As winter’s icy grasp tightens around Stevens Point,
students may find themselves feeling less inclined to leave the comfort of a
warm bed and attend class.
Unfortunately for many however, this is not an option as
attendance is often mandatory.
Though the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Registration and Records homepage advises students to “attend all your classes
regularly,” class-specific attendance policies are left entirely up to
instructors. Taking this into account, it is not surprising that many have
enacted mandatory attendance policies.
Jeff Snowbarger, a lecturer of English at UWSP, is an
advocate of mandatory attendance policies and believes they are necessary to
ensure that learning takes place within the classroom.
“Attendance policies can be helpful in laying a foundation
of expectations for student participation given the various classes,”
Snowbarger said. “Some classes will differ depending on the amount of
participation they require to accomplish the goals of the class, but for the
most part, attendance is a big part of the education process.”
Professor of political science John Blakeman also believes
that mandatory attendance is useful but acknowledges the fact that, ideally, it
shouldn’t be necessary.
“Students need to be mature and come to class as much as
possible,” Blakeman said. “I recognize that life sometimes gets in the
way—students get sick, or non-traditional students have sick kids at home, what
have you—but the reality is that I think students should treat college like a
job. In the work force, you only get so many sick days per year.”
UWSP students also seem to have mixed feelings in regards to
mandatory attendance policies.
“When attendance is mandatory, I definitely feel more
obligated to attend. It’s part of your grade, and I don’t want to lose points
just for not showing up to class,” said Kelsey McNamee, a junior psychology
Josh Weigand, a senior communication major, agrees with
“I get the reasoning behind mandatory attendance. After all,
you’re paying to be here, and it is your grade,” Weigand said.
Katie Bragg, also a junior, mandatory attendance is what
keeps her consistently attending classes in the first place.
“If attendance wasn’t mandatory, a lot of times I probably
wouldn’t go,” said Bragg.
Samantha Nehls, a sociology major, understands the reasoning
behind mandatory attendance policies. However, she doesn’t agree with them.
“I feel like if I’m paying for my tuition, I should be able
to decide whether I go to class or not. It makes sense in high school, but not
in college,” Nehls said.
Contrarily, Snowbarger is unyielding.
“I hold pretty firmly to a pretty strict attendance policy
because I believe it matters. For the most part, my attendance policy is given
to provide expectations for [students] to achieve the goals I have for them as
students in the class,” said Snowbarger.