. Matt Lazier, a university spokesperson, estimated that the school wouldn’t begin serious semester conversion planning until it’s reviewed strategies used at other campuses.

Cal Poly’s Semester Review Task Force estimated that converting the curriculum and campus technology systems could cost $18 to $21 million, but Armstrong said the CSU agreed to cover up to 75 percent of the costs.

“The money’s as secure as anything can be when we’re talking about 10 years down the road,” Lazier said.

Armstrong acknowledged that the community’s feelings about quarters run strong, but he described the change as a “reasonable approach.”

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