Monday, February 01, 2010

"In the Trenches": enhancing attendance

Here's a note I sent to my staff this morning, because of the week that's in it:


For those teaching as instructor-of-record: several people have mentioned that, as ever, the semester's attendance issues and problem-children are starting to manifest. Here is a strategy which both conforms to university doctrine and has worked well in the past:

Make a list of of those who have missed some number (say, 2 or more) class sessions in the first 3 weeks of class--of course omitting to include snow days or excused absences. Include in the list the *.edu email for each person (get it from online student information). Compose a generic email, which will be sent individually to each on the list, saying:

"In the first 3 weeks of class, you have an unacceptable number of unexcused absences from [course number]. University policy requires that we drop non-attending students from class rosters. Moreover, as of [email's date], you are failing this class on the basis of attendance. What is the problem?"

Then send as individual email to each student, includng the student's studio teacher in the "CC" line.

Then contact the studio teacher by separate, private email, saying "of course we know that it is not your responsibility to ensure Student X's attendance in the Music History class. But, we thought you would probably want to know about this attendance problem. Thanks for any assistance."

In the case of non-music majors, make the student's division, unit, or undergraduate adviser the CC'd recipient.

We have found that this helps to "close the loop" b/w various faculty. Also that studio faculty often wield a great deal of productive clout with music majors.

Your mileage may vary.
Sigh. Sometimes ya wished their parents had raised 'em with some sense of personal responsibility (hah!)

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