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Physician Assistant Program Policies

Advanced Placement

We do not offer advanced placement.

Criminal Background Check and Toxicology Screen

Ohio law mandates criminal records checks for all prospective employees in positions where the individual will be caring for older adults or children. Additionally, a criminal record check and toxicology screening for all clinical students is a standard criterion in affiliation agreements with clinical training sites. Therefore, all students are required to obtain a criminal background check and toxicology screen prior to each academic year. The cost of the background checks and toxicology screening are the responsibility of the student.

Program Progression

To progress in and graduate from the program, students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA. A student will not be permitted to progress to the clinical year if their GPA is less than 3.0 and will ultimately be dismissed from the program. If a student is on probation at any time close to or during the clinical year, they will decelerate resulting in a delay in graduation.

Dismissal

Grounds for dismissal include but are not limited to the following:

  • Failure to raise the cumulative GPA above 3.0 at the completion of two subsequent academic semesters of probation.
  • Two course failures.
  • Failure to meet conditions established in a remediation agreement or learning contract.
  • Lapses in professionalism standards, academic misconduct, and/or other conduct violations (i.e. violation of drug and alcohol policies).

Graduation Requirements

To graduate from the Ohio University Physician Assistant program and be awarded the Master of Physician Assistant Practice degree, students must pass each required course with a grade of "C" or better and have a cumulative program GPA of 3.0. In addition, students must meet the minimum requirements of the following summative evaluations:

  1. Comprehensive Written Examination
  2. Objective Structured Clinical Exam – OSCE
  3. Professional Behavior Assessment
  4. Complete payment of all tuition, program fees, University fees and library charges

Harassment

Ohio University is committed to a campus and community climate that is welcoming, respectful and safe. You are entitled to be free of discrimination and harassment and should not be subjected to such behaviors by students, faculty members or staff. For additional information, please consult the OHIO Student Handbook and the OHIO Harassment Policy.

Insurance

Ohio University requires all students to have health insurance. It is assumed that all students will have health insurance prior to matriculation as required by the Affordable Care Act. Students wishing to purchase their health insurance can do so through Ohio University. More information on student health insurance plans and policies.

  • Domestic Students: All domestic students enrolled with seven or more credit hours must carry health insurance. An accident and sickness insurance plan (Domestic Plan) designed to supplement the care provided by the Student Health Service is automatically billed to all students meeting this guideline. Domestic students can complete a waiver declaration if they have comparable coverage. Students must submit the waiver via My OHIO Student Center. The name and policy number of your insurance company are required when submitting the waiver. Dependent coverage is also available. More information on student health insurance plans and policies.

Refunds of Tuition and Fees

Refunds of tuition and fees are handled by the Ohio University Bursar. Please visit the Office of the Bursar-refunds webpage for additional information regarding how to request a refund: https://www.ohio.edu/bursar/refunds

Remediation/Course Failure

Any student who fails a course is required to remediate the course. A course failure occurs when a student fails two exams within the course and/or earns less than 70% for the course. The student is required to meet with the course instructor to review the course failure. The course instructor will then develop the course remediation plan. The student is also reported to the program’s Student Progress Committee for further discussion and additional disciplinary action if necessary.

Remediation process:

  • The student will have up to 6 weeks starting after the semester in which the course failure occurred, to complete the remediation.
  • The student is expected to continue regular course work during the following semester in addition to the course being remediated.
  • After the remediation, the student is required to take a post-remediation assessment.
  • If the student passes the post-remediation assessment, the failing grade is replaced with a “C” and will be reflected as such on the student’s transcript.
  • If the student fails the post-remediation assessment, the transcript will reflect the original failing grade. This constitutes failing the same course twice and will result in dismissal from the program.
  • Each course failure, even if successfully remediated, counts toward the maximum number of two-course failures policy and will result in dismissal from the program.

Student Employment

The OHIO PA program is extremely rigorous and all students are encouraged to focus on academic studies; thus, employment is strongly discouraged. All candidates should consider acceptance to the OHIO PA program as a 27-month, full-time commitment.

If a student decides to work while admitted to the PA program:

  • Work schedules shall not interfere with classes or clinical rotations.
  • Students may not work for the OHIO PA program.

Students with specific prior knowledge, experience and skills may assist faculty in didactic and laboratory sessions to share their knowledge and skills. During clinical rotations, students must not be used to substitute for clinical or administrative staff at clinical sites.

Student Grievances

A student may file a grievance for academic matters not involving grade changes. These issues may include course content and instructor behavior. Before pursuing such a grievance, students should familiarize themselves with the importance of academic freedom to the educational environment of the university. Ohio University supports the idea that protecting academic freedom at the institution is the responsibility of students and faculty alike. Ohio University takes the position that academic freedom protects faculty and students'research and scholarship activities as well as material introduced in the classroom and must be assured during the academic appeal process. However, instructors are expected to show proper judgment in the classroom and should avoid persistently intruding material which has no relation to their subject.

A statement defining academic freedom which is based on language supported by the Association of American Colleges and Universities can be found above. Students should familiarize themselves with this statement before deciding whether to pursue a grievance related to an academic matter. If a student wishes to grieve an academic matter that is not protected by academic freedom as defined above, the student should first seek resolution of the matter with the instructor. If resolution is not reached, the student should take his or her grievance to the department chair or school director. If a resolution cannot be reached at that level, the student should consult the dean of his or her college.

The student should be aware that they may contact the Office of the Ombudsperson, on the Athens Campus, 740.593.2627, for advice and counsel at any time during the academic grievance processes described above. For additional information, please consult the OHIO Student Handbook.

Leave Of Absence and Deceleration

If a student encounters an unforeseen medical and/or personal issue that will necessitate extended, excused absences that prevent them from participating in didactic courses, clinical courses, and/or other required program didactic activities, they must take a leave of absence. Students are required to complete a leave of absence form and meet with their faculty advisor and program director to discuss the leave of absence (LOA).

LOA and program re-entrance plans are reviewed by the program director and SPC and are developed on a case-by-case basis. A leave of absence is only permitted ONCE during the length of the program.
When a student takes a leave of absence, they are required to decelerate.

Deceleration

Deceleration is defined by ARC-PA as “any disruption in the student’s progress that will extend the date of graduation beyond that of his/her cohort.” If a leave of absence is granted, the student will decelerate.

NOTE: A leave of absence is not considered for any student who fails to meet academic and/or professional conduct standards as defined by the program. A leave of absence will not be granted in place of probation.

Leave of Absence During the Clinical Year

If a student encounters medical and/or personal difficulties that will necessitate an absence from the clinical rotation course for more than 25% of the scheduled days of the SCPE, the student may petition the Program Director for a leave of absence. The Program Director will present the request to the Student Progress Committee (SPC) for consideration, and a final decision. If the request is deemed appropriate by the program director and SPC, and the student is in good academic standing at the time of the request, the program director may grant the leave of absence. During the clinical year, a leave of absence is not considered in the case of academic probation, professional probation, or any other situation that would be considered grounds for dismissal (refer to withdraw and dismissal policies, respectively).

The student’s written request for a leave of absence must include his/her reasons for the request, the amount of leave time desired, and a suggested plan for returning to the program. If a leave is taken for medical reasons, the program requires certification from a licensed healthcare professional attesting to a student’s fitness to resume coursework. Granting a leave of absence does not imply a full or partial refund of tuition and fees. Any potential refund is subject to University policy and drop deadlines.

A student who is granted a leave of absence during the clinical year will be required to decelerate. Deceleration is defined by ARC-PA as “any disruption in the student’s progress that will extend the date of graduation beyond that of his/her cohort.”

Upon returning to the program, the student will be required to demonstrate competency.  This could be in the form of a written comprehensive examination, practical examination, and/or participating in a learning contract while on leave. The type of assessment will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

The student will be assigned clinical placements based on clinical site availability. It is expected that the student will complete all SCPEs requirements within 3 months of their original graduation date. Therefore, a leave of absence during the clinical year will not exceed 3 months. It is expected that the needed SCPEs will be completed sequentially and within the timeframe needed to complete the missed clinical courses. For example, if a leave of absence is granted for 2 months and the student misses 2 SCPEs, upon return to the program, the student will have 2 months to complete those 2 SCPEs.

In the event of a failed SCPE, the student will be required to repeat the rotation at the end of the clinical year, which will result in deceleration. The student will meet with the course director and director of clinical education to discuss a course remediation plan. The student will have one month to complete the course remediation for the failed SPCE, which must occur within the semester after the original graduation date.

NOTE: Students may be required to decelerate if they do not meet the healthcare system's credentialing policies as this could lead to a delay in securing clinical placements. Students must correct the deficiencies as directed by the program in order to meet the credentialing standards of the health care facility. Any student with outstanding requirements, that are not addressed as directed by the program, will be dismissed from the program.

Didactic Year Leave of Absence Policy

Students who are unable to attend class due to legitimate excused absences per Ohio University guidelines or unexcused absences during the didactic year for more than 5 consecutive days, or 10 cumulative days during a semester, must take a leave of absence (LOA) (see the absence policy for legitimate excused absences). Because the courses in the program are offered only once per academic year and serve as prerequisites for subsequent courses, the length of the LOA will be determined on a case-by-case basis and is based on when an LOA is taken. A student is required to enroll in the program at the beginning of the semester in which the leave was taken. For example, if a student leaves in the fall semester, they are required to enroll in the program at the beginning of fall semester the following year. The student may be required to report to the program prior to the start of the semester in which they are re-entering so that they can fulfill all requirements for returning to the program as defined in the LOA plan. A leave of absence cannot be extended and is only permitted ONCE during the program. 
Prior to re-entering the program, the student is required to demonstrate competency as outlined in the LOA plan. The type of assessment will be determined on a case-by-case basis and is dependent on the timing of the leave and the student’s academic history. If the student fails the competency assessment, they could be denied re-entrance to the program.
In order for a LOA to be approved, the student must complete the Leave of Absence Request form (located on E*Value) and submit it to the Student Progress Committee Chairperson. The Leave of Absence request includes the dates of the leave, the reason for the leave, the student’s study plan during the leave, and the program’s plan for the student’s re-entrance/assessment of competency. The SPC will review the request, perform an academic record review, and then present their findings and decision to the Program Director. The Program Director will make the final decision regarding the LOA request. The form must be signed by the SPC Chairperson, Program Director, and student.

Clinical Year Leave of Absence Policy

If a student encounters medical and/or personal difficulty that will necessitate an absence from the clinical rotation course for more than 25% of the scheduled days of the supervised clinical practice experience (SCPE), the student must request a leave of absence, in writing, to the SPC. Leave of Absence during the clinical year cannot exceed more than 3 months, the leave cannot be extended and is only permitted ONCE during the program. The student will decelerate (as described above) and will experience a delay in graduation.

Before returning from a LOA, the student is required to demonstrate competency as outlined in the LOA plan. The type of assessment will be determined on a case-by-case basis and is dependent on the timing of the leave and the academic history of the student. The student may be required to report to the program before the end of the LOA to complete the required assessments. The student must pass the defined competency assessment in the LOA plan in order to re-enter the program. 

For a LOA to be approved, the student must complete a Leave of Absence request form. The Leave of Absence plan includes the dates of the leave, the reason, the student’s study plan while on leave, and the program’s plan for the student’s re-entrance/assessment of competency upon their return. The SPC will review the request, perform an academic record review, and then present their findings and decision to the Program Director. The Program Director will make the final decision. The form must be signed by the SPC Chairperson, Program Director, and the student. 

The student will be assigned clinical placements based on clinical site availability. In the event the program is not able to secure rotations for the semester in which the student is planning to return, the student will be considered for placement in the subsequent semester, which would delay graduation for an additional semester.
 

Military Leave Policy

If you are currently serving in the United States military, active duty, National Guard, or Reserves, the program and university appreciates your service and will work with you as you fulfill your service obligations.

While in the program, we recommend that you work with your commanders to coordinate your annual training and regular duty during school breaks. We understand that is not always possible. If you must perform your annual tour during the semester, it cannot exceed 5 days. To help you succeed in this program, military activation beyond 5 days will require you to take a leave of absence. If the LOA occurs during the didactic year, the leave lasts one- year and the student re-enters the program at the start of the semester in which the leave started. For example, if the student leaves in the fall semester, the student cannot rejoin the program until the start of the fall semester in the following year. 

If military leave must occur during the clinical year, the student is eligible for up to one year of leave of absence. If the military obligation is less than one year, the student will resume clinical rotations once placements are secured.

Before a LOA can be approved, the student must complete the Leave of Absence request form (located on E*Value). The Leave of Absence plan includes the dates of the leave, the reason, the student’s study plan while on leave, and the program’s plan for student’s re-entrance/assessment of competency upon their return. The SPC will review the request, perform an academic record review, and then present their findings and decision to the Program Director. The Program Director will make the final decision. The form must be signed by the SPC Chairperson, Program Director, and the student. 

NOTE: Each military leave of absence and program re-entrance plan will be evaluated and developed on a case-by-case basis. Students returning from a LOA must pass the physical requirements of the program (i.e. technical standards and physical examination), a background check and drug screen, and meet the academic requirements of the re-entrance plan.

Withdrawal

It is not unusual for students to experience stress in adjusting to the rigors of physician assistant education. Students considering a withdrawal from the program should consult with their faculty advisor and/or the program director before initiating the withdrawal process.

OHIO University Policy on Withdrawal