The University of Florida (UF) College of Dentistry has been the only publicly-funded dental school in the state since 1972. The college's nationally recognized interdisciplinary learning and research program admits just over 90 top pre-dental students a year to bolster the school's impressive exam pass rates and its care for underserved populations during service missions abroad and in the U.S.
An immaculate academic and professional track record can open many top-notch placement opportunities for DDS graduates. To maintain its reputation and standard of patient care, the UF College of Dentistry holds its students accountable for their academic performance, work in dental practice, and behavior in their personal lives. Even the slightest error can metastasize into long-lasting negative consequences for dental students.
Whether they manifest in academic failures or ethical violations, students of good character can land themselves in front of a disciplinary board. While the college grievance process can be daunting, you can improve your chances of a favorable outcome by hiring a professional advisor with specific experience in student rights and discipline issues.
UF College of Dentistry Academic and Clinical Standards
To remain in good academic standing, DDS students must pass courses they attempt and maintain a 2.5 cumulative grade point average (GPA). The UF College of Dentistry's Student and Faculty Handbook explains that graduation requires completing all academic obligations and a passing grade on the National Board Examinations (NBDE) Parts I and II.
Nevertheless, students must also refrain from any prohibited academic conduct. UF College of Dentistry's Academic Honesty and Honor Code details the following constitutes a violation of their Code:
- Interference with the academic activity of others
- Providing false or misleading information
- Submission of academic work outside from a source other than the student
If students fail a course, their GPAs drop below the minimum graduation requirement, or violate the Academic Honesty and Honor Code, they will be referred to the Student Performance and Evaluation Committee (SPEC) for an academic review. The committee will determine if academic probation, retracking, or dismissal is an appropriate course of action.
UF College of Dentistry Behavioral and Professional Standards
Along with academic requirements, students must also abide by strict behavioral and professional standards. Since DDS students represent the institution, the UF College of Dentistry prohibits:
- Breaches of patient data privacy
- Emotional instability
- Excessive tardiness
- Illicit substance abuse
- Improper use of social media
- Public acts of indecency
Faculty or staff members observing students deviating from expected behavior must document the instance on a Professional Variance Form. Faculty members will then meet with the student to discuss the observed behavior and devise a plan to institute corrective action.
First offenses will garner counseling appointments with the Assistant Dean of Student Advocacy and Inclusion and the student's faculty advisor, wherein a formal written warning and self‐corrective action are anticipated. Second offenses are referred to the SPEC with possible disciplinary action. Third offenses will be remanded to the SPEC with a minimum punishment of suspension if the student is found responsible.
Academic and Behavioral Review Process at UF College of Dentistry
The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will establish an interview date and notify the student to discuss the circumstances that led to their referral. To accompany them, the student may bring the following:
- College of Dentistry student
- Faculty or staff member
- Legal counsel with proper notice to the SPEC
After the interview, the SPEC will vote. The SPEC will determine a course of action and subsequent sanctions based on a majority decision.
Sanctions and Retracking Requirements
The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will notify the student in writing of the SPEC's decisions. The following may be levied:
- Academic probation
Students must demonstrate acceptable academic performance and complete remediation requirements for a minimum of a year before consideration for removal from probation. Moreover, remediation activities are at the instructor's or supervisor's discretion and may consist of a comprehensive examination or other appropriate actions. Academic retracking, repeating an academic year, in whole or in part, must be completed while remaining current toward graduation.
DDS students on academic probation or under any remediation obligations will be prohibited from representing UF College of Dentistry. If probationary requirements are not met, the student risks retracking or dismissal.
Furthermore, the UF College of Dentistry may justify an immediate suspension or dismissal from the institution. Examples of such behavior include, but are not limited to:
- Blatant disregard for patient safety
- Criminal acts
- Flagrant academic dishonesty
- Persistent substance abuse
Appealing UF College of Dentistry Disciplinary Action
Students may appeal SPEC decisions to the Dean of the UF College of Dentistry in writing within five business days of the notice from the committee. The Dean will review the written appeal and the student's academic record and may decide based on those documents but may also convene a faculty panel to review the matter.
Following the review, the Dean or the faculty panel may:
- Affirm the decision
- Reduce or alter sanctions or remediation requirements
- Reverse the findings and sanctions
Hiring Joseph D. Lento to Defend Against UF College of Dentistry Sanctions
No dental student facing misconduct allegations should face the matter without the help of an experienced professional. Sometimes, the pressure from accrediting boards and the public to maintain a pristine reputation can lead disciplinary boards to hand down unfair sanctions, severely damaging a student's future prospects.
Joseph D. Lento has years of experience in student rights and discipline matters. He and his team at the Lento Law Firm have helped dental students nationwide achieve positive outcomes in student disciplinary hearings, appeals, and other conflicts so they can continue their studies. They have often brokered beneficial resolutions on behalf of their student clients with a school's Office of General Counsel (OGC). They may also pursue UF's Office of the Ombudsman to obtain relief for beleaguered students.
There is no excuse for facing remediation, suspension, or dismissal alone. Call the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 to get the extra help you need or visit the online consultation form.