Graduate student dismissal policy

According to the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Code, Title 2, Chapter 11, "a student may be dismissed from a program for academic reasons which may include but are not limited to inadequate grades or failure to remain in academic good standing as defined by the program, a tack of professionalism or unethical conduct, or failure to comply with other specific program requirements. Failure to comport with professional and/or ethical standards applicable to the particular discipline or program may be grounds for dismissal from a program." The NSHE Code authorizes programs to establish their own written dismissal policies, procedures and sanctions for program dismissals. The School of Public Health herein sets forth the Dismissal Policy for graduate students in the School of Public Health.

Section 1. Dismissal for failure to maintain required grades and required grade point average (GPA)

All graduate students must maintain a cumulative graduate GPA of 3.0. If their GPA drops below 3.0, they are either placed on probation or dismissed, as described below.

Undergraduate courses shall not count toward graduate GPA. Students who are dismissed from the program based upon failure to maintain required grades or a required GPA may be summarily dismissed from the program, without consideration of the Dismissal Procedures described in Section S.

Probation: Students with a cumulative graduate GPA between 2.31 and 2.99 are placed on academic probation for one semester. If they fail to raise their cumulative GPA to 3.0 by the end of one semester, they are dismissed from the graduate program. Thesis, dissertation, S/U graded credits, and transfer credits have no impact on a student's GPA.

Dismissal: Students with a cumulative graduate GPA of 2.30 or lower are dismissed from graduate standing.

MPH, M.S. and Ph.D. grade requirements

To be counted toward the degree, each graduate course must be completed with a grade of "C" or better. To remain in good standing in the program, students are required to maintain a 3.0 "B" grade point average in both the core and the specialization, individually.

Section 2. Dismissal for issues related to professionalism or unethical conduct

All issues relating to a student's alleged violations of the University's Student Code of Conduct are processed through the Office of Student Conduct. However, public health practitioners and

researchers make decisions about policies affecting the health of populations, and it is essential that these professionals adhere to ethical and professional standards and behaviors that may not be covered in the Student Code of Conduct.

Faculty and students in the School of Public Health have developed Principles/Pillars of Professional Conduct for the School of Public Health. Four pillars uphold our standards of professional conduct: Integrity and Honesty, Self­ awareness, Reliability and Responsibility, and Collaboration and Communication. These pillars are exemplified through a number of behaviors and skills that are cultivated during academic and non-academic training. Exemplars of these behaviors and skills have been developed by faculty and students and while not exhaustive, the Exemplars provide guidance regarding the behaviors that are expected from students, staff, and faculty in the School of Public Health (see Principles/Pillars of Professional Conduct on page 7).

MPH, MS and PhD students in the School of Public Health must comply with the School of Public Health Principles/Pillars of Professional Conduct. Failure to adhere to the School of Public Health Principles/Pillars of Professional Conduct is considered a lack of professionalism. Repeated or egregious failure to adhere to the School of Public Health Principles/Pillars of Professional Conduct may be addressed through conversations with faculty or documented in written memos, submitted to the appropriate Division Lead or Department Chair and the School of Public Health Graduate Director. Repeated or egregious failure to adhere to the School of Public Health Principles/Pillars of Professional Conduct also may result in an individualized plan for improvement, recommendation for placement on probation, or recommendation for dismissal. A recommendation for dismissal due to lack of professionalism shall follow the procedures stated in sections 4 and/or S of the School of Public Health Dismissal Policy.

Section 3. Dismissal for failure to comply with program requirements

Graduate students in the School of Public Health must comply with all program requirements and timelines outlined in the student handbooks for each program.

An MPH student must successfully complete the following components of the culminating experience according to the program timelines: (1) required internship hours specified in the student handbook and Program Curriculum, (2) approved internship project, (3) coursework related to the internship, and (4) the Capstone course and all required meetings that occur prior to the course. An MPH student shall be evaluated by preceptors during the internship to ensure that the student is meeting deadlines and standards of the MPH program. A student who does not meet program timelines for the culminating experience may be recommended for dismissal from the program.

A doctoral student must pass the qualifying/comprehensive exams, successfully complete a dissertation prospectus, and successfully defend the student's dissertation as outlined in the PhD student handbook. The written qualifying exam is typically taken the summer after the first year of coursework is completed. A student who fails the written PhD qualifying exam shall be recommended for dismissal from the program. A doctoral student must orally defend the student's dissertation prospectus to the student's full committee, which shall vote to accept or reject the prospectus or require revisions. If the committee votes to reject the dissertation prospectus two times, the student shall be recommended for dismissal from the program. A doctoral student must complete an oral defense of the student's dissertation. There are two parts to the oral defense, public and private. During the private part of the oral defense, the student shall meet with the advisory committee, which shall conduct a period of questioning. If the student fails the private part of the student's dissertation defense two (2) times, the student shall be recommended for dismissal from the program.

A recommendation for dismissal of MPH, MS or PhD students due to failure to complete program requirements shall follow the procedures stated in sections 4 and S of the School of Public Health Dismissal Policy.

Section 4. Documentation, student conference, probation and recommendation for dismissal

4.1 Documentation of professionalism concerns and/or failure to comply with other program requirements

Concerns about a student's professionalism shall be documented by faculty, staff, or members of the student's field studies or internship team using the Professional Disposition Rubric (PDR). Concerns about the student's failure to comply with program requirements shall be documented by faculty, staff, or members of the student's field studies or internship team on the Program Compliance Report (PCR). The PDR and PCR forms shall be used to document specific lapses in professionalism and/or failure to comply with program requirements observed during curricular, co-curricular or other on-campus activities. Students engaging in off-campus activities such as field studies and internships are assessed by preceptors using a standard evaluation.

4.2 Student conference for professionalism concerns and/or failure to comply with other program requirements

Completed PDR and PCR forms shall be reviewed by the appropriate Division Lead or Department Chair, who shall meet with the student and other faculty or administrators appropriate to the context of the concern ("Student Conference" ). Documentation of the Student Conference {"Conference Report"), as well as the PDR and/or PCR, shall be placed in the student's academic file, and copies of the PDR/PCR form and Conference Report shall be sent to the student and to the School of Public Health Graduate Director.

The Conference Report shall document the meeting with the student and any follow-up actions recommended by the Division Lead or Department Chair, which may include:

  • No further action;
  • Other forms of remediation as appropriate to the situation, such as a leave of absence, mentoring, additional advising, or other remedial measures;
  • Recommendation for probation; or
  • Recommendation for dismissal.

The student shall sign the Conference Report as having read and understood the Report and its terms.

4.3 Probation

If the Division Lead or Department Chair recommends in the Conference Report that the student be placed on probation, a written Probation Notice shall be completed by the Division Lead or Department Chair and sent to the student, the School of Public Health Graduate Director and the Dean of the Graduate School. The Probation Notice shall be hand-delivered to the student, mailed to the student's address of record in MyNevada, or emailed to the student within WebCampus. lf the Probation Notice is delivered in any of these manners, then the Probation Notice is deemed received.

The Probation Notice shall clearly state the reasons for probation. The Probation Notice also shall include the requirements and/or conditions, including deadlines, which the student shall complete in order to be removed from probation. lt is the student's responsibility to ensure that the requirements and/or conditions, including deadlines are met for the student to return to good standing in the program. Upon determination by the School of Public Health Graduate Director that all requirements and/or conditions have been met, the School of Public Health Graduate Director shall notify the student and the Dean of the Graduate School that the student shall no longer be on probation and shall be returned to good standing in the program. If the student fails to meet the requirements and/or conditions of probation or violates the terms of probation, the School of Public Health Graduate Director shall recommend the student be dismissed from the program.

Section 5. Dismissal procedures

5.1 Notice Recommending Dismissal

If the Division Lead or Department Chair in the Student Conference Report recommends dismissaI of the student, a written Notice Recommending DismissaI shaII be completed by the Division Lead or Department Chair and sent to the student, the School of Public Health Graduate Director and the Dean of the Graduate School.

If the SCSH Graduate Director determines that the student failed to meet the requirements and/or conditions outlined in the Probation Notice and recommended dismissal of the student, a written Notice Recommending Dismissal shall be completed by the School of Public Health Graduate Director and sent to the student and the Dean of the Graduate School.

The Notice Recommending Dismissal must be hand-delivered to the student, mailed to the student's address of record in MyNevada, or emailed to the student within WebCampus. If the Notice Recommending Dismissal is delivered in any of these manners, then the Notice Recommending Dismissal is deemed received.

The Notice Recommending Dismissal shall state the reasons for the dismissal action and shall include information about the Dismissal Review Conference and procedures and the date of the Dismissal Review Conference.

When student behavior or actions threaten professional and/or ethical standards or norms, cause life, health, or safety risks, or program disruption, a student may be removed immediately from program classes and/or activities pending a Notice Recommending Dismissal and Dismissal Review Conference. In such cases, the School of Public Health shall obtain approval from the President of the University, or the President's designee.

5.2 Dismissal review conference

A Dismissal Review Conference shall be held within 10 working days after sending a Notice Recommending Dismissal to a student, but no earlier than three (3) working days after the date on which written notification of the recommendation for dismissal was sent to the student by email or hand delivery. For the purpose of this policy, "Working Days" are defined as calendar days, excluding university holidays and weekends. If the Notice Recommending Dismissal was sent by U.S. mail, then the Dismissal Review Conference may occur no earlier than five (S) Working Days after the date of mailing. A student may request an extension of the Dismissal Review Conference date, but the decision is at the discretion of the Chair of the Dismissal Review Committee, defined below.

The Dismissal Review Committee shall consist of five (5) faculty members. The School of Public Health Associate Dean shall act as the Chair of the Committee. The Dean or Dean's designee shall appoint the additional four (4) members. If a conflict of interest is identified, the Dean shall remove any proposed member who has a conflict and appoint another faculty member to the Committee. Committee members must meet the following requirements:

  • Academic faculty
  • Greater than 0.50 FTE position in the School of Public Health
  • Member of the graduate faculty of the University of Nevada, Reno
  • Principal responsibilities of teaching and mentoring graduate students in the School of Public Health
  • No conflict of interest related to the student dismissal action being reviewed
  • Other than the Associate Dean, no more than one (1) faculty member appointed per division

The Dismissal Review Conference shall be held by the Dismissal Review Committee. The purpose of the Dismissal Review Conference is for presentation of information, documents, or witnesses related to the recommendation of the student's dismissaI from the program. The student may be accompanied by an advisor during the conference, who is present in a supporting role. The student, and not the advisor, is responsible for presenting his or her own information, introducing witnesses, and answering questions throughout the Dismissal Review Conference. When a student selects an advisor, the advisor has no right to speak during the Dismissal Review Conference. The advisor may be an attorney. If the advisor is an attorney, the Dean of School of Public Health shall be so notified at least five (5) working days before the Dismissal Review Conference.

The individual who made the recommendation for program dismissal shall attend the Dismissal Review Conference and present information, documents or witnesses in support of the program dismissal recommendation. The individual recommending dismissal may be accompanied by an advisor or by a university attorney if the student chooses to have an advisor who is an attorney.

Only the Dismissal Review Committee members may ask questions of the student, the individual recommending dismissal, and any witnesses.

At the Dismissal Review Conference, the Dismissal Review Committee shall make a decision by majority vote on whether to uphold or reject the recommendation.

5.3 Written dismissal decision

Within five (5) working days after the Dismissal Review Committee makes its decision, the Dismissal Review Committee Chair shall notify the student, the program, the School of Public Health Dean, and the Dean of the Graduate School in writing of the decision of the Dismissal Review Committee.

If the Dismissal Review Committee does not uphold the recommendation for dismissal, the student must be reinstated in the program.

A student can appeal the student's dismissal from the program by submitting a formal letter to the Dean of the Graduate School within ten (10) working days following notification of the dismissal. The Graduate School appeal process shall be followed.

Principals/pillars of professional conduct

Faculty and students in the School of Public Health have developed Principles/Pillars of Professional Conduct for our school. Four pillars uphold our standards of professional conduct: Integrity and Honesty, Self­ awareness, Reliability and Responsibility, and Collaboration and Communication. These pillars are exemplified through a number of behaviors and skills that are cultivated during academic and non-academic training. Exemplars of these behaviors and skills were also developed by faculty and students and while not exhaustive, provide guidance regarding the behaviors that are expected from students, staff, and faculty in our school

Integrity and honesty

  • Uphold highest standards of academic honesty, with regards to cheating, plagiarism, or other forms of academic dishonesty
  • Uphold standards of ethical conduct in public health as delineated by professional organizations such as the Public Health Leadership Society
  • Adhere to standards of ethical conduct of research as delineated by the Office of Research Integrity
  • Demonstrate transparency
  • Consistently apply values across a variety of situations

Self-awareness

  • Identify and monitor personal biases that may affect professional interactions
  • Proactively seek professional and academic support when needed
  • Be open and responsive to feedback on professional and academic performance
  • Work to identify and be aware of one's strengths/challenges and actively work to improve
  • Work to identify and mitigate the unintended consequences of one's actions
  • Be sensitive to the social context in which one is working
  • Demonstrate adaptiveness and resilience
  • Learn from failures and adapt to cultivate future success
  • Be aware of cognitive biases and postpone acting on those biases

Reliability and responsibility

  • Arrive on time for scheduled activities, and notify faculty, staff and peers in a timely manner prior to delays, absences, and anticipated absences
  • Complete all tasks in a timely and responsible manner
  • Respect and adhere to deadlines
  • Arrive prepared for educational activities, meetings, or professional activities
  • Accept responsibility for one's actions
  • Respond appropriately to unprofessional or unethical behaviors witnessed (e.g., intervene, offer feedback, or report to supervisor)
  • Demonstrate accountability for one's own academic and professional development
  • Maintain a professional appearance that is appropriate for the setting
  • Communicate honestly if unable to meet deadlines and arrange a suitable compromise

Collaboration and communication

  • Respond to peer, faculty, professional colleague, and administration communication in a timely manner
  • Use language, tone, and composition in electronic, written, and oral communication that is appropriate for the audience and context
  • Facilitate and be responsive to communication among peers, faculty, academic and professional colleagues (including assessing appropriate audiences, striving to ensure understanding)
  • Demonstrate respect and sensitivity in all communication and interactions with peers, faculty, academic and professional colleagues
  • Accept and provide constructive and supportive feedback
  • Manage conflicts and competitiveness in a collegial manner
  • Communicate honest messages in a tactful and respectful manner
  • Work to achieve solutions that are responsive to the goals of the entire team
  • Fully engage in communication and minimize distraction in academic and professional settings
  • Maintain good boundaries between personal and professional communication
  • Cultivate and value diversity of opinions and experiences in teams in the academic and professional environment