Academic and Administrative Policies
Academic and administrative policies set forth in this section are in force for all students enrolled at the School of Dentistry during the academic year 2016-2017. Students who join a subsequent cohort for any reason are governed by the policies, requirements, and curriculum of the catalog in effect at the time of re-entry. The right to change academic programs, policies, and standards at any time without prior notice is reserved by the university. It is the student's responsibility to regularly consult this site for changes or modifications.
Registration at the School of Dentistry includes payment of tuition and fees, enrollment in courses, submission of all required application materials (including one official transcript of academic record from each college or university attended through the last completed quarter, semester, or summer session), and submission of required medical examination and clearance forms.
In order to receive credit for coursework taken during a particular term, every student must be properly registered during that term. Barring a written notice of withdrawal or a dismissal from the school, registration is assumed for all students.
Records & Transcripts
An academic record (transcript) for each student is maintained in the Office of Academic Affairs. This official record is used in the conduct of the student's personal and academic affairs and is considered both private and confidential. In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), the School of Dentistry has established procedures to ensure that students have access to their records, that those records are accurate, and that the privacy rights of students are protected. Students are notified annually of their rights under FERPA by publication of this catalog. The full policy is available here.
Upon written request by the student, an official transcript is issued to whomever is designated, provided all financial obligations to the university have been met. The official transcript shows all work completed to date, and is divided into four program years (three program years for the IDS program). Official transcripts of credit earned at other institutions which have been presented for admission or evaluation of credit become the property of the university and are not reissued or copied for distribution to other institutions. Students can access their unofficial transcript any time through InsidePacific, the university portal.
Exemption from Courses
If a student has extensive educational preparation in a discipline, the student may petition the appropriate course director for exemption from required coursework. Such exemption may be granted at the discretion of the course director who will award an appropriate final letter grade (A, B, C, D), or credit (CR) signifying completion of the required course.
Students at the School of Dentistry assume professional obligations which include regular and consistent attendance at all formal learning activities. This includes classroom, laboratory, and remedial instruction; written and oral examinations, quizzes, and practicals; and patient care experiences. Regular and consistent attendance is an essential qualification of all students. A student who in the judgment of the school fails to meet this qualification may be dismissed from school.
Course directors can determine a reasonable attendance policy specific to their course, and must provide students a written statement of such policy in the course syllabus. In the absence of such a written statement from the course director, the school’s policy is in effect.
The student is responsible for making up all work missed due to an absence. Faculty have sole discretion in determining whether and under what conditions missed work is to be made up. Faculty also decide if, when, and under what conditions a make-up exam or practical will be provided. It is expected that make ups will replicate the original assessment in difficulty and content coverage, although an alternative format may be used.
The school allots a set number of discretionary days to each student for use during an academic year. Students are expected to use discretionary days judiciously for such events as medical appointments or illness, legal obligations, national board examinations, postgraduate or employment interviews, or other school-sponsored trips or events.
Discretionary days in effect for each class are as follows:
First-year DDS, IDS: 5 full days (DDS no carryover to Year 2)
Second-year DDS: 8 full days
Third-year DDS and second-year IDS: 8 full days plus 50% of unused days from Year 2 (Year 1 for IDS students).1
1Night clinic sessions count as one half-day. An absence for all three instructional sessions on Monday or Thursday (morning, afternoon, and evening) counts as 1.5 discretionary days.
Guidelines for use of discretionary days:
- Half-days can be used for events lasting less than a full day (e.g., medical appointments). However, students who report an illness for a morning session will be excused for the entire day. Faculty will be notified of a day-long absence and, for clinic students, clinic staff will reschedule patients.
- For any absence of more than two (2) consecutive days, documentation supporting the absence must be submitted promptly to the Office of Academic Affairs. ‘Bunching’ of unused days at the end of an academic year is prohibited by this policy.
- Discretionary days may not be used when an examination, quiz, or practical is scheduled. In the event of an absence on a day when an examination, quiz, or practical is scheduled, a discretionary day will be forfeited. Illness or other emergency must be documented. Make ups are allowed at the sole discretion of the course director(s), who will set the day and time of the make up.
- Discretionary days may not be used retroactively.
- A discretionary day is forfeited whenever an unreported absence is discovered or otherwise reported to the Office of Academic Affairs.
- A student who exceeds the number of available discretionary days in an academic year may be referred to the ethics committee. In cases of excessive absence, the assistant or associate dean of academic affairs will meet with the student, and other impacted parties as needed, to determine whether an internal solution is possible (e.g., medical or other leave of absence), and if so, implement the solution. Only if an internal solution fails or is not possible is the student referred to the ethics committee.
A student who wishes to use a discretionary day or part thereof must notify the Office of Academic Affairs in advance or by 9:00 a.m. on the day of the absence. In the event of an emergency, the student must notify Academic Affairs as soon as reasonably possible. The Office of Academic Affairs will notify faculty promptly of the student’s absence and will maintain a log of each student’s use of discretionary days. Absences must be communicated daily.
A student who exceeds the number of available discretionary days in an academic year may be referred to the ethics committee (see above).
Attendance at Examinations and Other Assessment Activities
Barring a documented emergency, attendance at scheduled examinations, quizzes, practicals, or other assessment activities is mandatory. Students are expected to report to the assigned location early and to begin the examination at the designated start time. No student will be allowed to begin an examination 15 minutes after the designated start time (5 minutes for a quiz), and no student will be allowed to leave an examination room until 15 minutes have elapsed (5 minutes for a quiz). A student who appears for an examination within the 15 minute window forfeits the missed time.
Course directors have sole discretion to determine if and under what conditions a make up examination will be provided.
Approved: DFC, November 21, 2012; Dean’s Cabinet, December 3, 2012
Grades represent passing or failing performance. Grades of A, B, C, and D represent passing performance, and the grade of F represents failure. Grades of A, excellent; B, good; and C, acceptable, represent unconditional passing performance; the grade D indicates conditional passing performance and must be remediated. Special conditions on such grades must be specified when grades are submitted and may include additional instruction or evaluation before advancement to clinical practice or eligibility for board examinations. Course directors are required to provide a grade for every enrolled student at the end of each quarter of instruction. They must also notify the Office of Academic Affairs in writing of conditions and assignments for removing incompletes and suggested alternatives for overcoming failing performance, if any exist.
Credit (CR) may be awarded in clinical courses to indicate that the student has not been assigned sufficient patients for clinical ability to be assessed in a particular area. In nonclinical courses, CR signifies satisfactory completion of an ungraded course where reliable differentiation among passing grades is not possible.
An incomplete grade (INC) may be given temporarily when a student is progressing satisfactorily but the course director has insufficient information to award a letter grade because the student has not completed all assigned coursework. The course director determines the conditions under which and the date by which the deficiency that caused the INC must be removed by the student. If no completion date is stipulated, by default the end date of the subsequent term is the completion date. Failure to comply with stated conditions by the stipulated date will result in the INC reverting to the grade F, failure. When an INC is given in the terminal quarter of a clinical course, a customized program will be developed to allow the student to meet clinical expectations in a timely manner. No student may earn a diploma with a permanent INC grade in a course directly tied to one or more of the school's competency statements.
Grade Point Average
In computing a grade point average (GPA) numerical values are: A, 4 points; B, 3 points; C, 2 points; D or INC, one point; and F, zero points. Credit (CR) notations do not affect the grade point average. The dental school does not award "+" or "-" modification of grades. For details on how GPA is calculated for students repeating a single course or an entire academic year, see the Repeat section in the Academic Performance tab.
Change of Grades
Final passing grades (A, B, C, D, CR) are not subject to change on the basis of second examination or additional work completed after grades are submitted. Passing grades may be changed during the quarter following award of the final grade to correct an error in computation or in transcribing a report or where some part of a student's work has been overlooked. A failing grade of F may be changed only on the basis of reexamination or repeat of the course. Reexamination or repeat of the course is at the discretion of the course director or the Student Academic Performance and Promotion Committee. Upon reexamination, D is the highest grade that can be reported; on repeat of the course, the new final grade will be reported. When a final grade is awarded to substitute for INC or for the failing grade of F, this will be indicated on the student transcript by an appropriate symbol denoting the change (* for INC and # for F grades).
The Office of Academic Affairs reviews student academic performance each quarter. In a course that continues through two or more quarters, a grade is awarded each quarter to indicate interim progress, and the final grade for the entire course is awarded at completion of the terminal quarter of the course. However, the Student Academic Performance and Promotions Committee will regard an interim grade in the same manner as a final grade with respect to promotion.
Academic Good Standing
Academic good standing requires a grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.0 for all didactic courses attempted and for all laboratory and clinic courses attempted, and no permanent D or F grades.
Academic probation is accorded to a student upon receipt of a GPA below 2.0 for all didactic courses attempted OR a GPA below 2.0 for all laboratory and clinic courses attempted OR both; OR to a student with a permanent D or F grade. Normally, the standard for academic good standing must be met within three months of being placed on academic probation. In circumstances where this time constraint cannot be met, e.g. for laboratory and clinic grades at the beginning of the second year, or when a course is being repeated to remove an F grade, a reasonable time period will be specified.
I. Phase One Academic Probation: Intervention
- Didactic and/or lab/clinic GPA below 2.0 if the student was in good academic standing the previous quarter. (New students are assumed to be in good standing upon matriculation unless otherwise stipulated by the Office of Student Services.)
- Repeating students are placed on intervention at the beginning of their repeat year.
- Examples of interventions include:
- meetings with advisor
- assignment of tutors
- inventory of outside activities, living conditions
- diagnostic testing for suspected health, psychological, language, or learning problems
- in-course remediation
- evaluation by health care professional to determine fitness for student activities
- alternative career counseling
II. Phase Two Academic Probation: Contract
- Didactic and/or lab/clinic GPA below 2.0 if the student was on Phase I probation the previous quarter, or
- Any permanent D or F grade.
- Examples of contract conditions include:
- required weekly meetings with faculty member, Group Practice Leader, or advisor
- restrictions on outside activities, living conditions
- required professional assistance with diagnosed health, psychological, or learning problems
- assignment to scheduled supplemental courses
- regular meetings with therapist
- No student on contract is eligible to take National Dental Board Examinations without approval from the promotions committee.
Academic disqualification may be recommended to the dean by the Student Academic Performance and Promotions Committee for a student who has failed to meet any of the conditions of phase two probation (contract). When a student's academic record meets published criteria for academic disqualification, the committee will provide an opportunity for the student to appear before it to ensure that all pertinent information is available before the committee makes its recommendation to the dean. This is the only opportunity for the student to present relevant information to the committee; if a student fails to provide all pertinent information at this opportunity, the student risks exclusion of information from the committee's deliberations. A student appearing before the committee has the option to: (i) select a faculty advisor; (ii) request and receive assistance from that faculty advisor with preparation of a statement to the committee; and (iii) request the faculty advisor attend the committee meeting with the student as a silent observer. A student may, at their discretion, take advantage of all or none of these opportunities. During the committee meeting, the student is advised to read aloud their prepared statement, but is discouraged from circulating copies or presenting evidence of academic performance.
If, in the judgment of the committee and after consideration of the relevant information available to it, the student has the capacity and commitment to overcome his or her documented deficiencies and reach an acceptable level of patient care, the committee may recommend (i) continuation on academic contract; (ii) extension of the program; or (iii) re-enrollment in a subsequent cohort. The committee may also recommend re-enrollment only through the normal admissions process, after a careful review of the relevant information and as appropriate to the student's potential.
Students who are in academic good standing automatically are recommended for promotion by the Student Academic Performance and Promotions Committee. The committee may recommend that a student who is not in academic good standing be promoted on academic probation with conditions of the probation clearly outlined.
Academic Standards for Holding Student Office
In order to run for and/or hold an elected or appointed office in the Associated Student Body or to assume a major leadership position in an organization affiliated with and approved by the school, a student must be registered for a full-time course of study, be in good academic and disciplinary standing, and maintain a cumulative Grade Point Average of 2.5 or higher during the entire period of time in which he or she holds office. Failure to meet the academic standards outlined by this policy will result in a one quarter probationary period, during which the student is expected to meet the minimum cumulative GPA standard. Failure to do so by the end of the probationary period will lead to automatic resignation from office.
When one course is repeated by a student who remains with his/her original cohort, BOTH attempts are permanently recorded on the student's transcript. Repeated courses are identified on the transcript with a "Y" in the repeat column, and the interim and permanent grade earned, if applicable, is INCLUDED in the Grade Point Average calculation (“grade averaging”).
When more than one course is repeated (normally by a student who is repeating an entire academic year), BOTH attempts are permanently recorded on the student's transcript. Repeated courses are identified on the transcript with a "Y" in the repeat column, but interim or permanent grades earned are NOT included in the GPA calculation ("grade replacement").
In the absence of a written agreement of exemption filed in the Office of Academic Affairs, students who join a subsequent cohort for any reason are governed by the policies, requirements, and curriculum of the catalog in effect at the time of re-entry.
A student who wishes to withdraw from school must file a written request in the Office of Academic Affairs. A student's request for withdrawal becomes final only upon completion of the customary check-out process. The student's academic standing at the completion of the check-out process will be recorded on the permanent record (transcript). The record of a student who withdraws without first requesting permission will record a dismissal. A student who has met the published criteria for disqualification may not elect to voluntarily withdraw until the dean has rendered a final decision regarding promotion or academic standing.
Leave of Absence
Student or resident requests for a leave of absence are filed with the dean, who will designate the appropriate administrator to respond to the request. To request a leave of absence, the student or resident must be in good academic standing and must submit a written request identifying persuasive reasons warranting the leave, together with documentation supporting the request. The dean will notify the student or resident in writing of the decision and, if approved, will stipulate the length of the leave and conditions for re-enrollment. The student or resident assumes the responsibility of keeping the dean informed of the intent to re-enroll by the specified date. Students or residents with federally-guaranteed student loans whose leave of absence exceeds 180 days will be reported as withdrawn on the 181st day and federal loans will enter repayment. A student or resident who does not re-enroll by the specified date will be considered to have withdrawn from the school. The decision whether to deny, grant, or set conditions for a request for leave of absence shall be in the sole discretion of the dean. Leaves of absence from the dental school's three-year curriculum are rarely granted.
The dean has the authority to place a student on interim or indefinite leave of absence after careful review of the facts of a case. See also the Overview section of the General Policies section.
In addition to all other requirements for graduation, the candidate must demonstrate competence to discharge the duties required of a practitioner of dentistry. In addition to the skills, knowledge, and values expected of a beginning general dentist, this is interpreted to mean evidence of moral character compatible with the public interest and with the practice of the healing arts, discharge of all financial obligations to the school, completion of all technical and clinical requirements prescribed in the curriculum, good academic standing, a passing score on Part II of the National Board Dental Examination, and compliance with all relevant policies of the School of Dentistry. If, in the opinion of the Student Academic Performance and Promotion Committee, the candidate for the Doctor of Dental Surgery degree has met all these requirements, it is authorized to recommend to the dean the graduation and conferral of the degree. The committee may also recommend delay in the individual's graduation date and will stipulate conditions necessary to bring the student to a competent level.
Student Academic Performance and Promotions Committee
Functions: The Student Academic Performance and Promotions Committee evaluates records of student academic performance and progress; recommends to the dean appropriate candidates for promotion, dismissal, repeat or other action, and students who should receive awards for academic excellences; and works with the curriculum committee in planning, developing, and recommending methods by which students' performance may best be evaluated. The committee ensures enforcement of academic standards as described in this catalog.
Membership includes: the associate dean for clinical services, the assistant dean for academic affairs, the vice-chair of the department of dental practice; all Group Practice Leaders, and all department chairpersons. Should a clinical department chair be unable to attend the meeting, a single co- or vice-chair is invited.
Academic Advisory Committee
Functions: The Academic Advisory Committee reviews records of students who are on phase one academic probation to recommend intervention, and reviews records of students on phase two academic probation to draw up contracts. It also reviews the records of students who have failed their contracts and makes recommendations to the Student Academic Performance and Promotion Committee.
Membership includes: the associate and assistant deans for academic affairs, two Group Practice Leaders, one representative each of the biomedical science courses and preclinical technique courses, and one student.
Student Appeals Committee
Functions: The Student Appeals Committee reviews and makes recommendations on student-initiated appeals for reconsideration of faculty action with regard to grading or evaluation. In academic matters related to promotion and dismissal, the Student Appeals Committee's inquiry will be limited to review of compliance with the due process components of this policy and will not constitute an attempt to substitute its judgment for the academic judgment of faculty or of the administration.
Membership includes: four elected faculty members and three elected students, one each from the two senior classes and the junior class.