The UNC-Chapel Hill Faculty Council approved a new attendance policy on Feb. 9. The old policy had not been holistically reviewed since its implementation in 1957.
Joy Renner, a Faculty Council member, and Deborah Clarke, consultant to the Provost, wrote the revised policy, which will be implemented in Fall 2018, with the help of representatives from the student government. It passed both the Educational Policy Committee and the Faculty Council unanimously.
“We hope this will bring about better and fair assessments of student performance in class,” Clarke said. “What was happening was that faculty were getting letters and notices from students from all over; a cappella concerts or a job interview or my grandmother is ill, any number of reasons why a student would need to miss class, and faculty were confused about what accommodations were required.”
Faculty are still encouraged to discuss absences with students first and look for policy clarification second. The revised policy allows students to maintain discretion with the support of the University Approved Absence Office to help with communication with teachers and professors. The office is to be introduced as the policy is implemented.
“Under the current system, these absences are approved by various departments, and many professors don’t fully understand how they’re supposed to treat students who miss class for those reasons,” said Peter Andringa, a representative for the Executive Branch of the Student Government to the Faculty Council.