Course Attendance Policy & Guidelines for Absences

The Bates College Faculty Handbook outlines the expectations of faculty members regarding course attendance:

Each instructor shall, in writing, at the beginning of each semester or Short Term, make clear to the students in the course the expectations regarding attendance and nonattendance at classes and laboratories. It is up to each instructor to excuse or penalize absences in a course.

Full discretion regarding all course grades and consequences, up to and including failure of the course, lies with each course instructor. It is the responsibility of each instructor to outline their expectations regarding attendance at the start of each semester on the course syllabus so that each enrolled student can make an informed choice regarding the continued enrollment in the course.

A student’s participation in the work of a course is a precondition for receiving credit for the course. Students are expected to attend punctually all lecture and laboratory sessions and field experiences and to participate in course assignments and activities as described in the course syllabus. Students registering late or who miss class are expected to make up all missed assignments in a manner determined by the instructor.

The Bates College Faculty Handbook outlines expectations regarding field trips:

Whenever class trips entail absences from other classes, the instructor must secure advance approval from the department or program chair. A list of all students involved, and a list of all courses they will individually miss as a result of the field trips, must accompany the request. Faculty requesting that students miss a class of another faculty member are asked to inform that faculty member of the request. Students may not be required to go on field trips if they involve absences from classes in which examinations are scheduled.

Students should consult with their instructors about all class absences.

It is the responsibility of the student to:

  • Notify the instructor immediately about class absences
  • Discuss any missed class time, tests, or assignments

It is the responsibility of the instructor to:

  • Communicate clearly to the student the likely consequences of any class absence
  • What would need to be done to make up any work missed
  • Inform the student if they are in danger of failing the course because of the amount of work or class time to be missed. A course deferral or a withdrawal from the course may be pursued, if needed, and if permitted under the appropriate policies

With the approval of the instructor, the Office of Accessible Education will work with students to proctor missed exams for the types of absences described below. It is the responsibility of the student to schedule the exam with the Office of Accessible Education, following the guidelines articulated below and on their website.

Understanding that responsibilities ultimately lie with the student and instructor, the college seeks to support students and faculty in their academic pursuits by providing confirmation in the following circumstances:

Scheduled & Planned Absences:

It is the student’s responsibility to discuss planned absences with their course instructors at the start of the semester and before each absence.

Athletics: Prior to the start of each varsity athletic season, the Department of Physical Education and Athletics shall provide to the faculty lists of the rosters of all athletic teams in season, as well as the dates and times when team members will not be able to attend classes due to scheduled competitions.

Unplanned Absences & Emergencies:

It is the student’s responsibility to discuss any unplanned absence with their course instructors as soon as possible once they are aware they will be missing class.

Illness: In some courses, professors may require that they be officially notified for unplanned illness-related absences, when these absences occur during class sessions that involve specific course requirements, e.g., laboratories, presentations, performances, or exams. Such a requirement should be stated on the course syllabus. If a student is absent from these classes because of illness and the professor requires notification, then students may seek that notice from Health Services or Counseling and Psychological Services. The student, in consultation with the professor, is responsible for addressing missed work.

Severe medical or psychological issues typically requiring hospitalization: The Director of Counseling & Psychological Services or the Associate Director of Student Health Support will notify a student’s instructors in order to confirm the situation. For concussions, Sports Medicine or the Associate Director of Student Health Support will notify a student’s instructors in order to confirm the situation.

Personal Emergencies (such as a death in the family): The Senior Associate Dean of Students will notify a student’s instructors in order to confirm the situation. Please contact Faith Hauger at 207-786-6220 or to request a notification for a personal emergency.

Debate: Because participation in a debate tournament is not determined until close to the time of the tournament, it is not possible to provide faculty with a schedule of which debaters will be participating in which tournaments at the start of the semester. At least 24 hours prior to scheduled debate tournaments that require student debaters to leave campus while classes are scheduled, the faculty will be informed of any of their students participating in the tournament, where and when the tournament is being held, and when the students must depart and return to campus.

Students who are uncertain about whether they will earn a place on a varsity or debate team should also be proactive about discussing possible absences related to athletic or debate competition.

Athletics: Athletes may notify faculty of additional absences mid-semester that cannot be planned at the start of the season, for example in cases where a team or individual makes a playoff or when contests need to be re-scheduled due to weather. In these cases the Department of Physical Education and Athletics will notify the faculty and the student will speak to the individual instructor as soon as the additional time is scheduled.

A Note About Religious Holidays

In recognition of Bates’ commitment to a diverse and inclusive student body and the variety of religions observed and practiced by our students, faculty are encouraged to consult the Multifaith Calendar posted online by the Office of the Multifaith Chaplain when developing course syllabi so that conflicts between in class examinations and major religious holidays may be avoided. Given the range of faiths embraced by our students, it may not be possible to avoid all conflicts between scheduled examinations and religious holidays. Students are expected to approach the instructor within the first two weeks of the semester if there is a conflict with a scheduled examination, paper, or project due date and a significant religious holiday observed by the student so that, when warranted, alternative arrangements for completing the work may be made.

Making Up Exams

If you have received a formal notification for one of the reasons described above and your professor has approved for you to take a make-up exam with the Office of Accessible Education and Student Support, you must follow the steps outlined below:

  • Communicate with your professor immediately to discuss whether they will proctor your exam or if you will sit for it in the Office of Accessible Education.
  • If you will take the exam in the Office of Accessible Education, contact the them as soon as possible to schedule a time to take your exam. A minimum of 24 hours advance scheduling is required and exams will always be scheduled for the next business day (not the day of request). To schedule an exam you may:
    • Email
    • Call 207-786-6222
    • Stop by Lane Hall 101
  • Please note the person who manages exams is in the office M-F between 9am-2pm.
  • Communicate with your professor to ensure that they send the exam to our office before your scheduled time.
  • Review the guidelines for taking an exam with the Office of Accessible Education.
  • Come to Lane Hall 101 to take your exam at the scheduled time. Please arrive for your exam on time. Arriving late may mean you are not able to use your full allotted time.

Important Note:

If you are missing an exam due to debate, athletics, or other event that has been scheduled ahead of time, you must schedule your exam with us a minimum of 48 hours/two business days in advance. For unforeseen events, such as medical or family emergencies, we will do our best to accommodate an exam on short notice. In this instance, please do your best to let us know as soon as possible so there is enough time to make arrangements.