ETHICS & PROFESSIONALISM
As future physicians, students are expected to conduct themselves within the educational environment in a professional manner consistent with the ethical standards of physicians. The Student Academic Progress Committee will be informed of, and advise on allegations of unethical or unprofessional behavior to include: disrespectful treatment of other members of the academic community, including peers, faculty and staff; inappropriate behavior in clinical and community settings and academic dishonesty, including cheating and plagiarism. The Student Academic Progress Committee may also hear allegations brought through the Student Honor Code Committee or after an accumulation of more than two negative Professional Behavior Documentation forms. Cases are brought to the committee for decision after review and investigation by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs in collaboration with the Deputy Dean for Medical Education and the Chair of the Student Academic Progress Committee.
During the undergraduate curriculum, in cases of allegation of behavioral or academic misconduct that occur in City College courses, review and disciplinary action are the responsibility of the City College Office of Student Affairs and / or the Academic Integrity Office, as stipulated in the Undergraduate Course Bulletin (available on the CCNY website https://www.ccny.cuny.edu/sites/default/files/2016%20-
I. Academic Integrity Policy
All students are expected to maintain the highest standards of academic integrity.Academic dishonesty is a basis for disciplinary action and will not be tolerated in any guise. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to: (1) plagiarism: using another’s words, ideas, or paraphrases without giving credit to the source[s] and implying they are your own; (2) cheating: using hidden notes or examining another person’s responses in order to answer questions on a quiz/test/exam; (3) ringers: having another person fulfill your assignment (e.g., homework, exercises, laboratory, quiz, paper, or test). The university takes matters of academic dishonesty very seriously. The CUNY Academic Integrity Policy provides detailed descriptions of types of academic dishonesty and outlines processes for those that violate the policy. The policy can be accessed at: http://web.cuny.edu/academics/info-central/policies/academic-integrity…
The faculty member, in whose course or under whose tutelage an act of academic dishonesty occurs, has the option of failing the student for the academic hours in question if the student accepts the penalty. If the student does not accept the penalty, the case will be referred by the faculty member to the SAPC which will follow the hearing procedures described below “Student Academic Progress Committee Professionalism Hearing Procedures.” Penalties for academic dishonesty may include suspension or dismissal.
Students should be aware that the process of looking for plagiarism is an automatic one done through a program in Blackboard called SafeAssign, which checks all submitted materials against a very large source material database. To help understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it, students are encouraged to read a guide provided by the CUNY Graduate Center: http://www.gc.cuny.edu/CUNY_GC/media/CUNY-Graduate- Center/PDF/Publications/AvoidingPlagiarism.pdf
II. CUNY School of Medicine / Sophie Davis Biomedical Education Program Student Code of Honor
The Code of Honor adopted by students states in its preamble, “As the future physicians of America, we the students of the CUNY School of Medicine / Sophie Davis Biomedical Education Program, have the duty to uphold the highest standard of ethical, professional, and respectful behavior. In the future, as physicians, our actions can have profound implications on the well-being of our patients; therefore, it is crucial that we accept responsibility for our actions now. According to the American Medical Association (AMA) Code of Medical Ethics, “those who serve patients should uphold the standards of professionalism, be honest in all professional interactions, and strive to expose those who are deficient in character or competence, or who engage in fraud or deception.” As testimony of our dedication to this society and to the preservation of its esteem, we deem it necessary to acknowledge our responsibilities and to accept them.”
This Code of Honor charges students to live in a community that values the highest standards of ethics and behavior and to take responsibility for enforcing those standards. As such, the Student Code of Honor provides specific instruction for the hearing of cases by the Student Honor Code Committee. This committee may refer cases to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs who in collaboration with the Deputy Dean for Medical Education and the Chair of the Student Academic Progress Committee will make decisions about a hearing before the Student Academic Progress Committee.
III. Absence Policy and Issues of Professionalism
The school’s absence policy (see D. Additional School Polices, section 2) requires students to report all absences from mandatory activities prior to the absence unless that is not possible. Absences are to be reported to firstname.lastname@example.org and to all relevant course directors. The Associate Dean for Student Affairs categorizes and records absences as approved, unapproved or discretionary and informs course directors. The numbers of such absences are also maintained. Failure to report an absence from a mandatory class activity is considered a breach of professional behavior.
- Course directors are responsible for tracking attendance of students at mandatory sessions. They have to inform other faculty members in their course (i.e. preceptors) to let them know immediately if a student is absent from a mandatory session. Course directors will then confirm if the absence was reported and if it is considered approved, unapproved or mandatory. If it is an unapproved absence, either because it was not reported or was classified as such, the course director will reach out to the student to address this as soon as possible, preferably within the same day.
- If a student has more than one unapproved absence, the course director will complete and submit a professionalism documentation form to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. The form requires a face to face meeting between the student and the course director, since the student has to complete his/her portion of the form and sign it.
- The course director will submit the completed professionalism documentation form to the Associate Dean of Student Affairs.
IV. Completion of Course Evaluations
Completion of course evaluations is a mandatory and a professional responsibility of all students. These evaluations are used extensively in annual reviews of all courses by the Curriculum Committee and the issues raised in common by many students are addressed if at all possible. Failure to complete course evaluations in the specified time period will result in the filing of a Professional Behavior Documentation form.
V. Professional Behavior Documentation Forms
Professional behavior documentation forms allow the institution to keep track of minor instances of unprofessional behavior. They also give faculty the opportunity to document instances of exemplary professional behavior. The form is distributed annually to all faculty along with instructions for the use of the form. The form is also available on the Office of Academic Affairs Blackboard site.
Information about professionalism documentation forms includes the following:
The document is intended to provide a means to report either commendable examples of or minor infractions of ethical and professional behavior. Commendable behaviors may include, but are not limited to, acts of altruism, personal sacrifice or going above and beyond the student role. Minor infractions are acts that the faculty member does not believe requires a full committee review, although repetition of such behavior may necessitate the need for such review. Such behaviors may include, but are not limited to, patterns of unintentional acts of misconduct, and unprofessional behavior in the classroom and in the clinical setting.
- Prior to submission of a professionalism documentation form, faculty members meet with the student to discuss the infraction or commendable example of ethical and professional behavior. In the case of a minor infraction, the reason for documenting the behavior is explained to the student.
- The student has the right to add his/her comments to the report in response to the comments submitted by the faculty member.
The Associate Dean for Student Affairs keeps files on submitted Professional Behavior Documentation forms. When more than two forms for minor infractions are submitted about any student, the Associate Dean along with the Deputy Dean for Medical Education and the Chair of the Student Academic Progress Committee will determine whether to bring the student before the Student Academic Progress Committee.
VI. Student Academic Progress Committee Professionalism Hearing Procedures
The Student Academic Progress Committee hears cases involving violations of professional behavior as brought forth by report from faculty to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs of a flagrant violation, by students through the Student Honor Code Committee or via an accumulation of Professionalism Documentation forms.
The Committee is convened in order to: be of assistance to the instructor, student and other members of the academic community in resolving the issue; maintain a record of all such incidents involving students in the School; and, provide guidance to the academic community about the nature and impact of cheating, plagiarism, and unprofessional behavior.
A. The following procedures will pertain to the decision of whether to convene a Committee hearing and the rights of students charged with unprofessional or unethical behavior:
Any charge, accusation, or allegation which is to be presented against a student and which, if proved, may subject a student to disciplinary action, must be submitted promptly in writing to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, who will notify the Deputy Dean for Academic Affairs and the Chair of the Student Academic Progress Committee. The Associate Dean for Student Affairs or his/her designee will conduct a preliminary investigation in order to determine whether disciplinary charges should be preferred. The Associate Dean for Student Affairs will advise the student of the charge against him or her, consult with other parties who may be involved or who have information regarding the incident, and review other relevant evidence. Following this preliminary investigation, which shall be concluded within 30 calendar days of the filing of the complaint , the Associate Dean will discuss findings with the Deputy Dean for Academic Affairs and the Chair of the Student Academic Progress Committee and shall arrive at a decision by consensus; the following actions may be taken:
- The matter will be dismissed if there is no basis for the allegations or the allegations do not warrant disciplinary actions. The individuals involved shall be notified that the complaint has been dismissed.
- The matter will be referred to hearing by the Student Academic Progress Committee.
- The matter will be referred to the Vice President of Student Affairs of The City College if warranted.
B.The following procedures shall apply at the hearing before the Committee.
- The Committee Chair shall preside at the meeting. The student will be informed of the charges, the hearing procedures and his or her rights, including the right to be accompanied by a non-legal advisor of their choosing.
- Prior to accepting testimony at the hearing, the Committee Chair shall rule on any motions questioning the impartiality of any committee member or the adequacy of the notice of the charges.
- After informing the student of the charges, the hearing procedures, and his/her rights, if needed, the individual(s) bringing charges will present the details of the circumstances in front of the full Committee and the student.
- The individual(s) bringing the charge will then be excused.
- The student will then be asked by the Committee to respond to the charges. The student may elect to acknowledge the correctness of the charge and offer any explanations of extenuating circumstances he or she feels that the Committee should consider in making its recommendation(s). The student may also dispute the charge and offer his or her defense.
- At the end of the fact-finding phase of the hearing, the student may introduce additional records, such as character references. The Committee Chair may introduce a copy of the student’s previous disciplinary record, where applicable, provided the student was shown a copy of the record prior to the hearing. Any disciplinary record shall not be introduced until the determination of unethical or unprofessional behavior in the current case has been made. The records and documents introduced by the student and the School shall be opened and used by the Committee for dispositional purposes, i.e., to determine an appropriate penalty, if the charges are sustained.
- The Committee shall deliberate in closed session. The Committee’s decision shall be based on the testimony and evidence presented at the hearing and the papers filed by the parties.
- The role of the Committee is to listen to the testimony, ask questions of the witnesses, review the testimony and evidence presented at the hearing and the papers filed by the parties and render a determination as to the accuracy of the allegation, and any extenuating circumstances associated with it. In the event the student is found guilty of unethical or unprofessional behavior, the Committee shall notify the Deputy Dean for Medical Education who through a designee will transmit the decision in writing to the student within five days of the conclusion of the hearing.
- The Committee shall keep minutes pertinent to the case. A disciplined student is entitled to obtain a copy of the minutes of the meeting concerning their case.
- All adverse decisions made are subject to the student’s right of appeal (see section B. 3. v. appeals procedure)
C. The following dispositions of a case may occur:
- If a student is exonerated of charges of unethical or unprofessional behavior, a record of the proceedings will be placed in a file and discarded at the time of the student’s graduation from the Program.
- If a student is found guilty of unethical or unprofessional behavior and the Committee recommends sanctions short of suspension or dismissal, the committee will report its recommendation(s) to the Deputy Dean for Academic Affairs who shall notify the student of the disciplinary action. A record will be placed in the student’s school file.
- If a student is found guilty of unethical or unprofessional behavior, and the Committee recommends either suspension or dismissal from the program, the Deputy Dean for Medical Education or his/her designee will notify the student in writing of the disciplinary action and their right to appeal the adverse decision to the Dean of the school (see section B. 3. iv. Notifying students of adverse academic decisions & section B. 3. v. appeals procedure). A record will be placed in the student’s school file.
- The Associate Dean for Student Affairs will serve as liaison to the Vice President for Student Affairs of City College in reporting disciplinary actions, as appropriate.