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Technical colleges prepare for the switch to semesters
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Georgia’s 26 technical colleges will convert from the quarter to semester system beginning with the fall semester in August 2011.
The Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) has made a commitment to its 190,000 students to assist them through the conversion with minimal disruption to their studies. Beginning this summer and continuing through summer 2011, the state’s technical colleges will offer one-on-one advisement sessions and individualized academic plans to all affected students. Emphasis will be made on easing any student concerns about the conversion and their course credits, graduation dates and financial aid.
The change to a semester academic calendar is in the very best interests of our students,” said TCSG Commissioner Ron Jackson. “We’re a world-class educational system for workforce development, and a major part of our mission is to provide seamless education where calendars and curriculum align and lifelong learning is easily attainable for students of all ages and circumstances.”
The start of the student advisement also signaled the launch of a comprehensive new Web site, which features a series of video messages about the quarters to semesters conversion, plus a frequently asked questions page, the new academic calendar and host of other information for current and prospective TCSG students.
Moving from quarters to semesters will align the technical college academic calendar with those of the state’s K-12 school systems, the University System of Georgia and most of the state’s private colleges and universities. Eighty percent of public and private colleges and universities in the U.S. follow a semester calendar.
“Seamless education is what Georgians need and deserve to prosper in the future and it’s what our workforce needs to stay competitive,” Jackson said. “But seamless education is not possible unless students can move easily between all three of the state’s major educational systems – the TCSG, the University System of Georgia and k-12.” 
Jackson said the system’s budget challenges made the decision a tough one.
“Ultimately though, you can’t delay doing the right thing for our students and the future growth of the technical college system,” he said.
The semester schedule offers many benefits to students — additional instructional time, more in-depth coverage of course content, ease of transfer to other institutions, and calendar alignment that better supports dual and joint enrollment opportunities.
“Make no mistake, we are not relinquishing the mission we hold very dearly — workforce development,” Jackson said. This change will enable technical colleges to enhance and expand on that mission, he added.