Becoming a dentist requires a great deal of time and effort, and for a good reason – high-quality oral health care is essential to people's overall health, and an attractive smile can open doors for careers, relationships, and higher self-esteem. Because dentists play such a vital role in the lives of their patients, the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry aims to produce professionals and leaders who can provide excellent clinical care to those in need.
To help achieve these institutional goals, dental school can be demanding – especially considering the high ethical and professional standards required of health care professionals not only in the office but within the community as well. While these requirements help produce confident and competent dentists who excel in their field, sometimes students can understandably become overwhelmed and fail to live up to expectations.
No matter why you're struggling, it is only human to falter when facing unrealistic expectations – and sometimes schools can punish students too harshly. If you are a student at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry and you feel you are being treated unfairly, it is important to understand your school's policies and procedures regarding academics and professionalism – as well as how an experienced advisor can help you fight back and stay on track to your promising future.
Academic Standards at University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry
With programs in dentistry, dental hygiene, orthodontics, periodontics, and more, the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry educates a wide variety of professionals each year. To help maintain its culture of excellence, the school has published a detailed academic handbook outlining student expectations, rights, and responsibilities. In general, students are expected to maintain a GPA of at least 2.0 and receive a passing grade in each course. Students may retake courses in which they have received a failing grade until the course director is satisfied with their progress.
If students feel they have been graded incorrectly, they are allowed to submit an appeal within 15 days of the grade being reported. The student will work with the course director to resolve the situation, but the matter may escalate to an appeals committee. If the outcome remains unsatisfactory, the dean has the final say. Additionally, students are required to document any absences from class. Students must be on time and present for all quizzes and examinations, and reasons for any absences must be reported within 24 hours. If a student fails to show up for a quiz or examination, the course director may award a failing grade.
If students are experiencing academic difficulties, they may be required to face the Academic Performance Committee, which reviews the cases of all pre-doctoral dental and dental hygiene students. This committee may make recommendations that include suspension from patient care, receiving professional counseling, meeting with designated faculty on a regular basis, and more – including dismissal in extreme cases. If you are struggling academically and find yourself facing harsh consequences, an advisor who knows about student justice can help you figure out the best way to proceed.
Maintaining Professional Standards
In addition to academic standards, the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry expects students to uphold certain levels of ethical and professional responsibility. This is outlined in the school's mission statement, which explains that the school is a Catholic university in the Jesuit and Mercy traditions that aims to integrate its students' intellectual, spiritual, ethical, and social development. This sounds fairly straightforward, but sometimes it can be overwhelming for struggling students to live up to these ideals.
The school's academic handbook goes further in detailing desirable student conduct, including items such as promoting the well-being of the public, aspiring to the pinnacle of moral behavior, and dressing appropriately when interacting with patients. This means students are expected to conduct themselves respectfully not only on campus and in class but in their personal lives as well, with types of misconduct such as cheating, harassment, and substance abuse expressly forbidden.
If you have been cited for misconduct, you will likely be asked to appear before the school's Academic Performance Committee, which will review your case and issue a punishment that may include dismissal from school or the declaration that you are unfit for the dental profession. Students are allowed to appeal decisions made by the committee and the dean within five days, but appeals must be based on new evidence, evidence of bias by the committee, or inequity in the actions or sanctions related to the findings. Because these policies and procedures can be complicated, it is imperative to consult with a legal advisor as soon as possible.
What Can an Attorney Do for You?
If you've been struggling in dental school and are now facing severe consequences that could upend all of your hard work and derail your future, you don't have to go it alone. A skilled student advisor can review your case and help you decide what to do next in the following cases and more:
- Fighting dismissal: If you're facing possible dismissal from dental school, don't hesitate to contact a legal advisor. You've devoted a great deal of time and energy to becoming an oral health care professional, and dismissal would mean all of your hard work has been for nothing. Additionally, the policies and procedures surrounding dismissal can be complicated, and odds are you're already overwhelmed by everything else that's going on. An advisor can help you understand what's happening, prepare your defense, and work within the system to achieve the best possible outcome.
- Appealing your grade: If you feel you've been graded unfairly in a course and would like to appeal the decision, an advisor can help prepare you to meet with your course director or the Academic Performance Committee.
- Polishing your transcript: Because your academic record follows you well beyond dental school, it is vital to ensure it reflects the type of personal and professional excellence most employers will expect in a dentist or other professional. Having a less-than-stellar transcript can also cause you to miss out on other opportunities for financial aid and professional growth. Working with an advisor can be an important first step toward resolving these issues.
University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry Student Defense Advisor
If you are a dental student facing dismissal or other consequences that may derail your future, don't hesitate to contact an experienced legal advisor who has been in these situations before, knows what to expect, and can help you navigate these stressful proceedings. Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm specialize in helping dental students deal with academic concerns, claims of professional misconduct, and more. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 today or schedule a time online.