Medical School Academic Integrity
The practice of medicine demands the highest degree of mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among patients, physicians, and other health care professionals. The development of these essential characteristics during medical school necessitates a responsibility among students to contribute actively to their educational environment. Students should help each other learn and should treat their peers with respect. They should expect high standards of fairness and honesty among their peers and future colleagues.
The responsibility for maintaining high standards of academic integrity falls on both faculty and students. Faculty must assure that examinations are prepared, conducted, proctored, and scored so that no student may gain undue advantage over another. Students must refrain from taking advantage of their classmates in examinations and should not condone such actions by others.
The Medical Student Senate has developed the following "Statement of Integrity" (a detailed version of which is passed out to all freshmen and faculty), to whose principles it is intended that all students subscribe:
"We, the students of Northwestern University Medical School, recognize commitment to personal integrity as a hallmark of our profession. We aspire to develop honesty, trust, respect, and professionalism among our colleagues and toward our patients. To promote cooperation and to foster an atmosphere conducive to learning, we strive for fairness in the educational process, and as future physicians, we uphold the ideals valued by our profession."
EXAMINATION PROCEDURESStudents are expected and honor-bound to take examinations honestly and to eschew any opportunity to obtain an unfair advantage in an examination situation.
* Proctors should be present during every examination. Proctors may be graduate students, secretaries, and faculty members. However, students also are expected to police themselves regarding inappropriate behavior.
* Books, newspapers, magazines, jackets, book bags, audio devices, and all other personal effects are to be removed from the desk tops during the examination. If calculators are required, it will be so stated prior to the examination.
* Personal breaks are allowed but discouraged. If a break is necessary, the student must give his or her examination booklet and answer sheet to the proctor while absent from the room. The length of time during which the examinee is out of the room will be noted by the proctor on the examination booklet and should not exceed 10 minutes. Examination time will not be extended for a student who has taken a break.
* No examination questions will be changed, corrected, or interpreted during the exam. Students are not allowed to ask faculty members questions once the examination has begun. If the examinee feels a question is wrong or ambiguous, an explanation can be made on the cover sheet of the examination booklet. However, obvious typographical errors discovered by the course director that compromise the value of an examination question may be rectified by a general announcement.
* The examination beginning and ending times should be announced at the beginning of the course and on the front page of the examination booklet. They will be followed strictly. Answer sheets not turned in by the appointed end of the examination will result in the assessment of a penalty to the grade.
* In the event that the fire alarm sounds during an examination, all students must place both answer and question sheets face down at the work area and exit the building immediately. Upon return to the examination the course director will announce the revised ending time.
* In the rare emergency situation where illness or other unexpected occurrence prevents a student from sitting for an examination at the scheduled time, the associate dean for student programs and the course director must be notified immediately and prior to the examination. A committee consisting of three Student Senate members, the course director, and the associate dean for student programs may be asked to consider the situation and recommend an appropriate course of action regarding postponement of the exam.
* In the nonemergency need to reschedule an examination, the student must obtain the appropriate form from the Office of Student Affairs. The form will specify the scheduled date of the examination, the make-up date, and the student's reason for changing the date. (Rescheduled examinations will be taken prior to the scheduled date.) This form must be signed by the student, then by the course director and the associate dean for student programs, and returned to the Office of Student Affairs, where it will be kept with the student's file. The same procedure must be followed as soon as possible by students who postpone an examination for emergency reasons. * A score of zero will be recorded for unexcused missed examinations.
OBSERVED MISCONDUCTAny incident of cheating or falsifying records or other breach of academic integrity, either confirmed or suspected, should be reported promptly by the observer to the course director or associate dean for student programs. The observer must identify himself or herself to one of these two individuals in order for even a cursory investigation to proceed and/or for any discussion to be held with the alleged offender. At the informant's request, his or her identity will be kept confidential. But in this case, no further action can proceed beyond a private discussion. Only if the identity of the observer and the nature of any evidence can be made known to the alleged offender can others be brought into the investigation and the matter referred to the Student Promotions Committee for the hearing and possible disciplinary action referred to above.
Alternatively, an observer may report a cheating incident to a Student Senate officer, who, with the other officers, will confront the student with a private discussion. Repeated incidents involving the same student will be referred by the senate to the associate dean for student programs.