Student Progress Committee (SPC)

The School of Physician Assistant Studies monitors student performance and progress in an ongoing manner to promptly identify deficiencies in knowledge or skills and to establish a means for remediation. The Student Progress Committee (SPC) oversees student academic and professional progress and determines whether each student is eligible for continuation to the next phase of their education and if additional support is necessary. The review process is also intended to identify students who may not be capable of completing the PA program.

Quarterly meetings: The SPC chair holds an SPC meeting each quarter to review student academic and professional progression in both the didactic and clinical phases of the curriculum. The continuum of learning is assessed, and remediation effectiveness is evaluated with additional action plan formation as indicated. Both positive and negative trends are reviewed/discussed for each student as applicable. Additional committee meetings are scheduled as needed.

Individual SPC meetings: Individual SPC meetings with students are also scheduled on an as-needed basis. SPC meetings are used to address academic concerns as well as professional growth as they relate to patient assessment skills and patient encounters. Each individual student SPC meeting is classified as a Level I, II, or III depending on the seriousness of the student’s academic progress and level of concern. The SPC meeting levels are described in more detail below.

Gross ethical misconduct, conduct violations, or trends of unprofessional behavior are handled via the University Student Conduct Process (see Ethical Misconduct).

Level I Academic/Professional Performance Review

Faculty Present:

  • Course instructor/involved faculty member or the Director of Didactic/Clinical Education or Asst. Director of Clinical Education (Chair)
  • Faculty advisor (or their designee)

Indications:

  • Any time a faculty member expresses concern about the academic or professional performance of a student (ex. potential for failing a course or rotation).
  • When a student fails a second didactic written course exam (excluding failed reassessment exams which warrant a Level II meeting).
  • When a student fails a second clinical phase End-of-Rotation (EOR) exam. A Level I SPC may be convened after the first failed EOR exam if the student is on academic warning (see Appendix E).
  • A faculty member may request a level I SPC meeting if there are serious concerns about a student’s patient assessment skills as observed during the skills assessment. Professional demeanor during patient assessment skills is considered part of the student’s academic and professional growth.

Didactic Phase

  1. Any concern expressed by a faculty member about the professional or academic performance of a student may result in a level I academic review to address these concerns. An Academic or Professional Performance Action Plan is developed to formalize the agreed-upon actions by the committee to further support the student and those actions the student will take to improve their performance.
  2. For students with the potential of failing a course, the action plan may include tutoring services to be provided by the School at no cost to the student. A tutoring plan will be developed and a contract signed by the SPC chair and the student. In cases where early intervention is deemed necessary, tutoring may begin prior to the SPC meeting at the discretion of the Student Progress Committee chair.
  3. All SPC reports, including the action plan, are placed in the student’s file and a copy is provided to the student via email or hard copy.
  4. If the student receives a course grade of “Fail” or if the professional performance issue is unresolved then a Level II Performance Review is held.
  5. The Chair will notify the School Director about any student receiving a Level I Academic or Professionalism Performance review.

Clinical Phase

  1. During a rotation in the clinical phase, any concerns expressed by a preceptor, faculty, or clinical team member about the clinical or professional performance of a student may result in a Level I Performance Review. The SPC meeting may be conducted in person or by phone. An action plan will be developed to formalize the agreed-upon actions to further support the student and those actions the student will take to improve their performance for the remainder of the rotation.
  2. The SPC report and action plan are placed in the student’s file and the student is provided a copy via email or hard copy.
  3. If the student receives a grade of less than an “Average (3)” score for any item on the final end-of-rotation preceptor evaluation, then an Academic or Professionalism Performance review may be held.
  4. The Chair will notify the School Director about any student receiving a Level I Academic or Professionalism Performance review.

Level II Academic/Professional Performance Review

Faculty Present:

  • SPC Chair (typically the DDE/DCE or their designee)
  • Faculty advisor (non-voting participant)
  • 2 other faculty members from SPAS
  • A representative from Enrollment and Student Services, if requested by the student (non-voting participant)
  • The SPC chair may invite the instructor(s)/preceptor(s) from the affected course/rotation to attend the SPC meeting to provide context and answer questions (Invitee does not participate in the final discussion and is a non-voting participant). Alternatively, the Chair may obtain comments and/or insight from the involved instructor/faculty member or preceptor in advance to share during the meeting.

Indications:

  • Any time a level I concern is unresolved
  • Any time a student fails a third written didactic exam or third skills assessment and therefore has no future opportunities for reassessment.
  • The first time a student fails a didactic course (e.g. fails the reassessment exam or fails an exam after exhausting all reassessment opportunities)
  • Any time a student fails a clinical rotation or course
    • Any time a student fails a third end-of-rotation exam (failed clinical rotation)
    • Any time a student on academic warning fails a second EOR exam (failed clinical rotation)
    • Any time a student fails a clinical course or rotation based on the passing criteria outlined in the syllabus.

The following steps are followed during the Level II Academic or Professional Performance Review process.

  1. The course instructor will immediately inform the Director of Didactic or Clinical Education of a student’s unsatisfactory academic performance.
  2. The Director of Didactic or Clinical Education will Chair the Level II Performance review or may designate an alternative Chair if necessary (e.g. they are away or are too directly involved).
  3. The Chair of the Level II Academic Performance review will convene the Student Progress Committee within ten (10) business days of the occurrence of the indication for a level II SPC meeting.
  4. The student will be notified by email of the date and time of the committee meeting by the committee Chair.
  5. Prior to the Student Progress Committee meeting, the student should meet with their faculty advisor (or designee in their absence) to discuss the process/what to expect and review the student’s academic performance. Typically, this is done just prior to the scheduled meeting although it may be arranged at an alternate time/day if needed.
  6. Only members of the Student Progress Committee and the student may attend the meeting. If deemed prudent, the SPC chair may invite the course instructor/preceptor or person directly involved in the academic concern. In this event, the invited guest will be asked to leave the meeting when the committee develops and votes on the action plan.
  7. The student will be asked to participate in the Student Progress Committee meeting to explain their performance to the committee, to answer questions, and to make suggestions regarding the corrective action plan.
  8. The student will be asked to leave the meeting while the committee discusses the student’s performance and develops a written action plan.
  9. The student will meet with the Chair of the Level II Performance Review and/or their academic advisor to review the action plan within three (3) business days of the meeting.
  10. The Chair of the Level II Performance Review, the academic advisor, and the student will sign the action plan, which will be placed in the student’s file. A copy will be provided to the student via email or a hard copy.
  11. Students holding a leadership position in the class, or who are involved in service-learning projects who experience academic difficulty or issues regarding professional performance may be asked to step down from their position or project as part of the action plan.
  12. The Chair will notify the School Director about any student receiving a Level II Academic Performance Review.

Level III Academic/Professional Performance Review

Faculty Present:

  • SPC Chair (typically the DDE/DCE or their designee)
  • Faculty Advisor (non-voting participant)
  • 2 other faculty members from the School
  • A representative from Enrollment and Student Services (non-voting participant)
  • The SPC chair may invite the instructor(s)/preceptor(s) from the affected course/rotation to attend the SPC meeting to provide context and answer questions (Invitee does not participate in the final discussion and is a non-voting participant).

Indications:

  • Any time a level II concern is unresolved
  • Any time a student fails to adhere to the Level II action plan.
  • Any time a student fails a second didactic course.
  • Any time a student fails Extended Learning in the didactic or clinical phase.
  • Any time a student fails a fourth EOR exam, fails a second clinical rotation, or fails a repeated clinical rotation.
  • Anytime a student on academic warning fails a third EOR exam.
  • Any time a student fails the End of Curriculum summative multiple-choice exam regardless of other accomplishments in the Graduate Seminar course.
  • Any time a student fails the End of Curriculum summative reassessment exam.
  • Any time the Level II Student Progress Committee has serious concerns about a student’s ability to continue in the program.

The Level III process will follow the steps and timeframes outlined above (for Level II Reviews). The Level III committee will review the student’s performance and make a recommendation regarding the student’s continuation in the School.

  1. The Chair will notify the School Director about any student receiving a Level III Academic Performance Review.
  2. The Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services will be notified immediately if the committee decides to dismiss a student from the School.
  3. There may be times when an extenuating circumstance may cause an exception to the time frames outlined in the Level II section above. Any modification to the outlined time frames must be approved by the School Director.
  4. There may be circumstances wherein the first action plan will be to dismiss the student.
  5. Per University policy, a student may appeal a decision of the School of PA Studies Student Progress Committee to the Director of the School of PA Studies. Refer to the appeals process.

Action Plan

The purpose of the action plan is to provide guidance and structure to address concerns raised during the Academic Performance review process. It delineates both specific and/or general measures which the student is required to satisfy in order to progress satisfactorily toward completion of the curriculum. These measures are considered mandatory and failure of the student to comply with them in a satisfactory and/or timely manner may result in subsequent performance review at the appropriate level. The action plan may also summarize actions on behalf of the committee, such as academic dismissal. The decisions of the Student Progress Committee are final in this regard and are not negotiable except through normal appeal channels set forth in this policy. The action plan becomes a part of the student’s Academic Record.