Dental hygienists are licensed health care professionals that specialize in preventing oral health problems and diseases. To become a licensed, registered dental hygienist requires successful completion of an ADA accredited dental hygiene program, The National Dental Hygiene Board Examination, and a state or regional examination. The primary responsibility of a dental hygienist is to treat and educate patients in the control and prevention of oral diseases. Typical functions of the clinical dental hygienist include assessment of health histories, evaluating and charting oral conditions, removing deposits (plaque, tartar, and stain) from the teeth, exposing and processing dental x-rays, applying preventive agents to the tooth surfaces such as fluoride and sealants, and providing individualized oral hygiene instruction services.
This growing career field is projected to be one of the 30 fastest growing occupations. The population growth combined with the increasing rate of retention of natural teeth will continue to stimulate the need for dental hygienist. For additional information on the profession of dental hygiene, contact the American Dental Hygienists' Association.
The division director and faculty serve as student advisors. The advisor can assist the student to recognize and acknowledge that he or she is in academic difficulty and can provide appropriate guidance. At all times, the faculty member can act to reassure, counsel, advise and refer students to appropriate individuals for help with their particular problem. Topics that may be addressed through faculty advising include academic issues, program policies, study problems, time management, and clinical progress, as well as the advisor’s referral to other support systems in the university or community.
The Academic Performance Committee meets twice per semester to review students’ academic progress in the program. At the mid-semester meeting, students identified as performing at an unsatisfactory level in any course are sent a letter from the program director requesting that they meet with their course instructor and academic advisor. An academic warning, unto itself, does not require prescribed action on the part of the student. It is expected that the student who has received an academic warning will correct mid-semester academic deficiencies by the end of that particular semester.
An academic warning is an official communication between the program director and the “at risk” student. Academic warning is offered at mid-semester. Academic warning is a courtesy to the student, allowing for supportive dialog between the student and the dental hygiene administration.
Advancement, Probation and Dismissal
A satisfactory rate of progress toward the degree is determined by the Academic Performance Committee (APC) for the bachelor’s degree according to the following standards. A student can be considered for dismissal from the School of Dentistry for academic deficiencies or violation of University regulations. The Academic Performance Committee is responsible for considering students for academic dismissal. Students may be suspended, dismissed, and/or refused readmission at any time if circumstances of an ethical, legal, moral, health, social, psychomotor skill development, or academic nature are considered to justify such an action.
Academic Dismissal: An option to appear before the Academic Performance Committee will be extended to the student before a vote is taken to recommend academic dismissal. The purpose of the appearance is to inform the Committee of extenuating circumstances which may have contributed to the student's performance. The student may request that other appropriate verbal and/or written testimony regarding these circumstances be presented at this meeting. Only members of the Committee will be present when the vote for dismissal is taken.
Performance Review: Each student’s performance is reviewed at the middle and end of every term by the APC. At mid-term the APC determines whether the student is progressing satisfactorily or whether a warning letter is indicated. Warning letters specify each course in which the student is performing unsatisfactorily and suggest that the student meet with the course director to assist in remediation strategies. Students are responsible for arranging instructor counseling and assistance in remedying any academic deficiencies.
Promotion Recommendations: At semester’s end, the APC determines the student’s promotion status. The APC evaluates other aspects of the student’s performance: (1) course grade(s), (2) attendance record, (3) professionalism, (4) and psychomotor skill development. The APC also may assess extenuating circumstances that might have affected student progress on an individual basis. Recommendations are forwarded to the program director for final approval. A student performing at an unsatisfactory level will receive written notification of her/his status from the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.
The policies below apply to students in the bachelor’s degree programs (entry-level and degree completion).
Unconditional Advancement – A student may be considered for Unconditional Advancement if the student:
- Achieves a minimum grade point average of 2.0 each semester,
- Successfully completes all prescribed courses and semester requirements, and
- Earns a satisfactory grade in each course taken.
In addition, the faculty will consider all areas listed above under Promotion Recommendations.
Probationary Advancement – A student may be considered for Probationary Advancement if the student:
- Withdraws from a prescribed course with the approval of the department chair but meets all other conditions for Unconditional Advancement (bachelor completion only),
- Receives an unsatisfactory grade in a single course; or
- Receives an I (Incomplete) grade in any course(s).
A student who receives an unsatisfactory grade in any course may be required to repeat all or part of the academic year. When repeating any portion of the academic year the student must earn a satisfactory grade in each course or be subject to dismissal from the program.
Dismissal – Dismissal from the program may be recommended if a student receives an unsatisfactory grade(s) in:
- One or more courses in one semester,
- A course being repeated,
- A course being remediated,
- Any course taken while repeating any portion of the academic year, or
- Any course taken while on probation
- Receiving an unsatisfactory or failing grade in professionalism
1. A student may appeal an Academic Performance Committee decision that recommends: a) remediation, b) repetition of the year or c) academic dismissal. The student submits written notification of his/her desire to appeal to the Dean’s office. This written request must be received by the Dean’s office within 5 days following the student’s receipt of the written notification of the Academic Performance Committee’s recommendation.
2. The Dean will consult with appropriate individuals and render a decision to uphold or overturn the Academic Performance Committee decision. The student will receive written notification of the Dean’s decision.
Student appeals and grievances are handled through established policies and procedures for the School of Dentistry, outlined in the Academic Grievance Policies section of the Catalog.
The standing of students in their work is expressed by the following grades:
A = Excellent
B = Above Average
C = Average
F = Failure
P = Pass
W = Withdraw
Grades in courses in which performance is graded an S (Satisfactory) or U (Unsatisfactory) are not used in computing grades point average.
A = 4 points
B = 3 points
C = 2 points
F = 0 points
The symbol I (Incomplete) may be recorded for a student who has not completed course assignments at the conclusion of the course.
Final Grade for Course Remediation/Repetition
A grade of "C" is the highest letter grade that can be achieved in the remediation of a course. Following remediation of a course, the grade assigned will be the grade ("C", "F" or Pass) achieved by the student as set forth in the academic standards of the remediation of the course.
Following repetition of a course during repetition of an academic year in its entirety, the grade assigned will be the grade achieved by the student as set forth in the academic standards of the course.
All grades achieved by a student in a course (i.e., original, remediation, repetition) will appear on the official transcript but only the most recent grade achieved will be used in calculating the grade point averages.
Grades in Clinical Rotation and Practicums
Clinical rotations and Practicums may be graded S (Satisfactory) or U (Unsatisfactory), or may be assigned a letter grade, depending on the department policy.
A grade of S or other designations of an acceptance grade is assigned if the student successfully satisfies the criteria for clinical courses. Failure to successfully satisfy the course criteria may result in an I (Incomplete) or a U (Unsatisfactory) or a letter grade considered unsatisfactory based on departmental policy.
Criteria and time frame for removal of an I or U or other Unsatisfactory grade in clinical courses are determined based on clinical documentation and consultation with the Clinical Coordinator/Clinical Instructor. An I or U or other unsatisfactory grade may require that the student complete an additional affiliation or other remediation that could extend the professional curriculum beyond the expected graduation date. More than one unsatisfactory grade is not allowed within the total clinical course sequence.
The assignment of an “I” grade indicates that the student failed to complete requirements for the course due to unexpected and extenuating circumstances, such as illness, family emergency, or other non-academic and urgent matters. A grade of Incomplete "I" is not acceptable as a temporizing measure in situations of substandard academic performance. The outstanding work must be completed by the designated date issued by the faculty but no later than one year of the issuance of the "I" grade. When the course is completed the qualitative grade issued by the instructor will be submitted to the Office of the University Registrar using a Change of Grade Form. If the course work is not satisfactorily completed within the designated time, the “I” grade will be changed to an “F” grade. Incomplete grades should not be confused with failing grades of “F,” in which a student failed to complete requirements without proper notice to the instructor.
Academic Grievance Policies
Due Process Grade Assignment Disagreement
A student wishing to appeal the assignment of a grade must submit her/his grievance to the Course Director within seven (7) days of the grade assignment. The appeal mechanism for challenging a grade is limited to: (1) possible clerical errors in calculating or recording a grade, or (2) allegation of mistakes or unfairness in application of the published academic standards in the assignment of a grade. It is the responsibility of the student to substantiate her/his assertion that an incorrect grade has been assigned.
If the student’s concerns are not resolved after a meeting with the Course Director, the student may submit a written appeal to the Division Director. The written appeal must be made within seven days of the student’s meeting with the Course Director and must contain information to substantiate the assertion that an incorrect grade has been assigned.
If the disagreement is not resolved at the division level, the student may submit a written appeal to the Department Chair within seven days of the Division Director's decision. The written appeal must be made within seven days of the student’s meeting with the Division Director and must contain information to substantiate the assertion that an incorrect grade has been assigned.
If the disagreement is not resolved at the departmental level, the student may submit a written appeal to the Dean of the School of Dentistry within seven days of the departmental decision. If the Dean agrees to review the matter, he/she will review only that the appeal process was conducted appropriately. This School of Dentistry policy supersedes any other grievance policies, and decisions made in this process are final.
Dropping a Course
There is a six course drop limit established by the Texas Senate (SB 1231). This legislation is applicable to all Texas public colleges and universities.
Withdrawal from a Course
Withdrawal refers to the procedure by which students voluntarily remove themselves from courses in which they are enrolled. Each course in the curriculum is built upon and is dependent upon a foundation established in a prior course. To withdraw from a course, a student should seek counseling from the Course Director and the Program Director. In addition, the student will make an appointment with the Program Director to discuss the decision, explore options, and make necessary changes to the degree plan when withdrawing from any course. The student will have to have an official withdrawal form signed by the course director and Program Director after the form has been provided and signed by the appropriate Associate Dean.
If a student withdraws from school or drops a course prior to the first examination/graded assignment, a grade of W will be recorded.
Leave of Absence
Students in good academic standing who wish an extended leave of absence for extenuating physical or personal reasons must submit a written request to the Dean stating reasons for such a request, the period of time involved, and intentions concerning resumption of dental studies. The Dean will consider such requests on their individual merit.
Generally, a leave of absence shall not exceed one academic year. Any additional leaves of absence must be reviewed and recommended by the Academic Performance Committee and approved by the Dean. The Dean’s Office and Program Director must be notified by the student of their intentions to re-enroll by a date determined by the Associate Dean for Academic, Faculty and Student Affairs and the Dental Hygiene Program Director prior to the next academic year. Any additional leaves of absence must be reviewed and recommended by the Academic Performance Committee and approved by the Dean.
Upon the leave of absence approval, the student must request and complete a Student Clearance Form that is available from the Office of the University Registrar (317L MED).
Requests to Change Schedule of Examinations
The official dates and times of all examinations are published in the final Class Schedules after consultation with Course Directors and representatives of all classes. Students or the Course Director may initiate requests for changes in the schedule of examinations. All requests should be submitted to the Office of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs/Dental Hygiene Division Director, as applicable.
A request to move an examination to a later date must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the original date of the examination. A request to move an examination to an earlier date must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the proposed date of the examination.
All requests for changes to the examination schedule published in the final Class Schedule must be accompanied by:
A written reason for the move that must be compelling and academically sound.
A written statement from the Course Director stating he/she is in agreement with the change.
The results (number of yes/no votes) of a secret ballot taken from all members of the class. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs/Dental Hygiene Division Director, as applicable will review the request and can approve it if the following requirements are met:
The request has been submitted within the guidelines.
The reason for the move is valid.
The Course Director is in agreement with the move.
No member of the class present and voting opposes moving the examination to an earlier date; or, 90 percent of those voting are in favor of moving it to a later date.
An appropriate classroom is available at the proposed time.
Students are expected to attend and actively participate in all regularly scheduled classes, laboratories, and clinical periods. The policy regarding attendance and the consequences for failure to comply is the prerogative of the Course Director and the department responsible for that portion of the curriculum, and will be provided in the course syllabus at the beginning of each course. It is the responsibility of the student to arrange with the faculty for making up any work that is missed.
Absences may be considered sufficient cause for issuing failing grades in courses requiring attendance.
Students are responsible for contacting Course Directors upon their return to school to schedule required make up work that is missed and obtain related course materials.
Dress Code and Grooming
An excellent dental education is dependent on the number of patients and the diverse patient needs that allow students to provide a broad scope of oral health care to a large number of patients. As this is a totally voluntary system on the patient side, it is incumbent upon the School of Dentistry to provide an environment that gives patients the confidence to come to this institution knowing they will be treated in a professional manner, by professionals, and in a safe environment. To achieve this goal, first impressions are important; therefore, all students in the School of Dentistry need to look professional in dress and grooming since patient contact can occur in many areas of the building. When students have direct patient contact in the clinics, additional issues require students to pay particular attention to clinic attire and grooming because they affect patient safety as well as their own. The dress code policy is published on the School of Dentistry Intranet site, http://dserver.uthscsa.edu/intranetdocs/UTDentistry_Dress_Code.html. Any additional dress code/grooming requirements will be addressed by the program director and/or course director.
Various mechanisms are available at all levels for student input regarding their concerns. Individuals and groups who respond to these concerns include course directors, advisors, associate dean for academic affairs, and the associate dean for student affairs. Procedures for grievances can be found in the General Section of the Catalog.
The president of the Student Body Organization meets bimonthly with presidents of other Health Science Center student groups to discuss problems or concerns affecting students in all schools with the university President. In addition, once a month, the Dean of the School of Dentistry meets with the presidents of all classes. Student liaisons for each course will meet with the respective course director as needed.
National Board Dental Hygiene Examination
Senior dental hygiene student will be eligible to take the written national board the spring semester of their senior year provided they successfully complete the fall senior courses. In order to be considered for graduation, senior dental hygiene students are expected to take the board exam before their last class day in the spring semester as indicated in the academic calendar. If an extenuating circumstance prevents a student from taking the exam prior to the last class day of the spring semester, the Academic Performance Committee will meet to recommend a course of action.
If a student is unsuccessful on the board exam on the first attempt, the National Board policy requires a student to wait 90 days before attempting the exam again. Additionally, candidates must pass the examination within five years of their first attempt or five examination attempts, whichever comes first. Subsequent to the fifth year or fifth attempt, candidates may test once every 12 months after their most recent examination attempt.
Current students in the dental hygiene bachelor’s degree program with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or greater for an academic semester may qualify for inclusion on the Dean’s List. Incoming students in the Fall of 2018 will be eligible for the Dean's List with a GPA of 3.75 or greater for an academic semester. In addition to the minimum GPA, Dean’s List students must not have an Incomplete (I) grade for an academic semester.
Graduation with Distinction in Dental Education
The School of Dentistry contributes to the national effort within the dental education community to increase students' awareness of the academic arm of the profession. The school also works to enhance awareness of career options in teaching, scholarship and academic administration. All of these efforts are extended to dental students through the Teaching Honors Program (THP). This program provides UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry students with teaching and educational planning experiences and provides a way for them to learn about academic careers.
Gaining the Distinction in Dental Education recognition is reserved to students who complete additional enrichment coursework that immerses them into a world of teaching and academics. Students will have discussed career choices with faculty, participated in fundamental teaching practices, taught in classroom, lab and clinical settings, and participated in academic fellowship opportunities.
Description of the program
In order for a dental or dental hygiene to graduate with the Distinction in Dental Education requires a student in good academic standing to complete selective courses unique to the Dental Education Teaching Honors Program. Throughout the dental and dental hygiene program, students progressively participate in faculty mentoring activities, acquire and apply teaching fundamentals needed for teaching in dental education. As senior students, in both dental and dental hygiene programs, participate in peer learning projects such as posing as “faculty for the day” where students use their previous knowledge and acquired skills to experience a day as an academician. The Director(s) for the School of Dentistry’s Teaching Honors Program monitors all students who wish to have the “Distinction in Dental Education” appear on their diploma and transcript and will need to submit supporting materials verifying completion of the activities and goals of the program. This includes verification of the core and enrichment selectives. Copies of all scholarly materials produced by student (i.e. abstracts, posters, manuscripts, evaluation forms, submission of assignments in the learning management system, or verified by faculty/mentor) shall be submitted to course director(s). Upon completion of all activities, the course director(s) will review all projects, and presentations for completion, and determine if graduating students have achieved “Distinction in Dental Education”. This list will be shared with the Office of Academic Affairs in the School of Dentistry. The course director(s) will also compile these names and share with the registrar’s office for conferring.
Graduation with Distinction in Research
The School of Dentistry recognizes individual student investigators who, in addition to completing their clinical dental program, have acquired research skills and accomplished significant research activity. The long-range goal is to foster scholarship and critical thinking, add to the body of scientific information and facilitate recruitment of students into dental research careers.
Gaining Distinction in Research Honors is limited to dental students who have demonstrated unusually significant scientific accomplishments. Students will have worked under the mentorship of an active scientist, prepared a research proposal, completed the research project, analyzed and presented the results at local and national research meetings and prepared a report for approval by the Dental School Research Committee.
Description of the Program
The Distinction in Research Program requires that a student in collaboration with a suitable faculty mentor completes a research project and prepares an original extended abstract that is suitable for incorporation into a peer-reviewed publication. The students should have played a significant role in the research project and will typically be listed as first author on an abstract and listed as a co-author on a peer-reviewed manuscript resulting from the research. The Director for Research and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will monitor the program and bring candidates for consideration to the attention of the Dental School Research Committee. The Research Committee will review all applications and make recommendations to the Dean regarding the designation of the “Distinction” status for the students concerned. Students participating in the Distinction in Research Program are strongly encouraged to enter various Student Research competitions as part of their training experience. These include but are not limited to the Hinman Research Symposium competition, the American Association of Dental Research(AADR) Warner-Lambert Hatton Award, the AADR Caulk/Dentsply competition, the International Association for Dental Research/Colgate Research in Prevention Travel Award and the Block Travel Award.
Mistreatment of students will not be tolerated. Mistreatment, intentional or unintentional, occurs when behavior shows disrespect for the dignity of others and interferes with the learning process. Student mistreatment may take many forms all of which impact student performance. For more information, reference the Student Mistreatment policy.