Section V: Policies and Protocols on Academic Standing and Promotion

The Medical Committee on Academic Standing and Professionalism (MCASP) is comprised of ten to twelve AMS faculty members.  MCASP is charged with the responsibility of reviewing the academic performance and professional behavior of all students in the medical school. On the basis of this review, the MCASP determines whether the student is to be promoted, promoted with conditions, not promoted, dismissed, graduated, or graduated contingent upon completion of certain remaining requirements.

Students who are experiencing academic difficulty or issues with professionalism are reviewed by the MCASP when that difficulty has been identified. If a student if presented to the MCASP for review and a MCASP member has a conflict of interest with regard to the status of the student (e.g., primary responsibility for grading the course for which the student is being considered, or was previously considered, for disciplinary action as a result of academic difficulty or a professionalism issue), the faculty member will recuse him/herself from the discussion and voting. Students are notified of decisions made by the MCASP in writing. Mechanisms for appeal are described below.

The MCASP makes its decisions based upon each student's individual situation. In general, the committee will adhere to the following guidelines for decisions related to academic standing.

I.  Academic Standing
  1. Students who have received a grade of Satisfactory in all courses/clerkships/rotations in the period under review will be recommended for promotion.
  2. Students who have received a grade of no credit (NC) or existing deficiency (ED) in one course, clerkship or clinical rotation, but who have received satisfactory grades in the remaining courses, clerkships or clinical rotations will be brought to the attention of MCASP for informational purposes only.  Those students may be promoted with the condition that the curriculum component be satisfactorily completed on a schedule determined by the administration in consultation with the curriculum directors.
  3. Remediation may be accomplished through a special examination, repetition of the course, approved outside courses or by special arrangements with the curriculum directors (for more information, see Section III of this handbook). The student will work with the course, clerkship or clinical director to determine the appropriate timing of any remediation.  Remediation must be completed within 1 year.  Students will only be allowed to take a special remediation examination once.  Exceptions will be considered by the Associate Dean for Medical Education in unusual circumstances.
  4. If a student fails a special remediation examination, s/he will be required to repeat the course, clerkship or clinical rotation the following year, and this second NC will also be brought to the attention of MCASP.  At that time, the student may be placed on academic warning.  If a student fails a course, clerkship or clinical rotation having repeated the course, clerkship or clinical rotation for a second time, the student will be brought to the attention of MCASP to be considered for dismissal.  Students who have received a grade of NC or ED in two courses, clerkships and/or clinical rotations will be brought to the attention of the MCASP to be considered for placement on academic warning.
  5. Students who have received grades of NC or ED in three courses, clerkships and/or clinical rotations, or have received a grade of ND or ED in one or more courses, clerkships and/or clinical rotations while on academics warning, will be brought to the attention of MCASP to be considered for placement on academic probation.
  6. Students who receive grades of NC or ED while on academic probation will be brought to the attention of MCASP to be considered for dismissal.
  7. Students in good academic standing who receive three grades of NC or ED may be placed directly on academic probation by the MCASP.
  8. In the preclinical years students who have received grades of NC or ED in all courses during a period comprising one semester will be brought to the attention of MCASP to be considered for dismissal.
  9. Students being considered for dismissal will be given an opportunity to appear before the MCASP in order to speak and respond to questioning.  The MCASP may also invite other individuals to appear for the purpose of providing information to the Committee.  The student may be accompanied by an attorney.  The student shall be informed of the committee's decision in a letter from the Associate Dean for Medical Education.  The student will be informed in the letter that he or she has the right to appeal any decision to the Dean of Medicine.
  10. If a student has appeared before the MCASP based on consideration of dismissal but has not been dismissed, and the student subsequently fails additional courses, clerkships or rotations, the student may be dismissed without begin asked to again appear before the MCASP.
  11. Students who have been placed on financial aid warning/probation and are unable to complete the required academic plan developed by their advisor within the specified timeframe, will not continue to be eligible for federal financial aid.  Please review Section XIV of this handbook for a complete description of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for Receipt of Federal Aid.
  12. Students who have received a grade of Satisfactory in all courses in the preclinical curriculum will be recommended for promotion to Year 3. Students may not continue on the Year 3 curriculum until they have successfully completed all preclinical requirements.
  13. It should be noted that grades of NC or ED that are remediated and converted to Satisfactory will still count towards consideration by MCASP for placement on academic warning or probation or towards consideration for dismissal.
II.  General
  1. Students who are on academic warning or probation will be considered by MCASP for return to good academic standing following one full semester (Years 1 and 2) or two full quarters (Years 3 and 4) during which the student is fully engaged in and registered for courses, clerkships or rotations, and passes all courses or rotations during that time period.  A return to good academic standing is not automatic. Depending on a variety of factors, including the level of academic performance, the MCASP may vote to continue the student on warning or probation for the period of time deemed appropriate by the committee.
  2. A student who has not remediated a failure (NC) or existing deficiency (ED) in a required course, clerkship or rotation within two years of the original grade submission will be brought to the attention of MCASP to be considered for dismissal.
  3. If, at the time of review, a senior medical student is scheduled to complete all requirements in the medical school by graduation but has not yet actually done so, the MCASP will recommend that the student be graduated contingent upon the satisfactory completion of the remaining requirements.
III.  Professionalism

In general, the committee will adhere to the following guidelines for decisions related to issues of professionalism:

Issues of professionalism can be documented in two ways- a brief reporting form (the “Professionalism Report Form”) that can be completed by individuals within the community (e.g., staff, faculty, residents, students) or during the six core clerkship through an OASIS evaluation in which any of the four questions regarding professional behavior are answered with a “No”.

First reports of unprofessional behavior are submitted to the student’s advisor.  Reports will be placed in the student’s confidential file.  The identity of the person making the report, especially if that person is a medical student, will be protected.  Anonymous reports will not be accepted.  Single reports of unprofessional conduct will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis at the advisor’s discretion.  Any behavior that rises to the level of a violation of the Academic Code will automatically be dealt with via the University processes.

Two or more reports will be considered a pattern and will be brought to the attention of the Associate Dean for Medical Education and to the MCASP.  The student in question will be alerted when their behavior is discussed at the MCASP and may be asked to meet with the Associate Dean prior to that MCASP meeting.  The Associate Dean will communicate any actions by the MCASP to the student.

The MCASP will determine if the pattern of behavior warrants a “Citation”.  A Citation will take the form of a letter to the student 1) expressing concern regarding the pattern of behavior and 2) asking the student to respond to the committee in writing with a brief reflection on the behavior in question, and with a concrete plan for remediating the issue.  The student’s advisor will act as a resource for the student in writing an appropriate response and outlining a plan. 

The Citation will also include a warning that if the response is not received within an appropriate time frame (as determined by the MCASP and the advisor), and/or the remediation plan is not enacted within an appropriate time frame (as determined by the MCASP and the advisor), the Citation may be included as part of the student’s Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE or “Dean’s Letter”).  The Citation may also be included in the MSPE in particular instances at the discretion of the Associate Dean for Medical Education.

IV. Appeal of Decision to Dismiss

The student may initiate an appeal of an MCASP decision to dismiss by filing a letter within 72 hours of notification of the committee's decision to the Dean of Medicine requesting reconsideration of the decision. (MCASP decisions to place students on academic warning or academic probation may not be appealed.) The letter should include a statement of the basis for the request and any documents in support of the student's request. The Dean may either (1) reconsider the matter, or (2) direct the matter to the MCASP for reconsideration and issuance of a recommendation to the Dean.  If the matter has been referred back to the MCASP, the MCASP will review the appeal and transmit its recommendations to the Dean. The Dean will, either through his/her own reconsideration or through reconsideration and recommendation by the MCASP, review the appeal in a manner he/she determines is appropriate under the circumstances, and may, at his or her discretion, interview the student. Upon appeal, the Dean may then sustain, modify, or reverse the original MCASP decision. The decision of the Dean is final.

V.  Special Considerations Relating to the MD/PhD Dual Degree Program

The MD/PhD Program is a combined course of study in which the student completes the first and second years of medical school prior to entry into a graduate program. Following his/her graduate work, the student reenters the medical program to complete Years 3 and 4 of medical school. There are several policies that pertain to this course of study.

  1. Students must be in good academic standing at the time of completion of MD Year 2. If they are not, then they will not be permitted to continue on to the graduate school portion of the program. A student may appeal the implementation of this policy. Such an appeal will be considered by the MCASP.
  2. Students must complete all of their graduate school work prior to their return to the medical program. They must have a plan in place to complete this work and a thesis defense date approved by their PhD advisory committee prior to scheduling clerkships.
  3. Whereas MD students are expected to complete their medical course of study in 6 years, MD/PhD students are expected to complete the combined course of study in 9 years. Any extension beyond the 9 years requires that a waiver of this limit be granted by the MCASP.

For other pertinent policies, see:
Section III -- Grading Policies
Section VI -- Medical Students Standards of Behavior