Academic Policies and Technical Standards

Academic Policies and Technical Standards

All students enrolled in the University are encouraged to acquaint themselves with the scholastic regulations, the general and specific requirements of the academic program, and the operational policies that govern the program of study.

  1.   Technical Standards

Medical education requires that the accumulation of scientific knowledge be accompanied by the simultaneous acquisition of specific skills and professional attitudes and behavior. Medical school faculties have a responsibility to society to matriculate and graduate the best possible physicians, and thus admission to medical school has been offered to those who present the highest qualifications for the study and practice of medicine. All required courses in the curriculum are necessary in order to develop essential skills required to become a competent general physician.

The essential technical standards presented are pre-requisite for matriculation, subsequent promotion from year to year, and ultimately graduation from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNE COM). These standards pertain to all students enrolled in UNE COM.

The faculty is committed to fostering relationships with its students that encourage human and professional growth. Its policies and procedures attempt to reflect this commitment to proactive and supportive communication. At the same time, it is imperative that all students recognize that the primary responsibility for a successful medical school education, both in and outside the classroom, rests with the individual student.

All students, including students with disabilities, must have the capacity to manage their lives and anticipate their own needs. Situations can arise in which a student’s behavior and attitudes resulting from a disability or other personal circumstances present a problem which impairs the student’s ability to meet the College’s standards, even after reasonable accommodations have been considered and, if appropriate, made by the College.

The College’s obligation and mission is to produce effective and competent osteopathic, primary care physicians and to seek candidates and graduate physicians who will be best able to serve the needs of society. Therefore, all applicants, regardless of disability, will be held to the same admission standards, and all enrolled students, regardless of disability, will be held to the same academic standards, understanding that all properly submitted requests for reasonable accommodation will be considered.

Policies:

1. No otherwise, qualified individual will be denied admission to UNE COM based solely upon a disabling condition.

2. Students with disabilities applying for admission to UNE COM will be expected to have achieved the same requirements as their non-disabled peers, with reasonable accommodation provided, if properly requested and approved.

3. Enrollment in UNE COM assumes that admitted students will possess certain levels of cognitive, emotional, and technical skill. Osteopathic medical students with disabilities will be held to the same fundamental standards as their non-disabled peers. Reasonable accommodations will be provided to assist the student in learning, performing and satisfying the fundamental standards, so long as the student applies properly for the accommodation/s and they are approved.

4. The College is obligated to provide reasonable accommodations that will eliminate or minimize the barriers disabled students may face in the process of successfully completing the requirements for graduation from UNE COM. Accommodations are not reasonable if they would fundamentally alter the nature of the program, lower programmatic standards, impose an undue burden to the College, significantly impact the rights of other students in the program, or pose a health or safety risk to any other individual, including patients.

Abilities and Skills:
A candidate for the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree must have abilities and skills of five varieties: (1) observation skills; (2) communication skills; (3) fine and gross motor skills; (4) conceptual, integrative and quantitative, cognitive skills and (5) behavioral and social/emotional skills.

I. Observation Skills
The student must be able to acquire a defined level of required information as presented through demonstrations and experiences in the basic sciences, including, but not limited to, information conveyed through physiologic and pharmacological demonstrations in animals, dissection of cadavers, examination of specimens in anatomy, pathology, and neuroanatomy laboratories, microbiologic cultures, microscopic study of microorganisms and tissues in normal and pathologic states. Furthermore, a candidate must be able to observe a patient accurately, at a distance, and close at hand, acquire information from written documents and visualize information as presented in images from paper, films, radiographs, computer screens, slides or video. The student must be capable of using instruments such as, but not limited to, a stethoscope, an ophthalmoscope, a microscope, an otoscope, and a sphygmomanometer. Such observation and information acquisition necessitates the functional use of visual, auditory and somatic sensation while being enhanced by the functional use of other sensory modalities. An intact sense of smell is necessary to assist in the clinical setting. 

In any case where a candidate’s ability to observe or acquire information through these sensory modalities is compromised, (i.e. physical disabilities or chemical sensitivities/allergies) the student must demonstrate alternative means and/or abilities to acquire and demonstrate the essential information without reliance upon another person’s interpretation of the information.

II. Communication Skills
The student must be able to effectively, efficiently and respectfully communicate in English using verbal, written, and reading skills, in a manner that demonstrates sensitivity to patients, their families and all members of the health care team.

A student must be able to accurately elicit information, describe a patient’s change in mood, thought, activity and posture. Students must demonstrate established communication skills using traditional or alternative reasonable means that do not fundamentally modify this standard. Assistive devices may be used, if appropriate under these standards

III. Motor Skills
The student must be able to, with or without the use of assistive devices, but without reliance on another person, interpret x-ray and other graphic images and digital or analog representations of physiologic phenomenon (such as EKGs).

The ability to participate in basic diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers and procedures, including but not limited to palpation, percussion, and auscultation is required. Students must have sufficient motor function to safely execute movements required to provide osteopathic manipulative medical care to patients. Students must be able to negotiate patient care environments and must be able to maneuver between settings, such as clinic, classroom building, and hospital. Physical stamina sufficient to complete the rigorous course of didactic and clinical study is required. Long periods of sitting, standing, and moving are required in classroom, laboratory and clinical experiences.

It is also essential for a student to be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general and emergency diagnosis, osteopathic manipulative care, and medical care such as airway management, placement of intravenous catheters, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and suturing of wounds. At all times the ability to administer care to patients in a safe manner is paramount.

IV. Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Skills
The student must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze and synthesize information in a timely fashion. In addition, the student must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structure. Problem-solving, the critical skill demanded of physicians, requires all of these intellectual abilities. These problem-solving skills must be able to be performed in the precisely limited time demanded by each specific clinical setting.

V. Behavioral and Social/Emotional Skills
Every student must behave in a manner exhibiting high moral and behavioral standards reflecting the position and status of an osteopathic physician.  Students need to show respect for individuals and groups without regard for age, gender, nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation, including gender identity or expression, physical or mental disability or veteran status.  Students must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients.

Students must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility and to learn to function in the face of the uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients. They must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze and synthesize information effectively in a precisely limited time demanded by each specific clinical setting, while under stress, and in an environment in which other distractions may be present.

Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admissions and educational processes.

Participation in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine Laboratories:
Active participation in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine Laboratories is an admission, matriculation, and graduation requirement. The development of manipulative medicine palpatory skills is taught in all four years of the curriculum. This learning requires active participation in all laboratory sessions. During the first two years, each student will palpate, in the laboratory setting, a variety of people representing both genders and individuals with different body types to simulate the diversity of patients expected in a practice setting. Being palpated by other students and faculty helps the student appreciate how palpation feels from the patients’ perspective, and enables students to provide feedback to their laboratory partners, thus, enhancing their palpatory skills. Reading and observation, although helpful, do not develop the skills required to perform palpatory diagnosis and manipulative treatment. Each student is required to actively participate as both an active learner and recipient in all skills development laboratory sessions.

General Health
The student must have sufficient physical stamina to perform strenuous workloads for long periods. They should be free of chronic or reoccurring debilitating diseases that would interfere with or require a fundamental alteration of the program or preclude successful completion of the curriculum.

2. Student Rights and Responsibilities

As part of its review, the UNE COM Committee on Admissions evaluates each applicant in the areas of personal and academic integrity and personal values. An invitation to join the UNE COM community indicates that the institution believes that the applicant has a well-developed set of values and a high level of integrity. The faculty and administration are committed to fostering this integrity and to developing students' increasing awareness of the multifaceted demands of professionalism ­as student physicians who are ultimately responsible for their own learning, as people who need to reflect and reappraise themselves consistently and honestly, and as future physicians who must learn to cope with an ever-­evolving set of demands.

Student physicians are expected to behave professionally with respect and integrity, to face new situations and people with open minds, to maintain their intellectual and personal curiosity, and to meet their obligations. These expectations form the basis of student responsibilities.

Likewise, student rights are based on the premise of reciprocity. Students should expect to be met with the same sense of integrity, respect, and openness.

3. Standards for Professional Behavior and Conduct

In order to evaluate acceptable demonstration of professional behavior and conduct for graduation, the UNE COM faculty has adopted the following standards.

Each student enrolled in the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine is expected to:

  1. Behave in a responsible, reliable and dependable manner (e.g., manage time well; be on time for assignments, meetings, and appointments; plan ahead and follow through with commitments; cooperate with person(s) in charge of programs; and take responsibility for absences or missed assignments).
  1. Demonstrate personal integrity, honesty, and self-discipline (e.g., be consistent and truthful, to show appropriate personal control; take on tasks that he/she can manage; be honest in reports and self-evaluations).
  1. Project a professional image in manner, dress, grooming, speech, and interpersonal relationships that is consistent with the medical profession's accepted contemporary community standards (e.g., maintain awareness of personal hygiene; wear a white coat and name tag, if expected; notify preceptor or other leader in case of emergency absence or calls; apologize if unable to notify in advance; be respectful of other students and patients when doing physical diagnosis or treatment).
  1. Recognize his/her personal limitations and biases, whether they are intellectual, physical or emotional and to strive to correct them (e.g., overcome negative behaviors such as procrastination; learn to be a team member; adapt to new situations; and avoid discriminatory conduct or speech).
  1. Demonstrate the professional and emotional maturity to manage tensions and conflicts which occur among professional, personal, and family responsibilities, seeking professional help if necessary (e.g., meet with supposed antagonists to resolve misunderstandings; get needed help from faculty advisors, tutors, counselors, learning assistance professionals and other qualified persons; show ability to prioritize appropriately one’s personal, professional, and academic expectations and activities).
  1. Demonstrate the ability to exercise sound judgment and to function under pressure (e.g., request help when needed and to avoid endangering others; respect the difference between physician and physician-­in-­training (i.e., doctor and student doctor); remain focused on the task at hand; remember that as a student doctor he/she represents UNE COM and the osteopathic profession to the greater community at large).
  1. Demonstrate the ability to learn from mistakes and failures and to heed admonitions and warnings from officers of UNE COM and of clinical supervisors (e.g., be responsive to feedback and constructive criticism regarding professional behavior and attitude, and understand the seriousness of academic and disciplinary warnings).
  1. Demonstrate compassion and respect toward others (e.g., work cooperatively with differences and diversity in personalities and in cultural backgrounds as well as with differences in social and in economic status; and respect the privacy and individual choice of others).
  1. Demonstrate consistent respect for administrators, faculty, staff, and fellow students of the University.

These standards are taken very seriously and evaluated regularly. Failure to abide by these standards may result in academic warning, probation, or dismissal.

4. Registration

The University conducts an annual registration for students during the start of each academic year. The Office of the University Registrar handles registration for students in Years 1 and 2 with information regarding student status and courses from the COM Office of Academic Affairs. The Office of the University Registrar enrolls medical students in Years 3 and 4 using information on student status from the Office of Clinical Education. Each student is registered in a “place holder” course until the Registrar receives rotation grades. As the completed rotations are processed, the “place holder” is removed and the actual rotation and grade are entered into the academic record. Students are required to confirm their enrollments as classes/educational activities begin through U-­Online. The Registrar sends directions for this process to all students as each semester begins.

During the registration process, students must finalize payment of tuition and related fees, as delineated in the section entitled Tuition and Fees, including filing appropriate documents with Registration Services, Financial Aid, Business Affairs, and the Office of Recruitment, Student and Alumni Services. In addition, all new, incoming students are required to undergo a complete physical examination, meet UNE COM immunization requirements, and complete the medical questionnaire provided by the University as a prerequisite to enrollment. Failure to comply with meeting immunization requirements may result in the inability to register for courses, receive course grades or proceed with clinical assignments.

5. Academic Records

Complete records and related documents are maintained in Registration Services, Decary Hall. Under the terms of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), students have the right to review and inspect all education records pertaining to their academic enrollment. However, letters of recommendation submitted on the basis of a pledge of confidentiality prior to January 1, 1975 need not be shown to students, and a student may be allowed but not required to waive his/her right of access to letters of recommendation received after that date. FERPA requires post-­secondary institutions to provide students not only access to official records directly related to them, but also an opportunity for a hearing to challenge such records on the grounds that they are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise inappropriate. It is the right of students to file a complaint with the Department of Education concerning an alleged failure by an educational agency or institution to comply with section 438 of the Act that guarantees such rights.

University students wishing to review their records may do so by providing a written request to Registration Services.

6.Student Access and Annual Notification

FERPA affords students certain rights with respect to their education records, specifically the right to:

  1. inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access. The student should submit to Registration Services a written request that identifies the records s/he wishes to inspect. The office will notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
  1. request the University to amend the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. The student should write to the University Registrar, clearly identifying the part of the record s/he wishes to be changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If it is determined not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of the right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding hearing procedures will accompany this notification.
  1. consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her task; or the Veterans Administration for students registered for various GI Bill programs. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
  1. file a complaint with the US Department of Education concerning alleged failure(s) by the University of New England to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:

Family Policy Compliance Office
US Department of Education
600 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202­4605

FERPA permits the University to disclose "directory information" without a student's consent. Directory information is defined as: name, address, e­mail address, telephone listing, photograph, date and place of birth, level of education, academic major, degrees, honors and awards received, and educational institutions in which a student was enrolled.

Active students who wish to have directory information withheld from release must do so in writing on a ‘per­-academic­-year’ basis. Request forms are available in Registration Services or Office of Recruitment, Student and Alumni Services. Requests must be submitted prior to September 30 (if first-time enrollment for academic year is fall semester) or January 30 (if first-time enrollment for academic year is spring semester) to affect a "withhold" status.

7.Student Enrollment Status

The University of New England classifies student credit load status for the purposes of financial aid loan deferments. Enrollment classifications.

8. Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examinations

The Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examinations (COMLEX-­USA) are administered by the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) and are divided into three levels. Levels 1 and 2 (which consists of 2 parts) are completed during the predoctoral years and Level 3 is given to qualified graduates during their first year of postgraduate (residency) training. In particular, the Level 2 examination consists of two independent components – a Cognitive Evaluation (Level 2-­CE) and a Performance Evaluation (Level 2-­PE). The former predominantly tests a student’s knowledge base and the latter predominantly his/her clinical skills. Students are eligible for the Level 1 examination after achieving a minimum COMSAE Phase 1 score of 500, having advanced to Year 2, and after approval from the College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM). Students become eligible for the Level 2 examinations after successfully passing COMLEX Level 1, achieving a minimum COMSAE Phase 2 score of 500, having advanced to Year 3, and after approval from the COM. Students must have a passing score on COMLEX-USA Level 1 in order to begin rotations at clinical campus sites. Students must take and pass both components of the Level 2 examination as a condition of graduation.

Students are allowed a maximum of three attempts to pass COMLEX-­USA Level 1 and each component of COMLEX­-USA Level 2. Any student who fails to pass any individual component of the COMLEX-USA examination series after three attempts will be considered for dismissal from the College.

Students are allowed a maximum of six years (or within 150% of the standard time to obtain the degree) to complete all of the College of Osteopathic Medicine curriculum, including passage of COMLEX-USA Level 1, and Level 2 PE and CE. At the conclusion of six years (or within 150% of the standard time to obtain the degree), students who have not met all requirements will be considered for dismissal from the college.

Note: Registration and scheduling of the exams is the responsibility of the student. Students should also plan to register and take the COMLEX-­USA Level 1 and 2 (PE and CE) with sufficient time allowed to receive exam results and be able to comply with any deadlines for clinical rotations or graduation. Graduating Year 4 students are advised to schedule a date for their COMLEX-­USA Level 2-PE and CE no later than October 31 of the year preceding their anticipated graduation date in order to receive scores in time to meet residency ranking and graduation requirements. This may require registration and scheduling with NBOME up to 18 months in advance.  It is recommended that these exams be taken earlier in order to ensure that the exams are passed with sufficient time to allow for retesting if necessary.

9. Laptop Requirement

The College has instituted a mandatory laptop computer requirement. Specifics regarding the minimum configuration are updated and made available annually.

10.Course Grade Reporting

The process of determining grades and the criteria for passing a course are described explicitly in each course syllabus ratified by the Curriculum Advisory Committee (CAC) and posted prior to the beginning of the course.

A final course grade is determined by the course director and must comply with the standards and principles endorsed by the Curriculum Advisory Committee.