By Renee McNamee
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Attendance has been the talk around Camden County College as students offer a variety of perspectives on the college’s policy on attending classes.
“I just don’t understand it. Like, why does he care if I am there today? What is it to him if I sit in the far left corner of his classroom every day?” said third-year Camden County College student Melanie Lewis when asked her opinion about her professor’s attendance policy.
It was found that most students from the ages of 18 to 25 have taken this view on attendance, whereas the adults have taken the opposite side. The younger crowd seems not to care if they attend class or not, as opposed to the 26 and older group, who want to be there.
“As a mother of three children, I come to class every day. For one thing, I’m paying for it, so you better believe I’m going to show up. Not to mention I want to set a good example for my children. Hey, I want good grades, too,” says Marybeth Thomas, 35.
The school policy, contained in the 2011-12 student handbook, is:
Camden County College expects students to attend regularly and promptly all classes and all conferences with professors. Each professor determines his or her policy for student absences from class. This written policy is to be distributed to students at the first class meeting. Should this procedure be overlooked or should a student be absent from the first class, it is the student’s responsibility to obtain the attendance policy of the professor by the end of the first week of class. Students who are absent from class for any reason are expected to make up the work missed. Excessive absences from class may lead to a grade of Not Attending (NA), or the lowering of a grade; however, in certain cases of illness or jury duty, students will be permitted to make up the work if it is academically possible.
Most teachers take attendance, and each has their own policy. A majority of teachers allow a class that meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday to have three unexcused absences, Tuesday and Thursday classes two unexcused and one for an evening class; for anything after that there is a consequence.
Professor Drew Jacobs said he follows that exact policy.
“The college leaves it up to faculty to create an attendance policy. However, faculty are expected to submit regular attendance reports because of the need to meet reporting requirements for students that receive financial aid,” Jacobs says. “I created an attendance policy for all my classes.”
Very few professors don’t follow some sort of attendance policy.
“I wish all of my teachers taught that way. If I get my work done and receive good grades, why should it matter how many times I’m actually in class?” said student Chelsea Dougherty, 19.
I am curious if the policy was put into effect because excessive student absence is an inconvenience to the professors. I notice that students who miss class ask the professor what they missed. I do not feel that professors should be responsible to repeat the information and assignments. Students should be encouraged to get some phone numbers on the first day of classes. Then if they miss, they could contact a fellow student to get any information they need.