School of Health Professions

The School of Health Professions is a dynamic center of learning, service, research, and practice for future allied health professionals who will serve the people of Texas and the nation. Allied health represents the largest group of health care providers in the United States.  There are over 100 allied health disciplines representing more than 7 million workers and constituting approximately 60% of the health care workforce.

All educational programs in the School of Health Professions are accredited by their respective specialized accrediting bodies. Information about accreditation status and the accrediting body are presented in each department’s section of this Catalog.

History

When the Board of Regents reorganized all existing biomedical units within The University of Texas System in 1972, the Health Science Center became one of four such institutions of The University of Texas System, each having a medical school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences and a school of allied health sciences, in addition to at least one of the following health professional schools: a school of nursing, a school of public health or a dental school.

Before the reorganization, San Antonio had been the site of the Medical School, the Dental School, and the School of Nursing. When the Health Science Center was established by the Board of Regents, the Medical and Dental schools and the newly established Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and School of Allied Health Sciences (SAHS) became the original components. With the integration of the School of Nursing in 1976, the institution consisted of five schools.

In 1975, The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) independently developed three allied health programs: medical technology (now clinical laboratory sciences), occupational therapy and physical therapy. As these programs began to develop at UTSA, it became apparent that a linkage with the Health Science Center was needed to satisfy accreditation standards for the three new programs. The Health Science Center and UTSA subsequently developed a jointly awarded baccalaureate degree. Administrative responsibility for these three programs was transferred to the Health Science Center School of Allied Health in 1980.

In 1991, the SAHS programs earned departmental status and program directors officially became "Department Chairs" in the spring of 1992. That same year, the School of Allied Health Sciences began awarding its own Bachelor of Science degrees in Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy, independent of the UTSA joint degree. The Department of Respiratory Care was established in 1993 to offer a Bachelor's degree in Respiratory Care. and the Master of Physical Therapy degree was offered for the first time in fall 1995.  In 1999, the Department of Occupational Therapy began offering a Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT). 

The School of Allied Health Sciences began offering a Bachelor of Science in Physician Assistant Studies in 1996 through a collaborative agreement with the United States Army.  The Department of Physician Assistant Studies (PAS) began offering a stand-alone baccalaureate curriculum in the Fall of 2000.  In 2003, the Department of Physician Assistant Studies began offering a Master's Curriculum.

The Department of Emergency Health Sciences, formerly Department of Emergency Medical Technology, originated in the School of Medicine, Division of Orthopedic Surgery and began offering EMS certification programs in 1974. The Department was one of the first nationally accredited programs in 1983 and transferred to the School of Allied Health in 1989 and was granted approval to offer the state’s first Bachelor of Science in EHS in 2000.

In 2008, the School of Allied Health Sciences became known as the School of Health Professions; that same year, the Department of Physical Therapy revised the Master of Science degree program and began offering a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. In 2015, the Department of Respiratory Care began offering the Master of  Science in Respiratory Care.

Today the School of Health Professions includes six departments: Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Emergency Health Sciences, Occupational Therapy, Physician Assistant Studies, Physical Therapy and Respiratory Care. Together, these departments offer one doctoral degree, three master’s degrees, three bachelor’s degrees, and seven certificates (including post-baccalaureate certificates).

Mission Statement

The mission of the School of Health Professions is to make lives better through excellence in education, research, health care and community engagement.

Strategic Objectives

  1. Excellence in education
  • Educating a diverse student body to become excellent health care providers, scientists and leaders.
  • Advancing health science education through research, scholarship and practice.

                2. Excellence in research and scholarship

  • Engaging in research to understand health and disease, and to commercialize discoveries, as appropriate, to benefit the public.
  • Discovering and disseminating new knowledge to advance health, health care, education and training.

                3.  Excellence in health care

  • Providing compassionate and culturally proficient health care, and influencing thoughtful advances in health policy.
  • Providing leadership in health and health care delivery.

                4. Excellence in service and community engagement

  • Engaging our community to improve health.
  • Providing leadership for our professions.

                5.  Operational effectiveness

  • Ensuring faculty engagement and support.
  • Developing outstanding faculty and leaders.
  • Advancing fiscally responsible and strategic growth.
  • Ensuring sound stewardship of resources.

Vision

By 2020 the School of Health Professions at the Health Science Center will be recognized as a world class school whose programs are among the best in the United States.

School of Health Professions Application and Admission

Application and admission requirements vary by department and program; please see the respective department section in this Catalog for specific information. Applicants are advised to pay close attention to application deadlines, as they also vary by department and program. An application packet is not considered complete until all required documents have been received.

Admission to all programs within the School of Health Professions is on a competitive basis. A limited number of students are admitted each year. Applicants should be aware that the selection process usually involves choosing among highly qualified applicants rather than between qualified and unqualified applicants.

Applicants may submit transcripts for an unofficial evaluation of prerequisite coursework to the School of Health Professions Office of Admissions and Special Programs. Additional information about application and admission is available by calling (866) 802-6288 (toll-free) or (210) 567-6220.

Upon admission to any program within the School of Health Professions, these additional items are required:

Background Check

Prior to Matriculation

Acceptance is contingent upon completing and passing a background check. An offer of admission will not be final until the criminal background check is completed with results deemed satisfactory.  Students must pay costs for the criminal background check.  Directions for the background check process will be included in the offer of admission letter.  Students should be advised that persons with certain types of criminal convictions may not be eligible for state licensure and/or national registry or certification. In addition, many employers perform criminal background checks and may not hire individuals with certain types of criminal convictions.  Concerned students should check with the respective department for further clarification.

Clinical Rotations

Programs offered in the School of Health Professions often require that clinical rotations, practicums, internships or other learning experiences be successfully completed in hospitals and other health care facilities in order to meet program requirements. Because use of these facilities is required, students must be able to successfully complete their assigned rotations in order to fulfill the academic requirements of their program.

Hospitals and other health care facilities often have policies requiring criminal background checks for employees, students, and volunteers. These facilities may refuse to accept individuals for clinical, practicum or other experiential rotations based on past criminal convictions.

Students should be prepared to comply with the policies and procedures at any facility where they are assigned as part of their educational program and may not request facility assignments in an effort to avoid specific requirements. Students who have certain types of information in their criminal background checks may be ineligible to complete rotations in specific facilities. Students who are not allowed to participate at assigned facilities, or who are terminated from rotations based on the results of a criminal background check will be unable to complete the program requirements for graduation and will be subject to dismissal on academic grounds.

Health Insurance Coverage

Accepted students must show evidence of current health insurance, including dates of coverage. Unless proof of proper insurance coverage is provided before the first day of classes, students will be charged for a policy provided by the University. The health insurance fee is non-removable once the payment due date passes, and non-refundable once paid.

Immunizations

All required immunizations (e.g. TB skin test, tetanus, MMR, Varicella, Hepatitis B) must be completed prior to registration to protect the student's health, the health of patients, and to minimize any adverse reactions during the early part of the student's training. Be aware that it may take some time to obtain the immunizations and the information/signature from the student's health care provider. Specific immunization information can be obtained through the Student Health Clinic.

Immunization Records must be returned to the Student Health Center at least 30 days prior to registration. Students accepted less than 30 days before registration, should hand-deliver their Immunization Record to the Student Health Center as soon as possible. If accepted more than 30 days before registration, students drop off or mail completed form to:

UT Health Science Center
Student Health Center - MSC 7934
 7703 Floyd Curl Drive
 San Antonio, Texas 78229-3900

Tuition Deposit Fee

Payment of the $250 tuition deposit fee is required to reserve a seat in the class.  The entire deposit fee will be credited to tuition when officially matriculated.   Failure to enroll will result in forfeiture of the entire fee.

Texas Core Curriculum

If a student first enrolled as an undergraduate at a Texas public university or college in fall 1999 or more recently, their undergraduate degree requirements include a General Education Core Curriculum. Every public institution in Texas has a Core Curriculum, which is designed to provide a solid foundation for a college education and to make transfers between and among Texas institutions of higher education as smooth and seamless as possible.

Each undergraduate institution's Core Curriculum applies to all academic undergraduate degrees. Core curriculum requirements range from 42 to 48 credit hours, depending on the college or university. Students may choose a major which has more rigorous or more specific requirements than the Core. Most science majors have more intensive math and science requirements. In these cases, the major requirements have priority. For these and other reasons, students should not enroll in courses, Core Curriculum or otherwise, without consulting with a qualified academic advisor or counselor at the appropriate institution.

Students receiving their first baccalaureate degree from the Health Science Center must successfully complete the Texas Core Curriculum requirements prior to matriculation. Core Curriculum and the additional math and science courses for the bachelor’s degree may be earned from regionally accredited institutions, or from institutions that are candidates for regional accreditation if the course credit was earned during the candidacy period. In rare circumstances, course credit earned at other institutions may also be accepted in transfer. In addition to the Core Curriculum, students may be required to complete additional courses; see the specific department for prerequisites and general education requirements and additional admission requirements.

International Applicants

International applicants who have completed all or part of their college-level education at schools outside the United States must:

Non-Degree Student Status

An individual who wishes to enroll in courses offered by the School of Health Professions without entering a certificate or degree program must apply for admission as a non-degree seeking student. In general, a non-degree seeking student will have an academic background similar to those ordinarily admitted to Health Professions programs; course prerequisites and minimum grade point averages (GPA) are generally consistent with the published admissions criteria for each program. Permission to enroll as a non-degree seeking student may be granted by the Dean, Associate Dean, or Department Chair.  Students will be enrolled only if space is available.

Students seeking non-degree status must:

  • receive approval for registration each semester by the Dean, Associate Dean, or Department Chair and the instructor of each course
  • maintain a minimum grade point average consistent with the department’s established policies for regular students; and
  • enroll for no more than 9 semester credit hours during fall or spring semesters or 6 hours during the summer session.

Course grading policies and standards for non-degree seeking students are the same as those for regular students. All grades received as a non-degree seeking student will be included on the student’s transcript and used for computing the cumulative GPA if the student is subsequently admitted to a certificate or degree program. Under special circumstances, such as the computation of the GPA to determine academic probation, the Dean or Associate Dean may grant exceptions to this policy.

Transfer by Advanced Standing

Students who wish to transfer from another health professions program to an equivalent program at the School of Health Professions (example: DPT to DPT, MPAS to MPAS) may be considered on a space-available basis; placement is for highly qualified students from other institutions.  Students must be in good standing and eligible for readmission at their current/former school of health professions and have well-founded personal reasons for wishing to transfer.  Not all departments accept advanced standing transfer students, so please check with the department prior to applying. Note that space must be available in the program for the transfer.

Students desiring to transfer must also:

  • have completed the same prerequisites required by the program;
  • meet the program GPA requirements;
  • have a letter of reference from the former program director stating the student is in good standing and eligible to continue or return to the program;
  • have a satisfactory criminal background check;
  • have required immunizations; and
  • meet all university requirements for entering and continuing students.

     Students who are ineligible for Transfer by Advanced Standing:

  • have been dismissed from their health professions program;
  • are not meeting normal curriculum progress at their current institution

Due to the varying requirements of each program and limited space, interested students should contact the specific department Chair for additional requirements, application requirements, deadlines and approval. The Chair may admit a student on a non-degree basis.  If admitted, the student must adhere to all program and institutional policies and procedures.

Additional information about application and admission is available from the School of Health Professions Office of Admissions and Special Programs or by calling (866) 802-6288 (toll-free) or (210) 567-6220.

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

Course credit for specified general education and elective prerequisites may be accepted without a letter grade in the School of Health Professions certificate and degree programs if a student earns a satisfactory score on College Level Examination Program (CLEP) examinations.

Conditions and Limitations

  • Applicants and students are responsible for requesting that official CLEP scores be sent by The College Board to the Office of the University Registrar.
  • CLEP credit awarded by another institution is acceptable if scores are consistent with the minimum scores. Notation of CLEP credit (CR) on an official transcript from the institution is sufficient documentation.
  • CLEP credit cannot be used to establish credit for prerequisite courses for which a grade of F had been recorded.
  • CLEP credit will not be recognized for prerequisite courses in which the student received college credit for the same course or its equivalent.
  • Credit for CLEP exams used to satisfy requirements for entry into a program will not be listed on the transcript.

More information can be found in this Catalog under the Policy on Awarding Academic Credit, Transfers and Substitutions.

Credit By Examination

Students in some Health Professions certificate or degree programs may earn credit by examination for designated courses. Credit by examination will not be given for credit-bearing courses that the student previously failed at the Health Science Center or any other college or university.

Academic credit is awarded only to officially enrolled students or former students. With the approval of the Dean, additional eligibility requirements may be established by each department. Information about additional requirements is available from the department office or the Office of the University Registrar.

Credit by examination satisfies degree requirements in the same way as credit earned by passing a course. Credit earned by examination does not jeopardize eligibility for scholarships that require a certain class standing (e.g. junior class).

A student may be eligible for credit by examination by passing the requisite examination according to criteria set by the department. Credit by examination is reported to the Office of the University Registrar by the department upon the student’s successful completion of the specified examination. At the department’s request, the Office of the University Registrar will post the credit earned by examination on the student’s official transcript. Credits earned by examination are not included in the calculation of the student’s grade point average.

More information can be found in this Catalog under the Policy on Awarding Academic Credit, Transfers and Substitutions.

Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES)

Course credit for specified core curriculum requirements and program prerequisites may be accepted without a letter grade in the School of Health Professions professional certificate and degree programs if a student earns a satisfactory score on Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) examinations.

Conditions and Limitations

  • Applicants and students are responsible for requesting that official DANTES scores be sent by DANTES to the Office of the University Registrar.
  • DANTES credit awarded by another institution is acceptable if scores are consistent with the minimum scores. Notation of DANTES credit on an official transcript from the institution is sufficient documentation.
  • DANTES credit cannot be used to establish credit for core curriculum or program prerequisite courses for which a grade of F had been recorded.
  • DANTES credit will not be recognized for core curriculum or program prerequisite courses in which the student received college credit for the same course or its equivalent.

More information can be found in this Catalog under the Policy on Awarding Academic Credit, Transfers and Substitutions.

Essential Functions

Many departments in the School of Health Professions have adopted statements of “essential functions” or “core performance standards” that stipulate the function level of capability required to perform competently in the education program and/or as a professional after graduation.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply to the School of Health Professions programs. It is the responsibility of the student to submit a Request for Accommodation under the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) form ADA-100, to the ADA Compliance Office. Reasonable accommodations will be decided by the department in concurrence with the ADA Compliance Office. For further information, see the University Handbook of Operating Procedures 4.2.3 Request for Accommodations under the ADA and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 or contact the School of Health Professions Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs.

Scholarships

A variety of scholarships are available to students in the School of Health Professions. Some are available to all students in the school and others are available only to students in a specific department. A scholarship application and supporting documentation are required on an annual basis. Information is usually sent out in the spring for scholarships to be awarded for the upcoming academic year. For more information, consult with the Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees in the School of Health Professions vary by department and program; please see the department web site for specific program costs. In addition to tuition, there are required fees for all students. There are also additional program-specific fees that vary by department and course. There is no on-campus housing at the Health Science Center and program expenses do not reflect day-to-day living expenses. Travel and living expenses for local and out-of-town clinical experiences are not included in program costs. For more information on tuition and fees, contact the Office of the Bursar.

School of Health Professions Policies and Regulations

Academic Advising

Students in Health Professions programs may be assigned a faculty advisor to assist the student’s progress through the program. Advisors assist students in solving problems and/or finding alternatives or options. The advisor provides advice and opinions, facts or information, and clarifies policies for the student. Topics that may be addressed through faculty advising include academic issues, professionalism, 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. It is the student’s responsibility to meet with his or her advisor when encountering difficulties. In addition, it is highly recommended that students meet with their advisors at a least once per academic session to review their progress, address issues and prepare for the upcoming academic session or for graduation. Further information about the department’s policies and practices regarding faculty advisors is provided in each department’s student manual/handbook.

Advancement, Probation, and Dismissal

Decisions about advancement, probation, suspension and dismissal will be made on the basis of academic performance and professional behaviors. Academic standards for advancement in the certificate or degree program are determined by the faculty of each department. Failure to meet the academic and professional standards may result in probation, suspension or dismissal from the program.

Continuation in a School of Health Professions program is dependent on maintenance of a minimum cumulative grade point average as set by the department. A student whose cumulative GPA falls below the minimum may be subject to academic probation. All decisions concerning probation or dismissal will be based on recommendations from the Student Progress Committee within the department. The faculty and the committee may recommend (1) academic probation; (2) repetition of the course when next offered; (3) suspension with repetition of the course when next offered; (4) repetition of the year or semester; or (5) dismissal. 

In health professions education, professionalism is a required academic standard.  Students who do not adhere to professional conduct standards may be subject to probation, suspension or dismissal from the certificate or degree program.  Other standards and policies may be set forth by the faculty as described in their course syllabi or program handbook. Professional behavior and ethics standards from professional organizations may also be applied.

Students may be dismissed, suspended, or refused readmission at any time if circumstances of a legal, moral, health, social, or academic nature are considered to justify such action.

Grades

The standing of students in their work is expressed by the following grades:

A = Excellent
B = Above Average
C = Average *
D = Below Average
(Note: some departments do not recognize a D grade; see individual departments for information regarding grading structure.)
F = Failure

some programs designate a grade of "C" as below average

Grades for courses in which performance is graded an S (Satisfactory) or U (Unsatisfactory) are not used in computing the grade point average.

The grade point average is calculated using the following grade points:

A = 4 points
B = 3 points
C = 2 points
D = 1 point
F = 0 points

In some programs, students have the option of seeking exemption from certain courses in the curriculum if they have successfully completed an equivalent course in the curriculum at another college or university or demonstrated mastery of the course content via an appropriate content or practicum examination. The grade of CR (Credit) is recorded for a course(s) for which the student has been exempted.  A minimum of 25 percent of the total credit hours of the required coursework must be instruction provided by the school granting the award.

Grades in Clinical Rotations, Practicums, and Fieldwork Courses

Clinical Rotations, Practicums, and Fieldwork Courses may be graded S (Satisfactory) or U (Unsatisfactory), or may be assigned a letter grade, depending on the Departmental policy. A grade of S or other designation of an acceptable grade is assigned if the student successfully satisfies the criteria for clinical courses. Failure to satisfy the course criteria successfully 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 supervisor/clinical instructor. Any unsatisfactory grade may require that the student complete an additional clinical affiliation rotation or other remediation that could extend the professional curriculum beyond the expected graduation date.

Incompletes

A grade of I (Incomplete) may be assigned when a student has not satisfactorily completed all course requirements by the conclusion of the course due to non-academic reasons such as illness, family emergency, or other non-academic matters. Unless the student has been granted a Leave of Absence, all incomplete work must be completed within one year, at which time the grade will be changed to the appropriate letter grade. When an I is issued pending a grade in a course that is a prerequisite for another course, the I must be removed before the student is allowed to enroll in the next sequential course.

Dropping or Adding Courses

Students may add or drop courses prior to the official census date.  The census date varies by program and semester so students must refer to their specific academic calendar.  Course officially dropped before the Census date do not appear on a students transcript. 

Any courses that are approved to be added or dropped outside of the official web registration dates must be documented on a completed and signed Add/Drop form.

Students adding or dropping a course may be subject to additional tuition and fees or may be eligible for a refund.

A student may drop a course and receive a grade of W (Withdraw) on his/her transcript if an official Add/Drop form is signed and processed after the census date and before the final course exam or, if there is no final course exam, before the final class meeting for the course.

A student can be administratively dropped from a  course when the course instructor makes that recommendations to the Department Chair and can show circumstances warrant such action.  If approved by the Department Chair, a grade of W will be assigned.

It is the student's responsibility to drop a course by the appropriate deadline.  If a student fails to drop a course, even if the student does not attend the course, he/she may receive a grade of "F" in the class or the grade earned up the point of nonattendance.  Faculty and staff will not drop a student from a course automatically for nonattendance; the student must initiate the process and complete any necessary steps to ensure that the class is dropped.

Students who want to drop all classes after the semester begins should refer to the Withdrawal from Program/University found below.

Withdrawal from Program/University

Special circumstances may require a student to voluntarily withdraw from a program.  A student may withdraw from a program (drop all courses for which they are enrolled during a specific semester) and received a grade of W (Withdraw) on his/her transcript if the withdrawal is completed before the final course exam or, if there is no final course exam, before the final class meeting for the course.  Withdrawal requests must be approved by the Department Chair.

Student who wish to withdraw from a program must meet with their faculty advisor and the Department Chair, fill out the withdrawal form and obtain all required signatures.

Any student who does not remain continuously registered and who has not obtained an official leave of absence or registered in absentia for the period of non-attendance may be deemed to have voluntarily withdrawn from a program and surrenders his/her right of matriculation.  Re-enrollment following program withdrawal requires the student reapply through regular admissions procedures.

Dean's Honor List

Students in certificate or bachelor’s degree programs in the School of Health Professions with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or greater for an academic semester or session may qualify for inclusion on the Dean’s Honor List. In addition to the minimum GPA, Dean’s Honor students must complete at least 9 semester credit hours during a regular semester or 5 semester credit hours during a summer session.

Graduation with Honors

Honors designations are awarded to students graduating from the baccalaureate programs based upon the following scale:

Cumulative GPA 3.5 – 3.69: Cum Laude
Cumulative GPA 3.7 – 3.89: Magna Cum Laude
Cumulative GPA 3.9 – 4.00: Summa Cum Laude

Professional Conduct

Professionalism relates to the intellectual, ethical, behavioral, and attitudinal attributes necessary to perform as a health care provider. Students are expected to:

  • Demonstrate sound judgment commensurate with the level of training and experience.
  • Serve all patients without discrimination.
  • Recognize and respect the role and competencies of other professionals and cooperate with them to provide effective health care.
  • Exhibit concern primarily for the patient’s welfare rather than for a grade.
  • Exhibit an attitude of respect, concern, and cooperativeness toward peers, staff, and faculty.
  • Hold in confidence the details of professional services rendered and the confidences of any patient.
  • Achieve the highest degree of honesty and integrity by communicating and behaving in an honest, ethical manner.
  • Practice the highest standards of academic integrity and promptly report breeches of academic integrity or ethical misconduct by others.
  • Accept responsibility for own work and results; demonstrate willingness to accept suggestions or improvement.
  • Maintain physical, mental, and emotional composure in all situations.
  • Abide by the regulations and policies of the program and clinical training sites.
  • Practice appropriate personal grooming and hygiene.
  • Practice appropriate safety and aseptic techniques.
  • Provide the patient with relevant information to enable the patient to participate in making decisions regarding her/his condition, prognosis, and treatment options.
  • Refuse to participate in or conceal any unlawful, incompetent, or unethical practice.

Professional Attire

Students in the School of Health Professions programs must dress at all times in a manner consistent with a professional image while on campus and at practicum sites. Appropriate attire for clinical rotations, practicums, or other clinical/educational settings will vary, depending upon department requirements, facility environments, local customs and expectations. It is the student’s responsibility to inquire about dress expectations and to comply with them.

Professional Characteristics and Demeanor

Health Professions students are regarded as professional persons and are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner. Professionalism relates to the intellectual, ethical, and behavioral attributes necessary to perform as a health care provider. Students are expected to perform at a professional level when interacting with other students, faculty, staff, health care professionals, patients and their families, and the general public when representing the institution at clinical sites and community activities. A breach of professional conduct may be considered grounds for disciplinary action or dismissal from the program. 

Additional guidelines for professional conduct may be issued by Health Professions departments and/or professional organizations. Students are responsible for knowing and adhering to these.

HIPAA and Patient Privacy

Health Science Center students have a legal and ethical responsibility to safeguard the privacy of all patients and protect confidentiality and security of all health information. Protecting the confidentiality of patient information means protecting it from unauthorized use or disclosure in any format — verbal, fax, written or electronic. Patient confidentiality is a central obligation of patient care. Any breaches in patient confidentiality or privacy is considered unprofessional conduct and may result in disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

The laboratory component of some courses may use students as simulated patients. Practicing the medical history and physical examination may place students in close contact with their peers and lead to the sharing of personal information and physical findings. Similarly students may use personal experiences in patient role-playing exercises. All shared and personal medical information and physical examination findings are to be treated with utmost confidentiality. Failure to protect the confidentiality of any information related to the activities in a course or clinical rotation may result in disciplinary action, up to and including suspension or dismissal.  

Academic Integrity

Students in the School of Health Professions are expected to be above reproach in all professional and academic activities. Policies on academic dishonesty and integrity will be strictly enforced; students who fail to conform to standards of academic integrity and scholastic honesty are subject to disciplinary action. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating on examinations or assignments, plagiarism, falsifying data or results, presenting another person’s work as one’s own without giving proper credit or citation, knowingly recording information in the medical record which is incorrect or inaccurate or providing inaccurate or misleading information in writing or orally to instructors, preceptors, or medical personnel caring for patients. Violations of academic integrity standards may result in severe penalties including probation, suspension or dismissal from the university.  Academic dishonesty is a form of unprofessional conduct and as such, allegations of academic dishonesty will be reviewed by the departmental Student Progress Committee.  Any student found to be cheating on an examination may receive a “0” for the examination and will be subject to formal disciplinary action, which may include probation, suspension or dismissal from the program. Failure to report incidents involving academic dishonesty on the part of another student will be considered unprofessional conduct and may also result in disciplinary action.  To avoid charges of academic dishonesty, consult with the department chair or faculty member about expectations.  Procedures for dealing with charges of academic dishonesty or cheating are described below (see Unprofessional Conduct).

Unprofessional Conduct

Students are expected to demonstrate appropriate professional characteristics and behaviors in all activities related to their training and education.  Examples of critical errors in professional conduct and judgment include, but are not limited to: 1.) Failure to place the patient’s safety and welfare as first priority; 2.) Failure to maintain physical, mental and emotional composure; 3.) Consistent ineffective/inefficient use of time; 4.) Failure to be honest with patients, faculty and colleagues; 5.) Critical errors in judgment which may place patients or others at risk; 6.) Scholastic dishonesty in any form; 7.) Failure to maintain patient privacy and confidentiality; 8.) Failure to serve all patients without discrimination; 9.)  Failure to abide by regulations and policies set forth by the university, program, and its clinical and organizational affiliates.

Procedure for Unprofessional Conduct

In general, for issues that are not satisfactorily resolved between the instructor or preceptor and student, the following guidelines should be followed for unprofessional conduct:

Step 1. The student will have been identified as violating an established standard of professional conduct, judgment or ethical behavior, and the department chair or program director will have been notified.

Step 2. The department chair or program director will meet with the individual(s) making the allegation and the student’s faculty advisor to review the available information and determine the veracity of the allegations.

Step 3. The department chair, student and faculty advisor, whenever possible, will meet as promptly as possible after the alleged incident. The department chair will report to the student the facts and available information and will seek to authenticate or clarify the allegations where possible. If it is determined that there is no basis for the allegation, no further action will be taken.

Step 4. If it is determined that there is a basis for the allegation and that further investigation is necessary, a preliminary hearing of the departmental Student Progress Committee will be convened to review the allegations and recommend a course of action. The department chair will inform the student and the Dean in writing of the preliminary hearing and the following: a) Date b) Name of student c) Nature of the allegations d) Date of alleged incident/occurrence e) Behaviors or attributes that allegedly violate standards: skill, behavior, judgment, ethical values, or unprofessional conduct. For additional information regarding professional conduct, see the current departmental student handbook. 

Incidents in the Clinical Agency

Any incident affecting patients’ or staff’s well-being or the patient’s prescribed care will be reported to the clinical instructor or preceptor immediately. An institutional incident report will then be completed following the policy of the health care institution or hospital in which the incident occurred. A duplicate of the hospital incident report will be requested.  A memorandum of explanation from the clinical instructor or preceptor will be placed in the student’s clinical file and the department chair, program director or clinical director will be notified immediately. Incidents involving gross errors in judgment or practice on the part of the student will constitute grounds for probation, suspension or dismissal from the program.

Drugs and Alcohol

The goals of the School of Health Professions are to provide the highest quality education, research, health care, and service.  To achieve these goals students must be able to fulfill their respective roles without impairment produced by intoxication or addiction to alcohol or other drugs.  The unauthorized purchase, manufacture, distribution, possession, sale, storage, or use of alcohol, illegal drugs or controlled substances by students while attending classes, or while on Health Science Center property (or any property affiliated with the Health Science Center including clinical affiliates), or sites used to provide community service, will be considered unprofessional conduct which may result in academic probation, suspension or dismissal.  A controlled substance is any substance so defined by federal or state statute or regulation.

School of Health Professions students may not report for their clinical assignments and/or classes impaired by the use of alcohol or controlled substances. Such impairment will be considered unprofessional conduct and may result in academic probation, suspension or dismissal.

In cases where impairment is suggested, the student’s instructor or preceptor shall dismiss the student from the class and/or clinical training site, assist the student in obtaining safe transport home or to a medical facility (if indicated) and notify the program director, department chair and associate dean of academic and student affairs for follow-up action.

Consumption of alcoholic beverages on Health Science Center property is permissible only by prior written Presidential approval for specific events as described in the Handbook of Operating Procedures (see Section 8.2.3).

Nothing in this policy will preclude the medical or research use of alcohol or controlled substances.  It is the underlying philosophy of the School of Health Professions that addiction to alcohol and/or other drugs represents a disease state, and treatment of such problems is a legitimate part of medical practice. Students with an addiction to drugs or alcohol are encouraged to seek help through the Student Health Center or their personal health care provider. Students who seek help through the Student Health Center will not be punished for seeking such help. However, appropriate disciplinary procedures linked to performance criteria are not precluded.

Hospitals and other health care facilities often have policies requiring drug testing for employees, students, and volunteers. Some facilities provide that students who test positive for drugs are ineligible to complete clinical, practicum or work assignments in that facility. Students should be prepared to comply with the policies and procedures at any assigned facility and may not request facility assignments in an effort to avoid drug screening requirements. Students who fail to report for clinical or practicum assignments or who are terminated from rotations because they violate the drug testing or drug use policies of the facilities will be subject to disciplinary action which may include dismissal from the program.

Student Professional and Community Service Requirements

Participation in service activities is an important attribute of the health science professional. A hallmark of outstanding students and alumni is the desire and ability to make meaningful service contributions. Community service activities may include volunteer activities (health fairs and clinics, health education, provision of health services to at risk or disadvantaged populations and other outreach education or clinical activities) and service on community boards, committees, work groups and other service activities that promote the health and well-being of the community and its members. Professional service may include participation in the provision of state, national or international activities to advance the quality, access and effectiveness of health care services provided by allied health professionals. Achievement of the School of Health Professions Excellence in Community and Professional Service Goal is demonstrated in part through: 1.) Student and faculty participation in community service activities 2.) Student satisfaction with and appreciation for community service 3.) Students and faculty who provide leadership and support to professional associations, boards and committees 4.) Provision of community and professional continuing education to local, national and international audiences.

In order to support achievement of these service excellence goals and objectives, the School of Health Professions has developed a professional and community service recommendation for students as a part of their academic programs. As a requirement for program completion, each academic degree granting program may establish a minimum service requirement for each student enrolled in the program.  Examples of activities that may be used to meet this requirement include participation in community health fairs; community health screening and/or health services; provision of community health education; participation in approved professional service and/or continuing education activities; and assistance with the delivery of seminars, lectures, workshops and related community or professional continuing education activities. This program requirement may be required for satisfactory course completion for at least one course in the student’s prescribed course of studies. As an alternative, the requirement may be listed as a graduation requirement for the program in the catalog or program handbook.

Student Academic Appeal and Grievance Procedures

The Health Science Center School of Health Professions student appeal and grievance procedures provide a mechanism whereby any student may obtain a review of a complaint of unfair treatment. The student appeals procedures should not be used to question a rule, procedure or policy established by an authorized faculty or administrative body. Rather it may be used to provide due process for those who believe that a rule, procedure or policy has been applied in an unfair or inequitable manner, or that there has been unfair or improper treatment by a person or persons.  Students who are appealing an academic decision that could result in a dismissal from the university may be allowed to continue to progress in the program until the issue is resolved.  If the academic decision is upheld and the student is dismissed from the university they will be withdrawn from their current classes.  The withdrawal will be backdated to the beginning of the semester and the student will receive 100% tuition reimbursement for that semester unless financial aid or a third party payment was applied. In this event, the student would return the funds. If unable to return the funds, payment arrangements can be made at the Bursar's Office. The student would not be able to return to school until the balance is paid in full.

A student wishing to appeal an academic decision should follow the process summarized below, in the sequence indicated.

Step 1.  In the academic community, the responsibility for course development, course delivery, and the assessment of student achievement rests primarily with the course instructor. Any student who has a complaint of inappropriate treatment related to a course should first seek to resolve it informally with the course instructor. If the course instructor is the department chairperson, or if the complaint does not pertain to a specific course, the student should seek resolution with the department chairperson at the outset. 

a. A student with such a complaint must request reconsideration, in writing, of the application of a rule, procedure, or policy or unfair or improper treatment within five (5) working days following the incident that forms the basis for the complaint (e.g., five days after grades are posted).

b. The instructor will meet with the student (or speak with the student via telephone for those students who are unable to come to the instructor’s office).  The instructor will notify the student in writing of his/her decision regarding the complaint. 

Step 2.  If resolution is not achieved informally, as described in Step 1, the student should seek resolution with the chairperson of the department in which the course is offered within five (5) working days following notification by the instructor of his/her decision.

a. The chairperson will meet with the student (or speak with the student for those students unable to come to the chairperson’s office) following receipt of the student’s request for resolution to discuss the problem or complaint.

b. The chairperson will notify the student of his/her decision in writing following the meeting or discussion. 

Step 3.  If the issue was not resolved in Step 2 the student may submit a written appeal, describing the nature of the complaint and reasons for seeking an appeal to the Student Progress Committee of the department within five (5) working days following notification by the department chairperson of his/her decision.

a.  The student may appear before the committee in person, make an oral statement and answer questions from the committee. The student will not be allowed to be present during committee deliberations.

b. The committee may request that the course instructor or faculty member named in the grievance appear before the committee to make an oral statement and answer questions. The instructor or faculty member named in the grievance may not be present during committee deliberations.

c. Following review of information provided, the committee will notify the student of its decision.

Step 4.  If the issue was not resolved to the students satisfaction in Step 3 the student may submit a written request seeking a hearing to the Dean within five (5) working days of receiving the department progress and promotion committee decision. The written request should include a description of the complaint and the reason the student is seeking an appeal. 

a. The Dean or his/her designee1 will meet with the student following receipt of the written request.

b. Following the meeting with the student, the Dean may render a decision, or choose to appoint a panel to investigate the grievance and make a recommendation to the Dean.

c. Following review of the information provided and any recommendations from the panel (should one be appointed), the Dean will then notify the student of his/her decision. The decision of the Dean is final and may not be appealed.     

1The dean may delegate authority to complete this step of the appeals process to the Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs.

Attendance

Because of the nature and complexity of the health professions programs, students are expected to attend every class, laboratory, conference, demonstration, meeting, clinical assignment, and other assigned activities included as a component of the curriculum. The once-a-year offering of most courses and step-by-step format of the curriculum allow minimal or no opportunity for make-up sessions. Attendance requirements for classes, laboratories, and clinic are the option and prerogative of the course instructor and specific program. The policy regarding attendance is outlined in each course syllabus and may be found in the department’s student manual/handbook; policies are generally reviewed by the course instructor at the first class meeting.

Excused absences may be granted by the course director, program director, or department chair in cases of illness or personal emergency (e.g., extended hospitalization, death in the family). Excused absences are considered on an individual basis and verification of the reason for the absence may be required. Unexcused absences may be considered sufficient cause for course failure. Prolonged absences for any reason may not be remediable. The faculty is not required to provide make-up or additional sessions for classes missed by students, regardless of the reason for the absence. Students are responsible for all material presented when they are absent and are responsible for arranging with the course director to make up missed work, if allowed.

Attendance is a professional attribute that the faculty expects every student to demonstrate. Repeated or multiple absences, unexcused absences, and tardiness will be considered unprofessional conduct and may result in faculty review and penalties, including probation, suspension or dismissal from the program. Course grading requirements may include participation and any absence is considered non-participation. The ability of the graduating health professions student is dependent on the sum of her or his experiences during the educational and training period.

Leave of Absence

Under unusual circumstances, such as prolonged illness or injury, a student may request a leave of absence from a certificate or degree program. The request must be made in writing to the Department Chair. On recommendation from the department’s faculty or Student Progress Committee, the Department Chair may grant a leave of absence for a period not to exceed one year. If a student is granted a leave of absence before the end of the academic term, a grade of “I” (Incomplete) may be recorded for each course that has not been completed. The student will be required to complete these courses under conditions prescribed by the faculty or the Student Progress Committee. Specific procedures for requesting a leave of absence may be established by each department within the above guidelines.

Withdrawal from a Certificate or Degree Program

Permission for withdrawal from a certificate or degree program in the School of Health Professions may be granted by the Dean or Associate Dean with the concurrence of the faculty. The student who wishes to withdraw must complete the Student Clearance Form (see withdrawal procedures on the Office of the University Registrar Web site), submit the form for the required signatures, and obtain authorized signature clearance from each area listed on the lower portion of the form.

Before leaving the program, the student should arrange for an exit interview with the Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs. An additional exit interview is also required for students who are receiving financial aid.

In the case of withdrawal before the end of the academic semester or session, a grade of “W” will be recorded for each course not completed. In the case of withdrawal at the end of the academic semester or session, the appropriate grade will be recorded for each completed course.

Readmission

An application for readmission by a student who has previously withdrawn from a certificate or degree program is subject to certain requirements, procedures, and readmission considerations. Although the university is under no obligation to readmit any student who has withdrawn or has been dismissed, a student may seek readmission for further study by petitioning for readmission. Whether readmission will be considered at the entry level or an advanced level will be determined on an individual basis.  Students seeking readmission should contact the Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs.

School of Health Professions Departments

For the School of Health Professions, allied health professionals are defined as those who are involved in the identification, evaluation, treatment, and prevention of diseases, injuries, and other health-related conditions, while educating the public on prevention, wellness, and self-management for healthful lifestyles.

At the School of Health Professions, educational programs are provided in the following disciplines:

Health Sciences

  • Bachelor of Science in Clinical Laboratory Sciences
  • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Clinical Laboratory Sciences (generalist and categorical)
  • Master of Science in Medical Laboratory Sciences
  • Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care
  • Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care Degree Completion Program
  • Master of Science in Respiratory Care

Emergency Health Sciences (EHS)

  • EMT- Basic certificate
  • Advanced Practice/Community Paramedic Certificate
  • Bachelor of Science in Emergency Health Sciences

Occupational Therapy (MOT)

  • Master of Occupational Therapy

Physical Therapy (DPT)

  • Doctorate in Physical Therapy

Physician Assistant Studies (PAS)

  • Master of Physician Assistant Studies