In an effort to help students balance their time in the classroom and extracurricular life, the Office of the Provost announced new guidelines for students who participate in university recognized activities.
Activities including but not limited to research conferences, dramatic or musical performances, intercollegiate athletic competitions and leadership meetings are now being officially recognized as an important and necessary part of students’ educational experiences.
Each college’s dean is responsible for deciding if a student’s activities are appropriate for his or her college and if it constitutes an absence. Students with questions should contact their dean’s office for more information.
“The guidelines will raise awareness among students and instructors of the need to plan for class absences, encourage student-faculty discussion and collaboration on possible options and enable students to make alternative plans when necessary,” said Vice Provost Peter Jones.
Students need to remain responsible for meeting with faculty to identify possible conflicts between their schedules and their syllabi. The guidelines dictate that the faculty is expected to make accommodations for students so they can remain in the course.
Provost Lisa Staiano-Coico said the goal is to make sure the policy got on the books so students didn’t get punished for representing Temple in the larger world.
“For Temple students to be able to have a very well-rounded education, part of that is being able to participate with other universities,” Staiano-Coico said. “It’s also very important from the university’s perspective. We are proud of our students, and we want our students to participate in those things because it reflects back on how wonderful Temple is.”
Associate Vice President of Administration and Planning Stephanie Gillin said that although the plan enables student participation in these activities, students are expected to continue to satisfy their obligation to the class.
“This is not a ‘get-out-of-class-free’ card,” Gillin said.
Staiano-Coico said the proposal for new guidelines was mentioned to her after beginning at Temple last semester. The idea came from athletic coaches who pointed out that it could be very difficult for athletes to contact and work with faculty members.
Jones then reviewed peer institutions to see the protocol at other schools. He also spearheaded the review of the policy and what was happening to students at Temple.
“Some universities have policies that unequivocally lay down conditions under which students will or will not be able to be considered absent from a class,” Jones said. “At Temple we have chosen to treat these as guidelines for faculty…. In many ways, they simply formalize a practice that has already been in wide and fairly successful operation at Temple.”
Sarah Fry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.