We expect that under normal circumstances, students will submit their work as scheduled. This is best for them, as it helps them learn to manage their commitments, and best for you, as it allows you to manage your own grading schedule. Inevitably, though, students are sometimes prevented from meeting deadlines by circumstances beyond their control, and in such cases extensions are appropriate.
Extensions during the semester: While classes are in session, students should talk with their professors directly if they need an extension. It is entirely up to you to decide whether to grant an extension or not, as is the matter of whether or not to penalize extended work. It is helpful to remember that granting extensions involves both issues of justice to the individual requesting the extension and fairness to the other students in your class who may have struggled hard to meet the deadline. If you have a general policy about how you will handle matters of extension and penalty, please make sure this policy is announced to all your students and stated on your syllabus. If you prefer to handle such requests on a case-by-case basis, you may wish to announce this and indicate your criteria.
Although you need not involve the deans in the giving or refusing of extensions during the semester, you may wish to do so in some cases. If a student has a pattern of handing in late work for you, if you are concerned that her dean should know of some serious disruption in her ability to work, or if she is at risk of receiving a significantly reduced grade because of late penalties, you may wish to inform her that you feel it is appropriate for her dean to know how things are going in your course and then inform the dean. Sometimes students may initially approach their deans about extensions within the semester. When the student requests an extension for a reason she prefers not to disclose to faculty, or when she is unable because of injury or illness to make the request on her own behalf, her dean will contact you to discuss the situation.
Absences due to illness
We advise students to email their professors if they are sick and unable to attend class. If a student is in the Health Center and does not have access to email, the nurse will contact the dean if the student gives her permission to do so. The dean will then email professors. If a student is not in the Health Center, we expect her to contact you directly.
We assume students are operating according to the Honor Code and that students are guided by it in their communications with us and with you. The Health Center does not issue excuse notes, and the deans do not want to be in the position of routinely confirming that a student is ill.
If you suspect that something is going on other than illness, please contact us. If you are concerned that a student had already been absent several times and had fallen behind before her illness, contact us as well. Otherwise, we encourage you to work directly with the student.
Extensions due to illness
The general practice already established by faculty allows students to make up work that has been missed due to illness. Most faculty forgive absences and give extensions to students when they have been sick. From the dean’s perspective, work completed in a timely manner should not result in a late penalty. We appreciate that deciding upon a new due date involves both concern for the individual and concern for fairness to the class as a whole. If you are unsure about negotiating a fair extension for a student who has been sick, please don’t hesitate to contact the student’s dean.
If a student is not catching up on her work in a timely manner, or if she has missed so many classes that it is not possible for her to catch up, please contact both her and her dean.
Extensions at the end of the semester that go beyond the deadline for written work or the last day of exams must always be approved by both the faculty member and the dean. Dean's Office policy allows the undergraduate deans to support extensions without penalties only in cases in which the student is prevented from completing her work in a timely fashion by circumstances she could not have foreseen or prevented. In recent years, the number of classes that have neither a final exam nor a final paper in lieu of an exam (i.e., that have no work due during finals period) has been increasing. Given this, the deans may support an extension for a student who has at least two such classes.
In other circumstances, the deans may support an extension but recommend a penalty, or they may withhold their approval for the extension altogether. In any case, the dean and the faculty member will consult before any such extension is arranged. Together, they will determine an appropriate resolution.
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