CWU Exploring Semester-Based System

Students at Central Washington University could be facing slightly longer academic courses.

The school is looking at the possibility of transitioning from it's current quarter system, to semesters.

Some students we spoke with today aren't too fond of the idea.

"For law and justice, it can be really taxing to have the same professor, working on the same types of cases, doing the same types of things over and over and over," said law and justice major J.D. Charest, "Because a lot of cases we read and a lot of stuff we do are really detail oriented."

Administrators say the school has spent the last year and a half researching the benefits of semesters versus quarters -- and whether it would be a better fit for the university.

A typical quarter lasts about 10 weeks, while semesters are around 15.

To get a grasp on student opinion, the school asked student body representatives to hand out a survey.

More than 80% of those students in the survey panned the idea of switching to semesters, they say it shouldn't take more than 10 weeks to complete a course.

Student body representatives say they aren't surprised by those results.

"If you go to a semester system, you really only get two chances in the year," said student body president Bryan Elliott, "So if you have a bad [semester] Or something, granted a longer time to learn the material, but if something happens; family emergency, you miss some classes, and you don't make it through a class, that class may not be offered again for a full year."

But it's not quite that cut and dry -- Elliott also knows semesters have advantages such as more time to master subjects, and less professor turnover.

"If you're graduating in may, you get a month's head start of all your peers in finding a job," said Ellott, "There's definitely some benefits to semesters, and we're trying to get a whole comprehensive picture of what the conversion process would look like."

A decision should be made within a year--but any change is a bad idea, according to some

"Some of us had made four year plans based on quarters," said Charest, "For us to switch it, it's a little scary."

Administrators say about 80% of of the country's universities are on a semester system -- Washington State University is the only school in the state of Washington to use that system.