The College of Medicine first began as an independent medical school in 1882, then named the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Chicago (P&S). It eventually became part of the University of Illinois in 1913, and today the University of Illinois College of Medicine employs 4000 faculty members spread across four campuses. The main campus in Chicago, IL, sits in the largest medical district in the world, giving students abundant opportunities for real-world experience and patient interaction. As such, the medical school holds its students to the highest standards of academic and professional excellence while also adhering to UIC's strict codes of conduct.
A career in medicine not only calls for a long-term commitment to strong educational standards but also a commitment to maintaining a sound reputation through the practice of ethical professionalism. Poor academic performance can result in remediation, and if allegations of misconduct surface, any disciplinary actions can have an impact on the student's future career. In such cases, having an attorney-advisor to represent you could make a significant difference in the trajectory of your medical career.
Standards of Conduct and Student Disciplinary Policy
With an acceptance rate of only 9.5 percent, the University of Illinois College of Medicine expects high academic, ethical, and professional performance from its medical students. The Office of the Dean of Students provides the following summary of students' academic expectations in its Community Standards:
“…Our goal at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is to ‘provide the broadest access to the highest levels of intellectual excellence.' Such intellectual excellence is only within our reach when individual students commit to pursuing their education with the utmost honesty.
Academic integrity, a foundational element of all educational communities, is the value underpinning everything we do at UIC. It encompasses many behaviors, but the core idea is when you choose any action one might construe as ‘an unfair or undeserved academic advantage', you undermine your learning, your goals, and your relationships within the UIC community.”
The school's Standards of Conduct outline the levels of excellence expected from each student, including, but not limited to:
- Academic integrity—e.g., truthfully reporting research and avoiding activities like cheating, plagiarism, unauthorized collaborations, misuse of academic materials, etc.
- Cooperative classroom behavior—maintaining an environment in which all can learn unhindered.
- Health and safety practices—behaving in a way that does not endanger oneself or others
- Proper use of university resources—abiding by rules of use of materials, classrooms, computers, etc.
The University of Illinois Chicago has outlined an expansive Student Discipline Procedure for dealing with complaints of academic or professional misconduct. Allegations of wrongdoing may be dealt with internally at the medical school, or they may be escalated all the way to the Office of the Dean of Students, depending on circumstances and severity.
Misconduct, Sanctions, and Repercussions
Hinging on the nature of the complaints and the findings of university officials reviewing disciplinary cases, UIC may call for any of a number of sanctions on a student found in violation of the school's policies in an attempt to bring restoration. Sanctions may range in severity from a written warning to required restitution, loss of privileges, student probation, all the way to suspension or expulsion. Certain sanctions may stay on the student's record and ultimately reflect on their reputation for their future medical career.
The exceptionally high academic standards maintained by most medical schools (including UIC) may be difficult even for the most diligent students to maintain. Remediation opportunities exist to help these students get back on track academically so they can meet the qualifications for a career in medicine.
Remediation can be a key ingredient for restoring an academic record in jeopardy. It can be time-consuming, difficult and costly, but if a student is looking at possible dismissal from medical school for academic, professional or ethical shortcomings, remediation may be a welcome alternative to outright dismissal from the school, saving the student's career as well as their financial investment in their education.
Dismissal and Expulsion
Extensive academic shortcomings or serious acts of academic/professional misconduct may result in suspension, dismissal or expulsion from the school. At the University of Illinois, dismissal and expulsion are two different things. Dismissal is tantamount to an extended suspension in that the student may have the option to reapply to the school after a specified length of time. Expulsion permanently revokes the student's admission to the school and potentially eliminates their progress thus far.
Whatever the reasons cited, expulsion can deeply hurt a student's career choices for some time to come. Some of the probable consequences of being expelled from medical school:
- Difficulty re-enrolling in another program. Medical schools in general have stringent standards for acceptance. An applicant who has already garnered a dismissal from another medical school may have difficulty convincing another school to accept them.
- Loss of academic progress. Dismissal eradicates all the academic progress the student has made, whether it's months or years of study. In certain cases, the school may even rescind prior degrees earned at that institution. If the student does manage to gain acceptance at another school, there may be years of courses to re-take, all at additional expense.
- Debt issues. A medical education can be quite expensive, and many medical students take out exorbitant student loans to complete their studies, believing they can repay the loans once they have established their practice. Dismissal from medical school may eliminate the student's prospects for a career in medicine—leaving the burden of debt to be repaid by some other means.
If a student is facing disciplinary action for academic or professional misconduct, a well-argued appeal may very well rescue the student from expulsion and save his/her career. Students have the right to appeal any disciplinary decision and should avail themselves of that right before accepting any derogatory marks on their record.
Attorney-Advisor for Medical Students
At the University of Illinois College of Medicine, the possible repercussions of disciplinary action, sanctions or dismissal cannot be overstated. Much is at stake both for the school and the student, and harsh discipline can sometimes be administered unfairly and without due process. Medical school students cannot afford to take chances with their disciplinary records. Retaining experienced advisory counsel in such cases can ensure your rights are protected while keeping your record from being inappropriately tarnished. Contact the office of the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 today for more information.