Is attending conferences considered an absence? If not, then is there a limit on how many conferences a faculty can attend?!

  • 7
    Are you asking this as a student or as a teacher. Faculty usually do not have "absent days". Sometimes we get vacation and sick days, but attending a conference would not usually fall into either of those categories.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 19:52
  • 10
    If I attend a conference at a time when I have classes to teach, then I would be expected to arrange for someone else to teach the classes in my place (unless a class is small enough that I can reschedule the missed class meetings). Ordinarily, the "someone else" would be a colleague for whom I would substitute some time when (s)he is at a conference or otherwise unable to teach a class. Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 20:38
  • @StrongBad as a teacher.
    – Thomas Lee
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 22:57
  • 1
    At every institution I have worked at (in the U.S.), I have to get a "travel authorization" signed by the department chair before I travel. Presumably, if I tried to travel too much, the chair would start to refuse to give me authorization. The signed authorization shows that I am not absent from work and that I am in fact on university business while I am traveling. Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 12:11

2 Answers 2


While I have never experienced a department that defined "absent days", if your department regulates these things, you need to ask you department chair what the policy is.

Departments that I am familiar with expect you to either teach when you are supposed to, arrange someone to cover the teaching, or rearrange the session. In some situations an out of class activity wold be acceptable and in rare cases outright canceling of the class. One should try and keep these to a minimum, but to the extent that the students are not complaining, you can probably get away with it.

I have never seen a department which limits the number of conferences, but if you are rarely around, it will probably come back to bite you. In general, if you are worried about these things, you should ask a senior colleague.


Any educational institution would be pleased to have publications with its affiliation. This goes for conferences too. As long as you are able to compensate your classes, your institution would be able to provide you with an OD (on-duty) leave that considers you present while you can be absent in order to attend your conference. The remaining procedures depends on the regulations imposed by your institution.

  • 3
    This advice strikes me as strange somehow. Can you say more about the experience it is based on? Have you served as instructor of record for many courses? What sort of institutions are you familiar with?
    – Tom Church
    Commented Oct 10, 2015 at 17:54
  • "an OD (on-duty) leave that considers you present while you can be absent" - is this a convoluted way of saying that you are on a business trip? Commented Oct 10, 2015 at 17:56

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