Class Attendance

Class attendance is essential for achieving course and program objectives. Absence or tardiness diminishes the effectiveness of courses and programs. Consequently, students are expected to attend all class sessions.

Absence or persistent tardiness may result in the lowering of course grades or even mandatory withdrawal from a course, as noted below.

Excused Absence
  • In the event that a student is unable to attend class, expects to arrive late, or needs to leave early, the student must contact the instructor no less than twenty-four hours in advance of the class, and request permission for an excused absence;
  • In the case of a medical emergency, or if directed to self-quarantine, students will be excused from attending class in-person if they provide explanation for their absence, normally within twenty-four hours following the absence;
  • When illness precludes participation, course instructors will decide how students are to make up any work missed because of absence, including missed lectures and in-class discussions;
  • Missing more than 25% of class sessions, whether excused or unexcused, normally requires mandatory withdrawal from the course.
Unexcused Absence
  • Unexcused absence or tardiness may lead to grade reduction for the course, as stipulated in the course syllabus;
  • Course instructors will decide how students are to make up any work missed because of absence, including lectures and in-class discussions; and
  • Missing more than 25% of class sessions normally requires mandatory withdrawal from the course.
Makeup Classes

1. Coverage of Class. If an instructor must miss a scheduled class, whether due to travel, illness, or inclement weather, then he or she is encouraged to make arrangements with a colleague for coverage of the class. Coverage is approved by the Academic Dean and is expected to fulfill course objectives. Since the class is not canceled in this instance, no makeup is required.

2. Rescheduled Class. If an instructor is unable to make arrangements for coverage of the class, then the class session is rescheduled, normally on a Friday to avoid class conflicts. Rescheduled classes are announced by the instructor and posted on the Academic Calendar.

Federal guidelines for online or hybrid forms of education require schools to demonstrate academic attendance by the student (see Federal Student Aid Handbook, Volume 5). In a distance education context, documenting that a student has logged into an online course is not sufficient, by itself, to demonstrate academic attendance.

Online Sessions

1. Evidence of Academic Attendance. Academic attendance is documented when a student participates in class or is otherwise engaged in an academically related activity. Examples of acceptable evidence of academic attendance in a distance education program include:

  • Initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a course-related question;
  • Viewing and/or completing a tutorial;
  • Contributing to an online discussion or text chat session;
  • Working through exercises;
  • Submitting an assignment or working draft; and
  • Taking a quiz or exam.

2. Tardiness. Effective class discussion during the online portion of a course depends on timely submission of assignments. Failure to post weekly assignments by the deadline specified by the instructor is regarded as tardiness, as long as the assignment is posted within 24 hours of the deadline. In the case of unexcused tardiness, assignments submitted after the due date will be penalized by a mandatory grade reduction. Note: Students are not penalized for delays in contributing to peer-review discussions due to another student's late posting of the primary assignment.

3. Absence. Failure to post a weekly assignment within the 24-hour window established by the instructor or failure to post the assignment at all is regarded as absence. Missing more than 25% of online class sessions, i.e., two sessions, normally requires mandatory withdrawal from the course. Course instructors decide how students are to make up any work missed because of absence.

Onsite Intensive Sessions

1. Requirement to Attend All Onsite Intensive Sessions. All seminary degree programs are accredited as residential programs. Therefore, the majority of contact hours for each hybrid course—at least 51%—must be completed onsite in a face-to-face context. Students may not petition to miss onsite intensives, or portions thereof. 

2. Absence. Failure to attend all sessions of the onsite intensive for any reason may result in mandatory withdrawal from the course.