Faculty Policy on Class Cancelation: Instructor Absence or Adverse Weather
Acceptance of a faculty appointment carries with it the responsibility of meeting every scheduled class for the scheduled length of time. There may be cases where an instructor has a planned absence (for example, for a conference or professional development), and in those cases instructors are expected to build in an alternative instructional plan for their students and inform them of that plan well in advance of the absence.
Occasionally, though, emergent circumstances may necessitate an unanticipated temporary change to instructional approach or a class cancelation. This policy addresses two common situations; for other situations not accounted for here, instructors should consult with their Dean or Chair about appropriate action.
Instructor illness or emergency: It may be necessary for an instructor to miss classes because of illness or some other emergency. Such last-minute cancelations should be rare, and when classes must be canceled, instructors should:
- Notify your immediate supervisor.
- Notify the students in the class by Canvas announcement or message.
- Notify the appropriate administrative staff, who will place a sign on the classroom door when needed. Administrative staff should not be asked to handle classroom or instructional activities beyond posting the cancelation message.
- Either have another faculty member cover the class or offer some alternative form of instruction* that students can complete in lieu of attending class that day. Due to differing teaching styles, subject matters, time of classes, and so on, it is left to the instructor to determine what is appropriate, and they may confer with their leadership if necessary.
Inclement weather or facilities issue: There may be cases where a weather or facilities issue results in the campus being notified of a switch from normal operations to limited operations. This notification will generally mean that staffing on campus will be limited to only necessary personnel. Such notification will typically come through email and IU-Notify emergency notification, and will go to faculty, staff, and students simultaneously. Students will typically be instructed to check each of their Canvas sites for guidance on instruction in that class.
Under notice of limited operations, instructors should:
- Whenever possible, replace the lost on-campus instruction with some alternative form of instruction* if feasible and if it would satisfy their instructional objectives. The format and timing of such instruction would be determined by the faculty member.
- Faculty should follow any processes determined by their unit for reporting and/or documenting their alternative instructional plans, or their plans to cancel class.
- In all cases, faculty must notify their students regarding the plan for instruction. Students will then be held accountable to the learning expectations set by each instructor, with appropriate allowances being made by instructors for students' individual situations.
*Alternative instruction can take many forms, including synchronous video conferencing meetings on IU-approved technology tools, if the instructor determines that to be the appropriate format. Other forms can include independent learning activities such as readings, video viewings, response papers, discussion posts, online simulations, and other learning activities as determined by the instructor.