Student Support Services
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
MIT faculty know firsthand the challenges MIT students face and the pressure they put on themselves. By interacting with students on a daily basis, faculty often are put in positions where they observe students struggling with personal or academic issues. This page is intended to outline a variety of situations when MIT faculty can utilize S3 resources or refer students to S3 for support.
Please consider using these suggested templates about Student Support Services, GradSupport, and Disability and Access Services on your syllabus. These are draft statements and can be modified as you see fit. If you have comments, suggestions for changes, or great syllabus statements that you want to share, please email us.
Throughout the semester, you may have students who, due to medical or personal circumstances, are unable to complete work by its due date, miss an exam or quiz, or are absent for an extended period of time. If you require documentation to excuse the incomplete work, missed exam, or absences, you should request that the student meet with someone in S3. S3 Deans write excuse notes to verify students' medical or personal circumstances for professors. Some professors even mention S3 as a resource for excuse notes in their syllabus. If you need templated language for your syllabus, please contact S3 and we will provide it for you.
Maybe you have a student who hasn't been to class in a while and you want to make sure they are okay. Or perhaps you are concerned by a student's erratic academic performance or behavior, or even had a student break down crying in your office. No matter the reason, if you are concerned about a student's well-being and don't know what to do or whom to contact, consider reaching out to S3. Undergraduate Administrators are also a good starting point for you because they will bring student issues to our attention as well. For any emergencies, faculty and staff should contact Campus Police at (617) 253-1212 (or dial 100 if on campus).
Sometimes issues arise at the end of the semester that prevent students from taking a final exam or completing a final project. If a student has been progressing satisfactorily in your class and has a verifiable medical or personal issue, they may be eligible to receive an Excused Absence grade (OX). As the instructor, you assign an "O" grade and an S3 Dean will process the "X". The "OX" will be replaced by a traditional letter grade once the student completes all coursework and you have assigned a grade by submitting a Special Report Sheet to the Registrar's office, 5-119.
Arrangements for completing the outstanding work are between the instructor and the student. Some best practices to consider are:
If one of your students or advisees has had a tough semester academically, and you believe that they are likely to be reviewed by the Committee on Academic Performance at the end of the semester, please encourage them to make an appointment with an S3 Dean. Deans speak on behalf of students at the CAP meetings and also provide assistance and advice to students who are writing petitions to be heard by the CAP (e.g., Late Add/Drop Petition).