Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

Attendance Policy

When writing your own attendance policy, be sure to consider the following:

  1. Justify your policy as it relates to the role of attending class in your students’ learning.
  2. Make sure to frame your policy in a positive way (e.g., “you will only be eligible for 80% credit” rather than “you will lose 20% credit”).
  3. Outline how many class sessions the students may miss without penalty, and consider if it is helpful for you – and your students – to distinguish excused from unexcused absences. If you deem it best to distinguish these categories, explain the circumstances under which absences will be excused (e.g., religious holidays, CMU-sponsored events, medical or family emergencies, etc.).
  4. If you want to be notified when students are absent, explain how and when students should do this.

Note: To uphold a student’s right to confidentiality, to ensure equitable treatment, and to protect a faculty member from adjudicating medical needs, the Provost and the Office of General Counsel strongly encourage faculty to not ask for medical documentation to be provided directly to them in the case of student absences. To remove the ambiguity around what counts as “excused,” some faculty have chosen an attendance policy that allows a base number of absences – i.e., making no distinction between excused and unexcused.  With this approach, instructors can make clear that the reason for their attendance policy is to accurately reflect the amount of information that the student engaged with during class in order to master it. For more information, see this guidance on student attendance and health-related documentation (note: CMU login-required).

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Class meetings are our main opportunity to create knowledge together and practice the skills you are learning this semester. Your attendance is crucial to your and your peers’ learning as everyone misses out on your contributions if you are not present. However, I understand that sometimes life happens, so over the course of the semester you can miss 4 class sessions without penalty. Please email me as soon as you can if you know that you will be missing class or, in the case of an unexpected emergency, as soon as possible after missing class. If you have to miss more than 4 classes during the semester, please email me as soon as possible so we can discuss how I can best support your success in this course and find solutions together.

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Based on Frenkel Terhofstede, Tepper School of Business

Marketing I

Attendance and Participation Policy

“Class Presence and Participation. Class presence and participation points are given to encourage your active class participation and discussion.  You will be rewarded with a perfect score as long as you frequently come to class and actively contribute to the class discussion during recitations and lectures.

Presence:  Although it is not required, most students send their professor a brief e-mail to explain their absence in advance.  Students who repeatedly arrive late to the lecture or recitation will be eligible for 80% of the participation grade.  Please sign the attendance sheet when you come to the class.  Any false signatures will result in zero participation grades for all parties involved.

Participation:  We will devote one entire session to the case discussion.  The instructor’s role during a case discussion is that of a moderator.  When the cases are discussed, we are less concerned with “right” or “wrong” answers than we are with thoughtful contributions which follow the discussion and either add to the debate or move it in a new direction.  If you find it uncomfortable to speak up in class, we encourage you to visit your professor in office hours and work on this skill.”

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“Within the first week of our course, please look ahead and see if you need to miss class for any excusable reason (religious observance, job interview, university-sanctioned event, etc.) and notify me as soon as possible. We may be able to make alternative arrangements for completing assignments. Everyone is permitted two absences without the deduction of points. If you do not use this absence, then the extra points you earn will be added to your lowest homework score when computing your final grade (i.e., extra credit). If there are extenuating circumstances that require you to miss class repeatedly or for an extended period, please come and discuss this issue with me so I can assist in connecting you with the appropriate support.”

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