Sep 2, 2023 7:29 PM
Sep 2, 2023 10:31 PM
What is the role of attendance policies in higher education?
Do you have attendance policies? Is attendance required, suggested, and/or graded?
In this stage of the pandemic, and in an effort to learn from people’s lived experience, it’s time to abandon these outdated policies.
- Attendance policies are based on a hierarchical view that stems from patriarchy and white supremacy.
- Attendance policies are about control. They are put in place to require that students behave in the way that faculty or administration
- They suggest that “we” know better than students. They remove students’ autonomy
Thanks to Jaclyn who planted this seed:
- They signal a lack of trust, not only in students, but in people in general.
- Students, aka people, are more burdened than ever before. Cost of living increases mean that people live farther out and need to commute more. Childcare is all but inaccessible.
- In the era of COVID and the increases in other viruses (like RSV, flu, strep, etc), we should want students who are even a little sick to stay at home. It doesn’t make sense to allow students to suffer (miss out on content and experience) when they are sick. Students, and their parents/children/roommates, get sick. Let’s be responsive to that reality, rather than pretend it doesn’t happen and punish students when it does.
- Students with disabilities and other limitations need our support. Yes, schools have offices that meant to arrange for student accommodations, but have you ever tried to get help for a student who clearly needs it but doesn’t have a standard diagnosis? What about a student with Long COVID, or with a child who is sick? What about for a student with a chronic illness that occasionally flares up?
- Some students aren’t going to attend, participate, or complete the work no matter what the attendance policy. We need to accept the reality of that and focus instead on the students who want to attend but find that life often gets in the way.
- Our goal in the classroom should always be to create conditions where students can absorb and explore material. For many students, being on a campus, in a classroom, in everyday clothes, or without food or drink is not always the best situation. This is especially the case for students like mine who almost all work during the day and attend classes in the evenings or weekends.