Pros, cons weighed with quarter system

February 21, 2013


Alice Essien
Staff Reporter


Doing anything in 10-12 weeks that would take others 16-19 weeks to complete is considered challenging, but that is exactly what is done at Tech.


Since 1967, Tech has operated on a quarter academic calendar but awards the same credit hours as a semester school and is the only university in Louisiana that does so.


When working on a quarter calendar, three quarters would equal two semesters at most universities operating on a semester calendar. The quarter calendar allows students to take on more material in a shorter amount of time, thus lessening the time it takes to get a degree.


With quarters being shorter than semesters, the quarter calendar allows students to take lighter class loads.


For example, on a semester calendar, the full-time undergrad class load would consist of 12 credit hours, while on a quarter calendar eight credit hours would be considered full time.


The quarter calendar keeps Bob Vento, University Registrar, and other faculty members on their toes year round.


“As an administrator, it’s a tough thing to do because you’re doing things more rapidly,” Vento said. “As record keeper for the institution, we handle all registration, procreation of schedules, grading and transcriptions and that has to be done more times a year on a quarter calendar. We produce four full graduations a year. Most schools don’t do that and others barely produce two.”


Vento believes the quarter calendar aids students more in preparation for the future.


The quarter calendar forces students to learn and work at a faster pace.


“You have no time to procrastinate. You have to stay in tune with your work,” Vento said. “This prepares our students better for life, the job world, graduate school and professional school especially.”


Jeremy Mhire, a political science professor, favors the quarter calendar because it allows students to traverse more in an academic year.


“Substantially over time you’re able to study more subjects than you would on a semester calendar,” Mhire said. “In order to explore more subject you are forced to move through things more quickly. The drawback is that sometimes you can’t explore them as thoroughly, but we compensate for that by narrowing the items of focus to add that depth.”


The quarter calendar is favorable amongst some students.


Breanna Jones, a senior accounting major, transferred from a semester school to Tech and enjoys the lighter class load.


“When I was at my semester school, I was taking anywhere between five and eight classes each semester and it was a lot to keep up with.” Jones said. “Here at Tech, I take three or four classes a quarter.”


Others oppose the quarter calendar because of its rapid pace. Jonathan Whitehurst, a freshman civil engineering major, finds the quarter system crippling.


“Although there is a smaller class load, the fast pace teaching can easily get the best of you,” Whitehurst said. “It’s very important, more so with the quarter calendar, that you limit your procrastination and keep up with the pace. Once you get behind it’s very hard to catch back up and 10 weeks have gone by before you know it.”


Email comments to eae008@latech.edu.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *