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CMSV 309 Academic Advisement

Policy Name: Academic Advisement

The University of Mount Saint Vincent Master of Science Physician Assistant Program has developed an advisement protocol to ensure that all students have access to an advisor who will be with them from the start of the didactic phase of the program until their graduation following the clinical phase of the program. Students are encouraged to meet with their advisors on a regular basis who will assist the student in developing strong time management skills while giving them the tools necessary to achieve success within the didactic phase of the program.

During the student’s clinical phase of the program the advisor will act as a mentor to the student, outlining the proper professional behavior to exhibit while interacting with other members of the healthcare team. Areas of discussion will include, but are not limited to:

  • Conflict resolution.
  • Dressing professionally.
  • Interacting with your clinical preceptor or physician supervisor.
  • Respect for other members of the healthcare team.
  • Outlining the duties and responsibilities of the physician assistant student during the clinical phase.
  • Enhancement of time management and study skills, building on the work achieved during the didactic phase of their studies.
  • Understanding the importance of cultural diversity and how it can be utilized in expanding patient management goals.
  • Developing future goals and ambitions post-graduate
  • How to develop the character traits that will assist in producing an optimal team player.
  • Enhancing and developing leadership skills.
  • Assistance with master’s thesis preparation, topic choice, and development.

General Academic Advisement Protocol

  • Prior to the start of the didactic phase of the program, each student will be assigned to a principal faculty advisor who will remain with the student throughout the course of the program unless circumstances dictate otherwise (i.e. principal faculty advisor chooses a different educational environment).
  • Within one month of the program’s beginning, a student will be scheduled for an introductory advisement session.
  • Advisement sessions will be scheduled in advance at least twice per year, both during the didactic and clinical phases of the program, unless more frequent visits are necessary or dictated by the student’s current academic/clinical performance.
  • A student, at the end of a specified didactic term, who is placed on ‘Academic Warning’ or ‘Academic Probation’ will be required to meet with their faculty advisor on a bi-weekly basis to discuss present academic standing
  • A student who is placed on ‘Professional Warning’ or ‘Professional Probation’ will meet with their faculty advisor weekly to discuss their professional progress in addressing their deficiencies.
  • Any cancellation of a previously scheduled advisory meeting by the student must be done 72-hours in advance of the scheduled date of the advisory session via email to ensure proper documentation of cancellation request.
  • Failure to appear for a regularly scheduled advisory session may result in disciplinary action being instituted.

Specific Academic Advisement Protocol
The program will implement the following system to ensure the academic counseling of students.

  • Prior to the start of the didactic phase of the Program, each student will be assigned to a principal faculty member as their advisor. Only principal faculty members will be responsible for the academic advising of students.
  • Within one month of the start of the didactic phase of the program, all didactic phase students are required to meet with their faculty advisor and complete their introductory advisement session.
    • During the introductory in-person meeting, admission data and any potential areas of concerns about the student’s pre-enrollment performance will be discussed with the student, including study skills, learning styles, time management, and the quality and quantity of study sessions.
  • After the introductory advisement session, students are to formally meet at least twice per year in person with their principal faculty advisor.
  • On-going and scheduled academic advisement will include a review of the student’s progress in meeting the program’s academic and professional objectives, along with any other issues or concerns raised by the student.
  • Prior to each regularly scheduled advisement session, the principal faculty advisor will collect data concerning their advisee’s performance, including grades and feedback from instructors.
  • The student’s study skills, learning styles, and the quality and quantity of study sessions will also be reviewed at advisor meetings to identify areas for potential improvement.

Special “At Risk” Advisement Protocol
Students classified as “At Risk” will adhere to the following protocol:

  • If a student is identified as having academic difficulties, or other difficulties impacting their academic performance, the assigned advisor will be asked to meet with the student and will document their conversation using the advisement form.
  • “At Risk” students will meet with their principal faculty advisor at least bi-weekly with the possibility of weekly sessions occurring.

Student Request for Change of Principal Faculty Advisor
There are instances when the principal faculty advisor and student have difficulty in achieving the proper advisory relationship that will benefit both the student and the advisor. In that instance, a student can request a change of their principal faculty advisor.

The process for this request is as follows:

  • A formal, written request by the student will be made to the program director requesting a change of the principal faculty advisor.
  • The rational for the request for a new advisor must be clearly delineated.
  • Specific difficulties with the advisor must be outlined—this is necessary for possible review of the principal faculty advisor.
  • The program director will request documentation from the advisor outlining advisory sessions, including what was discussed and implemented.
  • The program director will meet with the student to review the request.
  • The program director will either approve or reject the request following consultation with the advisor.
  • The decision of the program director will be final.