Getting into medical school is an accomplishment in and of itself. For years you've worked hard to study, get good grades, and follow your passion. Now, as a student at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM) at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, you care deeply about treating the whole patient and encouraging behaviors that prevent illness in the first place. In today's world of chronic illness and preventable disease, these skills are invaluable to improving health outcomes for many populations.
However, even the best intentions can't mask how challenging medical school can be – the standards are high, pressure is higher, and the workload can be overwhelming. Even the most well-meaning students can occasionally fall short in vital areas such as professionalism and academics, which can result in consequences including remediation or even dismissal from your university. If you are struggling, don't throw in the towel and let all your hard work go to waste. First, let's explore these issues – and what you can do about them.
Academic and Professionalism Policies at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine
Because medical school is such a major commitment and practicing medicine requires so much personal responsibility and integrity, students at institutions across the country typically receive a code of conduct that outlines how they are expected to behave, both inside the classroom and out. This includes guidelines regarding professionalism and academics. At TCOM, the code of conduct includes but is not limited to:
- Maintaining academic honesty by avoiding cheating, plagiarism, forgery, and other forms of falsification
- Refraining from physical or verbal abuse, intimidation, threats, and other forms of coercion or harassment
- Refraining from any type of sexual harassment or misconduct
- Not partaking in conduct that may be considered disorderly, obscene, or violent
- Avoiding public intoxication, driving while intoxicated, and the use of illegal drugs
- Appropriately using the university's resources and not sharing unauthorized items
- Upholding high standards of academic performance
When a student is in violation of the university's code of conduct, their case will be passed along to the appropriate authorities, who will review the issue, hear both sides of the story, and ultimately decide the student's fate. These consequences could be severe – including dismissal from the school – and have a grave impact on your future career. That's why it is important to consult an experienced advisor who can help you review the evidence and craft a solid defense.
Remediation at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine
Because TCOM wants to train skilled healthcare providers who are able to work in Texas' diverse and sprawling communities – many of which are rural and face chronic and longstanding issues with poverty and healthcare access – academic pressure can be high. The workload in medical school is often heavy, and there are always high expectations. When a student at TCOM is found to be struggling academically, the Student Performance Committee may issue them a plan of remediation.
At TCOM, remediation is considered necessary when a student fails a course or receives an average grade below 70 percent. This failure may be remedied when the student receives a passing grade on an exam given by the course director. The Student Performance Committee will create a timeframe for the completion of the remedial coursework. If a student fails to earn a passing grade, they may be placed on academic probation, meaning they cannot advance to the next year's coursework until all failing or incomplete grades have been remedied. In some cases, this delays a student's expected graduation date.
If you're facing academic challenges, remember that TCOM's remediation program is designed to help. Take the opportunity to utilize it and save your future medical career. If you are not presented with this option or your case is sent directly to dismissal, you need to contact a legal advisor who can help you present your defense to the Student Performance Committee.
Dismissal from UNTHSC/TCOM
One of the most devastating consequences a medical student may face is dismissal from the university. This can have a severe impact on your ability to complete your education and embark on your career. At TCOM, the Student Performance Committee may recommend dismissal for the following reasons:
- A student fails two or more courses in a single academic year
- A student fails the same course twice
- A student takes longer than two years to complete one course or longer than six years to finish the requirements to graduate
- A student's academic progress is not deemed sufficient by the Student Performance Committee, associate dean, or dean
- A student has not passed national board examinations
Additionally, TCOM may dismiss a student for various reasons concerning legal, moral, behavioral, ethical, health, or academic issues that are not in line with the university's policies and procedures.
Dismissal hearings can be complicated and emotionally draining – and the consequences could linger throughout your professional life. If you are found guilty of cheating or other types of academic dishonesty, this information could be shared with your employers in the future, potentially limiting your opportunities. Dismissal could also make it more difficult to get into another medical school. To avoid these negative outcomes, contact a legal advisor who can help you face dismissal hearings and keep your promising future on track.
At medical schools across the country, students have the right to appeal certain decisions as part of their due process rights. At TCOM, this includes the ability to dispute an unfair grade on an assignment or in a course, ask for remediation, or dispute the decision to dismiss a student based on unsatisfactory academic progress. Faculty members with varying levels of authority make the final decision in these cases.
TCOM gives students a limited amount of time – usually five days – to file an appeal. This is understandably an anxiety-inducing process, so contacting an advisor can help you decide on the best course of action to achieve a favorable outcome. Additionally, in the event your appeal is denied, your advisor can help you figure out what to do next.
TCOM Student Defense Advisor
If you're facing potential negative consequences due to disciplinary actions, remediation, or dismissal from your medical school, now is the time to reach out to an experienced legal advisor who can help guide you through these stressful proceedings. Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm specialize in helping medical students deal with progression issues, remediation, dismissals, and more. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to start preparing your defense or schedule a time online.