Our View

“Last week, we ran an opinion piece about attendance policies. The writer claimed that professors should not institute strict guidelines. His argument is a common one. On one side, students contend that the decision should be left to them whether they should attend class.”

Last week, we ran an opinion piece about attendance policies.

The writer claimed that professors should not institute strict guidelines. His argument is a common one.

On one side, students contend that the decision should be left to them whether they should attend class. After all, they pay for their education, and they should be able to miss class, if they choose.

The opposing view argues that students have a responsibility to go to class, that it is a vital component of their college education.

Some contend that students should want to go to class, considering how much they are paying for it.

If students choose to skip class regularly and wind up with Cs at the end of the semester, then it’s safe to say they made a bad choice. They have no one to blame but themselves.

However, if students can ace a class without showing up, but are forced into attending because of a strict attendance policy, there’s a problem.

How can that be fixed?

Simple. We need to raise our standards.

We’re not talking about the students who miss class because they have strep throat, or because they have to go to court, or because their grandfather is dying of cancer. Those are valid excuses.

But for the students who simply have no desire to show up, we can’t chalk it up to a lack of motivation or irresponsibility.

For those professors who face half-empty classrooms, ask yourselves, Why don’t my students want to be here?

The truth might hurt, but facing it head on will help change attitudes: You aren’t challenging them.

When students are actively engaged and participating, they get interested. And, most important, they learn.

But when they are forced to stare at Powerpoint slides or a blackboard while their professor drones on for the better part of an hour – or more, for goodness sake – what do they take from that?

Nothing, except for the well-meaning advice they hand out to their friends about steering clear of certain professors. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Professors demand certain things of their students, but it’s high time we demand certain things of them.

Challenge us, engage us, motivate us.

If you make class something we don’t want to miss, we won’t.