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Drexel student focus groups consider a shift to semesters | The Triangle
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Drexel student focus groups consider a shift to semesters

Photo by Dylan Elwell | The Triangle

On Feb. 5 and 6, select Drexel University students attended focus groups in which they provided their insights on the university’s potential transition from a quarter system to a semester system. Drexel’s administration has proposed switching to semesters as early as 1999, as reported by the Triangle in a 2013 article titled, “Officials consider semester system.

Drexel students are aware of challenges associated with the atypical quarter system the university operates on, having experienced its fast-paced nature and frequent course turnovers. However, students have also reaped the benefits in terms of more course selections, co-op opportunities and gaining valuable job experience. The focus groups provided a platform for students to share their opinions, concerns and suggestions for Drexel’s academic calendar, hopefully ensuring that the university administration understands the student body’s position. 

Conducted over Zoom, the session was facilitated by two proctors who posed questions to the participants, allowing them to unmute and speak or share their questions via chat. When the discussion delved into the quarter system, the majority consensus favored keeping it. 

Annette Kroes, a writer for the Triangle and author of an article titled “In defense of the quarter system,” attended the focus group and stated, “I actually don’t remember hearing anyone say they wanted to switch.”

The conversation also explored the idea of a more expansive common core curriculum, which currently consists of courses like CIVC 101 and UNIV 101. Participants emphasized the need for improvements in CIVC classes and advocated for additional UNIV 101 classes tailored to transfer students. However, the discussions revealed divided opinions among students on increasing general education requirements. 

To capture individual experiences, participants were asked to share how the quarter system influenced their decision to enroll at Drexel and how it impacts their academic journey as students. 

Overall, the focus group offered a platform to engage in discourse about Drexel’s academic structure and potential evolution. As the university moves forward in its decision-making process, the input from these focus groups may play an important role in shaping the future academic calendar structure.