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Class achieves perfect attendance

Contributing Writer

Published: Sunday, December 11, 2011

Updated: Monday, December 12, 2011 16:12

There are so many reasons why students might miss a class. Their car broke down, they had a planned family vacation, their job required them to stay longer or they had a doctor's appointment. But none of these excuses would cut it for Dr. Keith Harrison's class.

Harrison's diversity and social issues in sport/entertainment class has a mandatory attendance policy that requires all of its students to attend unless a family emergency or serious illness is supported with documentation. The policy also states that an unexcused absence will result in a full letter grade deduction for each time they are absent.

Sixteen classes later, not one student of the 55 UCF students had an unexcused absence. Wednesday was the last time these students met for class.

"As someone that hasn't missed a class since seventh grade, it's truly unbelievable when you have everyone there for one class, let alone an entire semester," said Brandon Naidus, a senior business management senior. "When your professors are so passionate about the class, the subject, the students, it rubs off onto the students. That's why everybody made an effort to come because he made an effort to show that passion for them."

While students echoed Naidus that their respect for the class made it easy to attend every week, some still felt that it was a tough policy.

"He's the strictest teacher I've ever had, and not just with the attendance policy but cellphone policy and things like that," said Joseph Indykiewicz, a senior marketing major. "They take things very seriously."

The course, which focuses on diversity management theories and applications of the sport and entertainment business, is a combination of discussions and projects both inside and outside of the classroom. It mainly focuses on the African-Americans' and Jewish-Americans' experiences in sport but with some attention on other ethnic groups. The class also examined the ideas of race, class, gender and representations in sport and society.

In Harrison's 19 years as a faculty member at Washington State University, University of Michigan, Arizona State University and for the last five years at UCF, he said this perfect attendance has never happened.

"I think what separated this class a little bit is that they didn't know what to expect," Harrison said. "At some of the other campuses, they knew how we were going to go there, so to speak, about touchy issues. But this group bonded I think a little differently, too."

Harrison explained that the purpose of his attendance policy was to involve every student so that they actively participated and would run things like a team.

"It keeps them involved and facilitates their learning," Harrison said. "And I just had a group that clicked and they got really close,"

For their final class, awards were given out to students recognizing not only their academic success but also their efforts for courage and honesty. Andrea Wong, a senior marking major, was brought to tears when she was presented with the "Keeping It 100" award for honesty

"People respect Doc so much and the class so much that we would want to come," Wong said.

In addition to the unexcused absences policy, if a student leaves during the halftime break of the three-hour class or shows up after the first half of class, then they will lose half a letter grade. Additionally, any student who leaves during the halftime break without informing the professor would be asked to drop the course immediately.

Students went to various lengths to make sure they attended class, such as Hannah Meyers, an event management junior, who was excused for missing their first class by bringing in a death certificate, something that Harrison said he had never seen before.

But attendance was not something that most students said they had a difficult time keeping up with, despite the strict policies.

"It's something that people don't see every day, but if you're apart of the DeVos minor, it's something that's so normal," said Naz Perez, a senior radio/television major. "It's not surprising to me at all. It's so easy to come to this class."

 

For more information about the UCF DeVos Sport Business Minor visit the College of Business Administration's website.

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