Adams School of Dentistry: DDS Student Attendance Policy

Unit Policy

Title

Adams School of Dentistry: DDS Student Attendance Policy

I. Overview

The Adams School of Dentistry and its students have a shared responsibility to prepare those students both academically and clinically for the practice of dentistry. Successful knowledge and skill-based development requires attendance of all classes, laboratory, and clinical sessions as outlined in the curriculum schedules and course syllabi.

Students must prioritize their education (1) for their own benefit, (2) as an act of professionalism, demonstrating a commitment to their desire to become a competent health care provider, and (3) to minimize additional work for faculty and staff. Deviations from this policy are at the discretion of the course directors and clinic supervisors.

Absences may be classified as either “Excused” or “Unexcused.”  All absences are considered Unexcused until approved as Excused by the appropriate designee.

The Adams School of Dentistry recognizes the importance of maintaining and promoting the well-being of its students. This policy was designed to balance the goals of the educational program with the needs of its students. Students are expected to comply with this policy as an act of academic integrity. Failure to comply with this policy may result in disciplinary action, a delay in program advancement, a delay in graduation, or in dismissal.

II. Definitions

Absence is defined as the inability of a student to attend an educational activity.

Absences may be classified as either Excused or Unexcused. All absences are considered Unexcused until approved as Excused by the appropriate designee. Absences are also classified as either Planned or Unplanned. Planned absences are anticipated in advance, unplanned absences are unexpected.

An Extended Leave of Absence refers to absences of five (5) consecutive business days or longer.

For student requiring absences extending five (5) consecutive days or longer, an Extended Leave of Absence is needed. Refer to the "Extended Leaves of Absence" section for more details.

III. Excused Absence

A. Classification

An absence request will be reviewed by the Executive Vice Dean for Education, the Assistant Dean for Student Life, or their designees with input from course directors and clinic supervisors. Whether or not to grant the absence and classify it as excused will be based on the following considerations

  • the validity of the situation or activity for which the absence is requested;
  • the impact on the learning and assessment process;
  • the student’s standing in the program; and
  • the number of past absences.

B. Valid Situations and Activities for an Absence Request

  • Health Issue
    • Physical health issue
    • Mental health issue
  • Emergency
    • Death in the family
    • Other personal or family emergency
  • Maternity, paternity, or adoption leave
  • Religious observances
    • Up to two (2) days per academic year (university policy)
  • Jury duty
  • Military obligation
  • National dental board examinations
  • Dental licensure examinations
  • Permitted attendance at professional meetings and presentation of research at a professional meeting
  • Residency and job interviews

C. Making up Missed Educational Activities

When an Excused Absence is granted, the school and the responsible faculty must allow the student to make up any missed educational activities, including assignments and assessments. It should be recognized that certain educational activities, e.g., small group seminars and discussions, cannot be made up. Students are required to make up any missed course and clinic-related activities as determined by the Executive Vice Dean for Education, the Assistant Dean for Student Life, or their designees in consultation with course directors and clinic preceptors.he Assistant Dean for Student Life, or their designees.

D. Important Considerations

When submitting an absence request for a valid situation or activity, students must select a time that minimizes the impact on educational activities. For example, an external examination should be scheduled when classes or clinics are not in session.

Absence requests spanning one to four hours will be counted as a half day. Absence requests for more than four hours will be counted as a full day.

Failure to make up missed educational activities will be reported to Academic Affairs and the relevant Teaching Committee, and may affect program advancement and graduation.

IV. Unexcused Absences

A. Classification

An absence is considered unexcused when the absence request does not meet the conditions of an excused absence..  

B. Making up Missed Educational Activities

Students will not be guaranteed an opportunity to make up any missed educational activities, including assignments and assessments, when the absence is unexcused. This determination is at the discretion of the course director or clinic preceptor.

C. Important Considerations

The occurrence of an unexcused absence may result in a meeting with the Executive Vice Dean for Education, Assistant Dean for Student Life, or their designees.

A remediation plan may be developed for the student to address the Unexcused Absence and any missed educational activities

Unexcused absences can lead to disciplinary actions, delayed program advancement, delayed graduation, or dismissal.

V. Extended Leaves of Absence

An Extended Leave of Absence refers to any absence extending five (5) consecutive days or longer. Examples of reasons for an Extended Leave of Absence include maternity, paternity, adoption leave, and prolonged health related issues. An Extended Leave of Absence is typically planned, but could also be unplanned. Criteria for determining the validity of a request for an extended leave of absence are the same as those outlined in section III B. As the impact on educational progress will be higher, the Executive Vice Dean for Education, Assistant Dean for Student Life, or their designees will execute a plan to make up missed educational activities and minimize delays in program advancement and graduation.

VI. Absence Request Procedure

A. Submission of a Planned Absence Request

Whenever students anticipate missing any educational activity, they must submit an online DDS Absence Request (put link here). Planned absence requests must be submitted as early as possible, but at least five (5) business days in advance. Any request submitted less than five (5) business days in advance is considered an unplanned absence request, which may affect the determination of it being excused. Students are bound by the Honor Code when making an absence request.

The online DDS Absence Request module requires the student to indicate the reason for the request, the educational activities they anticipate missing, and to select the faculty in charge of these activities (course directors, clinic care coordinators, clinical preceptors). Each faculty will receive a notification and will indicate whether the educational activity is critical or optional. Once all relevant faculty have indicated the impact of the absence, the request will be forwarded to the administration to determine whether the absence request will be granted (excused) or not. The online module will provide space to describe the reason for the request and to upload any documentation, such as a doctor’s note, jury duty notice, examination acceptance, or interview confirmation.

B. Submission of an Unplanned Absence Request

For unplanned absences (e.g., illness, emergency), the student must submit the absence request the day of the absence, or as soon as reasonably possible afterwards using the online DDS Absence Request module (put link here). The student must attest to the validity of the request by signing an honor pledge and upload supporting documentation when possible. A student who is not able to access the online system is required to contact the Office of Admissions and Student Life during regular business hours, or leave a message if after hours. Delays in submitting an absence request may require submission of further documentation and may result in the absence being classified as unexcused.

C. Review Process

All absences are considered unexcused until classified as excused by the Executive Vice Dean for Education, the Assistant Dean for Student Life, or their designees. Excused absences for didactic courses are primarily granted by the Office of Admissions and Student Life. Excused absences for clinical courses, internal/external rotations, and all other clinic-related activities are primarily granted by the Director of Clinical Curriculum with pre-approval from Clinical Care Coordinators and Clinical Preceptors. If the absence request is not granted and the student is absent, the absence will be considered unexcused.

VII. Contact Information

Topic, Officer, and Contact Info Table
Topic Officer Contact Info
Questions about this policy Executive Vice Dean for Education edward_swift@unc.edu
Questions about this policy Assistant Dean for Student Life sumitha_ahmed@unc.edu
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Details

Article ID: 131313
Created
Thu 4/8/21 9:06 PM
Modified
Tue 12/5/23 1:43 PM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
11/18/2022 12:00 AM
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Executive Vice Dean for Education
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
11/17/2023 12:00 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
11/17/2023 12:00 AM
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
07/15/2025 12:00 AM
Origination
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
12/09/2020 3:03 PM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Adams School of Dentistry

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The purpose of this Policy is to set establish how leaves of absence by DDS students will be managed.