Located in Farmington, the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine (SDM) is the largest provider of dental care in Connecticut. The school is part of the University of Connecticut Health Center (UCHC). It has both a Dental Health Center on the UCHC campus and 17 community sites across the state.
Professionalism and Ethics
SDM provides students with a Code of Professionalism and Ethical Conduct, referred to as the Code. The school requires that students and faculty also abide by the American Dental Association's Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct. Professional and ethical behavior are expected at all times from members of the SDM community. That a situation occurs off campus or outside of a professional setting is not a defense.
The Code follows four guiding principles: mutual respect, integrity, commitment, and communication. Intended as a guide rather than a list of regulations, the Code focuses on three areas: Academic, Professional, and Clinical.
The Code defines clinical conduct as providing appropriate patient care. Even if they're not dealing directly with patients or the public, members of SDM are expected to behave in an appropriate manner, one that maintains both the integrity of the profession and the public's trust in the field.
The Code summarizes what constitutes professional demeanor. This includes encouraging both technical expertise and "humanistic qualities," or what's more informally known as a compassionate bedside manner. Some of the other traits the Code highlights are altruism, accountability, duty, respect, and a commitment to lifelong learning. SDM reminds students and faculty that dentistry is in service to society, and they have an obligation to act in a manner that reflects the best of the profession.
The UCHC Honor Code governs academic integrity. Students are required to sign an affirmation of the Honor Code before their first and third years. The Honor Code requires intellectual honesty as well as a commitment to protecting the rights and well-being of patients and members of the UCHC community.
Again, both UCHC and SDM state that the school's manuals are not all-encompassing. If and when you have a question about expected conduct, you should contact the appropriate officials for guidance on how to proceed.
The Code highlights two types of complaints: informal and formal. For informal complaints, the school encourages those involved to resolve the situation themselves. If needed, they may ask a faculty member, advisor, or other member of the SDM community for guidance.
For a more serious situation, a formal written complaint must be filed with the Code of Conduct Committee (CCC) within five working days of observing or learning of the potential infraction. A form for filing a formal complaint is available on the UCHC website. While anonymous complaints aren't allowed, the school strives to maintain confidentiality whenever possible.
Allegations of academic misconduct go before the Honor Board. While there are some differences between the Honor Board and the CCC, overall they follow the same procedures.
Formal Complaint Process
The CCC's role is to investigate the complaint and either convene a hearing, refer the matter to a more appropriate authority, or dismiss the complaint.
While a standing three-person CCC committee exists, members must have no conflict of interest with a complaint. In situations with a possible conflict or other issue, an alternate will be named to the CCC for that specific case.
The CCC determines the method and scope of each investigation. They must decide how to proceed with a case within ten working days of receiving the complaint.
If a complaint has merit and the accused is a student or non-AAUP faculty, the CCC will convene a hearing within ten business days. The purpose of the hearing is to introduce evidence and hear statements from involved parties.
When the accused is a student, they can rely on the support of a Faculty Advocate. When the accused is a member of the faculty, the Associate Dean of Students will act as their advocate. Following the hearing, the CCC will make a recommendation to the Dean.
If a complaint is found to have merit, the CCC will determine disciplinary action, which must be approved by the Dean. What action they take depends on the specifics of each case and whether the accused is a student or faculty member.
Students and faculty have the right to appeal. The necessary forms for filing an appeal can be found on the UCHC website. If an appeal is approved, an ad hoc appeals committee will meet within ten working days. They will then forward their decision to the Dean.
Any further appeals are determined by the University of Connecticut's bylaws.
Approximately 15 percent of medical students struggle to reach the expected levels of competency and knowledge. Recognizing the stress that a dental program can have on students, the University of Connecticut offers several programs to help students cope, ranging from wellness to an advisor program. They also conduct workshops for faculty and staff on how to assist students.
The School of Dental Medicine has a Competency Manual that lays out the requirements for successful completion of different specialties. This manual is intended for both students and faculty and includes the 21 points the faculty determined a student must demonstrate to prove their expertise.
The Academic Performance Committee is responsible for monitoring student progress. This committee will inform students when they reach the necessary benchmarks.
If you are struggling with academics, be proactive. Take advantage of these programs and speak with your faculty advisor about getting additional help.
Experienced Legal Advisors
As a dental student at the University of Connecticut, your time is already in short supply. If you're facing academic issues or possible disciplinary action, you risk being distracted from your studies. You need to work with an experienced legal team who will help you get a fair hearing and the support you need. The Lento Law Firm specializes in helping students and employees navigate academic and disciplinary issues.
You've put in a lot of work to arrive at this point. You don't want to let a false accusation, academic struggles, or an innocent mistake derail your education and future career. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 or contact us online.