Q & A: Faculty Focus

I received a request from the Athletic Study Center for an academic progress report on a student athlete in a course I teach. Is this an appropriate request and what is the best information to convey as part of this progress report?

The Athletic Study Center is responsible for monitoring the academic and degree progress of the institution’s student athletes, as mandated and reported by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). We rely on faculty and GSI’s, both formally and informally, to assist us in this monitoring process. The Athletic Study Center will occasionally send out progress report requests for some of the most academically vulnerable students with whom we work. These progress reports assist us in providing the most appropriate academic support for this student population, helping to honor the educational commitment we make to these young men and women.

These progress reports seek to determine the student’s current standing in the course, lists the midterm score(s), lists any missing assignments, and details any issues and perhaps ways the instructor feels the student could improve if they are struggling in the course. These progress reports are particularly useful as the official midcourse grade reports are underutilized by faculty and/or arrive so late in the semester that it is difficult for the ASC to intervene and provide tailored academic support. We really want to work with faculty and their GSI’s in order to support these students academically.

Please do not hesitate to contact Derek Van Rheenen, Ph.D., if you have further concerns or questions.

 

How should I handle requests from student athletes to miss course assignments, reschedule exams, and so on?

In June 2006  (and updated in 2014) the Academic Senate approved Guidelines Concerning Scheduling Conflicts Between Academic and Other Student Obligations.

Based upon these guidelines, most faculty members attempt to accommodate student athletes in their requests to represent the university at away games for their respective sports, provided the student athlete communicates a potential conflict in advance of any off-site competition and makes up the missed work. The ASC, a unit under the supervision of the Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education, advises student athletes to communicate with their instructors about any potential conflict at the beginning of the semester. This generally involves providing the faculty member, in the first week or two of the semester, with a game schedule for the entire season, and noting any possible conflicts. Students are also asked to remind faculty the week prior to any discussed conflict. There are various possibilities for accommodation, including allowing students to attend another section of the same course, allowing them to hand in coursework or take an exam in advance, during or after the period of travel, having the ASC coordinate proctoring the exam while the student is on the road, and so on.

Documents to support travel accommodations:

Form to allow Instructor to describe proxy exam rules: ProxyExamLetterExample

The ASC’s Exam Proctoring Policies:  ExamProctoringPoliciesGuidelines2017

 

A student athlete in my class has a lot of away games.  How should I deal with their attendance pattern?

Intercollegiate athletic competition does occasionally conflict with class attendance, although National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletic policies on missed class attempts to keep these conflicts to a minimum (Please see U.C. Berkeley’s Guidelines Concerning Scheduling Conflicts Between Academic and Other Student Obligations).

If a student athlete’s schedule necessitates periods of absence, it is the responsibility of the student athlete to communicate any potential conflict with course requirements well in advance of such a conflict. However, if the student athlete’s participation and performance in a course is greatly undermined by their athletic schedule, you should advise them early on that their academic performance may be negatively affected. It is also possible that you and the student athlete can reach a mutually satisfactory accommodation on the issue of class attendance.

 

The semester is more than halfway over and one my students just found out that their team has been advanced to the finals. This will require them to travel (and miss class) more than they originally anticipated.

What do I do?

If a student athlete has provided the faculty member with a game schedule at the beginning of the semester, highlighting any potential conflicts with class meetings and assignments, you should already have had advance warning of possible post-season play.  For many sports, the details of post-season play are not known in advance.  The location and times of the competition will depend on tournament brackets, seeding and bowl invitations, etc.

There are various possibilities for accommodation, including allowing students to attend another section of the same course, allowing them to hand in coursework or take an exam in advance, during or after the period of travel, having the ASC coordinate proctoring the exam while the student is on the road, and so on.

Additional Questions:

If you have questions regarding any such requests by student athletes enrolled in your courses, or you have additional questions not answered by the above text, please contact the Director of the Athletic Study Center, Derek Van Rheenen, Ph.D.