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://uthsc.policymedical.net. 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 bulletin currently in force when they first enter the college, or in any one subsequent bulletin 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 bulletin.
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 bulletin.
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 bulletin.
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, including the flu vaccine. Those requirements are distributed to students prior to matriculation and may be found on the University Health Services website. http://www.uthsc.edu/univheal/
Compliance records for students are maintained by a third-party vendor named Verified Credentials. Student will be instructed upon matriculation on how to enter data for this 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) or at: https://uthsc.policymedical.net/
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://uthsc.policymedical.net
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 and follows the University policy on Accommodations for Religious Beliefs, Practices, and Observances which may be found at: https://uthsc.policymedical.net
The student attendance policy for the predoctoral DDS and Dental Hygiene program is described below.
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 to all curricular instructional activities.
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.
Excused absence requests must be submitted on-line at the following link:
Students may attach documentation (pdf, photo, document) when submitting the on-line form.
An absence is NOT officially excused until the student is notified by the College of Dentistry (CoD) administration (Dean or designee: Associate or Assistant Deans). No other CoD personnel (Course Directors, Chairs, Group Leaders, etc. may grant an excused absence.)
Students in the D-3 and D-4 years are allowed 6 half-days per semester for personal business. The following days away from CoD clinics are NOT included: rotations at any official CoD extramural rotation. (Excused absence NOT required). D-3 and D-4 students are allowed a maximum total of two weeks (10 business days) for CoD extramural/off-site rotations. Sick days without a doctor’s excuse count towards the 6 half-day total.
Personal days may be carried over from the Fall to the Spring semester, subject to adequate academic and clinical progress, as defined by students’ group leaders and the Office of Academic Affairs. Personal days may NOT be carried over to the next academic year.* The use of a personal day must NOT compromise patient care or continuity of care.
* Beginning with Class of 2020; July 1, 2018
For clinical excused absences, the student must call and let their PCC and any scheduled patients know of their unavailability to keep the appointment. Excused absences allow students to miss class and/or clinic without penalty.
Events / situations that are usually excused:
- Formal residency interviews (but not private practice interviews)*
- Formal, academic invited externships AND in good academic standing (No probation and sufficient progress in clinic)*
- Illness with note from treating clinic or doctor’s appointment.*
- Childbirth(student and spouse/partner only)*
- National Boards (day of exam only and one travel day, if > 100 miles from Memphis), ADAT or GRE.*If at all possible, students should AVOID taking exams when class/clinic is in session
- Death or sudden, serious illness of immediate family member (spouse/partner, child, parent, grandparent)*
- Representing the college/university in an official capacity AND in good academic standing (No probation and sufficient progress in clinic)*
- ASDA (and similar) regional / national meetings (primary officers only) AND in good academic standing (No probation and sufficient progress in clinic)*
- Scientific meetings (ONLY if presenting) AND in good academic standing (No probation and sufficient progress in clinic)*
- Thomas P. Hinman Annual Dental Meeting.
* In the case of unanticipated illnesses or family emergencies, students who miss a scheduled course or clinic session, must provide documentation, 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 the student’s health care provider. An excused absence does not excuse a student from assigned clinic or clinic blocks (patient treatment), nor does it excuse students from any course requirements. 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 case of professional and/or scientific meetings, students MUST obtain an excused absence before making travel arrangements.
Examples of events that are NOT excused:
- Weddings including student’s own and any associated events
- “Free dental days,” CE courses, dental meetings, or mission trips not sponsored by the College
- Shadow/observe a residency program without an official invitation
- Acting as a dental assistant for board exams
- Family events: graduations, birthdays, anniversaries, babies, vacations, or similar events
- Funerals and/or sudden medical events (other than immediate family as listed above)
- Unfortunate events (examples: flat tires, alarm malfunctions, traffic, etc.)
Students that cannot provide proper documentation will NOT receive an excused absence and thus may not be offered 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 feasibility of providing required educational experiences, in an alternative manor, will be made by the course director with input from the departmental chair.
Since every possibility cannot be anticipated, exceptions may be granted at the discretion of the Dean or designee (Associate or Assistant Deans) Students are bound by the course requirements of the course(s) from which they are absent, as well as the UTHSC Honor Code.
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 for Institutional Affairs and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in his absence, 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 or Institutional 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 Institutional or 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. 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. The Health Science Center no longer recognizes a Leave of Absence.
In the event that an alternative educational program is necessary and can be devised following a prolonged 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 prolonged 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. Please see the the UTHSC Withdrawal policy.
Leave of Absence
UTHSC no longer retains a Leave of Absence student status. 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, withdrawal, 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. Traditionally, an absence of 30 days will result in automatic withdrawal from the University. More information on the University Withdrawal Policy may be found at: https://uthsc.policymedical.net
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, B+, B, C+, C, D, F, P (pass), W, WP, WF, I, R and AU (Audit). The quality value assigned to the Performance level grades is outlined as follows:
||Quality Points Per Credit Hour
||Occasionally Exceeds Expectations
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. An ‘R’ grade represents a partial failure of a course and the instructor of record is allowing a remediation period to complete the course. Both “R” and “I” 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 or ‘R’ grade was received. Failure on the part of a student to remove an ‘I’ or ‘R’ 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 may be found at: http://utrf.tennessee.edu/PDF/IP_Policy.PDF. 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
Formal student complaints related to the College of Dentistry, should be made in writing by email to the appropriate Chair and/or Associate Dean. All formal complaints, as well as actions related to resolution, should also be copied/forwarded to the Associate Dean for Institutional Affairs for recording of the complaint and the final resolution. If resolution of the complaint is not acceptable at the Chair/Associate Dean level, it should be forwarded to the Executive Associate Dean. The resolution of the complaint may finally be appealed to the Dean, if the complaint is still not resolved at the Executive Associate Dean level. Any student complaint involving allegations of Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, or related to Financial Aid, FERPA, or HIPPA will follow Student Procedure SA110-Student Complaint Procedures found at Policy Medical, at the following link:
Policy of student complaints to the Commission on Dental Accreditation
The Commission on Dental Accreditation will review complaints that relate to a program’s compliance with the accreditation standards. The Commission is interested in the sustained quality and continued improvement of dental and dental-related education programs but does not intervene on behalf of individuals or act as a court of appeal for treatment received by patients or individuals in matters of admission, appointment, promotion or dismissal of faculty, staff or students.
A copy of the appropriate accreditation standards and/or the Commission’s policy and procedure for submission of complaints may be obtained by contacting the Commission at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611-2678 or by calling 1-800-621-8099 extension 4653.
Honor Code and Honor Council
The Honor Code of The University of Tennessee Health Science Center can be found at: https://www.uthsc.edu/studentlife/honorcode.php.
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://uthsc.policymedical.net
Policy Governing Student Standing
At the end of each term, students will be evaluated from promotion to the next term, year or graduation. 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.