At the beginning of this semester, the Foghorn staff has noticed there have been a number of professors absent from their classes for various reasons. Students have cited situations in which professors have been absent for more than a week because of conferences, personal issues, or prior engagements. Some professors have found substitutes for their classes during their absence, while others have simply canceled class until they return.
Professors being chronically absent from their own classes is detrimental to the education of USF students who pay an incredible amound of money to get that education. The cost per class at USF for a student who pays full tuition is $125, or $71 per hour.
There are certain circumstances in which professors being absent from class is acceptable, and sometimes even an asset to the class.
If a professor is going to a conference specifically related to the course they are teaching with the intention of bringing back information to share with the class, that’s an asset.
That is a situation that is acceptable in the course of a semester, though even in this case, being absent for a week or more is still excessive.
What is most unfair to students is when professors are missing classes because of prior engagements. We all know when semesters begin and end.
Students plan their extra-curricular activities around school schedules frequently, and professors are expected to do the same.
When a professor is absent from a class, there should at least be a substitute professor present most of the time.
It is unacceptable to cancel a class for an entire week or two weeks, as has been the case this semester.
Assigning readings and papers is not a sufficient substitute for class. We can get information from any public library; we’re here for professors to teach us.
Students expect some sort of guidance within the course, a discussion of course material in class, and professors to be available.
These requests are reasonable. They are a few of the many advantages we have of attending a smaller, more close-knit school.
USF prides itself in being a community, and professors are one of the most important parts of this community.
The USF community does not function properly without professors being active and available participants.
In addition, students pay for these classes. Even if professors are being paid less for not attending all of their classes, which the Foghorn has not learned to be the case, USF students and families are not receiving refunds.
Tuition is hard enough for students to pay, and we should expect to get all of our money’s worth from it.
If USF continues to maintain its policy of dropping students for not paying tuition on time, our administration should be equally as quick to reimburse students for lost time.
Many professors at USF have a strict attendance policy, with some going as far as lowering grades for poor attendance.
Professors should be held to these same standards of attendance, and even higher. When a student misses class, that student is only hurting their chances of learning the material.
When a professor misses class, that professor is taking time away from all of their students.
If you are part of a class that has been canceled or has had a substitute for the majority of this young semester, please contact any member of the Foghorn editorial board and let us know the situation.