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Uniform Policy for Relevant Small Group Attendance

Small group attendance is an integral component of all courses during the first two years. Regular attendance at small group sessions provides students with important learning opportunities not available in lectures or other venues. Furthermore, the success of small groups depends on the attendance and participation of all students. Therefore, students are expected to attend all small groups in each basic science course in Years 1 and 2. Failure to attend at least 80% of required small groups will result in a grade of F for the entire course. Required small groups will be designated at the beginning of each course by the course director. This attendance requirement is independent of the specific contribution of small group attendance and/or participation to the overall course grade. Under exceptional circumstances, the requirement for 80% attendance may be modified for individual students upon approval of both the course director and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs.

When small group attendance is a component of the academic grade, attendance will count at most 10% of the academic grade for each course. In all courses, attendance at required small groups will be documented by roll call, sign-in sheets, electronic sign-in or by completing and submitting a required exercise. Late attendance compromises group dynamics. The sign-in begins at 15 minutes prior to the start of the small group, and ends 15 minutes after the start of the small group except in extenuating circumstances to be approved by the course director(s). Absences from one or more required small groups in courses graded “pass/fail” or “pass/no pass” can result in a decrement in the academic grade for the course as determined by each course director. In all courses receiving a letter grade, absences from two or more required small groups will result in a decrement in the academic grade for the course as determined by each course director. In each of these courses, a single small group session can be missed without approval of the course director or decrement to the small group attendance portion of the course grade. There are no excused absences from required small groups, except with prior permission from the Dean of the School of Medicine or his designated representative. Excused absence may be granted by the course director and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs for the following reasons: participation in Legislative Day, attending a required autopsy, observance of religious holidays (with a note from the student's religious institution), presenting research conducted as a UMSOM student at a recognized national or international meeting, and seeking medical care which is urgent or can be obtained only during the time of the small group activity (with a note from the medical provider). Requests for excused absences for autopsy participation, religious reasons or participation at a national meeting must be made at least two weeks before the anticipated absence. The names of students participating in Legislative Day will automatically be forwarded to course masters. In the case of urgent medical treatment, a health care provider note must be presented to the Office of Student Affairs on the first day a student returns to school. If the medical care was not urgent in nature, the note should state that the provider was unable to accommodate the student at a time other than during Small Group.

Breaches of professionalism, including signing in for others, signing in without physically attending, or signing in and leaving (without permission) before completion of the small group are violations of the School of Medicine Honor Code and as such are reportable to the School of Medicine Judicial Board. Sanctions from the Judicial Board become a permanent part of the student academic record and may be included in the portion of the Medical School Performance Evaluation dealing with professionalism.


Last Revision: November 26, 2013