Graduation deadline passes for quarter system students

The old quarter system used by the U until the mid-’90s reached its final phase-out in early May as the 2004-2005 school year ended.

The U will not allow any more students that began schooling under the quarter system to graduate under the old guidelines-they will now be required to attend a few more classes.

Those students, who were here as long ago as the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal, will now have to comply with general education and semester requirements.

Ed Barbanell, associate dean of Undergraduate Studies, said it is time to complete the transition from the days of the quarter to the days of the semester.

“It’s been eight years since we did away with the old liberal education requirements, so we thought we had given students a sufficient amount of time to finish those,” Barbanell said.

Had they graduated a few weeks ago, quarter system students wouldn’t have had to complete the extra credits, which include courses in diversity, upper-division communication writing, math and various additional bachelor’s requirements.

Though Dustin Fehr, a 34-year-old English major who began as a transfer student in 1995, has been attending “on and off” for the past 10 years, he hasn’t found enough time to get his bachelor’s degree.

He is one of a handful of students who have been here a long time, and will now have to be here even longer to get a degree. But Fehr is not too concerned.

“What’s another semester at this point if you’ve been in school as long as I have?” Fehr said. “I haven’t been in a big rush; I’ve just sort of been taking my time.”

Fehr spent one year in Korea teaching English to kindergartners and traveled to several parts of Asia and Europe during his academic career. He works 40 hours a week with his family’s business and said he can handle about six credit hours per semester.

“Sometimes I’ll lament the fact that I’m still in school, and friends will have to remind me that all experience is valuable,” Fehr said.

To help students in Fehr’s situation become aware of the policy, Barbanell said his office put notices in the school’s catalog and on several U Web sites years ago. That included installing pop-up warnings whenever anyone ran a quarter system DARS report, and sending e-mail messages to quarter-system students.

“We’ve tried as best we can to let people know,” Barbanell said.

Despite those efforts, Fehr said he never found out about the ultimatum because he never ran quarter semester DARS reports.

Fehr had been “an undeclared senior for a long time…no one ever hassled me about that either, which was sort of a shock to me,” he said.

Barbanell said he did not know how many students the policy might affect, but he suggested they see Jency Brown, an adviser in the University College Academic Advising office, to see what liberal education credits could count toward the general and semester requirements.

Students will be able to run quarter system DARS reports until at least January 2006, Barbanell said.

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