Minimum Attendance

For all Psychology courses, regular class attendance is an essential element.  In addition to dissemination of information, classes routinely involve discussion in both large and small groups, demonstrations, clarifications, and group-work that cannot be obtained to the same degree nor to the same quality via other formats (e.g., copying another student’s notes, downloading posted Moodle lectures).  Each class also develops a type of learning community that is disrupted whenever a student’s attendance is subpar; in turn, this affects the learning of other students.  Experience has also repeatedly demonstrated that students who miss class simply perform more poorly, retain less information, are less engaged, and earn lower grades.  Although there will be legitimate reasons for missing class on limited occasions (e.g., illness, bereavement leave), the high priority the Department places on attendance translates into the expectation that students will, at the most, miss no more than 10% of regularly scheduled class sessions in a given semester.

 The university’s attendance policy  likewise recognizes the importance of being physically present in class when it states that “regular class attendance is expected of all students.” Further, the policy notes that “when non-attendance is in the instructor’s judgment excessive, the instructor may levy a grade penalty or may direct the registrar to drop the student from the course.”

In order to provide clarity and uniformity about this statement, the Psychology Department faculty have agreed that missing more than 20% of all university-scheduled, regular class meetings, regardless of the reason, constitutes “excessive” nonattendance; any student missing this amount of class will be dropped from the course (i.e., Across a 15 week semester, this amounts to approximately 3 weeks of class; exact number of class sessions provided by faculty for a given course.)  Attendance in lab and lecture classes is counted separately; students who miss 20% of labs or 20% of lectures will be withdrawn from both the lecture and lab.  Although individual faculty may employ more rigorous standards for attendance as fitting to the specific features of their courses, this 20% standard constitutes the “lowest bar" to still have the opportunity to achieve the minimum learning goals for a particular course.  As such, this 20% standard also applies to students who receive "flexible attendance" accommodations.  Although faculty will keep attendance, the department strongly recommends that students likewise monitor their own class attendance.

If a student is dropped from a given course and chooses to petition the department’s implementation of this attendance policy, the student must alert the chair that he or she plans to petition within three business days of the withdrawal notification.  The chair will then work with the student, faculty member, and registrar staff to determine a timeline for the petitioning process as well as a plan for the student’s attendance during the process.