UWL Syllabus Policy Information & Statements

Note to Instructors: Each course syllabus should either contain the following text, or include a link to this page of statements.

Note to Students: UWL encourages students to know the campus’ important policies and statements for all classes listed below. Each individual instructors will articulate course requirements and any additional policies in the course syllabus and/or on a Canvas site associated with the course. UWL also encourages students to take advantage of the campus’ many and varied student success resources.

Information regarding student conduct disciplinary procedures is available in the student handbook and in the catalog which also articulates the UWL Student Honor Code.

In-person and hybrid classes will be moved online whenever possible rather than canceled. If courses are moved online, individual instructors may need to cancel course(s) due to internet connectivity, instructor availability, or pedagogical issues. Fully online classes will be held whether or not the university closes unless canceled by the instructor. A decision to delay, move online, or cancel in-person classes scheduled during the regular Monday-Friday period will be communicated at least two hours prior to the start time for the first classes affected. For more information, review the UWL inclement weather policy. 

Per the UWL Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs, “any student with a conflict between an academic requirement and any religious observance must be given an alternative means of meeting the academic requirement. The student must notify the instructor within the first three weeks of class (within the first week of summer session and short courses) of specific days/dates for which the student will request an accommodation. Instructors may schedule a make-up examination or other academic requirement before or after the regularly scheduled examination or other academic requirement.”

As an employee of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, I am a mandated reporter of sexual harassment and sexual violence that takes place on campus or otherwise affects the campus community. This means that if I receive detailed or specific information about an incident such as the date, time, location, or identity of the people involved, I am obligated to share this with a member of UWL’s team in order to enable the university to take appropriate action to ensure the safety and rights of all involved. For students not wishing to make an official report, there are confidential resources available to provide support and discuss the available options. Please see Title IX for more resources or to file a report.

Informal Complaints

If a student has a concern or a complaint about a faculty member or course, the general process for making informal complaints is outlined in steps 1-3 below. Students are welcome to bring a friend or a UWL staff member with them during the following steps. Students who report concerns/complaints/grievances, whether informally or formally, will be protected from retaliation and have the right to expect an investigation and the option to have regular updates on the investigation: 

  1. The student should speak directly to the instructor.
  2. If the student is uncomfortable speaking with the instructor, or they are unsatisfied with the solution, they should go to the chair of the faculty member’s home department. 
  3. If the student is uncomfortable speaking with the department chair, or the chair is the faculty member in question, the student should speak with their college dean

Depending on the specifics of the student's concern, it may be helpful for them to reach out to additional offices: 

  • Complaints/concerns/grievances about gradesteaching performancecourse requirementscourse contentincivility, or professional ethics should follow the process outlined above. Students may also wish to seek support from the Student Life Office
  • Complaints/concerns/grievances related to bias and/or discrimination may follow the process outlined above, and in addition or instead students may contact the Center for Transformative Justice office and/or submit a bias incident report
  • Complaints/concerns/grievances related to sexual misconduct may begin with the process outlined above, but will need to also involve the Office of Title IX. Students should know that faculty members are mandatory reporters of sexual misconduct, but that confidential resources , including Violence Prevention, are available to them. 

Formal Complaints

If the student is unsatisfied with the solution of their informal complaint, they have the right to file a formal institutional complaint with the Student Life office, as described in the Student Handbook.

UWL collects student feedback electronically via the Learning Environment Survey (LENS). Prior to the conclusion of a course, you will receive an electronic notification directing you to complete the LENS for each of your courses. Your instructor may provide in-class time for you to complete this survey. Electronic reminders will be sent if you do not complete the LENS. The survey includes multiple choice questions about your experiences in the class and provides options for comments. The university takes student feedback very seriously. Please be mindful to complete the LENS for each of your courses.  

Any student with a documented disability (e.g. ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Acquired Brain Injury, PTSD, Physical, Sensory, Psychological, or Learning Disability) who needs to arrange academic accommodations must contact The ACCESS Center (124 Wimberly Hall, 608.785.6900, ACCESSCenter@uwlax.edu) and meet with an advisor to register and develop an accommodation plan.  In addition to registering with The ACCESS Center, it is the student's responsibility to discuss their academic needs with their instructors.

You can find out more about services available to students with disabilities at The ACCESS Center website.

NOTE: This policy was passed by Faculty Senate and is reflected in the newest edition of the catalog (undergraduate version, graduate version) published in summer of 2023; the policy is also listed here.  

Class attendance policy

Because class participation is an integral component of the development of a successful learning community, all students are expected to attend all class sessions of courses in which they are enrolled. While attendance is expected, it is recognized that absences are at times unavoidable. If an absence is necessary, a student should take responsibility for contacting their instructor(s) as soon as possible to discuss the ramifications of being away from class.

It is important for the student to realize that when classes are missed they may be at a disadvantage as it is often not feasible for the instructor to reconstruct activities that took place in the classroom, laboratory, or field during the absence. Additionally, missing any classes may result in lower grades because the student may miss foundational material needed to succeed in the class. Even under the best of circumstances, extended absences can be problematic, with the real possibility that the student may not be able to complete the course successfully. Students with a documented disability requesting an accommodation related to attendance must request accommodation through the ACCESS Center.

Authorized absences and how they differ from other absences

Absences that fall under one of the following categories are considered authorized:

  1. participation in an approved field trip listed in the catalog as a requirement for a course in which the student is enrolled; or
  2. participation in an authorized extra-curricular activity such as a university athletic event or artistic performance; or
  3. active military service; or
  4. accommodation of students' religious beliefs; or
  5. bereavement (such as the death of a close family member); or
  6. illness, injury, or emergency of such severity as to prevent the student from being able to attend class.

A student should communicate directly with the instructor when an absence falls under one of the approved six categories. Instructors have discretion regarding requests for absences that do not fall under one of the approved six categories.

Course policies and communication

Both students and their instructors have responsibilities related to course policies and communication of absences.

Course policies regarding absences

Instructors may initiate their own policy regarding attendance. If an instructor teaches more than one section of a course, the same policy should be used for all sections. Attendance policies should be clearly articulated in a course syllabus. Instructors are expected to announce their attendance policy to each class, but it is the responsibility of the student to know the policies of the instructor contained in the syllabus. Instructors may choose to request HIPPA-compliant documentation for authorized absences. Instructors may not require documentation that describes the nature of the student's medical condition. Requests for documentation should be restricted to information that can be readily obtained, is not unacceptably intrusive, and is culturally appropriate.

Communication regarding absences

Notifying instructors and arranging make-up work in cases involving authorized absences of students from class are the responsibility of the student. A student who is absent is responsible for notifying the instructor as soon as possible and may not be penalized for authorized absences if appropriate HIPPA-compliant documentation is provided in a timely fashion to the instructor to verify the reason for the absence. Students may not be required to provide documentation describing the nature of the student's medical condition.

In serious situations where the student is incapacitated and temporarily unable to perform the aforementioned responsibilities, family members may contact the Student Life Office for assistance with these matters. The Student Life Office will then provide notification (not verification) of the absence to the instructors. Arrangements for make-up work, make-up exams, or possible assignment adjustments are the responsibility of the student. Students should read their syllabi carefully and direct any attendance-related questions to the instructor of that course.

In the case of severe illness, injury, or emergency, instructors should be kept apprised of the student’s absence timeline through direct communication with the student and/or via the Student Life Office, which will assist students and communicate with instructors as needed.

When absences are authorized, instructors are obligated to work with students to determine the best way for students to resume participation in the class without a direct penalty. The instructor is responsible for providing reasonable accommodation or opportunities to make up course obligations that have an impact on the course grade. It is expected that reasonable requests to make up exams and assignments will be accommodated. However, if the absences are lengthy, the student, instructor, and the Student Life Office should work together to determine if it will be possible for the student to successfully complete the course.

In all cases of absence, authorized or otherwise, the student is responsible for completing missed work. The instructor is not required to do extra teaching.

Veterans, active military personnel, and immediate family members of a current service member with special circumstances (e.g., required military obligations, upcoming deployments, drill requirements, disabilities) are welcome and encouraged to communicate these, in advance if possible, to me. Absences meeting the Short Term Military Absence Policy parameters will be provided reasonable accommodations or opportunities to make up exams or other course assignments that have an impact on the course grade. Students who need to withdraw from class or from the university due to military orders should be aware of the military duty withdrawal policy. For additional information and assistance, contact the Veterans Services Office.