FAQs for Faculty
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Excused Absence Policies
Students may be excused for absences when:
- Representing the university (as in athletics, chorus, band, national or state meetings of organizations represented at TCU). An Official University Absence may be granted by the Dean of Students Office.
- Observing Holy Days (see below for more information)
- Participating in active military service (see below for more information)
- Related to pregnancy or childbirth, for both parents.
Faculty/staff who wish to have an activity sanctioned for Official University Absence status must submit the names of all students, including date and hours absent from campus, to the Dean of Students Office at email@example.com no later than one week prior to the date of the activity. The Dean of Students (and/or their designee) reviews and approves the request as appropriate and notifies impacted students’ faculty via email.
Mandates for excused absences for holy days, active military service and TCU-related trips are posted here: deanofstudents.tcu.edu/faculty-staff/#StudentAbsences.
Updated Title IX regulations now mandate excused absences related to pregnancy and childbirth for both parents. In such instances, TCU must allow excused students to return to the same academic and extracurricular status as before their absence(s), and provide them the opportunity to make up missed work, including class participation grades. Questions about Title IX should be directed to the Office of Institutional Equity. Associate Provost Reginald Wilburn is working with OIE to confirm policies and procedures related to the updated Title IX mandates, to be established and posted by the beginning of the fall 2023 semester.
Yes. However, according to legal regulations and in the best interest of student success, all work for all excused absences must be made up within a reasonable timeframe after any absence, not while students are away.
Yes. In accordance with Texas Education Code Section 51.911 Religious Holy Days, an institution of higher education shall excuse a student from attending classes or other required activities, including examinations, for the observance of a religious holy day.
TCU’s policy for Religious Observances and Holidays states that students must notify faculty or staff the first two weeks of the semester of their intention to be absent from class or the required event on their day(s) of religious observance. A faculty member may appropriately respond if the student fails to satisfactorily complete the assignment or examination within a reasonable time after the absence.
For more details on this policy, please visit the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life’s webpage.
All work for all excused absences must be made up within a reasonable timeframe after any absence, not while students are away.
In accordance with Texas Education Code Section 51.9111 Excused Absence for Active Military Service, when a student is called into active military service, including travel associated with that service, an institution of higher education shall excuse the student from attending classes or engaging in other required activities, including exams.
The student may not be penalized for the absence and shall be allowed to complete assignments and exams within a reasonable time after the absence.
The Dean of Students (firstname.lastname@example.org) can assist students with verifying the excused absence by collecting and storing appropriate documentation and then notifying the student’s professors. Faculty are encouraged to work with the student to help them satisfactorily complete assignments and exams within a reasonable time. If assignments and exams are not completed within a reasonable time, faculty make take appropriate action.
Updated Title IX regulations now mandate excused absences related to pregnancy and childbirth for both parents. In such instances, TCU must allow excused students to return to the same academic and extracurricular status as before their absence(s), and provide them the opportunity to make up missed work, including class participation grades. Questions about Title IX should be directed to the Office of Institutional Equity.
Associate Provost Reginald Wilburn is working with OIE to confirm policies and procedures related to the updated Title IX mandates, to be established and posted by the beginning of the fall 2023 semester.
Note that, according to legal regulations, and in the best interest of student success, all work for all excused absences must be made up within a reasonable timeframe after any absence, not while students are away.
Faculty retain all discretion for consideration of a student’s absence if the absence does not fall within the Official University Absence Policy.
If the Dean of Students Office is working with a student regarding an emergency or ongoing personal concerns affecting the student’s academic performance and/or attendance, the Dean of Students Office will notify the student’s faculty by email or telephone and collect the appropriate documentation to verify the nature of an absence.
In the absence of documentation, the Dean of Students Office will either a) not notify the student’s faculty or b) make it known in an email that the student’s claim has not been substantiated with sufficient documentation.
It is standard practice for the Dean of Students Office to advise students to communicate with their faculty regarding all absences. Faculty retain all discretion for consideration of a student’s absence if the absence does not fall within the attendance policy.
Please alert the Dean of Students Office by filling out this brief form or by calling 817.257.7926 if any of the following are true:
- The student has had excessive absences in class. (An instructor should not assume that continued absence from class indicates an official withdrawal unless so notified by the Registrar.)
- The faculty member believes the student has been untruthful about the cause of his/her absence.
Inclement Weather Campus Closing
We encourage you to include the statement below in your syllabus:
When the university announces an official campus closure, all academic instruction and activities, online or in-person, on or off campus, will cease until the university officially reopens. Since there is no guarantee of the ability to communicate or access academic resources, students will not be expected to attend class, submit assignments, take exams or quizzes, or meet any scheduled deadlines during the closure. Instructors should make every attempt to communicate with students prior to a campus closure—but not during since this may not be possible—to provide expectations for upcoming course activities. Upon reopening, instructors should communicate with students to adjust course expectations and deadlines,
No, since there is no guarantee that every class member will be able to communicate or access academic resources. No communication will be expected, including email. All activities or deadlines such as class meetings, quizzes, exams and assignments that occur within the time the campus is closed should be adjusted to after the campus reopens.
You can cancel your class if you cannot get to campus due to inclement weather at or near your home. Please do not hold class on zoom since there is no guarantee of the ability to communicate or access academic resources for every class member
No. Since there is no guarantee of the ability to communicate or access academic resources for every class member, communication will not be expected when campus is closed. Course activities or deadlines scheduled within the time the campus is closed should be adjusted to after the campus reopens.
All course activities or deadlines that occur within the time the campus is closed should be adjusted to after the campus reopens.
Any activities or deadlines scheduled to occur within the time when campus is closed should be adjusted to after the campus reopens.
No. Any make up time will take place during the scheduled class time or through out-of-class activities. Faculty should not schedule additional class meetings where all students are expected to attend—in-person or online—outside of normal class hours.
When campus closures are predicted, faculty may communicate with students to provide expectations for upcoming course activities in the case of campus closing. No communication is expected between faculty and students once the campus closes, since communication may not be possible for every class member.
When campus reopens, faculty will inform students of adjusted course expectations and deadlines to make sure the course learning objectives are met.
We encourage you to include the syllabus statement to address students’ expectations.
No classes can be held on campus when the university is officially closed. The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff are of the utmost importance.
Faculty are encouraged to build flexibility into your course schedules to account for personal illness or campus closures. Do not schedule additional class meetings where all students are expected to attend (in-person or online) outside of normal class hours. Instead, utilize out-of-class activities that students can complete in a reasonable timeframe, such as homework, reviewing a PowerPoint, watching a recorded lecture video, reading, writing a reflection, etc.
SACSCOC requirements follow the U.S. Department of Education definition of a credit hour at one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class work each week for approximately 15 weeks. For TCU, this requirement is met by having course work equal 700 minutes of instruction per credit hour plus 150 minutes of a final evaluative exercise. The use of asynchronous instruction allows using out-of-class activities for making up missed class time due to campus closures without the need for scheduling specified make-up days.
The emergency preparedness committee meets daily during inclement weather to make crucial decisions about travel and safety, and makes every effort to inform the campus community of closings and openings as much in advance as possible advance.
In the case of a delayed opening, facility services is notified to open buildings at least 30 minutes in advance of the allotted time to open, to give faculty, staff and students time to prepare for class and work.
COVID in the Classroom
No, teaching on campus is an essential duty for faculty and instructional staff who are teaching classes that are not part of TCU’s online course offerings.
Attending class online is not an accommodation for students at TCU. Instructors may not offer class online when students are sick or away for other reasons.
Follow the same protocol established by your department before the pandemic for covering classes when an instructor is sick.
Employees at TCU are not permitted to work while sick, either on campus or remotely.
Please self-report your positive test via the Protect the Purple website so that a notification will be sent to your Department Chair and Dean.
Quarantine is no longer required for those exposed to COVID-19, however, per the CDC, if you are exposed you should take precautions such as wearing a mask and getting tested on day 6 or earlier if you have symptoms.
As with any illness or absence, students are responsible for reporting absences directly to their instructors via email.
Additionally, when a student reports a positive COVID test through TCU:
1) The student’s instructors will receive a notification from the Dean of Students’ office.
2) The student will receive a verification email from TCU that they may forward to instructors as proof of reporting.
3) The student will be asked to identify close contacts on the form, which will then generate an automatic notification to close contacts only.
When a student reports a COVID exposure through TCU:
1) The student will receive a verification email from TCU that they may forward to instructors as proof of reporting and need to isolate.
Instructors may email email@example.com to verify that an absence due to COVID-19 has been reported by the student to TCU using the self-report positive test or exposure form.
TCU encourages everyone to self-report positive tests. When instructors self-report a positive test, a notification will be sent to your Department Chair and Dean. You will be asked to identify close contacts on the form, which will then generate an automatic notification to close contacts.
While masks are optional at TCU, instructors may continue to require masks in their classrooms. If you require masks in your classroom, clearly convey the requirement to your students in the syllabus and reiterate it in the first week of class – via email and in person – so students have ample opportunity to change courses or sections if they prefer.
If you have clearly conveyed your mask requirement in the syllabus and reiterated it to the class via email and in person, any students who do not comply may be referred to firstname.lastname@example.org. This is solely for reporting students within your classroom who have been given ample notification and opportunity to change classes.
Disposable masks remain available in buildings. If you wish to request a box specifically for your classroom(s), make the request to the appropriate building manager where the classroom is located.
If you primarily provide on-campus office hours, you may supplement those with remote office hours.