One of the best decisions I made during the fall semester was allowing students to dictate new class policy. Before this semester, I had never really had a formal policy about extensions. The few students who asked for them did it in a timely and respectful manner. In the fall, I began to have students asking for them the day a paper was due and even days afterward. This was intolerable and I decided that I needed to brew a new extension policy.
Then an idea came to me. Why was I writing it? The policy will be one that my students use, so why not let them do it? I took three of my best students and put them in “Team Extension Policy” to create a new policy for extensions. My students spent about two weeks emailing back and forth and having a rather vigorous debate about what should go into the policy. I spoke with each in person (but never all at once; unfortunately, only two of them could meet in person) and I took notes on their emails as they worked out the intricacies of various issues.
Finally, I drafted policy and showed it to both Team Extension Policy and our Paralegal Director Sherrie Block. After some suggestions from both, and a few final in person discussions, we came up with this:
Extensions are gifts, not a right. College work involves responsibility and ownership over your individual situation. With that in mind, here are a few caveats about extensions. First, I need to know 48 hours before an assignment is due if you need an extension. This will be clearly addressed on the class schedule. To apply for an extension, we must speak in person or over email immediately. A rough draft of your paper in progress will be required to be handed in at this time. I will then decide whether to grant or deny the extension and how much time would be allotted for it.
To apply for an extension beyond the 48 hour mark for reasons of hospitalization, bereavement, military service, observance of religious holidays, legal reasons (jury duty, etc), or work related issues (ie: getting called into work at the last minute), written documentation not given before the due date must be in by Saturday night after the due date.
For the following reasons, extensions will not be permitted: short term illnesses and family vacations.
Only one extension will be granted per semester, although an “emergency” extension can be granted under certain circumstances.