An excused absence is an absence for which the student has the right to receive, and the instructor has the responsibility to provide, academic accommodation.
Students are expected to take full responsibility for their own academic work and progress. Students, to progress satisfactorily, must meet all of the requirements of each course for which they are registered. Students are expected to attend classes regularly. Consistent attendance offers students the most effective opportunity to gain command of course concepts and materials. Excused absences must be requested promptly and must be supported by appropriate documentation.
Excused absences do not alter the academic requirements for the course. Students are responsible for information and material missed on the day of absence. Students are, within reason, entitled to receive any materials provided to the class during the absence. Students are responsible for making provision to determine what course material they have missed and for completing required exercises in a timely manner.
Absences stemming from work duties other than military obligation (e.g., unexpected changes in shift assignments) and traffic/transit problems do not typically qualify for an excused absence.
To receive academic accommodation for an excused absence:
In keeping with the USM III-5.10 Policy Concerning the Scheduling of Academic Assignments on Dates of Religious Observance, "Students shall not be penalized because of observances of their religious holidays and shall be given an opportunity, whenever feasible, to make up within a reasonable time any academic assignment that is missed due to individual participation in religious observances." For all other excused absences, the student must be provided reasonable accommodation. The accommodation provided should, within reason, neither advantage nor disadvantage either the student or the rest of the class.
If the accommodation is a makeup assessment, it must be timely, at a time and place agreed upon by the instructor and student, cover the same material, and be at the same level of difficulty as the original assessment. In the event that a group of students requires the same makeup assessment, one time and place may be scheduled. The makeup assessment must not interfere with the student's regularly scheduled classes, and must be consistent with the V-1.00(A) University of Maryland Policy on the Conduct of Undergraduate Classes and Student Grievance Procedure. If makeup work is not feasible, an alternate accommodation for excused absences will be provided. Alternate accommodations will be according to the principles established by the unit offering the course.
Students who miss a substantial number of class sessions or course assignments should seek guidance from an academic advisor with respect to academic options. Extended absences stemming from active military duty are addressed in the USM V-7.00 Policy on Students who are called to Active Military Duty during a National or International Crisis or Conflict. Absences related to a student's disability are addressed in the VI-1.00(D) University of Maryland Disability & Accessibility Policy and Procedures.
Students who feel that they have unfairly been denied either excused absence or appropriate accommodation for an excused absence should first seek to resolve the disagreement with the course instructor. If the student and instructor are unable to find a mutually agreeable resolution, the student may file an appeal with the head of the administrative unit offering the class. In most cases this will be the Chair of the Department. In the case of non-departmentalized units and interdepartmental programs, this role will be taken by the Dean (or the Dean's designee). The unit head should use procedures similar to those specified in the III-1.20(B) University of Maryland Procedures for Review of Alleged Arbitrary and Capricious Grading – Undergraduate Students – but with clear indication that the appeal is with regard to excused absence, not arbitrary and capricious grading.
Faculty should be considerate of known religious observances when scheduling significant exams/events/activities. Further, tests and due dates of other significant assessments should not be scheduled during high holidays, such as Rosh Hashanah, Eid Al-Adha, or Good Friday (see http://www.interfaith-calendar.org for an interfaith listing of such holidays).
Faculty should remind students in advance, preferably on the syllabus, that it is the student's responsibility to inform the instructor of any intended absences for religious observances in advance and that prior notification is especially important in connection with final examinations, since failure to reschedule a final examination before the conclusion of the final examination period may result in loss of credits during the semester. This problem is especially likely to arise when final exams are scheduled on Saturdays. Your failure to understand and adhere to this policy may result in a false perception that the campus is insensitive to religious diversity. Accordingly, please make every feasible effort to accommodate students' requests based on attendance of religious observances.
There are recent changes to the University policy on Student Attendance. Click here for a summary of the changes.