Guidelines for Attendance Policies in WCP Courses (Updated for 2022-23)

Update notes (August 10, 2022): Following from guidance from the Provost’s Office, the following points should guide the development of your attendance policies:

  1. In general, instructors should expect students to attend class in-person unless sick or otherwise unable to attend class, within the guidelines specified by an attendance policy. (This is a change from last year’s “de-densification” options, which allowed instructors to give students the option of attending class remotely throughout the semester whether or not they were sick.)
  2. Instructors should be clear with students that they should stay home if sick, even with mild Covid (or other infectious disease) symptoms. In general, please be flexible.

 

Attendance Policy Guidelines Updated for 2022-2023

The Writing and Communication Program allows individual instructors to choose or develop a policy that reflects their expectations for student attendance and engagement. Instructors may develop their own attendance policies, use one of the suggested policies below, or evaluate participation and engagement in other ways. All instructors should have a policy that provides students with their expectations about attending class. In planning an attendance/engagement policy, consider the following questions: 

  • What are your expectations for students attending class? 
  • How will you ensure that students keep up with class when ill or otherwise unable to attend class?
  • Do you want penalties in place in case students miss X number of classes? 
  • Do you want to distinguish between excused and unexcused absences? If so, what defines an excused absence? 
  • What is your make up policy? Can students make up work if they are absent from class? 
  • What do you want students to do if they miss class? 

Provided below are several attendance policies faculty members may adopt if they suit their needs. Faculty who choose to develop an alternative policy (Option #4 below) should submit it to the WCP Director by the end of the first week of classes.       

 

Option #1: Standard Policy  

Instructor Notes 

  • Provides instructors with tools for ensuring students attend class 
  • Is suggested for first-year BFs 

Attendance and participation are essential to success in courses in the Writing and Communication Program. Because of this, you are expected to attend class in person. Not attending a scheduled class session in-person results in an absence.

There may be times when you cannot or should not attend class, such as if you are not feeling well, have an interview, or have family responsibilities. Therefore, this course allows a specified number of absences without penalty, regardless of reason. After that, penalties accrue. Exceptions are allowed for Institute-approved absences (for example, those documented by the Registrar) and situations such as hospitalization or family emergencies (documented by the Office of the Dean of Students).  

Your instructor can communicate with you about how to access materials or make up work you may have missed during your absence or suggest ways to participate in class remotely and/or asynchronously. Students may miss a total of four (4) classes for T/Th or M/W classes or six (6) for M/W/F classes over the course of the semester without penalty. Each additional absence after the allotted number deducts 2% from a student’s final grade. [OPTIONAL: Missing X classes in a T/Th or M/W course or Y classes for a M/W/F course may result in failure of the class, as determined by the instructor of the course in consultation with the Director of the Writing and Communication Program.]      

 

Option 2: Excused/Unexcused Policy  

Instructor Notes 

  • Has the instructor consider which absences are excused/unexcused 
  • Gives students more flexibility with excused absences 

Attendance and participation are essential to success in courses in the Writing and Communication Program. Because of this, you are expected to attend class in person. Not attending a scheduled class session in-person results in an absence.

There may be times when you cannot or should not attend class, such as if you are not feeling well, have an interview, or have family responsibilities. In such cases, your absence may be excused if you let your instructor know ahead of time. Your instructor can also communicate with you about how to access materials or make up work you may have missed during your absence or suggest ways to participate in class remotely and/or asynchronously. You may need to complete that work before your absence is excused by your instructor.  

If your instructor does not excuse your absence, then it is up to you to keep up with the material that you missed and ensure that any assignments due during your absence are still submitted on time or in accordance with your instructor’s late work policy. Each unexcused absence after the third (T/TH or M/W) or fourth (M/W/F) will result in a 2% deduction on your final grade.      

 

Option 3: No Penalties for Absences Policy  

Instructor Notes 

  • Asks the instructor to work with individual students when they are absent 
  • Gives students maximum flexibility 

Attendance and participation are essential to success in courses in the Writing and Communication Program. In this course, you are expected to attend class in person. 

There may be times when you cannot or should not attend class, such as if you are not feeling well, have an interview, or have family responsibilities. In such situations, please let your instructor know ahead of time. Your instructor can communicate with you about how to access materials or make up work you may have missed during your absence or suggest ways to participate in class remotely and/or asynchronously. 

If you think you may miss so many classes that it might affect your performance, please discuss alternative ways of engaging with your instructor. You may also need to make up any work that you missed, in accordance with your instructor’s late work policy. Due to the nature of discussion- and workshop-based writing courses, some work may not be able to be made up.     

 

Option 4: Alternative Attendance Policy  [Instructors can develop their own policy. The policy should include the following:   

  • A statement about the importance of attendance and participation in writing and communication courses 
  • Clear expectations for the ways students attend or participate 
  • Guidance about what constitutes an excused or unexcused absence, if applicable 
  • Guidance for what to do if a student misses class 
  • A make up policy]