Next week I'm scheduled to graduate from a major university. One of the required courses that I've taken over the past semester is an independent research study with a single professor.
Throughout this process I've mostly worked on my own, however, with the semester nearing its conclusion, I now need to present my research and receive a grade on my efforts.
Well, over the past five to six days, my professor hasn't been on campus and is for all intents and purposes unreachable. Of the few emails I've sent him he's only responded to one, saying that he's had a death in the family and that he'll get in touch with me the next day (which is now today but he's still yet to do so and it's currently 8pm). The death in the family happened at least last weekend, since when I tried visiting his office on Tuesday another professor told me he was out of the office due to said occurrence.
I consulted my advisor and he recommended that I send a follow up email [tonight] mentioning my concern, and that if he doesn't respond within a few hours to send another follow up email but this time with the chair of the department cc'ed.
My question is, is there anything else I can do to push this professor to respond to me and to set up a time to conclude my research project? What happens if he doesn't issue me a grade? I absolutely have to graduate this semester for a number of reasons that I won't go into; but, it would absolutely be devastating to my current plans in life, finances, etc.
I've been told that it's not within the powers of the chair to actually do something about this, just nudge the professor in the right direction, but, does the dean of the college have some kind of influence in my graduating?
My mentor for this project does instruct other courses, so, I'm kind of guessing he'll be back on campus next week to proctor his final(s)... but, I could also very well see another professor filling in for him.
Does anyone have experience with / knowledge about this? I'm kind of starting to freak out and so I thought I'd consult the masses.
Thanks in advance and sorry if any of this was ranty.
UPDATE: This afternoon I met with the chair of that department, and, about five minutes into the meeting my professor showed up in the door of the room! He was there to drop off a folder of papers for other students from his other courses to pick up, and to tell the chair that he was back on campus.
At that same time, my professor told me that he would just grade me on the results of the project that I had previously submitted to him, along with the presentation I made.
It truly was complete luck [on my part] that my professor showed up at the same time that I was there. And, the conversation between me and the chair didn't get far enough for him to tell me what my options would be; so, I can't update you all regarding what my university's policy / way of handling this would be.
Thanks again for all the comments/advice.