Guidelines on Out-of-Class Requirements

[Faculty Handbook Category #2]

Guidelines on Out-of-Class Requirements

In many courses, events that occur outside of class time are essential to the curriculum.
When requiring students to attend such events, faculty should consider the obligations that our
students have beyond academics.

While academics are central to the St. Olaf experience, students’ education is vitally
enhanced by the wide range of extracurricular activities that they pursue. In addition,
many students must hold jobs to financially support their St. Olaf education.
Faculty must take care not to academically disadvantage students whose work and other
obligations limit their flexibility to attend out-of-class events. Faculty should adhere to the
following guidelines—emphasizing advance notice, flexibility, and clarity—for incorporating
such events into the curriculum.

Advance notice:

1) When a course requires students to participate in events outside of class time,
these requirements should be explicitly specified in the syllabus.

2) When possible, the course description available to students at the time of
registration should indicate any requirement for participation in a significant
number of events outside of scheduled class times, including the amount of time

3) When an unexpected opportunity arises, and an instructor wishes to require students
to attend an event not originally specified in the syllabus, the instructor should give
ample advance notice—at least a few weeks.


4) When such advance notice is impossible, the instructor should make it possible
for students with a serious conflict to miss the event without penalty. For

    • Arrange to have events such as lectures recorded for students to watch at a later time
    • Devise and offer an alternative way to fulfill the requirement.
    • Offer students choice of which events or activities to attend.
    • Make the event optional rather than required.


(5) Instructors should clearly specify whether an out-of-class event is required or optional, so that
students can make fully informed decisions about their schedules