Information for Instructors: Academic Consideration Requests

The Request for Academic Considerations for Extenuating Circumstances and Self-Declaration of Brief Absence process has changed as of September 1, 2019.

Download the Instructor handbook on Academic Considerations for Extenuating Circumstances (document coming soon)

Students must be an on-campus, online or Bader International Study Centre (BISC) Arts & Science student to submit a request through the online portal (i.e., Arts, Science, Computing, Fine Art, Music, or Kinesiology student, including Concurrent Education). Students from another Faculty (i.e., Commerce, Engineering, Health Sciences or Nursing student, or a graduate student), should contact their Faculty to submit a request, even if they are asking for academic considerations for an Arts & Science course (e.g., an elective course).

Academic Considerations for Extenuating Circumstances

Academic consideration is meant to help students manage a short-term extenuating circumstance that is beyond their control and could affect their academics. This might be a sudden physical or mental illness, a serious injury or required treatment for the student or a significant other, bereavement (e.g., death of a family member or close friend), or a traumatic event (e.g., sexual assault, divorce). Another example is an absence due to a significant event, such as participating in a varsity championship or performing at a national or international event.

Academic consideration for extenuating circumstances may include but is not limited to:

  • an excused absence
  • a deferral
  • an extension
  • a modified schedule for assignments, projects, labs, or placements
  • an alternative assignment
  • a re-weighting of term marks
  • permission for an incomplete grade
  • course withdrawal without penalty (this requires an appeal to the Associate Dean of Studies)
  • other consideration deemed appropriate by the Faculty Office.

Instructors determine what academic consideration is appropriate for the course based on the academic requirement(s) students may miss and the essential requirements/learning outcomes of the course. All students who receive academic consideration must meet all essential academic requirements/learning outcomes and standards of the course. Academic consideration does not guarantee academic achievement in a course/program.

Extenuating Circumstances are NOT:

  • For students seeking ongoing academic accommodations for a chronic or ongoing health/mental condition, learning disability, or an existing disability. Students seeking ongoing academic accommodations should register with Queen's Student Accessibility Services (QSAS) For further information, please contact the QSAS Intake Coordinator at: qsas.intake@queensu.ca or 613-533-6000, ext. 77628.
  • For students who are experiencing high levels of academic or exam-related stress. Students who do not feel they can meet academic requirements due to experiencing high levels of academic or exam-related stress should seek out support from by contacting the following:
    • On-campus and online students: Administrative Assistant for Extenuating Circumstances at Student Wellness Services at: intake.wellness@queensu.ca or 613-533-6000, ext. 74842.
    • BISC students: Student Services, Garden Cottage or studentservices@bisc.queensu.ac.uk
    • For students with a personal or family event (e.g., wedding, vacation, etc.), transportation difficulties, technical issues (e.g., computer breakdown) or competing commitments (e.g., work, volunteering, extra-curricular activities, etc.). Students should contact their instructor(s) directly to request academic consideration for these circumstances; instructors have the discretion to approve or deny these requests.
    • For requests related to religious observances. For more information about the university policy on religious holidays, please visit the Faith and Spiritual Life website.

Important:

Requests for academic consideration up to 3 days:

  • Students can make one request for academic consideration for up to 3 days without supporting documentation per academic term (i.e., Fall, Winter, Summer). Any additional requests for academic consideration for up to 3 days will require supporting documentation.
  • Requests for academic consideration under 3 days must be submitted as soon as students require academic consideration, and no later than 24 hours after your brief absence  (e.g., if they are requesting academic consideration from September 10-12, they must have their request submitted into the system by September 13 at the latest).

Requests for academic consideration between 4 days and 3 months:

  • Requests for academic consideration between 4 days and 3 months should be made as soon as students require academic consideration.
  • All requests for academic consideration between 4 days and 3 months require supporting documentation, which should be submitted within 5 business days of submitting the request or it will be withdrawn.
  • All requests for academic consideration for extenuating circumstances between 4 days and 3 months must be submitted before the course has closed/ended. Generally, requests are not accepted after a term has ended.
  • If you have questions, please contact an Academic Consideration Counsellor in the Faculty Office at: asc.consideration@queensu.ca or 613-533-6000, ext. 75413.

Requests for academic consideration during final exam periods:

  • All requests for academic consideration (up to 3 days and between 4 days and 3 months) made during exam periods require supporting documentation.

For more information, read the university policy on Academic Considerations for Students in Extenuating Circumstances

Instructor Responsibilities: 

  • Ensure TAs and others who are working with students are aware of the Academic Considerations for Extenuating Circumstances process so that they can respond to students who have questions. For example, if a TA receives documentation or emails from a student requesting academic consideration, instructors should instruct them to advise the student to submit requests directly through the Faculty of Arts and Science online portal.
  • You will receive an email from the Faculty Office notifying you that a student has submitted a request for academic consideration for extenuating circumstances to the Faculty of Arts and Science.
  • Recognize the University’s ‘good faith’ approach and respond with empathy.
  • Maintain the student’s privacy and confidentiality. Share information only on a need-to-know basis with University personnel (e.g., Faculty Office, instructors, Exams Office, Student Wellness Services, etc.) who require information in the context of the case and for the purpose of arranging academic consideration. Confidentiality cannot be maintained where there is reason to believe that an individual may be at risk of harming themselves or others.
  • As soon as possible, the student will contact you either by email or in-person to discuss their academic consideration request.
  • Assess missed academic work and provide reasonable academic consideration while maintaining essential academic requirements and standards. See the Instructor Handbook for Academic Consideration (document coming soon) for information about arrangements that can be made by instructors and which arrangements require authorization.
  • Students receiving academic consideration must still meet the learning outcomes for the course.
  • In cases where the student will need an additional day or two beyond the original request, you have the discretion to consider the circumstances and extend academic consideration beyond 3 days if you deem it appropriate. If you anticipate the student will need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you are unable to extend beyond the original 3 days requested, the student will need to submit a new request with supporting documentation that outlines the duration and severity/impact of the extenuating circumstances on their academic performance.
  • Keep a written record of interactions with the student, the outcome, and action taken to support the student, including only personal details of the student’s extenuating circumstances that are essential to the context. Paper and electronic records should be securely stored and confidentially destroyed as per the University's records retention schedule
  • If the situation is particularly complex, or there is a reason that you cannot provide academic considerations for a lengthy absence, or there are repeated requests for academic consideration, refer the student to the Academic Consideration Counsellor in the Faculty Office or the BISC Deputy Academic Director.
  • If a student has requested academic consideration for between 4 days and 3 months and it becomes apparent that a student will not have a full recovery within 3 months, direct the student to contact Queen's Student Accessibility Services (QSAS) to register and request ongoing academic accommodation. Please refer students to speak with the QSAS Intake Coordinator for further support at: qsas.intake@queensu.ca or 613-533-6000, ext. 77628

What the Faculty Office will do:

  • The Faculty Office will recognize the University’s ‘good faith’ approach and respond with empathy.
  • The Faculty Office will maintain the student’s privacy and confidentiality and share information only on a need-to-know basis with University personnel (e.g., Faculty Office, instructors, Exams Office, Student Wellness Services, BISC Student Services, BISC Deputy Academic Director, etc.) who require information in the context of the case and for the purpose of arranging academic consideration. Confidentiality cannot be maintained where there is reason to believe that an individual may be at risk of harming themselves or others.
  • The Faculty Office will refer students to supports and services as appropriate.
  • The Faculty Office will oversee the monitoring of requests/forms, copies of which will be kept in the student file.
  • In cases where repeated requests have been made using an attestation form, the Faculty Office will work with the student to ensure they have adequate support for their health and wellness needs, and with instructors to assess the feasibility of meeting repeated requests on a case-by-case basis.
  • The Faculty Office will be monitoring how many requests for academic consideration (up to 3 days) a student submits but the purpose of this is not to limit or cut off further requests. At a certain point the student will be required to meet with one of the Academic Consideration Counsellors in the Faculty Office in order to discuss their request and to ensure that they have adequate support for their health and wellness needs. We can’t always guarantee that students will be able to receive all considerations to successfully complete a course as there are times where there is simply too much material missed to salvage a class. However, we will provide academic advising and other resources to ensure students have all the information they need to choose the options best for them.