College of Dentistry Policies
The College of Dentistry adheres to all Academic and Student Affairs Policies of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center as described at https://academic.uthsc.edu/policy.php. Policies outlined below govern all programs offered through the College of Dentistry . Additional program-specific policies (i.e., for the dentistry and dental hygiene programs) are outlined in the respective sections.
Program Modification Statement
The faculty of the College of Dentistry reserves the right to make changes in curriculum, policy and procedures when, in its judgment, such changes are in best interest of students and the College of Dentistry . Ordinarily, a student may expect to receive a degree by meeting the requirements of the curriculum, as specified in the catalog currently in force when they first enter the college, or in any one subsequent catalog published while they are a student. However, the College of Dentistry is not obligated to fulfill this expectation, or to offer in any particular year, a course listed in the catalog.
College Admission Statement
The College of Dentistry , through its programmatic admissions committees, reviews student applications and supporting credentials in a timely manner. The resulting decisions and recommendations reflect high academic standards and observance of applicable legal statutes, as well as policies of the University of Tennessee System, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, the College of Dentistry , and the individual programs within the college. Admissions procedures, processes and recommendations afford equal educational opportunity to all applicants without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, handicap or veteran status. Details of program admission criteria may be found in the departmental sections of this catalog.
Student Status Options
Due to the variation in programs in the College, the policies related to student status such as Advanced Standing and Transfer of Credits may be found in each program section of the catalog.
Undergraduate students who are enrolled in 12 hours or more are classified as full-time. Students who are enrolled in less than 12 hours are classified as part-time. Graduate students who are enrolled in 9 hours or more are classified as full-time. Students who are enrolled in less than 9 hours are classified as part-time. Each program determines whether or not a part-time option is available to students.
Student Health and Professional Liability Insurance
All College of Dentistry students are required to have health care and medical insurance while enrolled in the College. All students in the College are also required to purchase professional liability insurance through the University at a nominal cost payable at registration time.
In addition to general UTHSC requirements, all students are to comply with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center immunizations requirements. Those requirements are distributed to students prior to matriculation and may be found on the University Health Services website. http://www.uthsc.edu/univheal/student%20services/newstudents.php
Compliance records for students are maintained by University Health Services. Additionally, the Department of Dental Hygiene will monitor compliance with the immunization program.
Criminal Background Check
All newly accepted students must have an approved Criminal Background Check prior to matriculation at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Once accepted, applicants will receive information as to how to apply for the criminal background check. Adverse findings on a criminal background check may lead to a withdrawal of the offer of admission or denial of access to a clinical training site. The UTHSC Policy on Criminal Background Checks for Matriculating Students may be found in the student handbook (CenterScope, http://catalog.uthsc.edu/index.php?catoid=8), or at: https://academic.uthsc.edu/policy_docs/criminal_background_checks.php.
Misrepresentation of Academic Credentials
Misrepresentation of academic credentials is a Class A misdemeanor in Tennessee. A person commits the offense of misrepresentation of academic credentials who, knowing that the statement is false and with the intent to secure employment at or admission to an institution of higher education in Tennessee, represents, orally or in writing, that such person: (1) has successfully completed the required course work for and has been awarded one or more degrees or diplomas from an accredited institution of higher education; (2) has successfully completed the required course work for and has been awarded one or more degrees or diplomas from a particular institution of higher education; or (3) has successfully completed the required course work for and has been awarded one or more degrees or diplomas in a particular field or specialty from an accredited institution of higher education.
Commitment to Diversity
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center and the College of Dentistry recognize the value of having an inclusive environment in which individuals from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds, races and ethnicities, physical and mental abilities, ages, creeds, cultures, and prior work/life experiences can learn and work together in an environment that values differences. To foster this environment, UTHSC has developed a series of guidelines for the hiring of faculty and staff and for the selection of students for its academic programs. These guidelines are designed both to promote campus diversity and to assure campus adherence to all federal and state laws related to discrimination and equal opportunity, including Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. More information about the UTHSC Diversity Policy may be found at: https://academic.uthsc.edu/policy_docs/diversity.php.
Accommodations for Religious Beliefs, Practices, and Observances
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center and the College of Dentistry acknowledges the diversity of its students and respects the rights of students to observe their religious beliefs and practices. UTHSC and the College of Dentistry will endeavor to provide reasonable accommodations relating to religious beliefs and practices in response to a formal written student request. However, accommodations cannot be guaranteed in instances where such would create an undue burden on faculty, a disproportionate negative effect on other students who are participating in the scheduled educational activity, or jeopardize patient care. Students are encouraged to be proactive in reviewing college-specific assignments/activities in advance of matriculation/registration to determine whether these requirements might in some way conflict with their religious beliefs, practices or observances. Should such conflicts be in evidence, students should discuss possible options with the appropriate college official or faculty member. Reasonable accommodations may not be feasible in instances where there is a direct and insurmountable conflict between religious beliefs or observances and requirements of the College’s academic programs.
It is the student’s responsibility to make arrangements with the Course Director or Assistant Dean of Clinical Affairs as soon as possible, but no less than 30 days in advance of the religious holiday during which the student is requesting to be absent. It is also the student’s responsibility to meet all course obligations. Such requests are required for any and all educational activities scheduled for the date(s) in question, e.g. classroom exercises, laboratory assignments, exams, clinical/experiential assignments, etc. Finally, students are obligated to abide by the policies and procedures on religious practices and observances of any given patient-care institution (i.e., hospital, clinical setting) in which they are completing a portion of their educational experience. If a potential conflict between a student’s religious beliefs, practices or observations and institutional policy is identified, the student is to bring such to the attention of the director of the institution as soon as possible.
The student attendance policy for the predoctoral DDS and Dental Hygiene program is described at http://www.uthsc.edu/dentistry/academics/StudentAttendancePolicy.pdf.
While each college develops its own methods for tracking class attendance and for defining conditions for excused absences, UTHSC adheres to federal regulations that require verification of class attendance for all students receiving federal financial aid. These regulations dictate that a student MUST attend the classes for which he/she is awarded financial aid.
The College of Dentistry expects that students attend the various educational opportunities provided for them as a part of the curriculum of the college. The College considers attendance mandatory for certain educational experiences. Students will be informed, in writing, where college policy requires class attendance.
In the College of Dentistry , attendance is required for all laboratories and clinical clerkships. Course directors have the discretion of requiring attendance for lectures. They will inform students at the beginning of the course, in writing, of any attendance requirements and consequences of lack of attendance. Students are responsible for all assigned work in all courses in which they are enrolled, regardless of any attendance requirements.
Student Policy Regarding Excused Absences
Occasionally, students may be absent from required activities for justifiable reasons. In such cases, students are entitled to an excused absence from attendance and the opportunity to complete those activities without academic penalty. Justifiable reasons include, but are not limited to, complications related to pregnancy; serious medical problems; death in the family; automobile accident; jury duty and other judicial matters; military service; recognized religious holy days; and official representation of the University or College of Dentistry .
Students unable to attend class must call the Office of Academic Affairs (448-5114) before 8:00 AM the day of the class. A voice mail system will be available at this number that automatically records the date and time of the message. Students should clearly state their name, class and reason they are calling. All messages will be checked at 8:30 each morning. Any student who misses a scheduled course must provide documentation, including medical, jury duty, etc. to the Office of Academic Affairs within five working days of the resumption of matriculation to obtain an excused absence. Medical documentation must be obtained from the University Health Service, or their health care provider. Please note that an excused absence from the Office of Academic Affairs does not excuse a student from assigned clinic or clinical blocks. It is the student’s professional responsibility to obtain a replacement for any assigned block rotation, and notify the departmental block coordinator of the change.
Students who cannot provide proper documentation will not receive an excused absence and thus may not be afforded an opportunity to make-up missed examinations, quizzes or other assignments. For these students, course directors have the discretion of requiring alternative assignments or examinations to ensure competency. All decisions regarding the feasibility of providing required educational experiences, in an alternative manner or form, will be made by the course director, with input from the departmental chair.
Unfortunate circumstances, such as automobile problems, traffic congestion, over sleeping and other issues of a similar nature, funerals for non-family members and issues of a personal nature are not considered justifiable reasons for an excused absence from required class attendance. Students will not be given excused absences from scheduled classes for such reasons as vacations, weddings, National Board Dental Examinations, Graduate Record Examinations, etc., or trips not authorized by the Office of Academic Affairs. Students not eligible for excused absences are still bound by the attendance requirements of the course(s) from which they were absent.
An Administrative exemption may be given to students planning to take time from the curriculum for reasons other than those outlined such as interviews and other extenuating circumstances. Administrative exemption from required attendance will be granted by the Office of Academic Affairs upon receipt of sufficient justification. Students are required to request exemption and provide justification to the Office of Academic Affairs in advance of anticipated absences from the college. The Office of Academic Affairs will then inform the course directors of anticipated absences. In cases where an anticipated absence involves a scheduled examination, the student is required to work with the course director to determine a date and time for re-scheduling. When advance notification is not possible, a request for administrative exemption and justification must be received within five working days of the resumption of matriculation. Unless there is an emergency, administrative exemptions will not be granted after the fact. Fourth-year students that have required interviews for residency programs or for other career opportunities will be afforded the opportunity to obtain administrative exemptions, but it requires that the Office of Academic Affairs receive advanced notice prior to leaving the dental school and that arrangement has been made to make up any scheduled assignments.
Students who do not have an administrative exemption from attendance may not be afforded an opportunity to take missed quizzes or other assignments. Course directors have the discretion of requiring alternative assignments or examinations to ensure competency, as dictated by individual circumstances for students with un-excused absences. All decisions regarding the feasibility of providing required educational experiences, in an alternative manner or form, will be made by the course director, with input from the departmental chair.
Students are expected to be present for all scheduled examinations (as indicated on the official class schedule). Excused absences will be available only from the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and will in general only be given in the case of serious illness that requires hospitalization, or death of an immediate family member (mother, father, sister, brother). Exceptions will be considered by the Dean of the College.
Students who are absent from an examination for reasons other than an emergency will incur a one-letter grade (7.5%) reduction in their grade for that examination and will be required to take the missed examinations as soon as possible after they return, but no later than two business days after their return to class.
Contacting Course Director upon Return to School
In the absence of extenuating circumstances, as determined by the Office of Academic Affairs, a student who has been absent, regardless of the cause of the absence, has the responsibility and obligation to contact the course director(s) within five working days of the resumption of matriculation. Failure of the student to contact the course director(s), regardless of the validity of the absence, may result in an inability of the student to make up or otherwise account for missed lectures, laboratories, clinics, quizzes, or other activities.
Missing Clinical Block Assignments
Students are periodically scheduled for block assignments and are required to attend those sessions. In the event of an anticipated absence, it is the student’s professional responsibility to obtain a replacement for any assigned block rotation, and notify the departmental block coordinator of the change. In the event of illness, the student should follow the protocol for reporting their illness by informing the Office of Academic Affairs (448-5114) which block they will be missing due to illness
Sustained physical or mental illnesses, medical complications and pregnancy and/or delivery may present unique problems in terms of obtaining an excused absence from required attendance. In these cases, a ‘Leave of Absence’ may be granted by the Dean, depending upon the circumstances of each case and alternative arrangements considered by the departments working in conjunction with the Office of Academic Affairs. The administration of the College of Dentistry will make every effort to work with students in these cases. However, because of the unique nature of the curriculum, e.g., required attendance for all laboratories and clinical clerkships, exposure to dental materials, the necessity of sequential course scheduling, and patient care responsibilities, prolonged absences may preclude uninterrupted matriculation. Limited institutional resources and sound pedagogy may preclude the offering of specific courses, or portions of courses, in an alternative manner or form, for which any student is justifiably absent.
In the event that an alternative educational program is necessary and can be devised following a ‘Leave of Absence,’ the student will be required to provide a medical clearance from their health care provider stating that they may return to full-time study. They will be required to perform the same fundamental and essential elements of the curriculum at the same level as his or her peers. No additional consideration will be given beyond the construction of an alternative curriculum. All students will be evaluated for promotion and graduation using the same basic criteria.
If an alternate educational program cannot be arranged following a ‘Leave of Absence,’ the student may be considered for readmission for the next academic year, assuming that they were in good academic standing and are otherwise qualified as a student and that sufficient space exists to accommodate them in the ensuing class.
The Administration reserves the right to dismiss or request the withdrawal of any student at any time, whenever it is apparent that the student is ineffectual academically, or lacks the necessary talent to pursue the curriculum in dentistry. Formal withdrawal is a prerequisite to honorable dismissal, or consideration for re-entrance to this institution, and must be approved by the Dean of the College of Dentistry . Students intending to withdraw from the college must notify the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and obtain a withdrawal form.
When the appropriate signatures have been obtained, the student must request an exit interview with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. The Associate Dean for Student Affairs will sign the withdrawal form and forward it to the Dean for his/her signature. Once the Dean’s approval has been obtained, the form is returned to the Registrar’s Office for final processing.
Leave of Absence
The College of Dentistry recognizes that absences may be necessary during a portion of an academic program and strives to accommodate such absences to enable students to continue in, and complete their academic programs. Students should be aware, however, that it may be difficult for the College to provide suitable options for makeup of missed assignments/activities even with short term absences, given the intensity, complexity and fast pace of the D.D.S., MSD, BSDH and MDH programs.
Students are advised to review the Attendance Policy of the College carefully when an absence is necessary and consult with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs if an absence will be prolonged. Prolonged absences may result in a requirement to repeat a significant portion of the program and/or to petition for readmission. Prolonged absences may also affect eligibility for loan deferment and may require that students be listed as withdrawn. Additional information about the UTHSC leave of absence policy may be found at https://academic.uthsc.edu/policy_docs/loa_withdrawal.php.
Students may experience personal problems at some point in their dental education. The College of Dentistry will make every effort to provide reasonable accommodations, however in the event that an individual student’s educational needs cannot be met through reasonable accommodations, the student will be given the opportunity to withdraw from program, without prejudice. The student may be considered for readmission for the next academic year, assuming that they were in good academic standing and are otherwise qualified as a student and that sufficient space exists to accommodate them in the ensuing class.
Grading Performance Level
The official permitted grades utilized by the College of Dentistry and reported to the registrar are: A, A-,B+, B, B-, C+, C, D, F, P (pass), W, WP, WF, I, and AU (Audit). The quality value assigned to the grade is outlined as follows:
||Quality Points Per Credit Hour
||Recommended* Grading Scale
A “W” (indicating withdrawal from the course) is recorded in instances in which the student withdraws prior to the midpoint of the course. The letters ‘WP’ or ‘WF’ will be recorded to indicate pass or failure in those instances in which a student withdraws after the midpoint in the course but prior to 70% of the course being completed. The designation of ‘I’ will be used in those instances in which a student is unable to complete a course at the scheduled time because of an acceptable reason. The designations must be removed from the record by the date stipulated by the Dean but no later than the end of the term following that in which the incomplete was received. Failure on the part of a student to remove an ‘I’ with a passing grade within the time limit allowed will result in the grade of ‘F’ being reported and recorded as a permanent grade.
Dropping/Adding or Auditing a Course
Since the curricula of the College of Dentistry are “core curricula,” dropping or adding of core courses is not permitted with the exception of designated elective courses. Auditing of core courses is only permitted if the student is given special student status and must be arranged through the Office of Academic Affairs.
Student Identification Badges
Students of the College of Dentistry must wear their UT Health Science Center Identification Badge at all times when on campus or when participating in off-campus educational programs of the College.
Policy on Student Classroom Activities
It is a guiding principle of the College of Dentistry that students attend class for the purpose of learning the information being taught and/or mastering the psychomotor skills that are necessary to practice dentistry or dental hygiene. While in class (including laboratories), students are not to study or review other information that is not germane to the specific material being presented. Students may only use written media or any electronic devices (including, but not limited to cell phones, PDA’s, computers or other internet-capable electronics) during class to assist in learning the specific topics being presented in class or labs. Any use of the UT computer network must be in compliance with the University of Tennessee’s Information Technology Acceptable Use policy. Faculty members may prohibit the presence or use of any written media or any electronic device in their class or laboratory if they believe that those items may be a distraction from the teaching and learning process. Violation of any of this policy will be considered unprofessional conduct and an ethical breach.
Faculty Teaching Material
It is the policy of the University of Tennessee that “When a University employee develops mediated course materials … ownership of the materials belongs to the creator, who retains the copyright and the rights to update, edit, or otherwise revise the mediated course materials and to place a time limit upon the use of the materials… The right to control distribution is a right of ownership.” (Statement of Policy on Patents, Copyrights, and Other Intellectual Property; Adopted by the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees, Oct 19, 1984, and Amended June 19, 2003). This policy establishes that faculty teaching materials are the intellectual property of the individual faculty member. Faculty may choose to share these materials with students and post such materials on University servers for the use of the students. However, such distribution to students is at the discretion of the faculty and students have no right to copy or otherwise use such materials without the consent of the faculty.
Addressing Student Complaints
The specific policies addressing student complaint procedures at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and the College of Dentistry can be found in the Student Handbook, CenterScope.
Honor Code and Honor Council
The Honor Code of The University of Tennessee Health Science Center can be found in the Student Handbook, CenterScope.
Student Drug and Alcohol Policy
It is the policy of the University of Tennessee to maintain a safe and healthy environment for its students and employees. Therefore the University prohibits being under the influence of, or the unlawful use, manufacture, possession, distribution or dispensing of drugs (“controlled substances” as defined in the Controlled Substances Act, 21, U.S.C. 812) and alcohol on university property or during university activities. More information about the UTHSC Policy on Student Drug and Alcohol Use may be found at: https://academic.uthsc.edu/policy_docs/student_drug_alcohol.php
Policy Governing Student Standing
The policies governing student standing are described at http://www.uthsc.edu/dentistry/Academics/StudentStatus.pdf. Promotion and graduation result from positive action taken by the Dean of the College of Dentistry . The Dean receives recommendations regarding student standing from the Student Status Committee based on its review of each individual student’s progress toward satisfying the academic, professional and personal requirements established by the College and University. Following procedures established by the University, action taken by the Dean is subject to review by the Chancellor and the President. Specific information regarding progress, promotion and graduation are provided in the program-specific sections.