Planned Absences, Illnesses, Emergencies Procedures

We have great teaching results in English and your dedication plays a big role in our success.  Procedures below will help you know what to do if you will miss a class.

Inform the department by sending an email to, or by calling the main office number 515-294-2180, when you need to cancel a class due to illness or any other reason.  Also, send an email to your students letting them know you are canceling class.

You are allowed, even encouraged, to present at conferences and attend other professional meetings. If you will be missing class for one or more full days due to professional travel,  email the department chair in advance about your travel plans.  If your travel will affect your teaching, include an explanation of plans you have put in place (e.g., arranging for guest lecturers, giving students an out-of-class assignment) for your absence.

Below is the excerpt from the university faculty handbook regarding absences:

4.5.1  Vacations and Holidays

B-base faculty [Term and TTE faculty are B-base] do not accrue vacation. They are required to be on duty during the academic year on those days when classes are in session and the two working days before the first day of classes of fall and spring semesters. Faculty are expected to manage their professional responsibilities as they deem appropriate, and typically are active throughout the academic year beyond the constraints of formal work hours and work days. B-base faculty may arrange their responsibilities so that they are absent from campus for personal reasons for limited periods when classes are in session. Specific absence days are to be established by mutual agreement between the faculty member and the department chair.

If you need to miss class

    • Assign an alternate learning activity (e.g., watch a TedTalk, YouTube video); make it a low-stakes assignment – students get a few points for completion or they earn their attendance credit for the day
    • Assign an online learning activity (discussion thread, etc.)
    • Add an extra group work day (or swap one on the schedule)
    • Arrange for a substitute instructor and provide lesson plans (see below)
    • Email your students!

For information about ISU’s COVID-19 response, please visit ISU’s COVID-19 Response webpage. COVID-19 Response webpage.

Who can substitute

  • Any colleague in the department (plan ahead and work out a trade)
  • The English Department also has designated substitutes who can help.

To arrange for a designated substitute

Long-term needs due to medical leave, birth-adoption of a child, grief, etc. can be arranged directly with the Associate Chair for Operations, Matthew Sivils.

Sick Leave

All faculty members and staff earn sick leave, and we are required to record it.  Here is the university policy:

4.5.2 Sick Leave

All faculty members, regardless of appointment base, accrue sick leave at the rate of one and one-half days for each full month of employment, with no upper limit on the amount of unused sick leave that may be accrued. Part-time employees accrue pro-rated sick leave based on their fractional appointments.

Finally, we need to be able to reach you during the entire exam week.  Please stay in email contact until the semester is officially over.  Here is the policy from the 2018/19 catalog:

All faculty members and teaching assistants with instructional or grading responsibilities are considered to be on duty throughout the entire final examination week and are expected to be available to students during that week for discussion of any matters pertaining to the final examination and final grade or to other aspects of the course.

Thank you for taking these policies seriously. Occasionally, we are contacted because of an emergency and need to find a student or faculty member. Your on-file syllabus lets us know if you are meeting in the library or somewhere else that day; if there has been a sudden change in plans, we really need to know.