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Part 1: Introduction and Definitions



“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” -- W.B. Yeats (1865-1939)

The purpose of this guide is to provide guidance and resources as we go through the process of converting from quarters to semesters.

Beginning in Fall 2020, California State University, San Bernardino (both the San Bernardino campus and the Palm Desert campus) will be on a semester system.  As the campuses progress towards the offering of classes and services in a semester system, all campus stakeholders (faculty, staff, students and administrators) will be asked to participate in the process.  At the core of this shift from quarter to semester systems is the re-envisioning of the current curriculum.  Through a collaborative and transparent process, faculty will lead the charge in the conversion or transformation of the curriculum.  The academic community working together will continue to provide a high quality educational experience for our students.  Collaboration among the faculty will allow us to build upon the successes of the past and develop cutting-edge curriculum that has student success at its center.

Campus conversations held with faculty, staff, students, and administrators throughout 2015-16 shaped our Values and Guiding Principles document, which has provided guidance in structuring support for the process. These values include collaboration and inclusivity within and across departments and colleges; a balance between inter-departmental collaboration and autonomy,; and sustained professional development. This guide and the associated funding and professional development structure  are meant to support such collaboration and to assist faculty as we review curricula in terms of both technical requirements and conceptual and pedagogical considerations.

As a faculty-driven venture, this reconsideration of our curricula is an opportunity to bring to life academic programs that faculty believe will help our students meet the challenges of the future and excel in their lives.

This guide includes an overview of the differences between converting the curriculum and transforming the curriculum; items to be considered in program and course design; additional considerations for online programs; and an overview of CSUSB student learning outcomes and how they fit into this conversion/transformation process.  Additionally, the decision process for conversion/transformation is outlined and the role of various related units at CSUSB is described.

For each program, the first decision to be made is whether a program will be converted or transformed, and if transformed, what the program transformation process will be.  Ideally, all faculty members involved in the program will make this determination collaboratively, with respect for a variety of views, and with consideration for the CSUSB Values and Guiding Principles.

Defining Conversion and Transformation

Below is a brief description of the two processes; please see the Transformation and Conversion Descriptions document for details and requirements, and the Conversion-Transformation Proposal document for the requirements of the proposals to be submitted by 11/1/16. A more extensive description of the components of both processes is given in Part 2: Components of Conversion and Transformation.

Program Conversion


Program conversion is a process of change that revisits and confirms program-level learning outcomes (PLOs) and their alignment with the institutional-level learning outcomes (ILOs), reformats courses in relation to the PLOs and the new unit demands, and creates an appropriate assessment plan for the semester curriculum consistent with FAM 856.6.

Program Transformation


In addition to the work involved in conversion, transformation involves an extensive and substantive process of reimagining the program in terms of how it serves students and supports their learning, asking questions such as: Who are our students? Who are we asking them to become? What are we asking them to achieve? How can we best do that? Transformation involves study and utilization of current learning theory, evidence-based teaching practices, consideration of equity and accessibility, and ultimately a re-envisioning of the content and pedagogy of the program.