TABLE OF CONTENTS
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE
STUDENT PROGRESS SYSTEM
Students at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine are members of the university community and, as such, are responsible for conforming to all the rules and regulations of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale including the Student Conduct Code for Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. In addition, they shall be responsible for conforming to the standards of Academic Conduct established by the School of Medicine under this Student Progress System.
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine is a professional community of faculty, students, administrators, and staff who share responsibility for the achievement of a common goal: the training of competent physicians who shall exhibit and maintain high standards of professional and personal conduct. Achievement of this goal is a complex process with many steps through which the student must progress. The progress of students shall be monitored to ensure and facilitate each student’s adherence to established standards of Academic Conduct which is defined to include Academic Performance and Professional Conduct. This document describes the system employed by the School of Medicine for considering matters of student progress.
The primary objectives of any educational institution are broadly academic in nature: the institution exists to help the student acquire knowledge and to certify that knowledge has been acquired. However, where training of physicians is concerned, special consideration is also given to noncognitive expectations related to Academic Performance as well as to Professional Conduct. Certification by a school of medicine implies that the student has acquired the knowledge and has demonstrated the behaviors and conduct necessary to assume the responsibility for the protection of human life and health. It is, therefore, incumbent upon the School of Medicine to define specifically the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective competencies required of its graduates. This function is predominantly the responsibility of the faculty of the School of Medicine who, as representatives of the medical profession and the medical school community, define the standards of Academic Performance and Professional Conduct to which individual medical students must conform.
Knowledge alone does not ensure academic competence. It is also necessary that knowledge be employed in a skillful, responsible, and ethical manner. Accordingly, schools of medicine, through their faculty, must establish and maintain standards to certify that their graduates are competent and complete medical doctors who have met the cognitive and noncognitive Academic Performance and Professional Conduct goals and objectives.
The noncognitive goals include consistent display of behavior congruent with the standards of the profession. Medical students shall not demonstrate behavior that is considered to render them unfit for a career in medicine or that shall cast serious doubts upon their potential suitability or competence as physicians. Such inappropriate behavior includes, but is not limited to, demonstration of poor judgment, lack of integrity, inappropriate interpersonal relations with patients, faculty, or peers, poor self-discipline, lack of responsibility or dependability, or inability to recognize personal limitations or to function under pressure. Medical students shall demonstrate sensitive and humane consideration for patients by projecting a professional image through proper communication, attitude, behavior, manner, dress, and grooming.
Medical students are members of the medical community. While trainee status dictates restriction of their privileges within this community, medical students are equally responsibile for their Professional Conduct throughout their entire medical school training. Professional Conduct includes, but is not limited to, behavior consistent with the highest standards of professional and personal integrity and honesty, as well as compliance with laws, rules, regulations, and applicable guidelines.
In summary, it is the responsibility of the faculty to define for the institution Academic Conduct standards related to both Academic Performance and Professional Conduct. It is the responsibility of all members of the School of Medicine community, but primarily of the faculty, to determine that the standards have been met.
Promotion within the curriculum and graduation from the program with the granting of the M.D. degree are based on satisfactorily meeting the performance standards established by the faculty. Both cognitive and noncognitive objectives are developed by faculty, and performance standards are defined by faculty to determine acceptable levels of performance.
Evaluation of student progress is determined by achievement of identified curricular objectives. At the end of appropriate curricular segments, each student’s performance is evaluated. Faculty-determined performance standards are established for such curricular segments.
To complete an appropriate curricular segment, a student must achieve both the cognitive and noncognitive objectives specified by faculty.
In order to achieve cognitive objectives, a student must demonstrate the acquisition of a specific data base as well as the development of reasoning and problem solving abilities, appropriate technical and procedural skills, clinical sophistication in history and physical examination, problem identification and integration, diagnosis and patient management, use of investigations, and patient education.
In order to achieve noncognitive objectives, a student must demonstrate behavior congruent with the medical profession including, but not limited to, the following: self-directed learning; effective time utilization; critical thinking; sound judgment; appropriate interpersonal relations with faculty, patients, and peers; self-evaluation; self-discipline; proper dress and grooming; responsibility; motivation; dependability; integrity; emotional and professional maturity; ability to recognize personal limitations and to function under pressure; and both oral and written communication skills.
If a student does not achieve the objectives for an appropriate curricular segment, remedial experiences may be required. Such remediation shall be recommended by the faculty. It should be emphasized, however, that remediation of comprehensive examinations, as appropriate, shall be permitted only upon specific approval of the Student Progress Committee (SPC). If necessary, adjustments in the student’s curricular program will be considered by the SPC on a case by case basis.
1. Year One and Year Two
Promotion from Year One to Year Two requires satisfactory completion of that academic year. In addition, all students may be required to complete satisfactorily a comprehensive examination developed by the faculty of the School of Medicine. Exceptions are possible only under special circumstances as determined following review by the Student Progress Committee (SPC). When making recommendations for promotion to Year Two, the SPC will evaluate and consider all aspects of a student’s academic performance during the year.
Promotion from Year Two to Year Three requires satisfactory completion of that academic year. In addition, all students may be required to complete satisfactorily a comprehensive examination developed by the faculty of the School of Medicine. Exceptions are possible only under special circumstances as determined following review by the Student Progress Committee (SPC). When making recommendations for promotion to Year Three, the SPC will evaluate and consider all aspects of a student’s academic performance in Year One and Year Two.
2. The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)
Passage of the USMLE, Step 1, is required for graduation from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. All students are required to take the exam and record a score prior to beginning Year Three. Failure of the exam may result in a formal review of academic performance by the Student Progress Committee. Based upon this review, the Student Progress Committee will recommend appropriate action to the Dean, which may include, but need not be limited to, Special Student Status, Formal Warning, Probation, or Dismissal from the School of Medicine.
Completion of Year Three and Year Four requires satisfactory completion of those academic years. In addition, all students will be required to complete a comprehensive clinical competency examination (CCX), developed by the faculty of the School of Medicine. Unsatisfactory performance on any component of the CCX may result in a recommendation for remediation. Exceptions are possible only under special circumstances as determined following review by the Student Progress Committee (SPC). When making recommendations for graduation, the SPC will evaluate and consider all aspects of a student’s academic performance while in medical school.
When, after due consideration of a student’s overall cognitive and noncognitive academic performance and any special circumstances, it has been determined that the student has failed to meet identified objectives, the student may be given Formal Warning, placed on Probation, Leave of Absence, or Special Student Status, or dismissed from the School of Medicine. Any of these actions may be taken based upon the severity of the student’s academic performance deficiency. Progressive implementation of the above actions shall not be required.
A student who fails to meet the objectives of any curricular segment, or curricular year, may be required to repeat the same segment, or year, or to participate in other remedial activities as deemed appropriate by the Student Progress Committee. Unlimited opportunity to repeat curricular segments, or years is neither feasible nor desirable. Accordingly, frequency of remediation of curricular segments and/or the extent of the student’s inability to remediate shall be a major consideration in determining the severity of the student’s academic performance deficiency.
A student may be dismissed from the School of Medicine as a result of frequent remediation, or repetition of curricular segments. A student may be dismissed from the School of Medicine if the student does not pass the USMLE as described earlier in this section (Section 3-101, D.2), or if, in the absence of extraordinary circumstances, it is necessary to repeat the same curricular year more than once or a subsequent curricular year.
In this regard, it should be emphasized that a pattern of academic performance difficulty creates serious doubts about a student’s competence and potential ability to function as a physician. As a student moves from Year One through Year Four, there are increasing expectations relative to academic performance. Accordingly, when a student has experienced prior academic performance deficiencies, there will be decreasing tolerance by the School of Medicine for deficient performance in subsequent curricular activities. In such instances, the Student Progress Committee may consider probation or dismissal to be appropriate.
Graduation is recommended by the Student Progress Committee to the Dean when a student has met the Standards of Academic Conduct including Academic Performance and Professional Conduct previously described. The Dean shall accept and act upon the recommendation of the SPC barring compelling reasons to the contrary.
The Student Progress Committee (SPC) is a standing School of Medicine committee which is responsible for monitoring the progress of all students through the curriculum.
The SPC shall function under the Student Progress System as an advisory body to the Dean. The responsibilities of the Committee are to monitor student progress, identify problem areas, assist students in dealing with these problems, and determine whether the established standards of Academic Conduct have been met. The SPC may delegate any or all of its responsibilities to an appointed subcommittee or subcommittees.
Problems may be identified and reported through such means as written evaluation by School of Medicine departments and communications from individual members of the medical school community and from the Student Advisory Committee. Ordinarily such concerns are directed to the SPC Chair, who establishes the agenda for meetings and/or other proceedings as appropriate. The SPC shall have jurisdiction to consider all matters of Academic Conduct as previously defined to include Academic Performance and Professional Conduct. The SPC is responsible for conducting meetings and other proceedings in accordance with these procedures, making recommendations for actions to the Dean of the School of Medicine as appropriate, and implementing final decisions of the Dean as appropriate. SPC recommendations may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Leaves of Absence.
- Voluntary: A student may request a Leave of Absence from the Associate Dean for Student Affairs or designee. The request must be in writing and must set out the dates and reasons therefor and the proposed use of Leave of Absence time. The Associate Dean for Student Affairs or designee may grant the request or refer the request to the SPC for action. If the request is granted, then the SPC will be informed of this action. If the request is referred to the SPC for action, then the SPC will evaluate the request and make a recommendation to the Dean. If a Leave of Absence is granted, then conditions may be specified, which must be met by the student during the Leave of Absence period.
- Involuntary: Under extraordinary circumstances, the Chair of the SPC or the Associate Dean for Student Affairs may recommend to the Dean that a student be placed on Leave of Absence. In imposing a Leave of Absence, the Dean may specify conditions that must be met during the period of the Leave of Absence.
- Formal Warning: Formal Warning from the SPC shall take the form of written notice from the Chair and may be issued as appropriate when the SPC perceives a trend toward increasing Academic Conduct difficulty. The notice of Formal Warning shall set out the problems in reasonable detail and shall indicate possible consequences.
- Probation: Probation is a status other than in good standing which shall be established with specified requirements that must be met before the student is removed from probationary status. If these requirements are not met, a recommendation for dismissal from the School of Medicine may follow. A student may be placed on Probation for deficiencies in Academic Performance or for violation of the standards of Professional Conduct. Any student placed on Probation will meet with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs to discuss the requirements of the probation.
- Special Student Status: Special Student Status is a status which shall be established for a specified period of time with specified requirements that must be met. This special status is appropriate for students on a reduced or modified academic load, students receiving academic support services, or students preparing to retake USMLE, Step 1.
- Dismissal from the School of Medicine: A student may be dismissed from the School of Medicine for failure to meet the standards of Academic Conduct previously described, failure to meet the requirements of Probation or Special Student Status, failure to pass USMLE, Step 1, or failure to meet Leave of Absence conditions.
The Student Progress Committee (SPC) is appointed by the Dean, who also appoints the SPC Chair. Student members are appointed with the advice of the respective student governing body. The composition of the SPC includes these members: Chair, Vice-Chair, 10 Faculty Members from the Springfield campus, 4 Faculty Members from the Carbondale campus, a medical student representative from each graduating class, a medical student representative from the Student National Medical Association. The following are ex-officio members who may not vote: Associate Dean for Education and Curriculum, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Assistant Dean, Counseling and Minority Affairs, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs/Carbondale and the Executive Assistant to the Dean for Diversity.
Meetings to review the progress of all students are regularly scheduled. Agenda are established by the Chair and the meetings will be chaired by the SPC Chair. If the Chair is not available, the meeting may be run by the SPC Vice-Chair. Special meetings and other proceedings are scheduled as needed. A quorum of voting members must be present to conduct committee business. A simple majority of voting members present is required to approve a motion. During these meetings, the committee will generate all student progress recommendations to be referred to the Dean except for a recommendation for dismissal. A recommendation for dismissal from the SIU School of Medicine will occur only after a hearing has been held to consider that possibility. Hearings to consider dismissal for deficiencies in Academic Performance will be held according to the procedures described in Section 6-101. Hearing to consider dismissal for deficiencies in Professional Conduct will be held according to the procedures described in Section 6-102.
The Subcommittee on Student Progress System Appeals (SSPSA) is a standing subcommittee of the School of Medicine Executive Committee.
The SSPSA shall function under the Student Progress System as an advisory body to the Dean. In that capacity, the Subcommittee shall consider and render recommendations to the Dean on appeals taken from earlier decisions of the Dean. The Subcommittee shall have jurisdiction to consider all aspects of Academic Conduct as previously defined to include Academic Performance and Professional Conduct. The SSPSA is responsible for conducting meetings and other proceedings in accordance with the procedures outlined in Division VI of this document and for making recommendations to the Dean of the School of Medicine for final decisions and actions as appropriate. SSPSA recommendations may include, but are not limited to, affirming, reversing, or modifying prior decisions of the Dean.
The SSPSA shall consist of five (5) members of the School of Medicine Executive Committee appointed by the Dean. All appointments shall be for two (2) years. Annually in July, the Dean shall appoint one (1) of the five (5) subcommittee members to serve as Chair.
Conduct of Meeting and Student Rights
The meeting shall be chaired by the Chair of the SPC, who shall determine the order of the proceeding and make any necessary procedural decisions. This includes the prerogative to recuse any SPC committee member from the proceedings. In the event that the Chair is not available, the meeting will be chaired by the Vice-Chair.
- The student is entitled to be present at the meeting with an adviser of choice, hear a summary statement of the concerns of the SPC, provide the Committee supporting oral and documentary information, make opening and closing statements, present and reasonably question any witnesses, and rebut any adverse information. However, the student and the student’s adviser shall not have the right to be present during deliberations of the Committee.
- The SPC members shall have the right to invite and question any witnesses, to question the student, and to question the student’s witnesses.
- The portion of the meeting during which the student is present shall be recorded on audio tape or by certified court reporter at the expense of the School of the Medicine, and a transcript thereof shall be made available to the student upon request within a reasonable period of time.
- At the meeting, the student’s adviser shall be permitted to counsel the student and may be given reasonable opportunity to speak in the student’s behalf by the Chair of the SPC. The adviser shall not be permitted to question or examine witnesses or Committee members.
- The meeting shall be closed; only the student and the student’s adviser shall be admitted. With the exception of Committee members who may be asked to appear as witnesses, witnesses may be present only while they are being questioned.
Provisions governing appeal are set forth in Section 6-103 of this document.
Status of Student
Pending action on the Formal Complaint, the status of a student shall not be altered nor shall the right to be present on the campus and to attend classes be suspended, except under special circumstances as determined by the Dean of the School of Medicine.
Upon receipt of the notice of “Cause” finding and the Formal Complaint, the Chair of the SPC shall promptly notify the student named in the Formal Complaint of the pending matter and attach therewith a copy of the Formal Complaint. The written notification shall include a request for a written response to the allegations contained in the Formal Complaint, which response shall be forwarded to the SPC Chair within five (5) working days of the request. The written notification shall further state that a hearing will be scheduled at a time and place to be specified in a later notice from the SPC Chair.
Upon receipt of the response, if any, the Chair of the SPC shall forward a copy of the same to the Chair of the Investigatory Team and shall also promptly notify the student named in the charge..
The Chair of the SPC shall set a date, time, and place for hearing on the Formal Complaint. The hearing shall be held at the earliest date convenient to the principal parties (the student named in the Formal Complaint and the Chair of the Investigatory Team); however, every effort will be made to convene the hearing within fifteen (15) working days of the date previously set for challenge and review. The principal parties shall be given written notice of the hearing date, time, and place at least ten (10) working days in advance.
The SPC shall conduct a hearing on the Formal Complaint at the appointed place and time. It shall be required that not less than a majority of voting members of the SPC be present. A majority of voting members present shall be required for a determination.
The hearing shall be conducted in an orderly fashion and in a manner reasonably consistent with basic concepts of fairness.
Provisions governing appeal are set forth in Section 6-103 of this document.
The appeal is to be filed with the School of Medicine Office of Student Affairs and must set out in reasonable detail the grounds for the appeal as well as any supporting evidence. Forms to be utilized in filing the appeal are available from the Office of Student Affairs.
Any member of the School of Medicine community may submit a request for an amendment to this Student Progress System to the School of Medicine Executive Committee through the Office of the Dean. The request shall be written and shall include a rationale and a description of the amendment in reasonable detail. If, after due consideration, the Executive Committee considers the request to have merit, it shall assign the task of writing the amendment to the Chair of the Student Progress Committee. The Chair of the SPC may assign the task of writing the amendment to a subcommittee of the SPC. The Chair of the SPC shall report the amendment back to the Executive Committee, which shall make recommendations to the Dean concerning adoption. In approving an amendment, the Dean shall designate the effective date thereof, following which the amendment shall be binding upon all students.