We, the Faculty, acknowledge that student learning can be significantly enhanced through student participation in out-of-classroom activities--for instance, service learning engagements, participation in conferences, and visits to organizations. We appreciate that these activities are encouraged and supported, as through Goal 5, Objective 1 of the 2010-2015 Strategic Plan, which endorses service learning. However, we are concerned that efforts of this kind can conflict with the goal of providing UNI students with an educationally rewarding classroom experience. In particular, we are concerned that instructors may increasingly be making for-credit assignments that encourage students to participate in co-curricular activities during times when their other classes might be scheduled. Instructors often provide students with letters that students can use to obtain "excused absences" from other classes. Employed in moderation, this is an acceptable practice; used to excess, it is cause for concern. Admittedly, certain students--athletes, for instance--have reasons that adequately justify their frequent absences from class. However, such students typically have access to resources and are subject to controls which insure that they satisfy course requirements. These resources and controls are not available for most UNI students. Thus, there is a risk that high levels of student participation in out-of-classroom activities during normal teaching hours will result in a deterioration of student learning in many of their courses.
Therefore, be it resolved that the Senate adopts the following policy:
UNI Faculty and instructors will not ask students to attend or participate in any event outside of the regularly scheduled meetings of their classes if:
(1). the event's timing conflicts with one or more of a student's other class sessions; and
(2). participation in the event will affect the student's grade for the course.