Attendance Policy


You will earn your participation grade through class attendance and engagement over the course of the semester. Class participation may include activities, quizzes, discussions, reflective writing, etc. and may be graded as complete/incomplete or graded based on a rubric. Participation totals a set percentage of your grade (as indicated by your instructor in the syllabus) with a certain number of participation opportunities worth a certain number of points each. These opportunities may or may not be announced in advance. Participation points can only be made up with documentation of a university-approved excused absence, therefore, students with unexcused absences cannot earn participation points for the day. Participation/attendance may be taken at the beginning, middle, or end of class, so if you are late or leave early, you risk not earning participation points for the day. Note: Department of Communication policies differ between excused and unexcused absences, with different procedures and/or penalties for addressing both, so please read carefully.

Excused Absences & Verification:

Students need to notify the Instructor of anticipated absences they wish to be considered excused prior to missing class when possible. For both anticipated and unanticipated absences – if the student wishes the absence to be considered as excused, proper and appropriate documentation verifying the legitimacy of the absence must be presented to the Instructor within one week of the student’s return to class in order to be considered. If appropriate and proper documentation is not submitted within one week of the student’s return, the absences will be considered unexcused:

S.R. defines the following as acceptable reasons for excused absences: (a) serious illness (medical documentation may be required, see below), (b) illness or death of family member (documentation may be required), (c) University-related trips (see below), (d) major religious holidays (see below), (e) interviews for graduate/professional school or full-time employment post-graduation, and (f) other circumstances found to fit “reasonable cause for nonattendance” by the Instructor.

 If you anticipate an absence that falls under “other circumstances” please check with the Instructor PRIOR to the absence and she or he will make the determination whether the absence is to be excused or not excused as per University policy (see below). University-related trips include those for members of student organizations sponsored by an educational unit, trips for University classes, and trips for participation in intercollegiate athletic events, including club sports registered with the university as well as varsity sports. For University trips, when possible, the student must notify the Instructor of Record prior to the occurrence of such absences, but in no case shall such notification occur more than one week after the student’s return to class or the absence will be deemed unexcused. Instructors may request formal notification from appropriate university personnel to document the student’s participation in such trips.

Appropriate Verification for an Excused Absence for IllnessAccording to University Senate Rule, a student’s absence is excused when a student’s illness is “significant.”  The Instructor has “the right to request appropriate verification” of the illness. University Health Services (“UHS”) has prepared a statement about class attendance and student illnesses that is useful for students and faculty.  That statement may be found at The statement discusses the important public health and policy reasons why a student with a significant illness ought to be absent from class, yet should not make a visit to UHS.  UHS provides in this circumstance an “Explanatory Statement of Absence from Class” or a “Tier 1” excuse that students may complete and submit to the Instructor to document an absence from class. “Tier 2” and “Tier 3” documents are generated by UHS.  The Tier 2 document is an email sent to the student, at the student’s request.  The email confirms that the student made a medical visit to UHS.  In order to provide the Instructor with verification of an illness, the student will forward the email received from UHS to the Instructor, who may then email the original sender to verify the authenticity of the email sent to the student.  The Tier 3 document is a form that UHS provides by email to the student.  This form “states any applicable restrictions [on the student] based on illness or injury.” For all lower-division Communication courses, Tier 1 statements are not acceptable as documentation justifying an absence for it to be excused. Tier 2 will be accepted as appropriate documentation for an absence to be considered excused when the student makes a medical visit to the UHS on the day and time of class. Tier 3 will be required for all other circumstances such as a major illness requiring missing more than one class period or has other extenuating circumstances. Health care providers’ notes presented as verification from outside the University Health System will be expected to follow the same verification principles as the UHS Tier 2 and UHS Tier 3 documentation and will be evaluated accordingly.

Religious Holidays: Students anticipating an absence for a major religious holiday are responsible for notifying the Instructor in writing of anticipated absences due to their observance of such holidays no later than the last day of add/drop. Information regarding dates of major religious holidays may be obtained through the religious liaison, Dr. David Beach (859-257-2754).

Withdrawals and Incompletes: In situations where a student’s total EXCUSED absences exceed 1/5 (or 20%) of the class periods scheduled for the semester, students are strongly encouraged to withdraw (take a “W”) from the class as per university policy. If a student has excused absences in excess of one-fifth of the class contact hours for that course, the student shall have the right to receive a ‘W’, or the Instructor of Record may award an ‘I’ for the course if the student declines to receive a ‘W.’ [US: 2/9/87; RC: 11/20/87].

Specifically, if a student has excused absences in excess of 20% or one-fifth of the class contact hours for that course, a student shall have the right to petition for a “W,” and the Instructor may strongly encourage the student to petition for a “W.” In the case where a significant number of excused absences (>20%) affect the course grade, the student may petition for an “I” (or Incomplete) in the course. To do so, the student will be required to make arrangements with the instructor to complete incomplete work, which accrued due to the number of excused absences. An “I” grade shall not be conferred when the student’s reason for incompleteness is due to unexcused absences or found to be unsatisfactory to the Instructor of Record. For each “I” grade request, the student and Instructor of Record shall complete an appropriate file record on a standard form provided by the Registrar, which shall include the following: (a) the name of the student; (b) the course number and hours of credit; (c) semester and year of enrollment; (d) signature of the Instructor of Record; (e) a brief statement of the reason(s) for recording the incomplete; (f) specific instructions on how alternate grades on the work to be completed will affect the final grade; (g) the specific time requirement (not to exceed 12 months) set by the Instructor of Record for removal of the “I” grade and consequences of not removing the “I” grade; and (h) signature of the student, if feasible. Failure to comply will result in the Instructor’s assignment of a letter grade the course.

 In practical terms, this means that for classes that meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays one cannot have more than 6 excused absences and for classes that meet on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday one cannot have more than 9 excused absences, and for classes that meet once a week students can only have 3 excused absences or students will be encouraged withdraw from the class as per University policy [US: 2/9/87; RC: 11/20/87].

Responsibility for Missed Information, Work and/or Exams: If you miss a class, you are responsible for obtaining information presented during that class session (this includes videos or notes). This is not the Instructor’s responsibility. For excused absences the Instructor shall give the student an opportunity to make up the work and/or the exams missed due to an excused absence, and shall do so, if feasible, during the semester in which the absence occurred [US:11/10/85 and RC: 11/20/87]. The Instructor is under no obligation to provide the student an opportunity to make up the work and/or exams for unexcused absences.