Attendance Policy

English 227, Section 004

Introduction to Creative Writing - Fall 2012

Instructor: Ryan Edel

Office Hours: Tuesday 1-3pm and Wednesday 11am-1pm, STV 414B

Course Website:

For a teacher, few things are more disappointing than before forced to reduce a student’s grade due to attendance.  However, it is impossible to fully benefit from a writing course without regular attendance.  There are no textbooks or study guides which can teach you how to write - discussion and feedback are essential if we are to cultivate the habits of self-reflection necessary for all of us to develop as writers.  My hope is that everyone will attend class every day (except in cases of illness, family emergency, religious holidays, and certain other extenuating circumstances, of course.)

Regarding Absences

Our course’s attendance policy is based on the requirements of the Illinois State Department of English.  Each student is allowed two absences (1 week of class) without a grade penalty, and each absence after two will reduce the final grade by half a letter.  Missing more than eight classes (four weeks) will result in automatic failure of the course.  However, please note that a lower average in the course can result in automatic failure with fewer than eight absences (e.g. a student with a B average will fail after only six absences, etc.)

There are a few caveats to the attendance policy that you should note:

  1. Extenuating circumstances happen.  It is rare for a student to have absolutely perfect attendance.  In cases of illness, family emergency, religious observance, university-sanctioned activities, or other extenuating circumstance, please let me know as soon as possible.
  2. The first two “no-penalty” absences can be thought of as “sick days.”  Illness and other extenuating circumstances will count toward these absences.  If you will miss three or more days of class due to illness, please contact the Dean of Students.  An e-mail from the Dean of Students confirming the need for your absences is the only way to avert a grade penalty for three or more absences.  (This is a good habit for you to develop with all your courses.)
  3. Absences and Participation are counted separately.  If you miss a class - regardless of the reason - you must write a three-page make-up assignment in order to receive credit for that day’s participation.  Failure to submit this assignment will result in a participation penalty.
  4. Please see me individually regarding make-up work for absences.  Depending on the reason for the absence and how soon you notify me, we will work out a schedule for make-up work.

Regarding Late Arrival

Sometimes people are late.  However, we have limited time the classroom together, and it’s very important that everyone be ion-time if we are to use our time effectively.

In the past, students have asked me to define what “counts” as “late.”  Are you late after five minutes?  Or only after ten minutes?  And what about students who arrive twenty or thirty minutes after the start of class?

To simplify my tardy policy, I write down the number of minutes by which a student is delayed.  As the semester progresses, I add up the minutes missed.  When the number of minutes is equal to more than half a class period (40 minutes or more), then I count that as an absence.  After that, every 75 minutes will count as an additional absence.

However, I do understand that extenuating circumstances do come up.  If you will need to be late or you will need to leave early, please let me know in advance.  Depending on the circumstances, I may choose not to count the minutes against your grade.  However, there are certain circumstances for which I will not excuse late arrival and/or early departure:

Regarding Make-Up Work

As noted above, make-up work does not “erase” an absence - it only makes up for participation credit.  However, depending on your performance in the course and the circumstances of absence, I may allow you to avert a grade penalty through the assignment of an additional project.  Please note that these projects are assigned on an individual basis, and they are generally reserved only for those students who have either suffered extenuating circumstances beyond their control (e.g. the death of a close family member, severe illness) or who are participating in university-sanctioned activities (e.g. sports, marching band) and have provided me with an official letter from the coach or other university staff member in charge of the activity.