First Year Orientation will include testing of reading abilities (e.g., Wunderlic), to identify students with potential difficulties within an integrated curriculum. Those identified as needing help will be referred to the Academic Skills Counselor for follow-up and referral if necessary.
Academic Success Initiative
It is the Medical School’s desire to see that each student has every opportunity to succeed. Important resources in this regard are: Faculty, College Masters, Academic Counseling Teams (ACTs), and Case Conferences.
1. Upon matriculation, students are assigned to small groups (College/Learning Communities) headed by College Masters. The College Master has the responsibility for monitoring advisees’ academic progress. The College Master will play a valuable role in helping students proactively identify and address evolving academic problems before these problems develop into serious academic difficulties. He/she will be available to discuss issues such as group skills and group process, curricular matters, study strategies, academic performance and professionalism issues.
2. One of the goals of a College Master is to foster a collegial, helping relationship with their advisees that results in the facilitation of a student’s learning and successful progression through the first two years of the curriculum.
3. A goal of the academic advising system is to prevent a student from falling into academic difficulty through early assessment and intervention. The College Master (CM) will serve as a resource for information and guidance on academic issues, as well as other issues related to medical education as requested by the student.
4. Students are required to meet with their CM regularly to discuss their academic performance. CM’s will have access to advisees’ academic records for the purposes of academic counseling. The student will have an initial meeting with their CM during the first week of medical school. Other mandatory meetings will occur within each course and academic period.
5. If students fail an examination, they will be required to meet with the individuals assigned to serve on their Academic Counseling Team (see below), as well as the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Admissions and Outreach or his designee.
6. Students may initiate a request to be assigned a different CM at any time upon request through the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Admissions and Outreach.
Students will be assigned a physician who will serve as their Clinical Years Advisor at the start of Phase B of the curriculum (Year 3). This advisor will serve to guide and advise them throughout the clinical phases of the curriculum. These advisors will also help students in the task of medical specialty selection and preparing for the residency selection process. There will be mandatory meetings with their Clinical Advisor in Phase B (Year 3) and Phase C (Year 4). Students may change clinical advisors upon request to the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Admissions and Outreach. The clinical year’s advisor system will be explained in detail at the Year 3 Orientation that will occur at the end of Year 2.
Academic Counseling Team (ACT)
If a student fails an examination an Academic Counseling Team (ACT) will be formed composed of the student’s College Master, Academic Skills Specialist; course chair from the subject in which the exam was failed, and the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Admissions and Outreach. The goal of the ACT is to provide prompt and effective interventions to correct academic deficiencies.
If a student fails a second examination, a Case Conference will be held. A Case Conference is called by the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Admissions and Outreach and will also include: the Senior Associate Dean of Medical Education and Accreditation, the Director of Student Affairs and Admissions, the College Master, the course directors of the classes in which the student received the unsatisfactory examinations, and the Director of Medical Skills. The purpose of this conference will be to determine if there are any recurring themes (attitudes, behaviors, etc.) which may be contributing to the student’s difficulty and to develop a specialized recommendation for the student. Subsequent to this conference, the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Admissions and Outreach will meet with the student and discuss this recommendation.
Academic Support Services
The Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Admissions and Outreach, who in addition to others monitors students’ academic progress routinely, will meet with individuals concerned with their academic progress, or identified from performance data, or referral by faculty or students, as potentially needing assistance. The rigorous medical curriculum is often more than a student expects and may call for new test-taking strategies, study strategies, and better time management. For many students it may be the first time that they experience an academic failure. The Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Admissions and Outreach will offer both advising and referral services.
The College of Medicine’s Academic Skills Specialist will monitor the academic progress of all students and will contact students who may benefit from services provided by that office. These services will include: test-taking and study skills; time management; access to various discipline specific study guides; tutoring services; USMLE preparation; and referral to psychological learning specialists for diagnostic services (i.e. learning disabilities; dyslexia; ADD; ADHD, etc.).
The COM Student Promotions Committee (SPC) will be responsible for the application of effective procedures for the evaluation of student performance, which is defined to include both academic achievement and professional competence. The Committee will evaluate the progress of all students in the program and certify whether or not students have met the stated criteria for academic advancement. It will recommend appropriate actions when students do not maintain satisfactory academic progress. The SPC may formulate a remediation program for the student based on his/or her unique presentation. In such cases the student may be required to submit reports to the SPC concerning their progress they have made in these remediatory efforts. If a student finds that their level of academic difficulty places them before the Student Promotions Committee (SPC), the students’ College Masters will be available to help them prepare their comments for their appearance before the Committee.
Data from the University’s CAMS system (Comprehensive Academic Management System) and COM’s learning management system (Sakai CLE), as well as from the evaluation and curriculum management system (E*Value) will be analyzed in monitoring student academic progress.
The COM faculty members are expected to have an open-door policy to allow for increased student interactions. Based on our experiences with such policies and with the increased direct student contact planned for our program, we expect that students will seek out their own advisors and mentors from among the faculty. California Northstate University College of Medicine encourages these types of interactions as well.
As part of the Orientation and throughout the curriculum (e.g., Masters Colloquium), the College of Medicine will provide students with sessions designed to deal with the stress of attending medical school, time management, and study skills. Additionally, as described above, the students will be part of a College/Learning Community led by a College Master (faculty advisor), with whom they are to meet on a regular basis. The College Master will offer guidance on courses and clerkships, career guidance, monitor ongoing progress, and student wellness.
If the College Master (or any other faculty) believes that personal or professional help is required for a student, then the student will be referred to the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Admissions and Outreach for additional recommendations and referral sources. The College of Medicine is in the process of finalizing an agreement with Sutter Health Employee Assistance Programs that will provide students with off-campus mental health counseling services, legal consultative services and financial/accounting consults.
Additional academic support and mental health care options will continue to be developed prior to matriculation of the first class.
Please refer to Appendix MS 9.1, Student Handbook for comprehensive descriptions of student support services, organization of tutoring and career counseling.