Student Professional Development

An important aspect of any professional educational curriculum is the development of professional behaviors and role identity. Evidence shows that unprofessional behavior exhibited during training is a predictor of future problems with state regulatory boards and the need for disciplinary actions (Papadakis, Hodgson, Teherani and Kohatsu, 2004). Unprofessional behavior presents a potential danger to the provision of good patient care and relates to the credibility of the profession. Professionalism therefore shares equal importance to content knowledge and manual skills at RVU. The RVU PA Program considers violation of professional conduct a significant deficiency. Recognizing the responsibility for professional behavior, the Program sets expectations for and evaluates students on their professional conduct. Students must demonstrate acquisition of these important behaviors.

Student professional development is considered on an individual basis, in each course, each semester, or more frequently, as needed. Course Directors will complete a professionalism rubric in association with determining a pass or fail score for each student. The Student Assessment and Promotions Committee (SAPC) will review the rubrics from all courses at the end of each semester for unacceptable professionalism ratings. (Refer to Professional Development and Assessment Tool (PDAT) within the Appendices).

The student will be required to acknowledge the expectations for professionalism as outlined in this handbook. An incident and/or allegation of student violation of the Code of Conduct, policy, protocol, student handbook, regulation, program or course requirements and professionalism expectations will be investigated and the Course Director or their designee, may meet with the student informally to discuss the incident and possible courses of action.  If the Course Director or their designee determines there is sufficient reason to believe a violation may have occurred the matter may be handled informally or may involve more formal disciplinary measures. In the event it is determined that formal disciplinary measures will be taken, the student will be notified in writing of the allegations and will be provided with an opportunity to be heard at a disciplinary meeting before the Student Assessment and Promotion Committee (SAPC).

The Chair of the SAPC presides over the meeting and is responsible to see that the meeting is conducted in an orderly fashion.  The Chair has the authority to rule on questions of admissibility, adjournments, requests for breaks, relevance, and scope appropriateness of questions, evidence and information.

A meeting before the SAPC is not intended to be criminal in nature and the proceeding and procedures are not intended to be that of a criminal court.  The student does not have a right to be accompanied at the meetings leading up to or the hearing before the SAPC by an attorney.

A student may, but is not required, to submit a written statement in advance of the meeting for consideration by the SAPC.  At the meeting, the student will have the opportunity to make any relevant statements and provide their side of the story; the SAPC will have the opportunity to ask questions of the student and any other individuals that may appear before the SAPC to provide first-hand information regarding the matter.

The SAPC will act as a fact finder and consider all of the information before it, along with the student’s anecdotal notes and files, as well as their admissions file and academic history while in the program, and provide its findings and recommendation to the Program Director. The Program Director may, but is not required to, follow the findings and recommendations of the SAPC and may accept, reject, or modify the recommendations and sanction(s). The Program Director shall inform the student of the decision in writing.  This decision and all official disciplinary correspondence shall become part of the student’s official record and could be reportable to licensing authorities to the extent relevant questions are raised.

The standard to be employed for all disciplinary cases is a preponderance of the evidence standard (more likely than not, greater than 50%).  Clear and convincing evidence is not required. In arriving at any decision, attention is paid to the history of the student, their growth as members of an academic community and graduates and professionals within their chosen profession and the expectations and responsibilities that accompany the privilege of becoming a practicing physician assistant.  Consideration will be given to the educational record, current status, student record, and any prior disciplinary history and/or prior formal or informal warnings, counseling, incidents, and professionalism concerns raised, which may be factored into the recommendation and decision.

If the SAPC determines a violation has occurred it may recommend a range of penalties, including but not limited to, one or a combination of the following:

  • Disciplinary Warning – A written reprimand putting the student on notice that they have violated expectations and indicating that further misconduct may result in a more severe disciplinary action. A copy of this warning will be placed in the student's file and the warning can be maintained in the student’s file with or without conditions attached.


  • Disciplinary Probation with or without conditions - A student may be placed on disciplinary probation for a definite period of time. While on probation, students may not hold office in Student Government Organizations, Clubs or Societies or represent the program in any capacity or serve in leadership positions on campus.  Additional conditions may be attached, including but not limited to, prohibition against participation in extra-curricular activities without permission, limitations on access to campus-related facilities/functions that are not necessary to attend class, mandated counseling, status updates and meetings and any other conditions found to be appropriate. Further violations while on probationary status will result in suspension or dismissal from the program. A copy of the probation notice becomes a part of the student’s file unless expunged.


  • Suspension – A student may be suspended and may be barred from attending classes for a definite period, not to exceed one academic semester.  Conditions may be attached to resumption of studies as a pre-requisite to return from suspension.  Any student who does not complete any such conditions within the specified timeframe may be subject to dismissal.


  • Disciplinary Dismissal – This is termination of the student’s enrolled status. A student who has been dismissed for disciplinary reasons is not permitted to complete their courses and may not re-register for a future semester. Notification of the dismissal will appear on the student’s academic transcript and students will not be allowed to enroll in other RVU programs.


  • Other Sanctions – The SAPC may recommend other sanctions that it deems appropriate and fair.


  • Students may appeal disciplinary sanctions imposed for code of conduct violations. (refer to “Student Appeals” “Appeals of the Decision of the SAPC or Program Director”)

This process is cumulative over the course of the program.