MD Program

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  • Student Handbook

    Honor Code

    Definition

    The health care professions require women and men of superb character who lead lives that exemplify high standards of ethical conduct. A shared commitment to maintaining those standards, embodied in an Honor Code, creates an atmosphere in which community members can develop professional skills and strengthen ethical principles.

    The Honor Code demands that community members tell the truth, live honestly, advance on individual merit, and demonstrate respect for others in the academic, clinical and research communities.

    The central purpose of the Honor Code is to sustain and protect an environment of mutual respect and trust in which students have the freedom necessary to develop their intellectual and personal potential. To support the community of trust, students and faculty must accept individual responsibility and apply themselves to developing a collegial atmosphere. The intent of the Honor Code is not merely to prevent students from lying, cheating and stealing or to punish those who violate its principles. Rather, participation in the Honor Code assures The University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine community that the integrity of its members is unquestioned and accepted by those in the academic, clinical and research communities. Participation in the Honor Code confers upon students the responsibility to respect and protect the integrity of The University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine

    The foundation of the Honor Code rests upon the willingness of each individual to live up to the standards established by the student body and faculty. Violation of the Honor Code affronts us individually and collectively. The community of the Carver College of Medicine regards such violations as serious offenses.

    The Honor Code presumes the absolute honesty of each individual. As a result, community members live with the freedom of knowing that:

    1. Their integrity, intentions, work and word are unquestioned;
    2. Their personal property and academic work are respected and free from theft;
    3. Classroom, clinical and research environments for learning and evaluation are honorable;
    4. The learning environment is safe and equitable regardless of the student’s gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. Students and faculty together establish, maintain and protect trust in these beliefs.

    Adoption of the Honor Code necessitates the creation of an Honor Council, a group empowered to hear disputes and make recommendations to the appropriate disciplinary bodies. The composition and operation of the Honor Council is described later in this document.

    Application

    The Honor Code applies to all work submitted for academic credit. Infractions of the Honor Code include but are not limited to:

    1. Cheating: A community member who does not do his or her own work on an academic exercise or otherwise gains unfair advantage over his or her colleagues is guilty of cheating. Examples of cheating are:
      • Copying from another student’s examination
      • Allowing another student to copy from your examination
      • Collaboration during an examination with any person
      • Using unauthorized materials during a test
      • Preparing notes to take into a closed-book examination, for example, writing on one’s hand or desk
       
    2. Plagiarism: Like other institutions of higher learning, The Carver College of Medicine recognizes plagiarism as “the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.” (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary)

      The Honor Council identifies two distinct categories of plagiarism, conscious and unintentional. Both are violations of the Honor Code. This means that students who do not understand the process of crediting sources consulted in the writing of a paper may inadvertently find themselves subject to Honor Council investigation.

      To avoid such unintentional plagiarism, students must familiarize themselves with the appropriate documentation of resources. Students should also consult faculty for assistance should there be any doubt about what constitutes plagiarism.
    3. Fabrication: When a community member consciously manufactures or manipulates information to support an academic exercise, he or she has fabricated evidence. Some examples are:
      • Falsifying citations
      • Manufacturing data to support research
      • Taking an examination or writing a paper on behalf of another student
      • Listing sources in the bibliography that were not used in the academic exercise
      • Falsifying information in patients’ charts
    4. Sexual Harassment, and/or Discriminatory Practices Based on Race, Religion, Gender or Sexual Orientation.
    5. Violation of Confidentiality: Knowingly releasing confidential information inappropriately, or using INFORMM/IDX to gain access to patient records without justification are each examples of such violations.
    6. Other Acts: Students who misrepresent information to College officials – for example by falsifying grades or by forging College documents or records – have violated the Honor Code.

    Participation:

    The Carver College of Medicine Honor Code is designed to protect students’ academic freedom and professional integrity. For this to happen, however, all those who agree to live and work under the Honor Code must support the code by fulfilling specific obligations:

    1. Students must:
      • Not condone cheating on the part of others
      • Refuse to assist others in fraudulent acts
      • Take steps to ensure that other students cannot cheat from one’s examination or paper
      • Ask the professor for clarification if the student does not understand how the Honor Code pertains to any given assignment.
      • Be willing to speak to fellow students about violations of the Honor Code, or to report suspected violations to the Honor Council.
       
    2. Faculty and Administrators should:
      • Explain completely how the Honor Code applies to coursework undertaken for each class
      • Discuss how the Honor Code applies to coursework and behavior during the clinical years
      • Include a statement about academic integrity in each course syllabus
      • Contact the Honor Council regarding suspected infractions of the Honor Code
      • The commitment to personal and professional integrity embodied in this Honor Code releases the faculty from the obligation to proctor exams

    Operation and Formation of the Honor Council:

    I. Executive

    A. Administration of the Honor Code requires the individual and collective cooperation of the entire College community — students, faculty, staff and administration. The Honor Council will facilitate the administration of the Honor Code and act as liaison between the members of The Carver College of Medicine community regarding Honor Code issues.

    B. The Honor Council will hear allegations of suspected violations and recommend an appropriate course of action.

    C. ABSOLUTE CONFIDENTIALITY WILL BE MAINTAINED DURING ALL PHASES OF PROCEEDINGS AND
    REGARDING ANY ACTIONS OR PROCEEDINGS OF THE HONOR COUNCIL OR REGARDING THE HONOR CODE.

    The maintenance of confidentiality includes conversations outside official Honor Council proceedings with any Honor Council members regarding Honor Code issues, and also encompasses any person invited to observe or participate in any Honor Council proceeding. ALL participants in Honor Council proceedings will maintain confidentiality. Violation of confidentiality is in itself an Honor Code offense.

    D. Any person who believes that she or he may have violated the Honor Code or may have observed another community member violate the Honor Code will submit a written description of the violation, including the names of the persons involved, to the Honor Council. No anonymous accusations will be accepted. The Honor Council will also act in an advisory role by welcoming questions or concerns which will support the community of trust. Any concerns may be included in the semiannual report described below.

    E. Frivolous, egregiously unsubstantiated or harassing accusations may of themselves constitute Honor Code violations and subject the accuser to penalty.

    F. When incidents are brought directly to them, the Deans of the Carver College of Medicine for medical students, or the Program Director for physician assistant students, may recommend that these cases be reviewed by the Honor Council. The accused medical student shall have
    the right to choose between review by the Student Promotions Committee of the Carver College of Medicine or by the Honor Council. The accused PA student shall have the right to choose between review by the PA Program’s Promotions Committee or by the Honor Council.

    G. The Honor Council will hear the allegation and investigate as necessary. The Honor Council will describe the allegation to the accused person(s) and discuss the case. If the accused requests, other persons may appear before the Honor Council to speak on her/his behalf. However, the accused does not have the right to have legal representation at the hearing.
    Any person invited to Honor Council proceedings by virtue of his or her presence is bound by the Honor Council confidentiality standards. The Honor Council reserves the right to hear the case in the absence of the accused if she/he fails to appear.

    H. Nine members of the Honor Council constitute a quorum. A majority vote will suffice for all decisions with one exception: to recommend that a student has committed an Honor Code violation requires two-thirds of the quorum. Thus, when nine members are present, six must vote to recommend that a student has committed a violation; when ten or eleven members are present, seven votes are required.

    I. In response to any written descriptions of alleged Honor Code violations, the Honor Council will recommend an appropriate course of action to the Senior Associate Dean for medical students and to the Physician Assistant Program Promotions Committee for PA students.

    J. Any student who wishes to contest the commendation of the Honor Council may file a written request for reconsideration of his/her case with a Dean within two weeks of an Honor Council decision. The Dean may ask the Honor Council to revisit the case or deny the appeal. Persons submitting a charge of Honor Code violations may not appeal Honor Council decisions. Acceptable grounds for appeal may include: procedural mishandling, inappropriate action, or new evidence.

    K. Records of the case shall be kept in the locked files of the Honor Council. Only active Honor Council members have access to records and the student involved will have access to their own records. Records will be destroyed one year after graduation of the student involved.

    L. The permanent record of a student who has violated the Honor Code will note the offense, any penalty, and will include the following annotation: “action taken as the result of determined violation of The Carver College of Medicine Honor Code.”

    M. The Honor Council will submit a semiannual summary report of its proceedings to faculty and students. No names will be used in this report except those of Council members.

    N. Any changes in the composition and activities of the Honor Council require majority approval by students.

    II. Composition of the Honor Council

    A. The Honor Council will consist of twelve members.  Each of the College of Medicine medical student classes will elect two student representatives.  MSTP students will elect one representative from the students in the research years of their program.  The students in the physician assistant program will elect one representative.  Two positions are filled by faculty members as described below.

    B. The term of office for the first, second, and third year medical students, and the MSTP student will be from November 1st to October 31th.  The term of office for fourth year medical students will be from November 1st until graduation.  Medical student elections are to occur in October.  Students in the physician assistant program will elect one representative during the PA1 class meeting in July.  The physician assistant term will be from August 1st-July 31st.

    C. The term of student members of the Honor Council shall be one year, but may be renewed by reelection. To be eligible to serve on the Honor Council:

    • Medical student members and MSTP students in their medical school years must be enrolled in the Carver College of Medicine.
    • Physician assistant students must be enrolled in the PA Program of the College of Medicine.
    • MSTP students, in their research years, must be enrolled in the Medical Scientist Training Program.

    D. Two faculty members, elected by the Honor Council in consultation with the deans and the director of the PA program, shall also serve on the Council. Nominations for these positions will be presented during the first Honor Council meeting after the election of representatives in October.  Nominations can be made by any member of the Carver College of Medicine community.  The election of the faculty member(s) will take place at the Honor Council meeting by the council.

    E. The Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Curriculum will sit ex-officio on the Honor Council and will attend all proceedings.

    F. Faculty members will serve staggered, two-year terms, with one faculty member being nominated each year.  If, for any reason, both faculty positions are vacant at the same time the Honor Council will determine which of the two elected faculty members will serve a one-year term .

    G. At the first meeting of the term the members of the Honor Council will select a student to serve as chairperson and one as secretary for the Honor Council.

    In order to be elected to the Honor Council, members must have upheld the principles stated in Honor Code and must have passed all classes in the previous academic semester.