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Handbook of Operating Procedures
Chapter 5 - Students
Publication Date: Feburary 19, 2014
Responsible Executive: VP for Academic Affairs

5.09 Class Attendance


POLICY STATEMENT

The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is committed to promoting student success by communicating the expectation of regular attendance and participation in classes.

RATIONALE


This policy serves as a guide that instructors and students should use to appropriately address student absence from class. It identifies steps that may be taken by instructors when absences are unexcused, and the circumstances and steps for students and instructors to take when absences are officially permitted.


SCOPE


The policy applies to all UTSA instructors assigned to teach classes and to all students registered in classes at UTSA.


WEBSITE ADDRESS FOR THIS POLICY


http://www.utsa.edu/hop/chapter5/5-9.html


RELATED STATUTES, POLICIES, REQUIREMENTS OR STANDARDS


UTSA or UT System Policies or the Board of Regents Rules & Regulations

A. Information Bulletin (Academic and Grade Grievance Procedure)
B. UTSA Graduate Catalog (Academic and Grade Grievance Procedure)

Other Policies & Standards

C. Texas Education Code Title 3: Higher Education, Subtitle A. Chapter 51, Subchapter Z Miscellaneous Provisions, Section 51.911 Religious Holy Days
D. Texas Education Code Title 3: Higher Education, Subtitle A, Chapter 54 Tuition and Fees, Section 54.006 Refund or Adjustment of Tuition and Mandatory Fees for Dropped Courses and Student Withdrawals
E. Texas Education Code Title 3: Higher Education, Subtitle A., Chapter 51, Subchapter Z Miscellaneous Provisions, Section 51.9111 Excused Absence for Active Military Service.
F. Texas Administrative Code, Title 19, Part 1, Chapter 4, Subchapter A, Rule 4.4 Student Absences on Religious Holy Days.
G. Texas Administrative Code, Title 19, Part 1, Chapter 4, Subchapter A, Rule 4.9 Excused Absence for a Person Called to Active Military Service.


CONTACTS


If you have any questions about HOP policy 5.09, Class Attendance, contact the following office:

Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs (Provost)
210-458-4110


DEFINITIONS


Active military service is active service in the armed forces of the United States or in the Texas National Guard or the Texas State Guard.

Class attendance is the physical presence and participation in all scheduled class meetings by the registered student for face-to-face classes. For distance education classes, class attendance is also the physical presence and participation in all scheduled class meetings at the remote site by the registered student.

Online courses at UTSA will be delivered within the university’s learning management system. Class attendance in online classes is defined as active participation in the class with participation being defined by the various engagement activities listed in the syllabus for the course. The minimum expectation is that a registered student will demonstrate some activity in his or her online class at least once weekly. Instructors of online classes must provide at least one engagement activity each week. Engagement activities in a class may encompass the following elements:

• Completion of assessments
• Participation in discussion forums
• Submission and completion of assignments
• Communication with the instructor

A student must demonstrate that he or she has actively participated in the engagement activities in a timely manner as defined in the syllabus. Merely logging into the learning management system does not constitute active participation. There must be measurable activity in place to constitute attendance.

For hybrid classes, class attendance is the physical presence and participation in all face-to-face meetings of the class and active participation in the online portion of the class.

Faculty or University employee in charge of an official University function is the person who sponsors or organizes an official University function.

An instructor is the instructor of record (the person formally assigned by the department chair or other appropriate supervisor in the university records) to teach a course, or a teaching assistant under the supervision of an instructor of record.

An official University function is an activity or event sanctioned by the University such as intercollegiate athletic competitions, music tours and other similar approved events.

A scheduled class is a class that is assigned to meet physically on a specific day or days, at a specific time and location.

A registered student is a student enrolled in a course on the official census date who has not officially dropped the course.

A religious holy day is a day observed by a religion whose places of worship are exempt from property taxation under the Texas Tax Code, §11.20.

A school day is a day during which classes are scheduled at UTSA, without regard to the frequency or schedule that a specific class meets.


RESPONSIBILITIES


A. Student             

1. Unless otherwise stated in the instructor’s syllabus, or unless an absence is excused in accordance with this policy, should attend and participate in all scheduled class meetings.
2. Notifies each instructor prior to the absence (directly in writing, not later than the 15th day after the first day of the semester, and before the absence takes place) of the planned absence for a religious holy day on which an examination or assignment has been scheduled.
3. Provides a copy of the military orders to each instructor when class is to be missed due to military service.
4. Notifies each instructor of participation in an official University function when class is to be missed due to participation.
5. Notifies instructors directly of absence due to illness or other extenuating circumstances.
6. Fulfills missed assignments by instructor-designated deadlines.
7. Drops a class no longer attending by appropriate deadline.
8. Follows formal appeals process stated in Section IX.G below, if a dispute arises.

B. Instructor        

1. Communicates student class attendance and participation requirements in the syllabus.
2. Allows the student who has been excused to take an examination or complete an assignment scheduled for that day within a reasonable time, normally within 20 school days.
3. Excuses from attending classes or participating in other required activities the student who is absent for a reasonably brief time period due to active military service (not to exceed 25% of the total number of class meetings or the contact hour equivalent excluding the final examination period) for the specific course or courses.
4. Sets a reasonable deadline for taking an examination or making up missed assignments due during excused absences due to an active duty military assignment. If the military absence is extensive, the deadline may extend up to the due date for course grades for the same semester one year later - the time permitted to clear a grade of ‘IN’ (Incomplete), as described in the catalogs.
5. If the faculty member will allow missed work to be made up (see below), inform the student of the deadline for making up missed assignments or taking an examination.
6. Follow formal appeals process stated in Section IX.G below, if a dispute arises.

C. Faculty or University Employee in Charge of an Official University Function    

1. Files a list with the Office of the Provost identifying participating students and dates requested for excused absences from class.

D. Department Chair

Follows formal appeals process stated in Section IX.G below if the student has filed a proper appeal of the dispute to the department chair.

E. College Dean

Follows formal appeals process stated in Section IX.G below if the student has filed a proper appeal to the college dean.

F. Vice Provost and Dean of University College (undergraduate appeals)
Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School (graduate appeals)

Follows formal appeals process stated in Section IX.G below if the student has filed a proper appeal to the Vice Provost and Dean of University College for undergraduate appeals, or to the Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School for graduate appeals.


PROCEDURES


A. Class Attendance

    1. It is the instructor’s responsibility to set forth and communicate the attendance and participation requirements to students in the course syllabus. Unless otherwise stated in the instructor’s course attendance policy or an absence is excused in accordance with this policy, regular attendance at and participation in all meetings of a course for which a student is registered is strongly encouraged.
    2. A student who enrolls for a course and then does not attend is considered absent from class until he or she officially drops the course. A student who does not attend a course is responsible for dropping the class by the appropriate deadline. Such a student who does not drop the course will receive a grade of “F” in the class.

B. Requests for Excused Absences

    1. A student who receives an excused absence shall be allowed to take an examination or complete an assignment scheduled for that day within a reasonable time (as determined by the instructor) after the absence, if, before the absence takes place and, if possible, not later than the 15th school day after the first day of the semester, the student notifies the instructor of each class the student had scheduled on that date that the student would be absent for a religious holy day, an official university function, or military service. Travel time to and from the event or function may be included in the request.
    2. Notification of planned absences must be made in writing and must be delivered by the student personally to the instructor of each class. Notification must take place before the absence.
    3. The student is responsible for fulfilling any course requirements that occur during the time he or she is absent from class.
    4. Each instructor should inform the student, at the time the student notifies the instructor of a planned absence, of the deadline for completion of the missed assignment or examination. If the absence occurs during final examinations the student may receive a grade of ‘IN’ for up to a year, until the exam is taken, per “General Academic Regulations” found in the Information Bulletin and UTSA Graduate Catalog.
    5. An instructor may impose appropriate academic penalties if the student fails to satisfactorily complete the assignment or examination within a reasonable time (normally 20 school days) after the absence.

C. Student Absences for Official University Functions

    1. A student will be excused without penalty from class to participate in an Official University Function. The student is responsible for fulfilling any course requirements that occur during the time he or she is absent from class.
    2. Faculty or the University employee in charge of such functions will file a list of students and the dates they request the students to be excused from class with the Office of the Provost. Deans, department chairs and faculty may check any names against the list by contacting the Office of the Provost.

D. Student Absences Due to Military Service

    1. A student who is absent from classes for a reasonably brief duration due to active military service and chooses not to withdraw from the University as allowed by Section 54.006 (f) of the Texas Education Code, will be excused from attending classes or participating in other required activities in accordance with Section 51.9111 of the Texas Education Code.
    2. As defined by the Texas Administrative Code, Title 19, Part 1, Chapter 4, Subchapter A, Rule 4.9 (d), “the maximum period for which a student may be excused shall be no more than 25% (twenty-five percent) of the total number of class meetings or the contact hour equivalent (not including the final examination period) for the specific course or courses in which the student is currently enrolled at the beginning of the period of active military service.”
    3. The student must provide a copy of his or her military orders to each instructor.
    4. If the active duty military service is lengthy, the deadline may extend up to the due date for course grades for the same semester one year later - the time permitted to clear a grade of ‘IN.’

E. Student Absences for Observance of a Religious Holy Day

    1. In accordance with Section 51.911 of the Texas Education Code, a student who is absent from class for the observance of a religious holy day, including travel for that purpose, shall be excused for the absence without penalty.

F. Reporting Illness or Other Extenuating Circumstances

    1. If a student is absent from classes due to illness or other extenuating circumstances (e.g. funeral), the student is responsible for notifying his or her instructors directly in advance or as soon as possible thereafter and providing reasonable documentation.
    2. The degree to which classroom participation is required and whether or not work missed by a student during an absence may be made up is at the discretion of the instructor. See Section A.1 for additional information.
    3. The instructor should adjust attendance/make-up policies in the event the University of Texas System and/or University issues guidelines to cover extraordinary events (e.g. dangerous conditions due to weather or a widespread threat to general health).

G. Disputes may be resolved using the following appeals process:

1. When a student’s request for excused absences is denied by the instructor, the student may submit a written appeal of the instructor’s decision in the order described in Section 2 below. At each administrative level, the person determining whether to make a change in the instructor’s decision regarding a request for excused absences must

a. Review the appeal;
b. Determine, based on evidence, if a compelling reason exists for approving the request for excused absences exists; and
c. If compelling evidence exists, approve the student’s request for excused absences.

2. The following is the order of administrative level to which a student must submit an appeal of the decision of the instructor not to approve a request for excused absences. If the student’s request is denied at one administrative level, the student may submit the appeal to the next administrative level:

a. Department chair (or unit director) of the department (or unit) in which the course is offered.
b. Dean of the college of the department or unit in which the course is offered.
c. Vice Provost and Dean of University College (for undergraduate students) or Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School (for graduate students). The decision of the Vice Provost and Dean of University College or Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School is final.


X. SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR INITIAL IMPLEMENTATION


None


XI. FORMS AND TOOLS/ONLINE PROCESSES


Excused Absence from Class Attendance Form


XII. APPENDIX


None