Handbook for Department Chairs

Updated Policies



I write on behalf of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee to ask for your help.  Below is a brief reminder of TCU’s official absence policy, as stated in the faculty/staff handbook.

In discussions last year, committee members learned from Shawn Worthen (Associate Athletics Director of Academic Services) that many student athletes—and as well all students needing accommodations—are encountering problems making up their work.  Some of these problems involve faculty dropping missed work and then altering their grading systems or substituting different assignments and exams.  Arranging to make up the work through the existing college-level testing centers is also a problem, as there are problems of time and space.  Students have also encountered faculty who are confused by the differences between the university official absence policy and their course-level absence policies.   The university policy obviously affects TCU student athletes, but with some many students now needing different kinds of accommodations, this is a campus-wide concern.

I ask for your help in this area, secure in the knowledge that we are an academic community committed to ensuring that our graduates receive the most complete educational experience that we can deliver.

I hope that all of you had a fine and feisty Thanksgiving, arm wrestling that precocious turkey into submission.

All the best,

Nowell Donovan.  

How to Handle Official University Absences

The Faculty/Staff Handbook states:

“When a student is absent to represent the University (as in Athletics, chorus, band, or national or state meetings of organizations represented at TCU), then an Official University Absence may be granted by the Campus Life Office. . . . Faculty members are required to permit students to make up work missed because of Official University Absences.”

Faculty—and those students with Official University Absences—need to be aware of their responsibilities regarding missed work.  The following list is offered as a helpful reminder of these responsibilities.

  • Students with Official University Absences must contact their instructors to find out what they missed and what they need to do to make up that work.
  • Students who miss class because of an Official University Absence must be given the opportunity to make up the specific work, tests, and/or assignments that were missed. Make-up work must reflect the original assignment as closely as possible.
  • No assigned work can be excused because of absence.
  • No altered requirements or dropped grades are permitted.  Faculty cannot offer replacements or “drop” assigned work (even if their syllabi permits students to drop one assignment or grade).
  • Faculty cannot alter their grading system for any Official University Absences.
  • For courses in which some fixed number of absences are allowed, an Official University Absence should not be consider one of these permitted absences.
  • The make-up work, tests, or assignments must occur within a reasonable time period convenient to both the instructor and student.

For further information, consult: