Selected Student Policies & Procedures

Policies and Procedures

West Liberty University’s Physician Assistant Studies Program Handbooks can be downloaded by accessing the following links:

STUDENT HANDBOOK 2014 – 2016 

CLINICAL YEAR STUDENT HANDBOOK 2014-2015

Note:  Please be reminded that due to the ever-changing nature of the Physician Assistant profession, content within the PA Handbooks is subject to change.

Academic Dishonesty

Inappropriate testing behavior reflects unsatisfactory professional development and therefore leads to academic review of the student and possible dismissal. Do not provide or receive unauthorized assistance on exams. Do not remove exams from designated review areas or obtain exam material prior to distribution by faculty. Irregularities that you observe in test-taking should be referred to the proctor or course instructor.

Types of Academic Dishonesty:

A. Cheating:   Using or attempting to use unauthorized materials or methods in any exercise. E.g. having a substitute take a test, having another person complete a research or writing paper, using concealed notes during exams, hinting during practicums,  providing information to other students during OSCEs or board type exams.  Passing on information about test questions students in subsequent classes and reconstructing exams.

B. Fabrication:   Falsifying or inventing any information or evidence, or neglecting to follow established guidelines of research and documentation.  E.g. distortion of evidence, creation of false sources or fictitious evidence.

C. Collaboration:   Assisting others in engaging in scholarly wrongdoing.  E.g. stealing and distributing tests, permitting others to use a research paper and permitting another to copy from his/her paper during an exam; “buying” a research paper.

D. Destruction of Reference Sources:  Denying others access to learning materials.  E.g. destruction of journal articles in the library collection.  Stealing of books and other materials from the library or other sources.

E. Plagiarism:   Representing the words or ideas of another as one’s own.  E.g. not giving  credit for referenced information and not acknowledging a paraphrase.  Using another author’s material as one’s own.

*Note:  The student who provided the information and the student who received the information in a case of academic dishonesty will both be held accountable.

In an examination setting – the student will be permitted to complete the examination and surrender it (as applicable).  The PA Studies Program Director and the exam proctor will meet with the student privately, immediately, or at an appointed time to discuss the details of the unsatisfactory behavior.  A written report will be placed in the student’s file.  The student will be referred to the Dean of the College of Sciences for further action.

In a non-examination setting, the Program Director will meet privately with the student to discuss the details of the behavior.  A written report will be placed in the student’s file.  The department faculty will decide on further disciplinary action.

NCCPA Code of conduct: http://www.nccpa.net/CodeOfConductLEP.aspx

WLU PA Studies Program Grievance and Appeal Procedure

A student who believes that his/her course grade, course failure, suspension, probation, or dismissal from the Institution or from the PA Program was based on inadequate evidence or prejudicial judgment, may appeal this action. Please note that, when considering course grades, there is always a subjective component.  Because of the specialized nature of Physician Assistant education, the Graduate Health Sciences Council is not in a position (does not have the expertise) to second guess the instructor as to the appropriateness of a grade.  In an appeal of a grade, the student must demonstrate the grade was unfair in some way (expectations were unclear; the instructor was unprofessional in dealing with you etc).  The standard of appealing a grade is very high and must be accompanied by clear, unambiguous documentary evidence.  The burden of proof is upon the student for all appeals.

The appeals process is the following:

 Step 1

It is recommended that a PA student consult with his or her academic adviser before and while initiating a complaint or grievance.

1.  The Physician Assistant (PA) student shall discuss the problem with the instructor (for problems involving a single class) or Program director (for problems involving the program in general) and attempt to resolve the issue.

Step II

1.  If the complaint is not satisfactorily resolved in Step I, the PA student may appeal this action in writing to the Program Director who will then bring the student’s appeal before the Student Progress Committee within ten (10) calendar days of the receipt of such notification. The appeal will be brought before the Committee for arbitration.

Step III

1. If the complaint is not satisfactorily resolved in Step II, the PA student has the right to file a grievance with the Graduate Health Sciences Council.  The PA student wishing to file an appeal must submit a letter of appeal (petition) to the Dean of the College of Sciences.  The letter of appeal must state the action being challenged; including a statement of the facts and evidence made with sufficient clarity to reasonably support the challenge.

2.  In general, the following types of grievances will be heard by the Graduate Health Sciences Council:  appeal of final course grades, extension of time to complete program requirements, non-professional behavior, plagiarism, and any other matter that may potentially fall within the scope of the Council.

3.  The Graduate Health Sciences Council will hear the PA student’s case (using the procedure below).  The decision of the Graduate Health Sciences Council will be forwarded to the Dean of the College of Sciences within eight class days of the hearing.  If an appeal of the Graduate Health Science’s Council’s decision arises the Dean can affirm or overturn the decision.  The Dean will inform the PA graduate student and the council of the final decision.  There is no appeal of the Dean’s decision.

HEALTH SCIENCES COUNCIL GRIEVANCE & APPEAL POLICY

1.  The Graduate Health Sciences council will be comprised of 3 WLU faculty from the College of Sciences. The members, as well as the Chair of the Graduate Health Sciences Council, will be selected by Dean of the College of Sciences in consultation with the Physician Assistant Program Director. The Program Director will provide the PA student with a copy of this procedure.

2.  The PA student may select a (WLU faculty or staff member) as an advocate to assist in the preparation and presentation of the petition. The advocate may appear with the student before the Council.  The advocate can consult with the student but, may not speak directly to the Council.

3.  The student, working with his/her advocate, will produce a written allegation describing the grievance, a summary of the circumstances surrounding it, the related evidence, and what has already been done in attempting to resolve it.   Sufficient copies of this document must be delivered by the student to all faculty members of the Graduate Health Sciences Council at least 48 hours prior to the hearing.

4.  The PA student will work with the chair of the Graduate Health Sciences Council to schedule the hearing at a mutually agreeable time.  The student is entitled to a hearing within 15 class days of the time the student first contacts the Chair of the Graduate Health Sciences Council.

At the hearing, the PA student will have a reasonable amount of time (about 15 minutes) to present his or her grievance.  The faculty member and/or program representative will then have a similar amount of time.  Neither of the affected parties will be present to hear the other party’s presentation; neither of the affected parties will be present during deliberations.  The Graduate Health Sciences Council may hear additional witnesses at the chair’s discretion.  A decision will be forwarded to the Dean within 8 class days of the hearing.

6.  There will be no legal counsel present in the hearing.

7.  The Graduate Health Sciences Council shall maintain confidentiality concerning any information presented in the hearing; all materials shall be maintained in the Office of the Dean of the College of Sciences

8. The Graduate Health Sciences Council and PA Program Director shall have access to all materials that are relevant to the case.

9.  Cases brought before Graduate Health Sciences Council will be decided by a simple majority vote.

10. The PA student may withdraw the grievance at any point in the proceedings by requesting in writing to the Dean or Chair of the Graduate Health Sciences Council.

12.   The Dean or Chair of the Health Sciences Council may grant an extension of the time limit of this procedure for good cause.

PLEASE NOTE:  The policies and procedures stated in this handbook take precedence over West Liberty University policies and procedures.

Policy Regarding Dismissal from the Program

Regarding Remediation, Deceleration and Dismissal From the Program

Grading and Assessment:

The WLU Department of PA Studies is a competency based program. Students are required to complete each component of the program successfully before progressing on to the next phase. The minimum passing score is 70% on all didactic exams and 60% on EOR exams, and a grade of “satisfactory” on professionalism, all skills and clinical clerkships. The minimum passing grade is a C for each course using a letter system. A “satisfactory” must be obtained in all courses graded as satisfactory or unsatisfactory.

Student progress is monitored and documented in a manner that promptly identifies deficiencies in knowledge or skills. Students who are identified through self-referral or through faculty observation as being at risk for failure will be referred for remediation. Remediation may include tutoring, self-study, reading assignments, completion of specific tasks, written response to selected exam items, or referral to the Center for Student Success for counseling. 

Guidelines for Remediation and Dismissal:

1)      Remediation is required for any failed written examination or skills assessment.  Written exam or skills assessment = written tests, check-offs/lab practicals, papers, presentations, OSCE’s, and end-of rotation (EOR) exams.

2)      Remediation of exams and skills assessments must be completed within two weeks.

3)      Remediation is for learning, and the student must demonstrate he/she has learned the material for the areas in which the deficiency was identified.

4)      Successful remediation will allow the student to progress, however, the original assessment score will be recorded and will count toward the final course score.

5)      Remediation may also be required when an academic or professional deficiency is identified by a faculty member in any other activity associated with the PA program.

6)      Failure to successfully remediate will trigger a comprehensive review of the student’s academic record resulting in administrative action which will include probation or deceleration or dismissal from the program.

7)      If a student receives a grade of D in a didactic COURSE he/she will have the opportunity to meet with the instructor at the end of the semester after final examinations. Weak areas will be identified and the student will have an opportunity to do self-study and then repeat a comprehensive final exam (not identical to the one already used).

  1. Passing this examination does not guarantee passing of the course.
  2. The remediated grade will be averaged with all other course grades to determine the final course grade.
  3. The student will not be given a passing grade higher than a C in the remediated course.
  4. To be eligible for this comprehensive remediation, the student must have taken the final exam.
  5. Students will have the opportunity to do this for no more than two courses during the didactic year of the program.

Please note the following:

  • Remediation is student and/or situation specific and is determined by the PA faculty and the course director/instructor.
  • Arrangements for remediation are made with the course director/instructor.
  • If a student’s cumulative GPA falls below 3.0 he/she will be subject to academic discipline that may result in probation or disqualification from the program.

If a student fails a course after attempted remediation, the student’s file will be viewed as a whole. If it is believed that the student will succeed in the future, he/she may be decelerated and allowed to repeat the course the next time it is given. If the failure is in a clinical clerkship, the student may be allowed to repeat the clerkship in the next rotation.  Any student who fails a repeated course or clerkship will be dismissed from the program. A student may not repeat more than two courses total (one in didactic and one in clinical) while in the program.

Although a student may have passing grades in all courses, but when viewed as a whole, the record shows a pattern of concern*(see below), that student will be given a written warning or be placed on probation with a remediation plan. Failure to successfully complete the terms of the plan will result in dismissal from the program. Decisions concerning academic issues are made in consultation with the Student Progress Committee and Faculty Committee.

*Pattern of concern:

  • Failure of two (2) or more exams in one course.

o   For courses that include labs/practical exams, failure of 2 or more exams in either the written or lab/practical

  • Failure of three (3) or more exams across all courses in a single term.
  • Receiving a mark of “unsatisfactory” on a Preceptor Evaluation of a student.
  • Failure of an End of Rotation (EOR) examination.
  • Cumulative GPA below 3.0
  • Consistent marginal passing scores/grades.
  • Failure to adhere to professional standards.

Reasons for dismissal from the program include, but are not limited to, academic dishonesty, unprofessional conduct, unsatisfactory attendance in classes or clinical assignments, positive drug testing, and inability to pass a background check. Each case will be investigated and will be based on objective findings. 

Policy Regarding Remediation and Deceleration

Students are required to complete each component of this program successfully before progressing on to the next phase. The minimum passing score is 70% on all written exams and a grade of “satisfactory” on professionalism, all skills and clinical clerkships.

Students who are identified through self-referral or through faculty observation as being at risk for failure will be referred for remediation. Remediation may include tutoring, self-study, completion of specific tasks or referral to the Center for Students Success for counseling. Any student not achieving the minimum passing grade will receive a failing grade. The student will be notified and will be required to take a reexamination. Should the student fail a retest, this would place the student before the Student Progress Committee and Faculty Committee for a comprehensive review of the student’s performance. Resulting administrative action may include probation, deceleration, or dismissal from the program. If a student fails a didactic course and when viewed as a whole, it is believed that the student will succeed in the future, he/she may be decelerated and allowed to repeat the course the next time it is given. If the failure is in a clinical clerkship, the student may be allowed to repeat the clerkship in the next rotation. Any student who fails a repeated course or clerkship will be dismissed from the program. A student may not repeat more than two courses. A student may face probation, remediation, or dismissal from the program for failure to meet professional standards although he/she may have passing grades in academic courses and clinical clerkships.

Guidelines for Voluntary Withdrawal from the Physician Assistant Studies Program

Students may voluntarily withdraw from this program at any time prior to a formal notice of dismissal from the Physician Assistant Studies Program. Students must file a “Withdraw from All Classes Form.”

Guidelines for Leave of Absence

In exceptional circumstances – such as the sudden onset of a serious medical condition – a leave of absence from the Department of PA Studies may be granted by the Program Director. Due to the cumulative nature of the didactic material, extended absences during this phase is not permitted. Students may request a leave of absence for up to one year in length. All requests must be made in writing. Please note the following:  (i) a student who is not registered after one quarter’s absence and has not requested a leave of absence will be dropped from the program; (ii) a student who has not re-registered with the program after a leave of absence of one year will be dropped from the program.

The Department of PA Studies reserves the right to determine the conditions for re-entry after any leave of more than one month duration. Coursework, exams and clinical experiences missed during any leave must be made-up within a time-frame agreed upon by the course instructor and the Program Director of the Department of PA Studies before the student may

continue in this program in good standing. Additional tuition may be required to complete this program after re-entry.

 

Guidelines for Consideration for Reinstatement to the Department of PA Studies

Because of constant changes in curriculum presentation, re-admission, if desired, must be negotiated with the Program Director for the Department of PA Studies. Requests for reinstatement must be made in writing. The student must show that the problem leading to the withdrawal has been resolved such that success in this program will follow if the student is reinstated. Reinstatement is also dependent on the availability of a clinical training site.

Allegations of Sexual Harassment and Other Unlawful Forms of Discrimination

All members of the University community are expected to support an environment of mutual respect and sensitivity, free from all forms of unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, which would constitute harassing, hostile, disruptive or patently offensive behavior. Therefore, sexual harassment, in any form, of students and employees of West Liberty University is a violation of University policy and is expressly prohibited. All faculty, students, and staff of the University are expected to:

  • engage in conduct that meets professional standards
  • remain sensitive to the effect of their actions and words on others
  • take appropriate action to prevent sexual harassment
  • avoid behavior that might be construed as sexual harassment
  • become familiar and knowledgeable regarding this policy

Those individuals in positions of supervisory authority have a responsibility to discourage sexual harassment and to implement and enforce this policy. Any form of sexual harassment is unacceptable behavior and engagement in such conduct is subject to appropriate disciplinary sanctions up to and including termination of employment or expulsion from the institution. In addition, acts of sexual harassment that constitute sexual battery or other violations of criminal law will be referred to the appropriate authorities for prosecution. One incident, or the aggregation of a series of incidents, may constitute sexual harassment. The University recognizes sexual harassment may occur in a variety of ways, by and or between individuals of the same or different sex, ages, positions, sexual orientation, occupations, or responsibilities.

This policy derives its basis and authority from the following: Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; the 1980 EEOC interpretive guidelines of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; The West Virginia Human Rights Act, WV Code 5-11-1 to 19; The Campus Security Act, and the Higher Education Reauthorization Act of 1992. A student may file a formal complaint at any time. For detailed policy and procedures concerning sexual harassment and other forms of unlawful discrimination, go to: http://www.westliberty.edu/bog/files/2010/01/Policy-32-Sexual-Harassment-and-Other-Unlawful-Discrimination.pdf

 

Policy Regarding Tuition Refund

A student who withdraws from the program by following the proper procedure will be issued a refund of tuition and fees upon receipt of a withdrawal slip signed by the Registrar. A student who officially withdraws from a portion of their courses during the refund period must request a refund from the Business office. A student who is required to withdraw for disciplinary reasons shall not be entitled to any refund.  Refunds are calculated from the first day of classes.  Lab and course fees are not refundable. Students who officially withdraw shall receive a refund of regular fees in accordance with the following schedule:

 Refund Schedule  
During the first and second weeks 90% Refund
During the third and fourth weeks 70% Refund
During the fifth and sixth weeks 50% Refund
Beginning with the seventh week No Refund