Indiana University School of Dentistry

Indiana University School of Dentistry (IUSD) has a history of academic and professional excellence that stretches back over 140 years. Among its many other accomplishments, the school was instrumental in helping to develop the very first fluoride toothpaste. Today IUSD continues its commitment not just to graduating top-tier oral health professionals but to maintaining a vigorous research program.

Given these facts, it's probably not surprising that IUSD demands a great deal from its students. The fact is dentists aren't just expected to be dentists. Your community will expect you to adhere to the highest ethical and professional standards, treat patients with care and respect, and serve as a leader. IUSD wants to prepare you now to face that future. That means it doesn't just expect you to excel academically but personally and professionally as well.

There's nothing wrong with high standards. We all want competent, capable dentists. There are high standards, though, and impossible standards. Schools can and do sometimes expect too much from their students and penalize them unfairly when they don't live up to these expectations. If you're facing this kind of unfair treatment, it's important to know that you can fight back. Find out what you can about your school's policies and procedures and learn how to get help from a qualified, experienced attorney-advisor. You have the right to defend yourself, but you don't want to try and do it on your own.

Academic Standards at IUSD

To help maintain its high expectations for academic excellence, the IUSD Course Director reviews student progress each term and makes decisions about promotion. Students must achieve at least a 2.0 grade point to move forward. The Course Director has the authority to require students repeat courses they fail and, in some cases, courses in which they fail a module. In addition, a single course failure or a dip below a 2.0 average can result in academic probation.

IUSD will also dismiss students from the program entirely if they continue to struggle academically. This decision is ultimately in the hands of the Faculty Council executive committee. Grounds for dismissal include

  • Failure to comply with a course attendance policy
  • A failing grade in half of a term's courses
  • Multiple failures in the same course
  • Multiple instances of falling below a 2.0 grade point
  • Grade point average below 2.0 at the end of the first four semesters
  • General lack of acceptable progress toward degree requirements

IUSD's policy on academic achievement contains no information about appealing an academic decision or sanction. This suggests the school may not have a formal means of addressing these issues. If you should find yourself facing a severe sanction, especially dismissal, it is likely in your best interests to consult an attorney with experience in academic justice on how to proceed.

Maintaining Professional Standards

IUSD's policy towards professional conduct is, if anything, stricter than its policy on academics. The student handbook lists a number of expectations, including respect for the sanctity of human life, respect for the dignity of patients, and personal humility. In addition, it advises students to adhere to all laws, policies, and regulations and to represent the dental profession well. These last strictures make clear that you are held responsible not just for your campus behaviors but for your personal life as well, a high expectation indeed.

The school's Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) handles all accusations of professional misconduct. This body is instructed to “review charges” and evaluate the evidence and can assign sanctions up to and including dismissal. In most cases, an appointed Investigator gathers evidence and talks to witnesses, and then you are allowed to present your side of the case at a formal hearing.

In addition, you have the right to appeal the hearing decision to the school's Appeals Committee. However, appeals must be based on a limited set of criteria.

  • The discovery of new evidence
  • A procedural error
  • A sanction disproportionate to the offense

What Can an Attorney Do for You?

Some students wonder why they would ever need an attorney during dental school. Maybe you won't. Attorneys can help with lots of issues, though, both big and small.

  • Fighting dismissal: The most obvious reason to consult an attorney would be if you are facing dismissal from your dental school. 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. Taking on your school, though, is never an easy proposition. Procedures are complex, and you can expect the faculty and administration to close ranks against you. An attorney can help you prepare your case and may even be able to represent you at hearings and other proceedings.

You don't have to be charged with a serious offense to make use of an attorney, however. Attorneys who understand dental school policies and procedures can help with much smaller matters as well.

  • Grade appeals: If you're facing an academic sanction, the easiest response may simply be 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 you to meet with your instructor.
  • Cleaning 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.

What Can Joseph D. Lento Do for You?

Joseph D. Lento is a fully-licensed, fully-qualified defense attorney. That means he knows how to build an air-tight case, how to ask witnesses the right sorts of questions, and how to prepare his clients for the questions they'll have to answer. Joseph D. Lento 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 dental schools work and how to give you advice on navigating their policies. 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.