Professional Behavior Policy

Link to Professional Behavior Report to submit a violation

Students in the Department of Occupational Therapy professional program are expected to adhere to the general student behavior expectations as defined in the Department’s Student Handbook and to display professional behavior, consistent with the standards set by the College, the School, the Department, and the profession of occupational therapy.

In order to develop the skills and professional characteristics necessary to function as a healthcare professional, it is important that the student be an engaged participant in the educational process.

 1. Department Expectation of Students 

 A. Consistent with the standards determined by the Occupational Therapy Department, students must demonstrate the attitudes, characteristics, and behaviors described by the American Occupational Therapy Association Code of Ethics and Core Values. 

Some examples include, but are not limited to:

  1. Responsibility and dependability
  2. Honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness
  3. Professional appearance and demeanor
  4. Commitment to excellence
  5. Respect
  6. Communication and collaboration
  7. Commitment to ethical principles
  8. Accountability
  9. Altruism
  10. Compassion/caring
  11. Social responsibility
  12. Cultural awareness
  13. Commitment to self-improvement and ongoing professional development
  14. Humility
  15. Ownership and initiative
  16. Accepting constructive feedback
  17. Attitude
  18. Appropriate professional respect including social media and other platform
  19. Appropriate professional respect on social media
  20. Inappropriate use of cell phone or other forms of technology
  21. Lack of academic integrity

 B. Access to the student’s departmental file and the contents therein, including any documentation of either outstanding or unsatisfactory performance, will be granted to the student consistent with the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

 C. The faculty may determine that any single incident may be sufficient cause for initiating the Department Professional Behavior Policy and remediation and/or disciplinary procedures, which could lead to dismissal from the program.

2. Documentation of Unsatisfactory Performance        

Faculty, staff, clinical instructors and/or students associated with the Department of Occupational Therapy who observe a student’s behavior, which is inconsistent with the Department’s expectations, are expected to document the incident of unsatisfactory performance using the Department’s Professional Behavior Report (PBR) form and notify the Chair of the Professional Behaviors Review Committee (PBRC), or another Department faculty member, who will forward to the Chair of the PBRC. 

3. Procedure for Review of Documented Unsatisfactory Performance

A. The Department’s Professional Behaviors Review Committee (PBRC)

     a. The Department shall have a PBRC. It shall be the duty of the PBRC to review all reports of violations of the Department’s Professional Behaviors Policy referred to the committee, complete the procedure outlined below, and recommend any appropriate remedial measures or discipline.

      b. All full-time faculty in the Department of Occupational Therapy are eligible to participate in the PBRC. The PBRC must have four or more members present in order to meet, review referrals and make any recommendations.

       c. The Department Chair may serve as a member of the committee but is not eligible to serve as PBRC Chair. The PBRC will elect one of the committee members as chair of the PBRC for a one-year term.

 B. Filing of a Professional Behaviors Policy violation

      a. A faculty member may report an incident of inappropriate professional behavior by completing the Department’s PBR form. The completed form should be forwarded to the PBRC Chair. 

      b. A staff member may report an incident of inappropriate professional behavior by completing the Department’s PBR form. The completed form should be forwarded to the PBRC Chair, a faculty member, or the Department Chair who will then forward to the PBRC Chair.

      c. A student may report an incident of inappropriate professional behavior by completing the Department’s PBR form. The completed form should be forwarded to the PBRC Chair, a faculty member, or the Department Chair who will then forward to the PBRC Chair. 

C. Referral Guidelines

     a. If the infraction is a minor offense and is a one-time occurrence in a specific course, then the course master and student must determine a resolution. If this behavior is not resolved, then the course master will file a behavior complaint with the PBRC.  If behavior is resolved then the course master will submit a report to the PBRC for tracking purposes.

     b. If a minor offense occurs repeatedly (three or more occurrences) in a single course and the behavior can not be resolved, then the course master will file a behavior complaint with the PBRC.

     c. If this behavior occurs in more than one course and the behavior can not be resolved, then the PBRC will review.

     d. If a minor infraction is reported to occur outside of a course, then the faculty advisor and student must determine a resolution. If behavior is not resolved then the faculty advisor will file a complaint with the PBRC. If behavior is resolved then the faculty advisor will submit a report to PBRC for tracking purposes.

      e. Infractions determined to be moderate or serious by the PBRC Chair and Department Chair will be immediately referred to the PBRC committee.

D. Processing a complaint by the PBRC

     a. Upon receipt of a complaint to the PBRC Chair, the accused student and his/her faculty advisor will receive an email from the PBRC Chair detailing the complaint. If the referral is initiated by a student, the referring student’s name will not be associated with the complaint. 

     b. Informal hearing. The PBRC Chair and Department Chair will determine if a completed PBR form represents a minor or serious infraction. In the case of a minor, first-time infraction only, within 5 College business days the PBRC Chair will meet with the accused student and faculty advisor. If the PBRC Chair is the student’s faculty advisor or is the one that filed the complaint, then another faculty member will attend the meeting as the second faculty member. The accused student will be encouraged to provide an explanation of the behavior and plan of action to address the behavior.  Upon conclusion, the Chair of the PBRC will document the resolution/action plan on the PBR form.  The signed document will be placed in the student’s file by the PBRC Chair, with a copy provided to the student.  The faculty advisor will be responsible to assure that the action plan is implemented and completed. 

     c. Formal hearing. Infractions determined to be serious by the PBRC Chair and Department Chair will be immediately referred to the PBRC.  For minor infractions, if the accused student fails to comply with the agreed upon remedial/corrective actions or the issue cannot be resolved by this informal procedure due to the severity of the complaint, the faculty advisor or PBRC Chair will refer the matter to a formal meeting of the PBRC within 5 College business days of determination of same for a formal hearing as described below.

     d. Any subsequent Professional Behaviors violation regarding this student on the same issue or another issue will not be submitted for an informal hearing but will be submitted directly to the PBRC for review.

E. Formal Hearing by the PBRC

     a. Upon confirmation of an unresolved violation of professional behaviors or instances where the professional behaviors complaint is considered a moderate or serious infraction, the PBRC Chair will schedule a PBRC hearing with the accused student within 5 College business days. The accused student may submit a written response to the PBRC Chair no later than 24 hours prior to the meeting for distribution to the committee.

     b. At the hearing, the PBRC Chair and the accused student will present pertinent information to the PBRC. The student may not be represented or accompanied by anyone at the hearing, including but not limited to legal counsel.  The PBRC may contact other persons to provide information related to the charge.  Any witness for either party shall attend the hearing only to the extent necessary for offering information.

     c. The PBRC will have the right to ask questions of the complainant, the faculty advisor, and/or the accused student, as well as any witnesses or other pertinent individuals regarding the incident.

     d. The PBRC will consider any prior unsatisfactory behavioral performance issues of the charged students in determining its recommendations.

     e. At the conclusion of the hearing, the PBRC shall decide on remedial and/or corrective actions or sanctions, which may include behavioral probation, suspension, deceleration, or immediate dismissal from the program. The decision of the PBRC will be documented and provided to the student within 5 College business days after the conclusion of the hearing with a copy retained in the PBRC file and the student’s departmental file.  A copy will also be submitted to the Associate Dean and/or VP of the School of Health Sciences.

     f. If the student is placed on behavioral probation and does not comply with the expectations therein, the PBRC will request the VP of the School of Health Sciences to dismiss the student. 

F. Decisions

     a. No Action. If, after the formal hearing, the PBRC determines no unprofessional behavior infraction occurred, the student will receive no remedial consequence and the case is closed. This complaint will NOT be considered with any future complaint against the same student.

     b. Action plan. This decision is for a minor first-time infraction only following an informal hearing. This decision is made only in the event the complaint is not referred to the PBRC for a formal hearing review. Action plans are student-specific and aim to remediate the minor unprofessional behavior infraction. The PBR Form action plan will detail actions expected of the student within a specified time. The signed document will be placed in the student’s file by the PBRC Chair, with a copy provided to the student.  The faculty advisor will be responsible to assure that the action plan is implemented and completed. Compliance with the action plan will result in no further disciplinary action but will affect the course of future unprofessional behavior infractions in that all future complaints, no matter the severity, will be referred directly to the PBRC for a formal hearing.

     c. A warning is the first possible level of consequence offered by the PBRC for a professional behavior infraction following a formal hearing. A completed PBRC form and signed warning letter will be placed in the student’s file along with an individualized action plan to remediate the infraction. Subsequent professional behavior infractions, no matter the degree of severity, cannot result in a warning consequence but only be considered for a more severe consequence, such as monitoring, probation, deceleration or dismissal from the program.

      d. In instances where the infraction is severe enough, or where a student has already received a warning, a student can be placed on monitoring status. A completed PBRC form and signed monitoring letter will be placed in the student’s file along with an individualized action plan to remediate the infraction.

     e. First-time or subsequent professional behavior infractions that are deemed serious or egregious breaches of conduct can result in probation. Probation includes all the elements of monitoring except that ANY breach of the probation agreement will result in additional disciplinary actions. A completed PBRC form and signed probation letter will be placed in the student’s file along with an individualized action plan to remediate the infraction. Copies of the signed probation letter will be provided to the student, their advisor, the Department Chair, and the VP of SHS.

      f. Academic deceleration. In some circumstances, especially as related to attendance and academic unprofessional behaviors, academic deceleration may be recommended. A completed PBRC form and signed academic deceleration letter will be placed in the student’s file along with an individualized action plan to remediate the infraction. Copies of the academic deceleration letter will be provided to the student, their advisor, the Department Chair and the Associate Dean (Or VP) of SHS.

      g. First-time or subsequent professional behavior infractions that are deemed serious or egregious breaches of behavior will result in recommendations for immediate dismissal from the program. A completed PBRC form will be placed in the student’s file.  Copies of the dismissal letter will be provided to the student, the Department Chair and Associate Dean/VP of SHS.

G. Appeal of Decision

     a. Within 5 College business days of receipt of the PBRC’s decision, the student may appeal by requesting the Department Chair/Associate Dean/VP to have the School of Health Sciences’ Graduate Healthcare Academic Standards Committee (GHASC) consider the appeal.  The charged student may accompany the appeal with a written statement of his/her position.

     b. The GHASC will meet within 10 College business days to consider the appeal.

     c. In consideration of the appeal, the GHASC shall review all documentation regarding the referral and findings. The GHASC may interview faculty, staff, Department Chair, student’s faculty advisor, PBRC Chair, the student, and any pertinent witnesses.  No one, including the charged student, may be represented or accompanied by anyone at the hearing, including but not limited to legal counsel.

     d. After completing its review of the matter, the GHASC shall have 3 College business days to make its decision and notify the School’s VP. The School’s  VP shall notify the charged student, the Department Chair, and the PBRC Chair within 5 College business days of said decision.

H. Types of Infractions

     a. Minor Level Infractions: Examples of minor infractions include, but not limited to: Late for class or other scheduled mandatory event including virtual events; Talking in class or lab when instructor is talking and teaching; Tardiness in uploading quizzes or exams prior to time for completion; Inappropriate dress for class, labs, other mandatory events; Demonstrating poor attitudes toward instruction or instructors or other students; Showing poor engagement in class or lab or other events; Using any technology devices without permission in class, lab or during other activities on or off campus to include clinicals; Unexcused absence.

     b. Moderate Level Infractions: Repeated (three or more) minor infractions with no resolution to behavior; Violation of any FERPA and HIPAA rules unintentionally; Unintentional damage to school property or removing school property from building without permission; Inappropriate postings on social media or other platforms related to school, service activities or clinicals; Demeaning statements or actions towards faculty, staff, clinical instructors, or other students.

     c. Serious/Egregious Level Infractions: Intentional submission of any false information/documents to the program; Making any offensive racial or ethnic or other slurs/statements (verbally or written) towards any group or individual person; Making any statements or actions that may consider to be threatening or intimidating or may lead to the harm of others physically or emotionally; Intentional violation of any FERPA and/or HIPAA rules; Intentional damage to school property or removing school property from building without permission.