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Progress Board

Progress Board structure and function:

The Progress Board (PB) is a standing, independent promotions committee in the School of Medicine consisting of 9 members (5 clinicians and 4 basic scientists) appointed by the Dean of the School of Medicine. The PB meets upon receiving a recommendation of the Basic or Clinical Science Academic Evaluation Board that is considered an Adverse Recommendation (see definition above). Additionally, a student may be referred to the PB by the School of Medicine Honor Board for Honor Code/professionalism violations that may merit either a decelerated program, interruption in training, leave of absence or dismissal from the School of Medicine.  Faculty may apply to the Dean for a position on the PB. If an insufficient number of faculty apply, the Dean shall appoint the members from the general faculty. 

Requirements for membership on the Progress Board:

  • Senior member of the faculty (associate professor or above)
  • NOT a current course coordinator and has not been a course coordinator for at least 12 months before date of appointment. Faculty members who teach in a course but are not the course coordinator may be members of the PB.
  • A member of the PB who has a relationship to the student as a mentor must recuse him/herself from voting in any decision about that student.
  • If the case concerns a particular course, faculty teaching in that course must recuse themselves from voting in any decision about that course.

The PB makes recommendations to the Dean of the School of Medicine regarding:

  1. remediation or repetition of courses,
  2. entry into a less than full-time program (when this request is not made by the student),
  3. leave of absence not initiated by the student, or
  4. dismissal

Operational support for the PB is through the Office of Student Affairs and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. The PB will make decisions following the academic policies as set by the Educational Policy Committee (EPC) in the School of Medicine, in accordance with the Technical Standards and the Honor Code in the School of Medicine and the University of Massachusetts Medical School Code of Conduct.

Chair and Vice-Chair of the Progress Board:

Members of the Progress Board will select a Chair and a Vice-Chair who will each remain in these positions for a minimum of 2 years. At the point that the Chair steps down, the Vice-Chair will assume the position of Chair for a minimum of 2 years and another Vice-Chair will be chosen from the members of the PB. If the Chair is unable to attend a PB meeting, the Vice-Chair will assume the role of Chair for that meeting and for the duration of the case. The position of Chair will be the same for the duration of each individual case in order to maintain continuity; PB meetings will thus be scheduled to allow their participation throughout. The member serving as Chair will continue to have a vote.

The role of the Chair will be to:

  1. conduct the PB meetings and
  2. report the findings of the PB to the Dean of the School of Medicine and to the appropriate referring Academic Evaluation Board.

Progress Board Process:

If the Basic Science Academic Evaluation Board (BSAEB) or Clinical Science Academic Evaluation Board (CSAEB) makes an Adverse Recommendation, this will result in referral of the student to a Progress Board (PB). Similarly, if the Honor Board (HB) makes a recommendation that may affect progress of the student in the curriculum, the student will be referred to a PB. The Chair of the AEB or HB making the referral to the PB will notify the student in writing of the decision, with copy to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs (ADSA) and the student’s Learning Communities Mentor. The ADSA will notify the PB members of the PB referral and will arrange the PB meeting but will not participate in deliberations or voting. The Office of Student Affairs will provide administrative support for all aspects of the meeting. At least 3 of the 9 members of the Progress Board must be present at a PB meeting to decide on a given case; at least 2 members must be basic scientists if the student is in the preclinical years, and at least 2 members must be clinicians if the student is in the clinical years. The members of the Progress Board who are hearing a case will not include any member of a course involved in the adverse recommendation of the Evaluation Board and will not include any mentor of the student.

In advance of the PB meeting, the ADSA, Chair of the AEB or HB making the referral to the PB and the Chair of the PB will meet to prepare materials for the PB meeting, including communications between the AEB/HB and the student and the complete academic record, including professionalism concerns if reports have been filed.

The ADSA will notify the student of the date of the PB meeting by sending a letter via email to the student’s umassmed.edu account, providing at least 10 working days’ notice before the date on which a PB is convened. The letter will also be mailed to the student’s address as listed in PeopleSoft, via registered/certified mail. The ADSA will also forward to the student via email the information being presented at the PB meeting. The notification to the student and the accompanying materials will also be emailed to the student’s Learning Communities Mentor. The student will be expected to review the materials and prepare a self-reflection regarding the reason for the referral to the PB. The self-reflection should be sent to the ADSA no later than 5:00pm on the day before the PB hearing. The ADSA will share the student’s self-reflection with the members of the PB.

The PB will receive the minutes of the AEB meeting(s) and any other pertinent information. The Chair of the AEB or HB will present the reason for the referral to the PB on the day of the meeting. A student must be invited but is not required to attend any PB meeting at which an adverse recommendation is being considered. Furthermore, any student may request to meet with the Chair of the PB in advance of the PB meeting. If the student wishes to meet with the Board, the student’s request must be given in writing to the ADSA at least two working days prior to the PB meeting. A student who elects to be present for the PB hearing may bring an advocate into the hearing room with him or her. In a case in which no criminal charges are pending, the advocate can be any member of the university community. However, no parties shall be represented by legal counsel (this restriction includes faculty members and students other than the accused student who also have formal legal training). The role of the advocate is to assist the student in presenting his/her side of the case as effectively as possible. If criminal charges are pending, the student may bring an attorney as an advocate and the University may also choose to be represented by legal counsel.

The PB may call on the Chair of the AEB or HB, the ADSA, or any other faculty members, for clarification of process and issues, either during the PB hearing or after the hearing. The PB may call additional meetings for further deliberation after the initial PB hearing, either in person (ideally) or by conference call if necessary. The PB may also call the student back for additional clarification if needed. The PB will deliberate and make a recommendation to the Dean of the School of Medicine based on the information presented during the PB hearing and any follow-up information obtained during the course of the deliberations.

Decisions of the PB will be by majority vote; the standard used will be “preponderance of the evidence” rather than the criminal standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Ideally the PB will render a decision and recommendation to the Dean no later than 15 working days after the initial PB hearing is convened. The Chair of the PB will convey the decision by letter to the Dean, sent via email and copied to the Chair of the AEB or HB that made the referral to the PB as well as to the ADSA. The Dean will indicate to the Chair of the PB whether the PB decision will be accepted, with cc to the ADSA. The ADSA will in turn notify the student of the decision by the PB and the Dean. In the notification to the student, the ADSA will inform the student of his/her right to appeal the decision in accordance with the Appeal Policy (see section IX, Appeal Policy Medical Student)

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