Faculty Senate enacts new makeup exam policy

Daily Sundial

A new policy that directs faculty to allow, within reason, make-up exams for student-athletes and others who miss classes due to attending university-sanctioned events, was approved by the CSUN Faculty Senate Feb. 17.

According to the item on missing classes for official curriculum-related activities, students are required to submit each request to their instructors in writing the first week of school, or as soon as possible.

They must also provide the signature of the faculty member, staff member, or administrator supervising the activity. Field trips are not included in the new policy.

Also passed was an item extending the amount of time faculty are required to retain students’ final exam records.

At the Senate meeting, attended by about 50 members and administration officials, including CSUN President Jolene Koester, some expressed concern that requests by students for makeup exams and class assignments are not always “within reason.”

One senator said a student-athlete once requested he be given the opportunity to make up five of the professor’s 15 lab assignments.

Each lab assignment is prepared for many students, the senator said, and takes considerable preparation by the department.

It simply wouldn’t be feasible to try to prepare five separate lab assignments for one student, the senator said.

Barbara Swerkes, faculty athletic representative and kinesiology professor, said her department advises student-athletes to take their heavy-load courses during the off-season of their particular sport.

Others, like Senator Mike Rivas of the Secondary Education Department, said the final decision to allow makeup work is up to each individual professor, and therefore, the policy might be unevenly executed.

“I get to make up my own rules,” Rivas said. “It sounds a bit nebulous.”

Senator Barbara Jordan, head coach of the women’s softball team, said faculty should spell it out for students.

“Be exact,” Jordan said. “Let them know you can make up your class on such and such a date.”

The policy to extend the retention of final exams and other grade-related materials should protect against student materials being destroyed before a student’s academic grievance claim or grade appeal can be processed, Senate officials said.

The old policy, in place since 1975, required faculty to retain relevant material until the end of the following semester.

The end of the following semester was also the deadline for student grade appeals, so in some instances, materials were destroyed because the appeal process overlapped the faculty timeline for retaining relevant student documents.

Under the new policy, faculty must keep grade-related material for students receiving a grade for the fall and spring semesters until the end of the first week of the same semesters the following year.

For summer and winter intercession, materials must be kept until the end of the first week of the following spring and fall semesters, respectively.