Established in 1905, the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences (UND SMHS) ranks among the top three medical schools nationwide for rural medicine. UND SMSH also has the highest percentage of graduates who choose the field of family medicine. With a series of professional and research programs available, graduates can look forward to multiple career opportunities upon finishing their curriculums.
The sensitive nature of the physician's profession demands unblemished academic and professional performance. However, allegations of misconduct or low performance may prevent students from achieving their goals. Despite baseless allegations or not enough evidence, some administrations unfairly penalize their students. With the help of an attorney advisor, medical school administrations and their committees are less likely to impose harsh sanctions on students who make mistakes.
Academic and Professional Expectations
UND SMHS's Academic Expectations of Medical Students policy relays the administration's cognitive and behavioral academic performance standards. Those who fail to meet these expectations cannot move on to the next phase of their curriculums or receive an M.D. degree. The policy maintains that:
“A medical school has the responsibility to society and the medical profession to certify that its graduates have the cognitive knowledge and skills and the behavioral qualities necessary to function as competent and safe physicians. Therefore, student academic performance is determined on the basis of achievement in a course and student behavior in all settings”.
Students facing dismissal for academic matters must stand before the Medical Student Academic Performance Committee (MSAPC). Students who do not progress satisfactorily and who are not in good standing status fall under probation. The Student Handbook outlines UND SMHS's expectations of ethical and professional behavior. Although most medical students do not commit professional violations intentionally, mistakes do happen. The gravity of the infarction, coupled with the number of previous breaches, may lead to severe sanctions, ranging from a reprimand to permanent expulsion from campus.
At UND SMHS, students have the option of remediation if they demonstrate unsatisfactory academic performance. However, in some cases, students may receive a low grade due to issues unrelated to their knowledge, such as spotty attendance or personal circumstances. Although remediation is a last-resort option to get one's scores back on track, it remains an inconvenient option because of the extra study time. Fortunately, students have other options before remediation – submitting a grade appeal or grievance.
Students who believe that policy violations or errors contributed to an academic matter may file an appeal per the Student Academic Grievance and Appeal Policy. If the request receives approval, an advisory committee deliberates the case and decides on the outcome within a two-week timeframe. During this process, an attorney advisor's help fortifies the student's approach, increasing the likelihood of their appeal receiving favorable review.
Consequences of Permanent Dismissal
UND SMHS may permanently dismiss a student if they fail to meet academic and behavioral criteria – especially with multiple infarctions or chronic underperformance. There is no sanction as severe and as damaging on the long and short-term as a permanent dismissal for a medical student. In some cases, the impact is so adverse that a medical career is out of the question.
Expelled students face several issues if they want to pursue a medical career, including:
- A notation of the expulsion charge that remains on their permanent record
- Long-lasting reputation damage that may spill onto their careers
- Fewer career opportunities in the medical field due to the discharge
- Inability to find placement in another medical school due to stringent application standards
- Lack of medical schools in North Dakota, forcing students to relocate to another state to pursue a degree
- Loss of confidence and desire to pursue a degree
- Increased spending and unexpected out-of-pocket expenses, leading to debt
- Loss of time, effort, or even years before graduation and having to start a new program
Medical students and their families have a lot at stake when facing dismissal for academic or professional issues. Fortunately, students can take multiple steps as soon as they learn of the charge to decrease its impact. With a strong strategy and approach, students can reduce the likelihood of receiving a permanent discharge, especially with the help of a professional advisor.
Whether the issue is academic or behavioral, students have the right to appeal a committee's recommended sanction. Appeal requests also decrease the likelihood that students stop receiving financial aid. Students must apply with evidence that a procedural error occurred or with supplemental information that may change the course of a case to receive consideration.
In cases that include professional violations, students must appeal to the Dean. As for cases involving academic issues, students must follow the Student Academic Grievance and Appeal Policy. The chances of a better outcome improve when students seek the guidance of an advisor before filing the appeal.
Hire an Attorney-Advisor
Attorney Advisors who work with medical students understand how hearing processes work. With years of experience working with medical students, attorney Joseph D. Lento identifies procedural errors, discriminatory treatment, and baseless allegations. Whether these issues are academic or behavioral, the outcome is that no stone remains unturned when a professional advisor is on your family's side.
Attorney Lento expertly highlights when the sanction does not fit the charge and helps students fight effectively for their rights. Committees, like students, make mistakes but should not take harsh sanctions decisions lightly. Although students can face panels alone, this is a misguided approach, as students will not have the best approach or strategy to convince panel members. With his experience with committee proceedings and also negotiating with school administrators when necessary, Attorney Lento gives students the extra edge they need to bolster their chances of success.
You worked hard to graduate and receive your medical degree. A committee's decision detracts from those goals and may cause graduation delays or, worse – permanent dismissal.
Don't let academic issues or professional misconduct violations end your dream. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 for a no-nonsense consultation about your case.