The University expects all students to engage fully in the educational process and to contribute actively to the intellectual environment. Accordingly, the University considers class attendance an essential component of student engagement: students are expected to attend every scheduled meeting of a class, including laboratories and other required meetings. Any student who fails to attend a class has the absolute obligation of communicating with the instructor prior to the missed class (or, in unusual cases, within 24 hours of having missed the class).
Instructors have the prerogative to set attendance policies for their individual classes and to determine what absences are “excused” or “unexcused,” and they can determine at what point tardiness or other inappropriate behavior is better defined as “absence.” Instructors will outline their policies in their syllabi. Still, as a whole the faculty follow these principles:
- A student may be excused for University business (authorized extracurricular activities) as long as he or she has contacted his or her instructors in advance; if not, the instructor will ordinarily consider the absence “unexcused.” For example, athletes should communicate with faculty before traveling to away games, and volunteer firefighters should inform faculty at the beginning of the term that they may be called to duty at unexpected times.
- According to a policy approved by the director of athletics, the University Advisory Committee on Athletics, and the College Faculty: normally, varsity athletes should not miss more than three 50-minute class meetings (or the equivalent) per course per semester to attend varsity sporting events. Athletes should not miss any classes or labs because of practice.
- A student may be excused at the discretion of the instructor for illness and/or a family emergency. Any student who misses multiple days for such reasons should also contact the Dean of Students to explain the circumstance (and the instructor should also inform the dean of students of the need to intervene). Examples of unexcused absences include oversleeping, forgetting a class, missing a ride, having travel arrangements that preclude attending class, and attending a social event.
- Certain days are classified as “no cut” days: students who are not members of the Order of the Gown who are absent for any reason on the last day before or the first day after a break are placed on attendance warning for the remainder of the semester.
- Students are responsible for all work discussed, including announcements, even when the absence is excused.
- Should a student be absent from a class during which an examination is to be given or a paper is due, or at the time of a final exam, the instructor ordinarily gives a zero.
At any point when an instructor in any course (including physical education) has decided that the attendance or general performance of any student (including members of the Order of the Gown) is unsatisfactory, the instructor may request the dean of students to issue a warning. This warning specifies that not more than one unexcused absence may be taken after the warning is issued. Any additional unexcused absence results in automatic exclusion from the course. A student who has been dropped under these circumstances is marked WF and the grade counts in the grade point average as an F. A student on attendance warning may not withdraw from a class voluntarily after taking a second unexcused absence.
With the approval of the teacher or teachers involved and the associate dean of undergraduate academic affairs of the College, students may arrange their exam schedules so that they are not compelled to take three examinations on one calendar day or more than three examinations on any two consecutive calendar days in the examination week. Every such arrangement must be completed by the last day of the semester. Whenever possible, the morning examination will not be changed. Permission will not be granted to schedule an examination outside the regular examination week, except in case of illness. If a student has a course under an instructor who teaches more than one section of the course, the student may take the final examination with another section if the instructor gives permission.
Regarding comprehensive examinations:
- Students will not be excused from classes in order to prepare for a comprehensive exam.
- No student shall be required to miss class in order to take a comprehensive exam. Students whose comprehensive exam (in whole or in part) is scheduled in conflict with a scheduled class should approach their department chair about rescheduling the comprehensive exam.