TxWes cracks down on the fall attendance policy

Does cutting class mean students will be cut from class? According to the Texas Wesleyan attendance policy, “When a student accumulates consecutive unauthorized absences equal to the number of days the class meets per week AND has not communicated with the instructor about the absences, the instructor must drop the student from the class…” within a certain number of days from the last attended class.

A student who does not attend classes during a Monday/Wednesday class, for example, for three straight class days and does not communicate with their professor, it is required for the professor to drop the student. 

The attendance policy still offers unexcused absences without automatically being dropped from the course. The same Monday/Wednesday class as above is allotted up to three unexcused absences in the semester, as long as the student is active and notifies their professor of their absence. 

One slight update to the attendance policy this semester is allotting two additional days to account for student quarantines in case a student needs to stay home for 10 days. In those instances, the student must communicate with their professors that they have to quarantine. 

Dr. Steven Daniell, associate provost for academic affairs said, “Students are required to notify [professors], if possible, prior to missing class. But if it is something like the student’s car breaks down or the person who is supposed to relieve them at 10 in the morning so they can make their 1:30pm class didn’t show up and end up having to take that person’s shift, sometimes it isn’t going to happen. The student might be able to email the faculty member [and say] my shift didn’t show up or my babysitter didn’t show up… That has been in place a long time.” 

The policy also states that instructors cannot implement a harsher policy than the university’s established rules.  

Freshman, Naizllet Ibarra, said, “Sometimes it makes me feel like ‘Oh my God, let me not miss it unless it really needs to be missed’ then I’ll be like, ‘Okay, then I’ll miss it’. But if it’s like ‘Oh my stomach hurts I am just not going to go’ then it’s not going to be my priority to miss class for that reason.’ If I have something major going on with family then I would be like ‘Okay, it will be a time that I can use one of those absences to miss class.’”  

Senior Parker Graves was feeling the pressure of the attendance policy when he missed a few days of school at the beginning of the semester for being sick. He said, “The second week of school I had an upper-respiratory cold and I had to go get [Covid] tested.”  

He scheduled his Covid test at Walgreens and much like the other testing sites, the wait for the scheduled test and then the results can take a few days. “I missed three days of class and that’s already half of the absences I am allowed,” Graves said. “They were unexcused [absences]. I sent my results in, but it doesn’t excuse the other days.” 

There are different types of class formats offered at Texas Wesleyan this semester and each of them have their own number of days available for unexcused absences.  

Evening and weekend classes are limited to the number of days they meet so unexcused absences are determined by the instructor of those classes. 

Life goes on, traffic happens, doctor checkups are scheduled and cars run out of gas. The university allows unexcused absences for students that regularly attend class, as long as they communicate with their professors.  

Graves said, “That’s what I love about Texas Wesleyan, I am really familiar and close with my professors. I’ve had them multiple times the past couple of years and they’d never [drop me] just because I got sick.”  

Authorized excused absences due to school related events – much like a scheduled sports game – do not count towards student’s absences. 

Compared to other local universities like Texas Christian University or University of Texas at Arlington who place the responsibility of the attendance on the faculty members, Texas Wesleyan University clearly states the policy on the website while the others refer to the course syllabus.  

However, UTA openly discusses the importance of attendance record keeping and the financial aid office.  

Texas Wesleyan University faculty members have to be stricter this semester with attendance record keeping after a financial aid audited found need for improvements. “Another change this year – this is directly related to a periodic audit – the Department of Education comes in and they will audit financial aid offices,” said Daniell.  

According to Daniell, the audit indicated that in the past, faculty members were not including the last date of attendance – which is required information if a financial aid student is dropped from or failed a course.