My policy on deadlines


Deadline philosophy

Graded term work in this course is designed to help you achieve core competencies in a timely fashion, with the workload spread out as evenly as possible. Deadlines for homework/essay assignments are designed not as torture but to provide appropriately paced scaffolding for your learning. Planning to meet deadlines is a wise strategy because procrastination tends to snowball, making delays cascade and go nonlinear.

For my part, I make a genuine effort not to be a deadline terrorist [see Extensions below], and to help students surmount obstacles. I encourage taking advantage of my office hours to discuss any aspect of the course that I can help you with, including understanding lecture material and getting tips on assignments and exam study. If you cannot attend regular office hours, you may book private appointments as needed.

The Instructors' Handbook makes clear that instructors must turn back a certain percentage of the final grade to the whole class by the drop deadline. I adhere to that rule strictly, with time to spare, because it provides important academic transparency for students. The only exception may occur when a student has obtained an incompatible extension on term work.

Students have non-academic constraints on their lives, and so do professors. In my case, I am disabled by chronic pain (from accidents years ago) which is likely to be permanent. One of the things I have discovered about living with long-term chronic pain is that the peakiness of my job workload severely modulates my pain. This is why I have a limit on how far I can normally push accepting late work. Exceptional circumstances beyond normal parameters are handled on a case by case basis.

Accessibility accommodations

My general policy is to grant requests from Accessibility Services (AS), whenever humanly feasible. I recommend that you show this webpage to AS staff before they send me a letter, to give them an idea of what accommodations are possible in this particular course. Please submit all AS requests a minimum of one week before the pertinent due dates, to allow logistical planning by me and my TA (if any).

Illness or injury

Standard UofT policy is that students experiencing illness or injury should see a physician, surgeon, nurse practitioner, registered psychologist or dentist and have them fill out a Verification of Student Illness or Injury (VSII) form. Whether or not this is possible for you, I recommend taking personal notes for your own records, like you would in a lab book. Careful documentation makes discerning patterns easier, which in turn affords more confidence in requesting help from a college registrar or accommodations from a course instructor.

Note that the VSII form concentrates on only the timeline and severity of the illness/injury. The reason for this is that those are the only two factors that matter for the creation of altered grade weighting (for missed assignments) and/or appropriate make-up work (for missed exams) to cover the exceptional circumstances. Private medical details are none of the instructor's business, and you should not have to disclose such details in order to get accommodated fairly.


In the spirit of further transparency, here are my general rules on extensions.

  1. Each student gets six Grace Days to use per semester on written term work, no questions asked. Using one Grace Day excuses one day of lateness penalty. The point of this Grace Days policy is to alleviate pressure at the busiest times of the semester through advance planning. You might use six Grace Days on one homework/essay assignment, or you might apportion them differently. In all cases, you must inform me that you are using one or more Grace Days on any given assignment a minimum of three days (72 hours) before the original due date so that I can adjust my grading planning accordingly.
  2. Work handed in after the original due date will be assessed a lateness penalty of 5% per day or part thereof, minus any applicable Grace Days. The latest you may hand in any graded written work is one week after the original due date.
  3. Extensions beyond the normal parameters outlined above may be granted in exceptional circumstances. If you need such an extension, please make the request before the original due date. If that was not possible, I will need corroborating evidence. Providing a VSII form helps make a case for leniency more convincing.
  4. Re-weighting to cover a missing homework/essay grade is the primary remedy available if accommodations are needed to cover missing term work. The other remedy available is to re-weight onto exams.

I hope this information helped. Please let me know what else I can do to support you in reaching your academic goals.
-- Professor Peet.