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Faculty Class Absence Policy

Revised April 2012

This policy applies to all classes offered by the College of Arts and Sciences in which students receive credit or instructors receive compensation. (This includes but is not limited to: undergraduate and graduate classes, face-to-face and on-line courses, seminars, laboratories, discussion sections, lecture sections, one, two, three, four, five, and six credit courses.)

As part of the contractual obligation, all instructors are expected to teach all of their scheduled class sections. There must, of course, be some flexibility in the schedule.  For example, faculty members are susceptible to illness and tenure stream faculty present papers at conferences. However, the option of cancelling a class is severely constrained. The academic handbook mandates a minimal number of minutes of contact. In a standard three credit hour class, the minimum is 2000 minutes. Two absences (in the Fall Semester) with no accommodations reach this standard. The minimum is reached more swiftly in the case of discussion, laboratory, and four credit courses where one absence threatens the minimum. Cancelling a class should only occur as a last resort. Every effort should be made to develop alternative arrangements. Over the semester, only one class can be cancelled at the discretion of the instructor. Cancellation of more than one class will require the consent of the Department Chair/supervisor.

In the case of Predictable Situations (such as professional commitments), the faculty member should report the anticipated absence to the Department Chair. Every attempt should be made to develop alternative arrangements. The Department Chair should review and approve the plans. If suitable alternative arrangements cannot be made, the class and the Registrar should be advised by the faculty member of the absence.

In the case of Non-predictable Situations (such as an illness), the faculty member should phone the Registrar’s Office (980-6815) with the following information: faculty member’s name, course number, course title, section number, time, location, room number, and information on any assignments or other instructions to be given to the students. The Chair, Department Office, and Registrar’s Office should be informed. The Registrar’s Office will be responsible for posting the information outside of the classroom.

In the case of long-term absences (such as illness or court service), the faculty member should request sick leave or family medical leave.

Excessive absences will be reflected in the permanent record. They could be noted in the Faculty Annual Report and could be used to inform personnel decisions.

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