The following is Stern’s default policy on attendance, which you may adopt, if you wish:
- Required and part of grade.
- Faculty will excuse absences and entertain requests to change exam and assignment due dates only in cases of documented serious illness, family emergency, religious observance, or civic obligation. If you will miss class for religious observance or civic obligation, you must inform your instructor no later than the first week of class. Recruiting activities, business trips, and vacation travel are not acceptable reasons for absences or requests to reschedule exams and assignments.
- If a student is absent from the first day of an intensive course, the instructor may request that the student be removed from the course. It can be hard to strike the right balance between ensuring that students get what they should out of a course, minimizing disruption, allowing students to make their own choices, and being sympathetic to the challenges faced by busy students, especially those who work full time.
Attendance and punctuality are not ends in themselves. It is important to communicate to students why they are important for your class, if they are. Set up the course mechanics to make sure the consequences of absences and lateness are:
- Clear to the students up front,
- Objectively determined, and
- Relate directly to what you think a student and the student's classmates need to get from and contribute to the course in order to deserve a respectable grade.
While we should avoid scheduling exams and assignment deadlines on religious holidays, it is not always possible and we must be sure not to penalize students unfairly for the classes and events they miss. On the other hand, students who know they will miss class for religious reasons are expected to inform us beforehand and be responsible for assignments given during their absence. (Incidentally, this is a smart thing to put in your syllabus.) You can see the University policy at the end of this message.
Some basic rules:
- If you know observant students will miss your class, arrange to have it recorded and make the link available to them.
- If you must schedule a test or other in-class assessment on a holiday that you know some of your students will observe, offer one or more reasonable ways for them to make it up.
- If students will not be in class on the day an assignment is due and it can reasonably be completed in advance, it's fair to suggest that they submit it early. But don't press the issue if students view this as a hardship and give them an extension.
... Therefore, the University Senate reaffirms its long-standing calendar policy and resolves
That students who anticipate being absent because of any religious observance should, whenever possible, notify faculty in advance of such anticipated absence.
That, whenever feasible, examinations and assignment deadlines should not be scheduled on religious holidays. Any student absent from class because of his/her religious beliefs shall not be penalized for any class, examination, or assignment deadline missed on that day or days.
That if examinations or assignment deadlines are scheduled, any student who is unable to attend class because of religious beliefs shall be permitted the opportunity to make up any examination or to extend any assignment deadline missed on that day or days. No fees of any kind shall be charged by the University for making available to the student an opportunity to make up examinations or to extend assignment deadlines.
That no adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student who avails him/herself of the provisions of the resolution.A violation of these policies and principles shall permit any aggrieved student to bring a grievance, provided under the University Grievance Procedure.
Please do not require that your students be available for a class, exam (in-person or online), exercise, review session, simulation, or anything else, outside of your regularly scheduled class time, unless:
- The additional time was on the schedule when students registered for your class,OR
- All of your students agree (please be careful not to make them feel unduly pressured),OR
- You provide enough alternatives that all students are accommodated,AND
- You have secured necessary classroom space.While we do our best to reinforce with MBA and undergraduate students that academics are the priority, they are balancing course commitments with job searches, full-time and part-time jobs, career related programming, conferences, speakers, club meetings, etc. We need to help them respect their commitments by respecting their time and the challenges involved in managing it.