Student Advancement, Promotion, and Graduation Standards

Student Advancement, Promotion, and Graduation Standards

Last updated: October 31st, 2022 at 09:36 am

The Student Progress Committee (SPC) monitors student academic and professional standards as determined by the faculty and makes recommendations on academic assessment or academic action to the Chair of the SPC. The SPC reviews academic performance after each course at a minimum. The Executive Dean may also request the SPC to review any issue pertaining to a student’s evaluation and/or performance. Students in good standing who have passing grades and evaluation reports automatically advance to the next course of instruction. Each year the SPC also endorses the graduation of all students who have successfully completed all graduation requirements.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Students are considered in good standing if they meet all the criteria below:
a. A student who has successfully remediated/repeated a course or clerkship

b. A student who has successfully completed the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK requirements by the dates set by the school

c. A student who is not under any formal disciplinary review by the SPC

d. A student who is on track for completing all graduation requirements within seven (7) years of matriculation, if the student is not participating in an approved graduate study, or research leave

e. A student who has fulfilled all agreed upon terms of the approved leave of absence

f. Students must be in good academic standing to:

i. Hold an office in the Student Government Association (SGA)
ii. Hold an office in a student club or organization
iii. Serve as a Student Ambassador
iv. Serve as a peer tutor
v. Hold any leadership role in the school or any affiliated entity

Academic Monitoring

The academic monitoring designation is not recorded on the academic transcript; nor noted in the medical student performance evaluation (Dean’s letter); nor reported to residency programs, specialty boards, medical licensing authorities, or regulatory agencies, unless otherwise required by law. Students will be notified by the Office of Student Affairs when they are being placed on Academic Monitoring.

a. Students are considered under academic monitoring if one or more of the following applies to them:

i. The student obtains scores below 70% on summative exams
ii. Failure to sit for USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK, Occupational English Test (OET) Medicine exams within the timeline defined by WAUSM
iii. Failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress (refer to section I above “Satisfactory Academic Progress”)

b. Removal of Academic Monitoring: The Academic Monitoring can be removed under the following circumstances:

i. The student obtains a passing grade on the subsequent summative exam.
ii. Sitting for USMLE Step 1, Step 2CK, OET Medicine exams
iii. Completing all necessary steps to correct all identified deficiencies
iv. Students will be notified by the Office of Student Affairs when they are removed from Academic Monitoring.

Formal Disciplinary Actions

a. Students will be referred to the SPC for academic disciplinary review and possible formal academic disciplinary action (probation, suspension, or involuntary administrative leave / dismissal) if any of the following occurs:

i. Failure of a course or rotation, a withdrawal, or an incomplete due to academic reasons
ii. Failure to successfully pass a course or clerkship after a previous failure, withdrawal or incomplete
iii. Failure to pass USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK, OET Medicine Exam or Shelf exams within the established policy
iv. Circumstances deemed potentially harmful or serious to others as determined by the SPC
v. Failure to meet acceptable academic standards, ethics, professional behavior, and/or satisfactory academic progress.

b. Students under formal disciplinary action are considered “not in good standing.” All formal disciplinary actions (probation, suspension, and involuntary administrative leave of absence / dismissal) will be recorded on the academic transcript and noted in the medical student performance evaluation (Dean’s letter). All formal disciplinary actions will also be reported to medical staff committees, specialty boards, medical licensing authorities, and regulatory agencies upon their request or as required by law.

c. The Office of Student Affairs will monitor formative feedback and student evaluations and may recommend the student meet with the SPC if the student receives feedback from small groups, units, clinical rotations, or elective clinical rotations when they are noted for borderline performance on
repeated formative evaluations, final grade evaluations or national examinations. After reviewing the concerns, the SPC may recommend placement of the student on academic probation, suspension, or dismissal for failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress.

d. Removal of Academic Probation: The SPC will review the status of all students on academic probation and suspension, at a minimum, at the end of each semester. The SPC must review the academic record of any student who has appeared before the SPC related to their academic deficiency and probation to ensure they have met the required remediation and determine if the student can be removed from academic probation and reinstated to good standing. A student can be administratively removed from academic probation and reinstated to good standing once the required remediation and/or the conditions set by the SPC has been successfully completed. This action will be acknowledged at a subsequent regularly scheduled SPC meeting.

e. Removal of Academic Suspension: Academic Suspension serves as official notice that the student is not in good academic standing and has been temporarily removed from active participation in the curriculum for academic and/or disciplinary reasons with an opportunity to subsequently re-enroll. Students on Academic Suspension are withdrawn from current courses and suspended from all School of Medicine activities, including student clubs and organizations. A student who has been withdrawn from the School of Medicine and offered the option of returning to repeat a semester or an academic year, will be deemed to be on Academic Suspension while awaiting their return to academic activity. The Academic Suspension status will be removed once the student has fulfilled all requirements set by the SPC, has no current academic deficiency and the student is officially re-enrolled.

f. Dismissal: Students will be referred to the SPC for review and possible dismissal if any of the following occurs:

i. Failure to successfully repeat a pre-clerkship course or clerkship rotation after a previous failure
ii. Failure to meet the School of Medicine requirements for passing Step 1 or Step 2CK of the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) or OET Medicine exams within the specified timeframe
iii. Insufficient time remaining to complete the requirements for the MD degree within the maximum time limit stipulated by our policy (7 years).
iv. Professional incompetence based on a documented pattern of unprofessional conduct despite attempts at remediation
v. Engaging in an unapproved leave of absence (defined as failure to enroll in a course, clerkship, or elective without written approval by WAUSM)
vi. Violations of any local, state, or federal law, including, but not limited to convictions of violating such laws, or the filing of criminal charges against the student by any state, federal or regional agency.
vii. Refusal of any WAUSM affiliated training sites, at their sole discretion, to host a medical student due to a concern for patient safety, such that the student is unable to complete the requirements for graduation.
viii. Circumstances deemed potentially harmful or serious to others as determined by the SPC, the Executive Dean, faculty, or other administrators.

g. The Executive Dean may dismiss a student on the recommendation of the SPC, the Campus Dean or the Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs.

h. A formal dismissal is recorded on the academic transcript and reported to medical staff committees, specialty boards, medical licensing authorities, and regulatory agencies upon their request or as required by law.

i. Refer to the due process policy (below) for details on the appeals procedure.

Student Advancement and Promotion

a. The grades, narrative evaluations, USMLE scores and other academic or performance measures of each student are routinely reviewed by the SPC to assess a student’s academic progress.

b. The SPC also conducts ad hoc reviews when necessary to address unsatisfactory academic performance. In those cases, students will be provided with notice and an opportunity to be heard, and may appeal SPC decisions (Refer to the due process policy below for details on the appeals procedure)

c. Promotion will be determined for each successive semester of study by the SPC, which will make a formal determination of promotion based on whether the student has satisfied the following requirements:

i. Passed all components of required courses, clerkships, and electives in the semester under review
ii. Demonstrated acceptable professional behaviors and attitudes as outlined in the Standards of Conduct, WAUSM policies and/or as defined in a specific course.

d. For promotion to clerkships, the student must also receive a passing grade on the USMLE Step 1 examination.

Graduation Standards

a. WAUSM awards the Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree when the faculty believes a student has successfully demonstrated achievement of the WAUSM educational program objectives, competencies, and requirements.

b. Candidates for the MD degree must achieve all competencies, must have successfully completed all the prescribed course of study, and passed USMLE Step 1, USMLE Step 2 CK, OET Medicine exam, and all other curricular requirements.

c. Students enrolled in the MD degree program must complete the program within seven (7) years from the date of matriculation into the program.

Appeal/Due Process

a. Students who fail to successfully repeat a pre-clerkship course must “sit out” a semester while the SPC reviews the student performance, deliberates, and makes a recommendation to the Dean.

b. A student may request to withdraw from the university at any point prior to the Executive Dean’s final decision.

c. If a student is recommended for formal academic disciplinary action an administrative leave of absence (ALOA) may be recommended. Reasons for an Administrative Leave of Absences include, but are not limited to:

i. Severe circumstances that warrant an interruption in the student’s education
ii. Failure to abide by WAUSM policies, including, but not limited to, those related to student behavior and conduct, and the WAUSM technical or professional standards
iii. Financial reasons
iv. Health and safety reasons and/or substance misuse

d. The student has the right to appeal the decision of the SPC to the Executive Dean, in writing, within ten (10) business days from the date of the SPC letter. If no appeal is filed by the student, the recommendation made in the SPC letter will become the final decision.

e. The Executive Dean will review the SPC’s decision letter; the student’s appeal letter; and all evidence presented during the hearings. If the student’s appeal letter contains substantial new evidence that was not produced during the SPC hearings, the Executive Dean may ask the SPC for further review in light of new evidence. Otherwise, the Executive Dean may accept the decision of the SPC or impose a lesser sanction or non-sanction as the evidence shall warrant.

f. The Executive Dean shall issue a written statement of decision within 30 business days of receipt of any appeal or as soon as reasonable thereafter. In order to progress to the next academic term, students must have successfully completed all requirements in the current and previous terms.

g. If the sanction after appeal is a formal probation, suspension, involuntary administrative leave, or a lesser sanction, the decision of the Executive Dean shall be considered final and not subject to further appeal or challenge.

h. If the sanction after appeal is dismissal, the statement of decision to dismiss shall advise the student that the student will have 30 business days to appeal the decision of dismissal to the President of the School of Medicine.

i. The student shall have 30 business days to appeal a dismissal, in writing, to the President of the School of Medicine.

j. Any appeal to the President is limited to the following questions:

i. Whether the record presented to the Executive Dean contained sufficient evidence to support the
decision of the Executive Dean; or
ii. Whether there is new evidence that could not reasonably have been produced to either the SPC or Executive Dean and would be likely to change the result.

Withdrawal

A student who has been recommended for dismissal by the SPC may request to withdraw from the university at any point prior to the Executive Dean’s final decision. The request to withdraw must be granted by the Executive Dean of the School of Medicine. A student’s approved withdrawal is considered as permanent and not reversible.

Academic Probation After Successful Appeal of a Dismissal

a. Students whose academic dismissal is reversed by successful appeal and who are permitted to repeat coursework will be placed on academic probation and will automatically be dismissed if they receive a grade of F (fail), or an unsatisfactory competency evaluation in any course, unit, or clerkship during the time of the academic probation.

b. Students who successfully appeal a dismissal in pre-clerkship will continue on academic probation until the end of pre-clerkship, at which time the student may be removed from probation by favorable action of the SPC.

c. Students who successfully appeal a dismissal in clerkships will remain on probation until they have successfully completed all the requirements for graduation.

d. Students whose dismissal was for deficits in professionalism will remain on academic probation and may be automatically dismissed if any further unprofessional behavior is identified.

Note: All procedures will ordinarily occur within the time frames noted above, although it may, for good cause, be delayed for no more than one additional 10 business-day period.

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