Class Cancellation & Instructor Absenteeism Policy

Instructor Absenteeism Policy

The English Department expects all instructors to be present at every regularly scheduled course meeting, face to face or on-line, for the full length of the term. However, the Department also
recognizes that absences may occur due to conference attendance, illness, or personal matters, among other reasons. When an instructor cannot attend one or more classes—either consecutively or separately—the following policies apply:

  • A notification of any absence must be sent by email to Linda Baldwin (or another designated staff member). This notification should be separate from any sent out to students via Blackboard or ULink. Notifications of instructor absence sent to students shall not be considered an adequate substitute for notifications made to office staff.  
  • The department should be told of absences as early as possible (recognizing that in certain circumstances prior notification may not be possible). Notification is unnecessary if the instructor has submitted the university travel forms.
  • If three or more classes are missed, the instructor is to arrange for some form of substitute instruction. The instructor may leave up to two missed class sessions without substitution.
  • Possible options for substitution include, but are not limited to: holding one or more of the missed sessions synchronously online; scheduling one or more additional class sessions to replace those missed; asking a colleague to teach one or more of the missed classes; or assigning the students an independent learning exercise or asynchronous lesson.
  • In a course conducted in person, synchronous online class meetings may be used to substitute for missed classes no more than three times. An independent learning exercise or asynchronous lesson may be used only once.
  • When five or more classes are missed, the instructor is to work with the chair to develop a substitution plan to make up for the missed sessions.
  • Recognizing that courses taught asynchronously online do not necessarily have formal class meetings, absence from student contact for any seven-day period will require a substitution plan comparable to that required for in-person or synchronous classes when an instructor misses three or class sessions. In the case of absences of more than seven days, the instructor is to work with the chair to develop an appropriate substitution plan.

It is required that you log all planned changes to the routine meeting times and/or locations (or office hours) in the Class Change Roster in Room 315C. Indicate the reason for the change and note where the class will meet if it has been moved.

The A & S class cancellation policy is as follows:
[Faculty] shall meet classes as scheduled in accordance with university regulations.  Absences caused by illness, emergencies, personal responsibilities, or religious observances are excusable but must be reported to the Department Chair, in advance, if possible. Absences owing to professional obligations such as attendance at scholarly meetings or occasional professional service are excusable absences which nevertheless require prior notification of the Department Chair. In the case of anticipated absences, a qualified substitute, or provisions for additional assignments or alternate activity should be arranged. (2.24, in 2004-2006 Undergraduate Catalog, p. 30)

Many A & S departments have more specific guidelines that build upon this policy.  Composition has an explicit policy for Composition classes.  The Directors of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies and the Chair, in consultation with the Director of Composition, have established the following guidelines for English:

Classes that meet multiple times a week: Faculty may cancel one class session for professional activity. Beyond that, the faculty member needs to arrange for a qualified substitute or a rescheduled class meeting.

Classes that meet once a week: Faculty must arrange for a qualified substitute or a rescheduled class meeting for any absences required by professional activity.

Be aware that graduate students, part-time and term faculty may not feel that they are in a position to say no when asked by a tenure-track faculty to cover a class.  If such a situation occurs, tenure-track faculty should be sure to offer to substitute for the instructor in return.

And please note the College Policy about notifying the Department about last-minute absences due to illness, etc.  We must have this information in order to answer student queries.  Just call the front desk (502) 852-6801.