Faculty Senate Approves Policy To Excuse Interview Absences

If you’ve ever had to miss class because of a job interview, you know that while many professors will acquiesce to the idea, it was not set in stone that your absence will be excused. That changed yesterday, when the Faculty Senate approved an amendment to Senate Policy 42-27. Now, attempting to gain employment will be a valid reason for missing classes that are supposed to prepare you for that goal.

What started as an idea by former UPUA representative Lina Montopoli, and passed as a bill way back in the 8th assembly’s Academic Affairs committee, made it through the current Senate’s Committee on Undergraduate Education yesterday.

“This policy change is a perfect example of what a student government should do,”said UPUA speaker Emily Miller, who served as Academic Affairs chair in the 9th Assembly. “Students identified a problem and we were able to solve it for them. Students in many cases were being wrongly penalized for trying to secure jobs and graduate school seats and the attendance policy was not fairly serving the student body.”

The official faculty senate legislation can be found here, with both the old and new versions of the policy. The piece is based off of benchmarking and policy work done with the original UPUA legislation. “For students to not only have the opportunity to suggest change to a policy, but actually see that change made on the floor of the senate truly speaks to the relationship between the UPUA and the Faculty Senate and our ability to work together.” Miller said.

The policy cites major Penn State recruiters like J.P. Morgan, who schedule final interviews with students, as well as graduate, law, and medical schools — key examples of times when a student would need to attend and interview and not have much say in its date. The key detail of the revised version reads:

“In addition, instructors should provide, within reason, the opportunity to make up work for students who miss class for post-graduate, career-related interviews when there is no opportunity for students to re-schedule these opportunities (such as employment and graduate school final interviews.)”

There are the obvious caveats to this, such as proof of interview and the note that sometimes, class work cannot be “made up” even if the absence is excused with regards to attendance. However, this is a major breakthrough for those in certain colleges that are less lenient with this type of absence than, say, Smeal.

While attempting to get any change through the Faculty Senate can prove difficult at times, the policy change is logical and obvious, and will greatly benefit students.

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Noel Purcell

Noel Purcell is Onward State's Features Editor. He's a senior Supply Chain major, but is going to law school at some point in the future and masquerades as a writer for now. He continues to disappoint his ancestors by being a complete Irish stereotype. His email is [email protected] because there were no other Noels before him. His ex-wife got the good half of his bio in the divorce settlement.

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