Writing Program Attendance Policy:

While the university operates under pandemic conditions, the below policy may be modified according to instructor discretion. Please check your course syllabi for specific instructions:

Attendance is required in all NDSU writing program classes. All sections adhere to the following policy regarding attendance:

  • A student may not miss more than 3 weeks of class due to unexcused absences.
  • A student may not miss more than 4 weeks of class total due to a combination of unexcused and excused absences.
  • If a student exceeds the limits delineated above, he/she will automatically fail the class.

Please see the syllabus for your course for specific details about any penalties your instructor might apply for lateness or absences prior to failure.

If you anticipate that absenteeism will be a problem for you, please consider taking a section of this course that will better work for your schedule, i.e., a section with a different daily schedule, an online, section, or a section in a later semester.

Excused vs. Unexcused Absences

The writing program differentiates between excused and unexcused absences as follows:

  • Excused absences are covered by NDSU University Senate Policy, Section 333: Class Attendance and Policy and Procedure. These absences include university sanctioned events, pregnancy, religious observations, and legal or military/veteran obligations or duties. Work missed during an excused absence may be made up within a reasonable amount of time.
  • Unexcused absences include all other absences. Work missed during an unexcused absence may not be made up.

For excused absences:

  • Students must notify me of known excused absences within the first three weeks of the semester. If unexpected excused absences occur, students must notify me as soon as possible, preferably prior to the absence.
  • In the case of all excused absences, students must establish with me, as soon as possible, amended due dates for missed coursework. While I will provide accommodations whenever possible, please note that the university policy recognizes that “sometimes an assignment is impossible to make-up.”

Please see the syllabus for your course for specific details about how to notify your instructor about excused absences and what to do in the case of unexcused absences.

Why the Writing Program Values Attendance

You may wonder why the NDSU writing program places so much value on attendance. The NDSU writing program operates on the following principles regarding attendance:

  • Regular attendance correlates positively with student success in our courses.
  • Regular attendance helps students achieve the goals of our courses.
  • Regular attendance is a first step for true participation and engagement in our courses.
  • Regular attendance helps foster a positive classroom community, particularly in small classes such as ours where regular interaction with one’s peers is expected.
  • Regular attendance is professional. Students who attend class regularly are learning to adopt the habits of mind that will enable them to succeed in the professional world.  

In addition, research has shown that writing is a process-based, social activity. Our classes aim to create the kind of learning environment that will provide students the benefits of going through a writing process to produce larger written texts and interacting with peers to learn from one another.

Writing is a process. Writing development occurs, in part, through regular writing practice—and all acts of writing are not the same, so it’s important to practice different writing concepts or skills over time. We provide many opportunities for writing practice in class. Subsequent homework, essays, or later class activities will presume that you have had that initial in-class practice with a key concept or skill. Missing class can set you back or confuse you when you are asked to draw upon previous in-class practice. Final written texts may not be as strong without knowledge of, and practice in, the key writing concepts or skills introduced in previous class sessions.

Writing is a social act. Writing development occurs, in part, through interaction with others. Talking through ideas for writing can help one develop ideas, identify new avenues for exploration, and recognize the benefits or limits of a particular line of thinking. Students in a writing class learn from each other and gain practice at being thoughtful readers of writing. Our classes include many small-group activities and opportunities for peer review, which cannot easily be replicated outside of class. Missing class can affect the overall quality of final written texts, because they do not benefit from developing in response to the perspectives of other readers/writers.




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