The First-Year Writing program expects your full engagement in the work of face-to-face, online, and hybrid classes. Because writing classes are intensive and interactive, missing classes, failing to meet deadlines, and/or not participating in required activities will significantly compromise your learning.
Should you face extenuating circumstances, however, we will remain as flexible as possible in accommodating you. Our specific policies are shown below. Please consult your instructor and/or Dr. Luke Niiler, Director of First-Year Writing (email@example.com) with any questions.
- Face-to-face and hybrid classes: During Fall and Spring semesters, you should miss no more than four classes in sections that meet twice a week, and no more than six classes in sections that meet three times a week. During Summer semesters, you should miss no more than three classes. Your final grade will be reduced by 1/3rd of a letter (ie, B+ to B) for each additional class you miss. Please note that scheduled instructor conferences and online classes that meet at the same time as your regular class time count as regular classes.
- Officially designated distance learning classes: Please read and follow all communications from your instructor, meet deadlines listed on the course schedule or syllabus, and participate in all class activities. These activities and assignments may include Blackboard or Turnitin assignments, online peer review, video conferences, ePortfolio work, etc. See your instructor’s late/missing work policy for additional details and penalties.
- If you approach absence limits, begin missing deadlines, miss daily work due to absences, or fail to participate in required activities, it is your responsibility to promptly communicate your circumstances in a timely manner to your instructor, who can work with you to make alternative arrangements.
- Note that all such arrangements are subject to the terms of your instructor’s late/missing work policy. Also note that late or missing work can result in grade penalties, per your instructor’s policy.
- Attendance accommodation requests from the Office of Disability Services (ODS) should be shared promptly and privately with your instructor.
Instructions for Teachers
- See Tardies for important guidelines.
- Do not mark students absent because of inattention, cell phone use, sleeping, etc. Only mark students absent if they are physically not there.
- The NC policy applies to students who miss MORE than SIX MWF meetings or MORE than FOUR TR or MW meetings.
- See also, Summer Attendance Policy
- This is a GENEROUS attendance policy. Because of this, it is important that you enforce the rule that missed daily work cannot be made up. The appeals process is complicated when a student has missed numerous classes but still has a high grade in the class.
Making Up Work
If a conscientious student contacts you in advance about an upcoming absence, you may make arrangements with that student to turn in work in advance or by e-mail, if you like; otherwise, students who are absent or tardy should receive zeros for all missed daily work.
Major-grade work may only be made up when a student’s absence is for reasons beyond his or her control (car accident, hospitalization, death in family, documented illness, etc.). Work should be made up within a reasonable time frame (usually up to about a week late, depending on the circumstances). It is advisable to form a specific (and, perhaps, written) plan with the student for getting allowable make-up work done in a timely fashion. If you ask a student to provide documentation for medical emergencies or illness, be sure that you do NOT ask about the diagnosis. The diagnosis is confidential medical information and should not be requested. It is fine to verify when the student was seen by a doctor and when the student is able to return to class, but you must avoid requesting confidential information.
Student Who Approach and Exceed Absence Limit
How to deal with students who are approaching the absence threshold: Consider giving students a grade and absence update (either on paper or by Blackboard Learn email) at mid-term. You might also consider sending them a friendly Blackboard-email reminder of the attendance policy and their absences when they approach the absence limit.
When students reach the absence threshold, please do not tell them to stop attending your class. At orientation, incoming students are told not to withdraw from or stop attending EN 101 or 102 even if they cannot pass the class. There are several reasons:
- the class is ABC-NC and it does not affect GPA if they make an NC;
- they are encouraged to continue attending, even if not passing, so that they are better prepared for their next attempt;
- they have to pay a fee for withdrawing so it’s cheaper if they remain on the course roster and get the NC; and
- withdrawing might put them below 12 hours, which might have loan and insurance implications.
Also see Waivers and Appeals
Medical Documentation Guidelines
The attendance policy does not allow for the creation of formulas in which a certain number of tardies equals as absence. Tardies, leaving class early, sleeping, etc. cannot be counted as absences. Sleeping or tardy students should not be allowed to make up work missed during their naps or absence and should receive zeros on missed work, which will affect their daily grade. Ideally, they will respond by staying awake and arriving on time or suffer the consequences.
Please also do not devise mathematical formulas where missing a specified percentage of a class meeting equals an absence.
Instead, take roll at the beginning of every class meeting. If students are not there, mark them absent. If students arrives late and make you aware that they are there, they should be marked tardy, not absent.
If tardies become a problem, talk with the offending students as soon as possible and make them aware that tardiness is unacceptable.
You might also plan to take up homework or to give quick class work assignments to be due within the first few minutes of class. A student who is not there to turn in homework when you take it up or to do the class assignment should receive zeros on this work.
Summer Attendance Policy
See attendance policy above for summer attendance information.
Athletic or UA-Sanctioned Absences
According to University policy, students should be given the opportunity to make up major work missed due to legitimate circumstances beyond the students’ control (such as documented participation in athletic events, documented participation in other university-sanctioned events like conferences, or religious holidays). Methods for making up missed assignments should be the same from student to student within the same course.
Communicate to your students a clear and reasonable plan for making up their missed course work. For instance, students might be able to turn in some daily assignments early or by e-mail. Major-grade work (graded papers and tests) should be made up as soon as reasonably possible (generally within a week of the original due date, if possible).
Typically you should receive documentation from student athletes and students officially participating in UA club teams, along with their participation schedule, early in the semester. The attendance policy applies to athletes, as to any other student. They should not miss more than the allowed number of classes. However, sometimes official participation does occasionally require that they miss one or two extra classes. If an athlete will miss several classes because of participation in their sport, please encourage them NOT to miss class for other reasons. Also, please contact the FWP director EARLY in the semester if it appears that a student will miss a large number of classes due to athletic activities. The first-year writing program works with the Athletic Academics office on a case-by-case to find a reasonable plan for these athletes.
You can find a list of official UA athletic programs at RollTide.com ( i.e., football, baseball, softball, basketball, etc.). Students officially participating in sport clubs and intramural teams (who do travel and sometimes compete nationally) should be afforded the same consideration as student athletes who participate in official athletic programs. The attendance policy applies to all of them.
Likewise, students who are excused to attend conferences or honors programs should also supply you with an official letter documenting their participation and should be allowed to make up major-grade work, as explained in the attendance policy.
Waivers and Appeals
If a student has missed only 1 or 2 classes over the limit because of legitimate circumstances beyond their control, AND if you are willing to intercede on their behalf, then you may contact the FWP director by e-mail about two weeks before the end of the semester. Explain the situation and ask if an attendance policy waiver can be granted. The director will reply by e-mail and usually grants such requests made by instructors.
Otherwise, give students who miss over the allowed absences an NC and let them appeal to the FWP director after the end of the semester, if they wish. The director will contact you to supply attendance information from your grade book if an appeal request is received from one of your students.