Student Attendance

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.
We expect students to make every reasonable attempt to attend class and not register for classes of which they anticipate having to miss significant portions. We also expect them to arrive on time. (See default policies.) However, it is the faculty member's responsibility to lay out the ground rules in writing in the syllabus, including any penalties, so students can evaluate their ability to satisfy the requirements. Once a student registers for a course, it is inappropriate for the instructor to tell a student that he or she must drop the course. However, it is appropriate for the instructor to counsel students on whether their ability to attend may or will have a significant impact on their learning and performance in the class.

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.