There's a reason why dental schools expect the best from their students. The fact is, when you finally hang out your shingle as a dentist, you won't just be expected to fix teeth. Of course, your community will expect you to be an expert at what you do. They'll also expect you to treat every patient with care and concern, and they'll expect you to hold yourself to a strict moral and ethical code of conduct. Your school wants you to understand these demands before you enter the profession.
Creighton University School of Dentistry (CUSD) takes this mission more seriously than most. As a school founded on Jesuit principles, Creighton emphasizes values like
- Personal care for individuals
- “Ever seeking what is more, better, and of greater service to God and humanity”
- And living with and for others
In short, CUSD wants to produce graduates who aren't just good dentists but who will contribute to making society better. To do this, it has to hold students to the very highest academic, ethical, and professional standards.
It's important schools maintain high standards. It's equally important, though, that they set reasonable expectations for their students. None of us is perfect, and a mistake shouldn't stand in the way of getting a quality education. If you feel your school is treating you unfairly or that they are holding you to a standard that's simply too high, you should raise questions and challenge those unreasonable expectations. That's not always an easy task. You can do it, though. You just need two things: you need to know how the system operates, and you need a professional at your side to help.
Academic Standards at CUSD
In keeping with its high expectations for academic achievement, CUSD closely monitors its students' classroom progress. Instructors are required to publish your grades at both the midterm and the end of the quarter. In addition, the Student Performance Committee (SPC) meets at the end of each quarter to assess every student and make promotion decisions.
Students in good standing move on to the next term of studies. Students who are struggling, though, are subject to a variety of academic sanctions. The SPC can require students to repeat courses or to repeat an entire term of courses. In addition, it can place students on probation or dismiss them from the program altogether.
You do have the right to question the SPC's decisions, though. You can, for example, request a re-hearing within five days of learning of a sanction. At this re-hearing, you are entitled to make a presentation, either in writing or in person. Should the SPC re-affirm its original decision, you may further appeal to the Student Appeals Committee. Here again, you have the option to appear before this committee and explain your case.
Maintaining Professional Standards
The SPC is likewise responsible for making any decisions about students' ethical and professional conduct. CUSD maintains an extensive Honor Code based on principles like “honesty,” “responsibility,” and “justice.” More specifically, the Code talks about following the ethics laid out by the American Dental Association and the American Student Dental Association. It talks about treating all people in academic and clinical settings equally. It even requires students to dress professionally.
Of particular note, the Code requires that all students engage in conduct that, “reflects positively on the School of Dentistry and the profession.”
This admonition doesn't distinguish between on-campus and off-campus behaviors. That is, you need to know that you can and will be held responsible for how you conduct your personal life. In addition, sanctions for lapses in personal judgment can often be more severe than those for falling behind academically. If you fail a course, you may have to re-take that course. If you should be convicted of a DUI, though, you'll almost certainly be dismissed from the program.
As with academic matters, you do have the right to appeal any decisions handed down by the SPC. The processes for doing this are the same in both cases.
Why Hire an Attorney?
Some students wonder why they would ever need an attorney during dental school. After all, you're smart and capable. You're dedicated to your profession and to getting your degree. What could go wrong?
You might be surprised. There may once have been a time when students could make mistakes and expect, at worst, a slap on the wrist. These days, though, schools take academic and disciplinary matters extremely seriously. You need to take them seriously as well. That often means you need advice from a professional.
What exactly can an attorney do for you?
- Help with grade appeals: If you're facing an academic sanction from the SPC, the easiest response might be simply to appeal the original grade. An attorney can help you gather evidence for this appeal. They can also assist in drafting the appeal itself and in preparing to meet with your instructor.
- Clean up your transcript: Any sanction, even a warning, can cause you long-term problems if it shows up on your permanent record. You could lose financial aid; you could lose out on fellowships; you might even have trouble finding that all-important first job. An attorney can help make sure mistakes don't appear on your transcript. In some cases, they may even be able to get past mistakes removed.
- Help you fight dismissal: The most serious sanction you can face as a student is dismissal. You've put a lot of time and money into getting to this point in your career. A dismissal undoes all of that. In practical terms, you could wind up paying off steep loans you took out for a degree you never actually received. CUSD does give you options for appealing a dismissal. Make no mistake, though: the process is complicated, and winning your case will be an uphill battle. At a minimum, an attorney can help you develop a defense strategy, craft arguments, and prepare your presentation.
How Can Joseph D. Lento Help?
An attorney can help with all sorts of problems in dental school, both large and small. Not just any attorney will do, though. You need an attorney who's worked with dental students, who understands how your school's program works, and who has a proven success record defending clients.
You need Joseph D. Lento. Joseph D. Lento is a fully-licensed, fully-qualified defense attorney. He specializes, though, in defending students in campus judicial cases. Over the years, Joseph D. Lento has represented hundreds of students, just like you, helping them protect their academic and professional futures. He knows the law, and he's a passionate defender of student rights. He also knows how schools operate and the tactics they use. Joseph D. Lento is ready to put what he knows to work for you and to get you the best possible resolution to your case.
If you're facing a sanction from your dental school, trust your case to someone who knows dental schools. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-555-3686 or use our automated online form.