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 2012-2013. 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. Entering students register on matriculation day.
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 in the section of this catalog entitled "Policies in Compliance with the Law."
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. 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.
Students at the School of Dentistry assume professional obligations which include regular and consistent attendance at academic activities. The ability to do so is an essential qualification of all students. Specific attendance policies are determined by individual course directors who will provide students with a written statement of such policies at the beginning of the course, if policies differ from the above. For students assigned to the clinics of the School of Dentistry, or other clinics associated with the school, attendance is mandatory.
At the request of a student, his or her course directors will be notified of absences due to illness, or other personal or family necessities beyond the control of the student. The student is required to contact the Office of Academic Affairs promptly in case of absence so that proper and timely notification can be given to course directors.
Absences must be phoned in daily. An absence is normally recognized as excused when a student contacts the Office of Academic Affairs before 9:00 a.m. on the day of an illness or accident, or when other proper written notification has been received and approved. Permission for other absences must be obtained in advance and in writing from both the director or associate deans for academic affairs and the associate dean for clinical services.
A student who is absent from school without permission ("unexcused absence") five or more times in a single quarter, or who otherwise significantly fails to satisfy attendance requirements, may be dismissed. If a student is absent for three or more consecutive days, documentation from a health care provider is required.
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.
The Office of Academic Affairs reviews student overall academic performance each quarter prior to the release of report cards. 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.
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. 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 that apply to D grades; 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 will determine conditions under which and the date by which the deficiency that caused the INC must be removed by the student. Failure to comply with stated conditions by the predetermined date will result in the INC reverting to the grade F, failure. When an INC is given for the terminal quarter of a course, the student must remove the deficiency that caused the INC within the quarter immediately following or the INC will revert to a permanent grade of F, failure.
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.
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 not obligatory but rather 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.
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.
A. 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.)
B. Repeating students are placed on intervention at the beginning of their repeat year.
C. Examples of interventions include:
A. Didactic and/or lab/clinic GPA below 2.0 if the student was on Phase I probation the previous quarter, or
B. Any permanent D or F grade.
C. Examples of contract conditions include:
D. 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) reenrollment in a subsequent class. The committee may also recommend reenrollment 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.
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 excellence and consideration for honors; and works with the curriculum committee in planning, developing, and recommending methods by which students' performance may best be evaluated. These committees ensure enforcement of academic standards as described in this catalog.
Membership includes: the associate deans for academic affairs and clinical services, the assistant dean for academic affairs, all Group Practice Leaders, and all clinical 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 a 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.
When a student repeats an academic year, a grade must be awarded for completion of each course in that year. If a student is exempted from repeating a course for which a passing grade previously has been assigned, the course director will determine the grade to be assigned for the repeat year and the method by which such a grade will be determined. If a student repeats a course, the grade earned at the time of repeat is recorded. In the absence of a written agreement of exemption filed in the Office of Academic Affairs, students are responsible for meeting all requirements of specified courses and will be graded according to standards in place for the repeated course.
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 is accepted 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.
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, which identifies 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.
In addition to all other requirements to earn graduation, the candidate for graduation must demonstrate competence to discharge the duties required of a practitioner of dentistry. In addition to the skills, understanding, 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 community and the school, completion of all technical and clinical requirements prescribed in the curriculum, academic good standing, passage of Part II of the National Board Dental Examination, and conformance with 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 requirements, it is authorized to recommend to the dean the graduation and conferral of the degree. It may also recommend delay in the individual's graduation date with conditions necessary to bring the student to a competent level.