Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Allison James, Staff Writer

With the Fall semester in full swing at Texas A&M – Commerce, students are beginning to wonder if attending class is mandatory or if it worth the early call time.

The university’s attendance policy is mostly left up to the instructors, but the basic rules ask that students “be present for all class meetings of any course for which they are enrolled,” as the attendance policy states.

Instructors have the ability to keep a record of a student’s excused and unexcused absences, with “excused” meaning that students have appealed the absence with a valid reason for missing class.

Stephanie Witcher, psychology instructor, enforces an attendance policy that is common among instructors at the university.

“If a student was to miss three days within the first twenty class days and didn’t have a documented reason for doing so, I would certainly be inclined to drop them,” Witcher said. “I would contact them first and inquire to whether or not there were some extenuating circumstances that were prohibiting their attendance in class.”

Witcher discusses that instructors often have material that is only available to students that attend class.

“I show videos in class and questions referring to those videos will be on my tests,” Witcher said. “These videos aren’t linked anywhere on my eCollege course site so, unless they ask a classmate, my students won’t know the answers to certain test questions.”

Witcher wants her students to attend class as often as possible because she believes it offers them benefits that they may not realize beforehand.

“Attending class gives students the opportunity to hear their classmates’ questions and comments which may help them find clarification with regards to the material,” Witcher said. “It also helps builds a sense of community within majors by giving students the chance to build relationships with their peers. These relationships can help students feel connected to their university and more involved with it.”

Texas A&M University – Commerce sophomore Dylan Nailling never skips his classes.

“I avoid missing class because I view it as an opportunity to go into the professor’s mind,” Nailling said. “It’s also just a good time to really comprehend difficult material. You have the professor and other students that you can ask for help, or even just have them tell you that you’re wrong.”

Although attendance policies vary with the instructor, the university encourages students to attend classes on a regular basis to help further their education.