Retired Action Project 7

Supporting Student Success During the
Quarters to Semesters Transition

Describe this Action Project's goal in 100 words or fewer:

Washington State Community College will design and implement a process for smoothly transitioning students who start their program of studies in the quarter system but graduate in the semester system. The process will support students' academic success and not require that they expend additional time or expense as a result of the transition.

Describe briefly your institution's reasons for taking on this Action Project now -- why the project and its goals are high among your current priorities:

Rationale: Washington State Community College will transition from the quarter system to the semester system with an effective date of fall term 2012. The transition has been mandated as part of the strategic plan for higher education in Ohio. The statewide transition of the 17 colleges and universities currently on the quarter system will enhance and solidify a unified higher education system and allow for smoother articulation and transfer of credit across the state.

Problem: WSCC must effectively transition all of its processes, services, courses, and academic programs from the quarter system to the semester system in a timeframe that allows students and advisors to plan for and achieve academic success without expending additional time or expense.

Opportunity: The semester transition project will provide an opportunity for WSCC to review and improve key processes, services, courses, and academic programs as a part of the transition.

List the organizational areas - -institutional departments, programs, divisions, or units -- most affected by or involved in this Action Project:

The Action Project will affect most major functional areas of the college and will engage employees cross-departmentally. The project will be co-chaired by the Chief Academic Officer and the Senior Director of Admissions & Advising

Team members will represent the following departments and stakeholders:

  • Records Office
  • Business Officer
  • Student Services Office
    • Advising
    • Financial Aid
    • Communications Representative
  • Academic Deans
  • Faculty Representatives
    • Arts & Sciences Division
    • Business, Industrial & Engineering Technologies Division
    • Health Sciences Division
  • Learning Center
  • Students
    • Full-Time
    • Part-Time

Name and describe briefly the key organizational process(es) that you expect this Action Project to change or improve:

The Action Project will affect all processes associated with advising, supporting, and communicating with students.

  1. Advising processes will be aligned with other institutional changes resulting from the quarters to semesters transition: curricular changes, records office changes, communications changes, business office changes.

  2. A quarters to semesters advising process will be created and the process will be mapped.

  3. A quarters to semesters advising handbook and webpage will be created.

  4. Advisors will be trained in quarters to semesters advising.

  5. The advising process will be implemented and monitored for effectiveness.

Explain the rationale for the length of time planned for this Action Project (from kickoff to target completion):

The project timeline will require one year. This project will be accomplished concurrently with other Quarters to Semesters transition projects including the revision of all curriculum to semester time frame and the transition of the business and records office to the semester system.

TaskWhoCompleted By
1. Recruit project team members Project Co-Chairs and Continuous Improvement Team March 1, 2010
2. Process map the advising process for students who will start in the quarter system and graduate in the semester system. Create a Quarters to Semesters FAQ webpage for the college website. Project Team April 1,2010
3. Create a Gantt chart with specific tasks, timeline, and responsibilities Project Team May 1, 2010
4. Create and implement a communication plan including a Q2S handbook and related web pages. Project Team and Public Relations Staff June 1, 2010
5. Begin communication strategies Public Relations Staff Beginning June 15, 2010 and continuing through fall 2012
6. Implement and monitor advising process Student Services and Faculty Advisers Beginning spring 2011 and continuing through fall 2012 and beyond.

Describe how you plan to monitor how successfully your efforts on this Action Project are progressing:

  1. A cross-departmental core team will guide the project. From time to time, additional sub-committees will be established to plan and implement various aspects of the project. Sub-committees will be led by a core team member. The core team and subcommittees will maintain records of their work on a SharePoint site established for the project. Microsoft Project software will be used to establish timelines, responsibilities, and task completions.

  2. The core team will make regular update reports at faculty and staff meetings and through the On Campus newsletter. The core team leaders will also regularly update the Continuous Improvement Team, the President's Cabinet, the President's Strategic Team, and the Board of Trustees.

Describe the overall "outcome" measures or indicators that will tell you whether this Action Project has been a success or failure in achieving its goals:

Success will be defined by the creation and implementation of a Quarters to Semesters advising process that:

  1. Serves students fairly regardless of where they are in their program completion.

  2. Doesn't result in additional financial cost to students simply because we are changing to semesters.

  3. Doesn't require students to take significantly longer to complete their programs of study simply because we are changing to semesters.

  4. Is well communicated to students and advisors as well as other internal and external stakeholders.

  5. Supports students' learning outcomes.

  6. Is fully in place by spring 2011.

  7. Is accomplished within budget and with anticipation of little if any additional funds available to support the change.

Progress on these measures will be monitored through electronic surveys of students and advisors conducted in both the formative and summative stages of the project.


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