Faculty Senate

Excused Absences for Students Missing Class

Excused Absence Policy

This policy does not require that instructors grade for attendance, or limit a faculty or instructional staff member from implementing a more lenient attendance/make-up work policy.

A fair and reasonable excused absence policy requires good faith communication and coordination between instructors and students.

Students: Notifying instructors and arranging make-up work in cases involving absence of students from class are the responsibility of the student. A student who is absent should notify instructors of the absence as soon as possible prior to any missed class time. If contact with instructors cannot be made directly, the student should email their instructors explaining the nature of the situation and inquiring about the effect of the absence on the student's course work.

Faculty and instructional staff: Given our commitment to student success and recognition of the potential for unforeseen circumstances to interrupt a student’s academic activities, the Faculty Senate endorses a policy whereby reasonable requests to make up missed work be accommodated if the student absence is covered in (2) below.


1. Excused absence. An “excused absence” means that make-up work is available to offset the impact of an absence (e.g. missing a graded discussion when an essay can be submitted in its place, making up a test at a later date, etc.) such that the absence does not negatively impact the student’s grades.

2. Reasonable request. An “excused absence” should be given for the following life situations, with the need for verification at the discretion of the instructor:

  • Medical Absence - verified by a note from a medical practitioner, otherwise qualified provider, or notice from their office.

University Health and Counseling Services will not provide documentation, but a student could show their appointment on the UHCS portal. Students may access My UHCS portal to provide verification of appointments (under the Appointment tab).

Faculty and instructional staff should not request, accept, or store student medical records. Students can provide documentation verifying their absence to the Dean of Students office and a letter will be forwarded to the faculty or instructional staff member. The faculty or instructional staff member can review documentation that a student provides.

  • Funeral for Close Friend/Relative - verified by proof of funeral arrangements or obituary or other confirmation. A death certificate is not required to satisfy this policy.
  • Mandatory Court Appearance - verified by an official court document.

  • Motor Vehicle Incident - verified by a Crash Report, Drivers Information Exchange, or filed insurance claim.

  • Participation in a University Sponsored Event or Sports Competition - verified by a letter from the coach or faculty/staff leader.

  • Active Military Service - verified by orders documentation.

  • Religious Observance - absences related to religious observance should adhere to the Accommodation of Religious Beliefs Polic

  •  Other reasons at the discretion of the instructor.

3. For students with disabilities who have approved flexible attendance accommodations, faculty or instructional staff must implement the approved reasonable accommodation that has been negotiated between the faculty or instructional staff member and the student.

4. Verification documents that appear to be fraudulent (i.e. a fake doctor’s note) will be forwarded to the Dean of Students Office for review under UWS Chapter 17.

5. In serious situations where the student is incapacitated and temporarily unable to perform the aforementioned responsibilities, family members may contact the Dean of Students Office, (phone: 262-472-1533) for assistance with these matters. The Dean of Students Office will then provide notification (not verification) of the absence to the instructors; however, arrangements for make-up work, make-up exams, or possible assignment adjustments are the responsibility of the student. The University Health and Counseling Services and the Dean of Students Office do not provide excuses for absences from class due to illness. Students should read their syllabi carefully and direct any attendance-related questions to the instructor of that course.

6. In cases of extended or recurrent absences, collaboration among the student, instructor, and the Dean of Students Office is encouraged to assess whether a student can successfully complete the course or whether the student would be better served by taking an incomplete, late drop, or medical withdrawal.

7. Certain courses such as labs/studios, performances, fieldwork, independent studies, fully asynchronous courses, and similar offerings may formulate more detailed guidelines for informing instructors and addressing make-up work. Licensure courses, such as student teaching, may require adherence to more specific guidelines regarding absences.

8. If a student believes an instructor has not granted them the opportunity to make up course work or provided reasonable accommodations despite the legitimacy or unexpectedness of an absence, they can follow the Excused Absence Resolution Process.

The above policy is intended to allow students to maintain academic progress when facing unexpected life situations beyond a student’s control that disrupt the ability of the student to attend class. Certain situations may not be deserving of reasonable consideration, such as if a student has recurring absences without legitimate explanation.

Excused Absence Resolution Process

  1. If your instructor does not accept your absence as valid for making up coursework from point 2 above, please discuss the matter with the same instructor.

  2. If the consultation does not lead to an agreement, the student has the right to submit a written appeal within 3 business days to the department chair of the course. If the instructor is the department chair, the dean will identify a designee for this first level.

  3. The department chair/dean designee will review the written request and any submitted materials and offer to meet with the student. A written response that indicates the resolution will be provided to the student within 3 business days after receiving the appeal.

  4. If the department chair/dean designee denies the appeal, the student has the right to appeal to the dean of the academic college of the course in the next 3 business days. The dean will review all written materials and make a final decision. The final decision will be submitted to the student and the faculty or instructional staff within 3 business days.

  5. There are no further appeals.


Record of approval for Policy Guidance:

Approved at the 2024-03-19 All Faculty Meeting

Endorsed by Chancellor on 2024-04-11

Adopted policy beginning Fall 2024 Semester