New England College of Optometry 2014-2015 Catalog
 
 
The College
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Academic Programs
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Admission, Costs, Finacnial Aid
Academic Policies
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Notices

Academic Policies

Degree Requirements

Students are required to apply to the Registrar’s Office for the award of any degree at the College. 

Students eligible for a first professional degree (OD), graduate degree (MS) or a specially devised curriculum for an undergraduate optometry degree should contact the Registrar’s Office six months in advance of when they are expected to complete their program to complete a Diploma Application if they have not received prior notification from the Registrar’s Office.

A student who has not earned a bachelor’s degree prior to enrolling in the four-year first professional program may apply for the Bachelor of Science in Optometry degree.  At the beginning of the second year of study, the student must submit a written request to the Registrar stating that he/she has not received a bachelor’s degree and requesting to be evaluated for eligibility to receive the College’s bachelor’s degree.  Because a student is not eligible for the bachelor’s degree after graduation from the College, any deficiencies in the undergraduate course requirements must be completed prior to receipt of the Doctor of Optometry degree.

In order to be eligible for the bachelor’s degree, the student must:

  • Hold no prior bachelor’s degree;
  • Have successfully completed (C or above) at least twelve semester hours of Social Science and twelve semester hours of Humanities at the undergraduate level (Information regarding the categorization of courses may be obtained from the Registrar’s Office.);
  • Have successfully completed two years of study at the New England College of Optometry;
  • Have not yet received the Doctor of Optometry degree.

Degrees will be conferred pursuant to the completion of the following requirements:

  • Curriculum Requirements – All didactic and clinical requirements for the degree must have been completed successfully.
  • Academic Requirements – A minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.000 with no outstanding grades of Failure, Remedial, or Incomplete is required in a first professional program. For a graduate program a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.000 is required with no outstanding grades of Failure or Incomplete. (The cumulative GPA is not a rounded number.  Example: a cumulative GPA of 1.999 does not qualify a student in a first professional program to graduate.)
  • Professional Conduct Requirement – No student will be allowed to graduate with charges or pending actions.
  • Thesis Requirement for Graduate Program only – An approved thesis must be defended and submitted.
    Requirements for MS/OD China Program only  The award of the MS degree and passing Part I of the board exam is required prior to the OD degree being awarded.
  • Faculty and Board of Trustees Approval – Conferring of a degree requires formal approval by the Faculty and Board of Trustees.
  • Fiscal Requirements – All fiscal obligations must have been satisfied at least one week prior to the conferring of a degree.  These include tuition and fees, expenses incurred at the clinic and Campus Store, library charges and/or other fees.
  • Financial Aid – A student who has received financial aid must have an exit interview with a member of the Financial Aid Office.

Student Status Policies and Procedures

The Registrar will determine a student’s academic progress or standing after each term.

Academic Distinction

A student with a cumulative grade point average of 3.500 or above at the end of an academic year will have achieved academic distinction for that academic year.

Academic Progress

A student whose expected date of graduation is not more than one year after the date anticipated at the time of matriculation will be considered to be making satisfactory academic progress.

At the end of each term, the Registrar and/or the SAC review each student’s performance. A student may progress normally or may be placed in one or more of the following categories: 

• Academic Warning, 
• Academic Probation, 
• Clinical Probation, 
• Disciplinary Probation, 
• Modified Status, 
• Inquiry Status. 

Academic Standing

A student is considered to be in good academic standing unless he/she has met any of the criteria for Academic Dismissal and/or Clinical Dismissal for a second consecutive time or has not met the requirements set forth in a modified program. (Please review the ‘Academic and Clinical Dismissal’ sections that are in the latter part of this handbook.) 

Academic Probation

A student in a first professional program only will be placed on academic probation for one or more of the following: 

• student’s cumulative grade point average is below the minimum grade point average of    2.000 required for advancement to the next professional year or graduation, 
• student’s term grade point average is 1.600 or below in any one term, 
• student has earned two grades of “F” in one term. 

A student in a graduate program on academic probation for one or more of the following: 

• student’s cumulative grade point average is below the minimum grade point average of    3.000 required for advancement to the next year or graduation, 
• student’s term grade point average is 1.600 or below in any one term, 
• student has earned two grades of “F” in one term. 

A student in the combined OD/MS program will be placed on academic probation if he/she meets one or more of the above criteria for either program. 

The student will receive a written notice from the Registrar each time he/she meets a requirement to be placed on academic probation. However, this may not be the final action as any student placed on academic probation may be required to meet with the SAC. 
Any student placed on academic probation may be required to meet with the SAC and will be
required to meet with the Associate Dean of Students. A student in the Accelerated OD Program or the Advanced Standing International Program will also be required to meet with his/her program advisor. A student in a graduate program will also be required to meet with the Director of the program. 

Resolution of Academic Probation

Academic probation in a first professional program will be resolved when the student’s cumulative GPA is 2.000 or above and has met any requirements set by the SAC and/or the Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs. Academic probation in a graduate program will be resolved when the student’s cumulative GPA is 3.000 or above and has met any requirements set by the SAC and/or the Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs. Academic probation in the OD/MS program will be resolved when the student meets the cumulative GPAs as stated above for each program as well as having met any requirements set by the SAC and/or Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs.

Academic Warning

A student in a first professional program will be placed on academic warning when his/her 
cumulative GPA falls within the range of 2.000 – 2.200. The student will receive a written notice
from the Registrar when he/she is placed on academic warning for the first time and at the end of the academic year if the student remains on academic warning.

Resolution of Academic Warning

Academic warning will be resolved when the student’s cumulative GPA is 2.200 or above.

Clinical Probation

A student will be placed on clinical probation for one or more of the following: 

• student has earned a grade of remedial in a clinical course, 
• student has earned a grade of failure in a clinical course. 

The student will receive a written notice from the Registrar each time he/she meets a requirement to be placed on clinical probation. However, this may not be the final action as any student placed on clinical probation may be required to meet with the SAC. 

Resolution of Clinical Probation

Clinical Probation will be resolved if a student receives a grade of pass (P) or higher in his/her next clinical course for a remedial grade or in his/her next equivalent level clinical course for a failure grade and has met any requirements set by the SAC, the Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs and/or as part of a remedial program. 

Disciplinary Probation

A student will be placed on disciplinary probation if he/she is found in violation of any policies 
under ‘Student Rights and Responsibilities’. A letter will be placed in the student’s file. If the 
student is involved in subsequent violations, he/she will be eligible for dismissal and will meet with the Student Affairs Committee. 

Resolution of Disciplinary Probation

Disciplinary probation will be resolved if the student meets the conditions set forth in his/her 
retention letter from the Student Affairs or other appropriate committee. The appropriate committee will determine on an individual basis if the letter(s) with regard to disciplinary probation will remain in the student’s file permanently and if ‘Disciplinary Probation’ or other notation will be transcribed on the student’s transcript. 

Inquiry Status

A student who has an unprofessional conduct complaint pending before the SAC or a disciplinary probation violation pending will be classified as an inquiry status student until the complaint is resolved. (Please review the ‘Unprofessional Conduct’ section that is in the latter part of this handbook.)

Modified Status

A student whose program has been changed or has been retained by the SAC will be placed on modified status. The Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs or designee in collaboration with the Student Affairs Committee may modify a student’s academic or clinical program. Modification may take the form of increasing the time allowed to complete the curriculum, the sequence in which courses are taken, and/or by setting a different academic and/or clinical standard. The modified program will also contain the academic and/or clinical standard(s) that the student must meet in the modified program. 

The SAC may set different academic and/or clinical standard(s) as part of a student’s performance review or dismissal hearing as well as recommend curriculum changes to the Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs.

Student Request for Modified Program

Ordinarily a student’s request for a change in his/her academic curriculum should be submitted to the Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs no later than two weeks after mid-term exams. If approved, a student’s request for a change in his/her curriculum will place the student on modified status. The same procedures as listed under ‘Modified Status’ will be used to create the modified program.

Requirements for Student Advancement

A student is required to meet minimum academic and clinical standards in order to advance to the next year of study.  A student in the OD/MS program must meet the professional and graduate program standards to advance to the next year of study.
 
For a professional program:

  • A student must have at least a 2.000 cumulative GPA at the end of the academic year and have complete all clinical requirements without an unresolved grade of “F” for that year unless placed on modified status.
  • To enter the final Professional Year, a student must have a 2.000 cumulative GPA, no more than one grade of Incomplete, In Progress, Remedial or Fail in didactic or clinical courses, and have completed all clinical requirements for all three years without an unresolved grade of “F” unless placed on modified status.

For a graduate program:

  • A student must have at least a 3.000 cumulative GPA at the end of the academic year.
  • A student must meet all program requirements for that year which is confirmed by his/her advisor to the Graduate Studies Committee.
  • A student must have no more than one grade of Incomplete, In Progress, or Fail in a didactic course unless placed on modified status.

Satisfactory Academic Standing/Progress and Financial Aid Eligibility

A student will be placed on Financial Aid Warning after two consecutive terms on Academic and/or Clinical Probation.  During the Financial Aid Warning term a student will receive any federal financial aid for which she or he is otherwise eligible.  If the Academic or Clinical Probation is not resolved at the end of the Financial Aid Warning term, the student will be required to meet with the Student Affairs Committee.  If allowed to continue in the program, he/she will be placed on Financial Aid Probation and is eligible for one more term of federal financial aid.  At the end of the Financial Aid Probation term, the student, who has not been removed from Academic and/or Clinical Probation and is allowed to continue in the program, will no longer be eligible for federal financial assistance.

Once Academic and/or Clinical Probation is resolved or the specified modified program requirements are met, the Financial Aid Warning or Probation is lifted.  The student may regain eligibility for federal financial aid after all issues are resolved.

Please refer to the Financial Aid Handbook for further details.

Dismissal Policies and Procedures

Academic Dismissal

A student in a first professional degree program may be subject to dismissal:

  • when the term GPA is 1.60 or below,
  • following two consecutive terms on academic probation,
  • when a grade of “F” is earned in a course retaken to resolve a grade of “F”,
  • when the requirements for advancement are not met,
  • or when additional modified status requirements have not been met.

A student in a graduate or OD/MS degree program may be subject to dismissal:

  • when the term GPA is 1.60 or below,
  • when the cumulative GPA is less than 3.000,
  • following two consecutive terms on academic probation (not including an intervening summer session),
  • when requirements for advancement are not met,
or when additional modified status requirements have not been met.

Clinical Dismissal

A student in a first professional or combined OD/MS degree program may be subject to dismissal:

  • following the grade of Fail (F) earned in a clinical course that involves patient care,
  • following two consecutive Remedial (RM) grades earned in clinical courses that involve patient care,
  • when three nonconsecutive Remedial (RM) grades are accumulated in clinical courses that involve patient care,
  • following two consecutive terms on clinical probation,
  • or when additional modified status/remedial requirements have not been met.

The student will be required to meet with the Student Affairs Committee (SAC) for review and determination of his/her status.

Dismissal Hearing Policy and Procedure

When a student meets the criterion for academic and/or clinical dismissal, the SAC will conduct a dismissal hearing.

As part of the review, the SAC will consider the student’s academic record, clinical record, Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) recommendation, if applicable, and all pertinent information provided by the student such as:

  • circumstances regarding poor academic and/or clinical performance,
  • the student’s proposal for satisfactorily completing the academic and/or clinical program,
  • evaluation by the Counseling Service requested by the SAC or the student,
  • or written faculty recommendations and comments when requested by the student.

Prior to any dismissal action, the SAC will notify the student in writing and/or by email of the time and date of his/her hearing.  A student has the right to select a faculty member or administrator of the New England College of Optometry as an advisor.

Following the dismissal hearing, the student may be dismissed or retained on modified status. The SAC will notify the student in writing of the decision to dismiss or retain.  If the student is retained on modified status, the SAC will also inform the student as to whether the notation 'academic and/or clinical probation’ will be permanently transcribed onto the student’s transcript. A dismissal that is upheld will always be permanently transcribed onto the student’s transcript.

Appeal of Dismissal

The student may submit a written appeal of his/her dismissal to the Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs within five business days after the date of the letter in which SAC advises the student of his/her dismissal.  The Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs or designee will serve as the reviewer of appeals of dismissals.

An appeal will only be considered if a student demonstrates that the SAC did not follow the dismissal process or if the Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs finds that newextenuating evidence exists that was not available at the time of the hearing.  The Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs or designee will act in an expeditious manner after receipt of a written appeal and may elect to convene a committee of faculty and/or administrators to assist with this decision at any point of the process.  The Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs or designee may request input from the SAC, GSC, if applicable, or others as necessary.

If the Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs deems that the appeal is justified, he/she may consult further with others before advising the student in writing of the student’s status, curriculum changes or conditions that are required as part of the student’s program in order to be  retained.  If the Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs does not feel that the appeal is justified, the student will be advised in writing of this finding.  The decision of the Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs will be final.

A student who is appealing a dismissal will be allowed to attend didactic courses and may be allowed to attend clinical courses.  The student must contact the Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs who will inform the student as to what courses and clinical assignments he/she may attend.

Consequences of Dismissal 

As soon as the dismissal from the College becomes official, a student must complete the following:

  • an interview with the Associate Dean of Students,
  • an exit interview with a member of the Financial Aid Office,
  • an exit interview with a member of the Business Office to determine the student’s unpaid balance.

And the following will occur:

  • transcribing of dismissal on student’s transcript and record
  • deactivation of the student’s identification card to remove access to campus buildings except as a visitor during regular business hours,
  • discontinuation of the student’s email account. The student must provide the IT Department with another email address within five (5) days where email can be forwarded for thirty (30) days.  If a student fails to give the College IT Department another account within five (5) days forwarding will not be instituted.

Grading Policies and Procedures

Explanation of Grades

A = 4.00          (Excellent)
B = 3.00          (Good)
C = 2.00          (Fair)
D = 1.00          (Lowest Passing)
F = 0.00          (Failure)
FD = 1.00       (Failed, passed special examination)
P                      (Pass as part of the Pass/Fail system)
F                      (Fail as part of the Pass/Fail system)
I                        (Incomplete)
AU                   (Audit)
W                     (Withdrawal)
EX                   (Exempt)
IP/WIP             (In Progress)

Grade of I (Incomplete)

A student who does not complete all course requirements by the end of the term in which the course was taken may, at the discretion of the course instructor, be given a grade of Incomplete.   Grades of Incomplete should be given only when a significant component of the course work has not been completed with the instructor’s permission and/or the final exam was missed with approval from the Academic Affairs Office, and should never be used in lieu of an “F” or any other grade.

Resolution of I Grade

A student who has a grade of Incomplete is required to make arrangements with the instructor to complete the course requirements within 5 weeks following the term in which the Incomplete was given.  The student and instructor of record will be informed by the Registrar of the actual deadline date.  A student receiving an Incomplete in the Spring Term is advised to remain in the Boston area until the Incomplete is resolved.

If the grade of Incomplete is not removed within this 5 week period, the grade will automatically become a grade of “F”.  If extenuating circumstances arise, the instructor of record may request an extension by contacting the Registrar before the deadline has passed.

Following the resolution of an Incomplete, the new course grade will be used in calculating the term and cumulative GPA.  This may result in the student being placed on academic warning or probation for the term or in the student being eligible for dismissal.

Grade of F (Failure) 

A student who has earned a grade of “F” must make arrangements for resolving this grade with the instructor of record.  If the instructor has specified on the grade sheet which resolution option will be allowed, this will be indicated in the failure letter to the student. If not, the Resolution of Failure Grade Form must be received by the Registrar’s Office within 2 weeks of the date on the failure letter.

Resolution of F Grade

A grade of “F” may be resolved by repeating the entire course at the next regularly scheduled course offering OR by taking a special examination within 5 weeks following the term in which the grade of “F” was earned.  The instructor of record will have the right to decide which of these options is to be chosen.  In extenuating circumstances, a reasonably equivalent course may be allowed with the approval of the Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs or designee.

A student receiving an “F” in the Spring Term is advised to remain in the Boston area if he/she is going to be allowed to take a special examination or is required to repeat the course if it is offered over the summer.

A student who makes up an “F” grade by taking a special examination will have the grade transcribed as “FD”, which is equivalent to a “D” grade and will be used for GPA calculation.  Academic warning or probation will remain for the term even though the change from an “F” to “FD” may qualify for the removal of academic warning or probation.

If taking a special examination does not satisfactorily resolve the grade of “F”, the student will be required to repeat the entire course at the next regularly scheduled course offering.  This may require a modified program which may extend a student’s graduation date.  When a student repeats the course in which an “F” was earned, both grades will be transcribed on the student’s transcript and will be used for GPA calculation.

Grade of AU (Audit)

A student may audit a course with the recommendation of the Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs or designee.  A student is required to attend the majority of classes and/or any lab sessions required by the instructor.  Attendance must be verified by the instructor of record in order for the course to be transcribed.

Exemption from Courses

A student may be exempted from a course only with the approval of the instructor of record.  If the instructor finds that the student has sufficient educational background and successfully passes a test administered by the instructor, the student may be exempted from the course.  If the student is granted an exemption, the course instructor must notify the Registrar and student in writing by the end of the third week of the beginning of the course.  The student is required to attend the course until receiving written notification of an exemption.  An exemption from a course does not entail a change in tuition.

Repeat of a Course

A student may only repeat a course when an instructor requires the student to resolve a grade of “F”, when required by the Student Affairs Committee, or when placed in a modified program.  A student may not elect to repeat a course to improve academic performance and GPA.  Both grades will be transcribed on the student’s transcript and will be used for the GPA calculation.

Withdrawal from Courses 

A student is not normally allowed to withdraw (drop) from individual courses.  In unusual circumstances, a student who is performing at a “C” or higher level may petition the Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs or designee for exception to this policy.  The petition must be presented no later than two weeks prior to the final examination.  Permission to withdraw from the course will only be given by the Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs or designee after consultation with the instructor of record.  If the student’s request is approved, a grade of “W” will be transcribed.  A student who withdraws from one or more courses will be placed on modified status.  The Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs or designee will devise a modified program using the same procedures as listed under Modified Status for this student.  A copy of the letter approving the withdrawal and providing the student’s modified program will be sent to the Registrar. 

If a student withdraws from a course without permission, as evidenced by nonattendance and failure to complete assignments and examinations, a grade of “F” will be transcribed.  

Withdrawal from course(s) after the third week of classes will not result in a tuition adjustment if the student is still attending the college.

Clinical Grading

Explanation of Grades

H =            Honors                    (Outstanding)
P =            Pass                         Performing at expected levels)
RM =         Remedial                (Performing below expected levels)
RMP =      Remedial to Pass  (Remedial, passed next clinical course)
RMF =      Remedial to Fail     (Remedial, did not pass next clinical course)
F =            Failure                     (Inadequate)
I =              Incomplete              (Adequate; requirements not completed)
AU =         Audit
W =           Withdrawal
NC =         No Credit                (No credit or grade given)
IP/WIP =   In Progress

Clinical grades represent an overall rating of a student’s clinical performance as judged by technical skills, knowledge base, analytical skills, diagnostic skills, treatment and management, attitude, communication skills and professionalism.  Successful completion of clinical courses is defined in terms of grades of Pass (P) or above.  Clinical grading criteria are specified in the ‘Clinical Course Syllabi’.

Clinical preceptors must submit written documentation to the Office of Clinical Education to support all clinical grades.

Grade of F (Failure)

A student who earns a grade of “F” in a clinical course involving patient care will be required to meet with the SAC for a dismissal hearing.

Resolution of F Grade

The resolution of an “F” grade depends on the outcome of the SAC dismissal hearing.  If a student is allowed to continue, the student will be placed on modified status.  Before further advancement in the clinical program is allowed, the student will have to satisfactorily complete a course of remediation and achieve a grade of “P” or above in the repeated clinical course.  Upon completion of the remedial course work and repeated clinical course, the student will be reviewed by the SAC and further action will be taken by the SAC if necessary.

Grade of RM (Remedial)

A student who earns a Remedial grade in a clinical course is required to meet with the Instructor of Record of Clinical Programs and will be referred to the SAC for review and action if necessary.  The student is required to contact the Associate Dean of Students to discuss his/her performance and program of remediation.  The Associate Dean of Students will review all students receiving a remedial grade with regard to the program of remediation, circumstances and specific needs.

Resolution of RM Grade

A student who receives a grade of Remedial at the end of any clinical term will be placed on Clinical Probation:

  • A grade of Pass (P) or higher in his/her next level clinical course and if applicable, the successful completion of his/her remedial program will remove a student from clinical probation; the original Remedial (RM) grade will be converted to a Remedial/Pass (RMP).
  • A Remedial grade converts to a Remedial/Failure (RMF) grade if the student fails to meet passing criteria for the next level clinical course; the student is then eligible for dismissal and will be required to meet with the Student Affairs Committee (SAC).

Additional clinical assignments may be required when more than one Remedial grade is obtained and when a Remedial grade is awarded in the final term of the program.  A student accumulating either two consecutive or three non-consecutive “RM” grades throughout the clinical curriculum is eligible for dismissal.

Grade of AU (Audit)

A clinical course can only be taken for a grade of audit if required as part of a student’s modified degree program due to his/her modified or probationary status.  A student is required to meet the same attendance standards as a student taking the course for credit.  The above attendance and satisfactory progress must be verified by the clinical preceptor in order for the course to be transcribed.

Grade of I (Incomplete)

A student who does not complete all clinical course requirements by the end of the term in which the course was taken may, at the discretion of the clinical preceptor or Instructor of Record of Clinical Programs, be given a grade of Incomplete. A grade of Incomplete should be given only when a significant component of the clinical work has not been completed, and should never be used in lieu of an “F” or any other grade.

Resolution of I Grade 

A student receiving a grade of Incomplete is required to contact the Instructor of Record of Clinical Programs or his/her designee immediately following receipt via Meditrek of the grade of Incomplete in order to make arrangements to complete the clinical course.  The work must be completed within 3 weeks following the term in which the Incomplete was given.  The student and the Instructor of Record of Clinical Programs will be informed by the Registrar of the actual deadline date of when the grade must be received.  

If the grade of Incomplete is not removed by the actual deadline date given by the Registrar, the grade will automatically become an “RM”.  If extenuating circumstances arise, the Instructor of Record of Clinical Programs may request an extension by contacting the Registrar before the deadline has passed.

Following the resolution of an Incomplete, the new clinical course grade will be used in determining the student’s status with regard to clinical probation, academic standing or eligibility for dismissal.

Repeat of a Clinical Course

A student may only repeat a clinical course if required by the SAC or as part of a modified program when placed on modified status.  Both grades will be transcribed on the student’s transcript.  A student may not elect to repeat a clinical course.

Exemption from Clinical Courses

There is no exemption from or substitutions for clinical courses involving patient care (See paragraph below with regard to contact lens clinical courses).  Students will be assigned only to clinical assignments that have been previously established by formal affiliation with the College. The Office of Clinical Education publishes a list of clinical affiliates annually.

A student may be exempt from contact lens clinical courses only.  If the instructor of record finds that the student has sufficient educational background and/or clinical experience, the student may be exempted from the contact lens clinical course.  If the student is granted an exemption, the instructor of record must notify the Registrar and the student in writing by the end of the third week of the beginning of the contact lens clinical course.  The student is required to attend the contact lens clinical course and/or assignment until receiving written notification of exemption. An exemption from a contact lens clinical course/assignment does not entail a change in tuition.

Withdrawal from Clinical Courses 

A student is not normally allowed to withdraw from a clinical course. A student may request permission to withdraw from a clinical course by writing to the Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs and providing a copy to the Clinical Education Office no later than 3 weeks before the last day of the student’s present clinical assignment or 3 weeks before the first day of the student’s next clinical assignment.  Permission to withdraw from a clinical course will only be given by the Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs or designee.  If the student’s request is approved, a grade of “W” will be transcribed.  A student who withdraws from a clinical course will be placed on modified status.  The Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs or designee will devise a modified program for this student.  A copy of the letter approving the withdrawal and providing the student’s modified program will be sent to the Registrar and the Clinical Education Office.  

If a student withdraws from a clinical course without permission by not attending clinic, clerkships or screenings or by failing to complete other requirements of the clinical course, a grade of “F” will be transcribed.

Withdrawal from a clinical course(s) after the third week of the term may not result in a tuition adjustment.

Submitting Grades

Final grades are due from the instructor of record on the date specified by the Registrar.  The instructor of record must submit the original Grade Sheet that is signed and dated in a sealed envelope and/or in person to the Registrar’s Office.  All grades, including Incomplete, In Progress, and Remedial are considered for purposes of determining academic standing and academic progress.

Change of Grade Policy

The instructor of record for each course has final authority for the designation of grades.  Once a grade has been reported in writing to the Registrar’s Office, the following procedures apply:

Change of grade for I, F, or RM
The instructor of record must complete a Change of Grade Form or write a formal letter with the instructor’s signature and deliver the form/letter directly to the Registrar’s Office.

Change of grade due to a clerical error
The instructor of record must complete a Change of Grade Form or write a formal letter with the instructor’s signature with a statement indicating the reason for the change for review by the Registrar.  The Registrar may request final approval from the Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs.

Change of grade due to a calculation error
The instructor of record must complete a Change of Grade Form or write a formal letter with the instructor’s signature with a statement indicating the reason for the change for review by the Registrar.

All grade changes must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office in person or in a sealed envelope.  Emails and faxes are not acceptable.

Notification of Grades

A grade report is ordinarily mailed out to the student’s local address usually within 3-4 weeks after the term ends.  Grades are given directly to the student only in the form of a grade report or as an unofficial transcript.  Grades that are provided in any other format are considered unofficial.

A grade report or transcript at the end of a term will not be released until the student’s course evaluations have been completed.  Please review ‘Course Evaluation Requirement’.

Changes in grades will be given to the student by the Registrar’s Office through a new grade report, which is usually mailed to the student.

Grade Point Average (GPA) Calculation

The term or cumulative GPA is calculated by dividing the total number of quality points by the total number of credit hours attempted during a specific time period.  Pass/Fail grades, Clinical grades, Incomplete grades, and In Progress grades are not used in the calculation of the GPA.

A course that is taught over the span of two or three terms and for which only one grade is given is recorded as “IP” (In Progress), “WIP” (Work In Progress) or a blank space for the first or second term.  When the final grade is received, it is recorded for each term of the course.  An interim grade, which reflects a student’s progress in a course that is in progress, especially “D” or “F”, will be used for the evaluation of academic standing and progress.

Quality points are awarded per credit hour as follows:
A =            4.00 
B =            3.00
C =            2.00
D or FD = 1.00
F =             0.00

For students who started their degree program before February 24, 2011:
One credit hour is equivalent to:
10 hours of lecture per term
20-30 hours of laboratory per term
20-30 hours of on-line interactive training per term
20 hours of clinic per term

Course load for first professional degrees:
Fall Term and/or Spring Term is defined as:
Full time: usually 24 or more credit hours
Half time: at least 12 and up to 23.99 credit hours
Part time: less than 12 credit hours

               Each term in the final year, March Term and Summer Term is defined as:
Full time: 16 or more credit hours
Half time: at least 8 and up to 15.99 credit hours
Part time: less than 8 credit hours

Course load for stand-alone graduate degrees per term:
Full time:  10 or more credit hours
Half time:  at least 5 and up to 9.99 credit hours
Part time:  less than 5 credit hours

For students who started their degree program after February 24, 2011:
One credit hour is equivalent to:
15 hours of lecture per term 
( and a minimum of 30 hours of out of class student work per term)
30 hours of laboratory per term 
30 hours of on-line interactive training per term 
30 hours of clinic per term 
(and a minimum of 15 hours of out of class student work per term)  

Course load for first professional degrees:
Fall Term and/or Spring Term is defined as:
Full time: usually 16 or more credit hours
Half time: at least 8 and up to 15.99 credit hours
Part time: less than 8 credit hours

            Each term in the final year, March Term and Summer Term is defined as:
Full time: 9 or more credit hours
Half time: at least 4.50 and up to 8.99 credit hours
Part time: less than 4.50 credit hours

Course load for stand-alone graduate degrees per term:
Full time:  10 or more credit hours
Half time:  at least 5 and up to 9.99 credit hours
Part time:  less than 5 credit hours

A student who attends and completes all required courses offered to his/her class for the term or academic year will be considered to be full time. These course load designations are used for student classification status only. (For policies relating to tuition see ‘Tuition, Fees and Payment Policy’ section.)

Attendance and Tardiness Policies

Students are expected to attend all classes and are required to attend all laboratory sessions, clinical assignments which include screenings, observations, clerkships and clinic, and mandatory classes, training, or meetings.  Absences often require prior approval.  Students should review the ‘Absence Policies and Procedures’ to see which procedure applies to them.

Students who agree to a clinical/lab switch with classmates and/or additional/volunteer clinical assignments are subject to the same attendance/absence policies and procedures.

Additional Attendance Requirements for Clinical Assignments:

  • Attendance at clinic orientation each term is mandatory.  A student who misses orientation may be delayed from starting his/her clinical assignment.  Additional clinic time of two hours per one hour missed for orientation and/or delay in starting clinic will be added to the student’s overall minimum hours needed.
  • Students are required to follow the attendance policies at the clinic to which they are assigned.  A record of attendance is kept in each student’s clinical file and is available to subsequent clinical preceptors.
  • Third year students in the 4 year OD program are expected to fulfill their clinical assignments throughout midterm and final exam weeks.  Exams will be scheduled in the morning so that students can make afternoon clinic assignments.  The last day of exam week is considered as a clinic day, including Saturdays.
  • First and second year students in the 4 year OD program, first and second year students in the AODP program, and first year students in the ASIP program will not be assigned to clinical assignments during midterm and final exam weeks.
  • First, second and third year students in the 4 year OD program, first and second year students in the AODP program, and first year students in the ASIP program will not have clinical assignments during Thanksgiving, Winter and Spring Breaks.
  • Final year students taking clinical rotations do not follow the academic calendar.  They follow the calendar at their clinical site.

Tardiness for Clinic Assignments:  Punctuality is expected for all clinical assignments.  The student must notify his/her assigned clinic and preceptor of unavoidable delays.  Failure to do so will be considered an unauthorized absence.  More than one incident of tardiness may be considered unprofessional conduct and may be brought before the Student Affairs Committee.

Absence Policies and Procedures

A student who will be missing one of the following must submit an “Absence Request Form” which can be obtained from the Academic Affairs Office:

  • Clinic Assignment*
  • Examination
  • Lab Session
  • Mandatory Class, Training or Meeting
  • More than three days of academic activity including regular classes

*A student, who will be missing any clinical assignment, must obtain his/her preceptor’s permission to be absent from clinic before applying for an excused absence.  A second copy of the “Absence Request Form” must be given to the Clinical Education Office.

There are three types of absences:

Expected Absences which include

  • Religious Observance
  • Jury Duty
  • National Boards
  • Planned Medical Leave
  • Academic Event/Meeting

A student with an expected absence needs to submit the “Absence Request Form” with appropriate documentation at least 45 days in advance to the Academic Affairs Office and to the Clinical Education Office if applicable.  Not all requests for expected absences will be approved.

Unexpected Absences
 which include:

  • Illness (ex. Flu)
  • Personal/Family Emergency

A student with an unexpected absence needs to contact the Academic Affairs Office providing his/her full name, contact telephone number and a brief explanation.  If a clinical assignment is being missed, the student must follow the clinic’s policy with regard to being absent.  The “Absence Request Form” should be submitted to the appropriate offices with documentation preferably within three business days or as instructed by the Academic Affairs Office.

     Unauthorized Absences: An unauthorized absence is considered unprofessional conduct. An unauthorized absence includes, but is not limited to:

  • not following the procedures with regard to expected and/or unexpected absences
  • leaving a clinic assignment without permission
  • an unapproved clinic and/or lab assignment switch
  • an unexcused absence

A student should review the additional information and/or a requirement listed below that applies to his/her expected or unexpected absence. A student will not be granted an excused absence because of travel plans or personal events that are in conflict with the Academic or Clinical Site Calendars.  The Office of Academic Affairs will notify all parties as to whether or not the absence has been approved with regard to didactic coursework.

If a student is granted an excused absence, the student assumes all responsibility for:

  • obtaining and completing missed assignments and examinations,
  • switching laboratory sections, with written notification of the switch to relevant instructors,
  • preferably switching clinical assignments with a classmate to insure coverage for patient care and completion of his/her own clinical requirements.  A switch must also be requested via Meditrek.

Expected Absences

Expected Absences which include:

  • Religious Observance
  • Jury Duty
  • National Boards
  • Planned Medical Leave
  • Academic Event/Meeting

A student with an expected absence needs to submit the “Absence Request Form” with appropriate documentation at least 45 days in advance to the Academic Affairs Office and to the Clinical Education Office if applicable.  Not all requests for expected absences will be approved.

Unexpected Absences

Unexpected Absences which include:

  • Illness (ex. Flu)
  • Personal/Family Emergency

A student with an unexpected absence needs to contact the Academic Affairs Office providing his/her full name, contact telephone number and a brief explanation.  If a clinical assignment is being missed, the student must follow the clinic’s policy with regard to being absent.  The “Absence Request Form” should be submitted to the appropriate offices with documentation preferably within three business days or as instructed by the Academic Affairs Office.

Unauthorized Absences

Unauthorized Absences:
   An unauthorized absence is considered unprofessional conduct.
An unauthorized absence includes, but is not limited to:

  • not following the procedures with regard to expected and/or unexpected absences
  • leaving a clinic assignment without permission
  • an unapproved clinic and/or lab assignment switch
  • an unexcused absence

A student should review the additional information and/or a requirement listed below that applies to his/her expected or unexpected absence. A student will not be granted an excused absence because of travel plans or personal events that are in conflict with the Academic or Clinical Site Calendars.  The Office of Academic Affairs will notify all parties as to whether or not the absence has been approved with regard to didactic coursework.

If a student is granted an excused absence, the student assumes all responsibility for:

  • obtaining and completing missed assignments and examinations,
  • switching laboratory sections, with written notification of the switch to relevant instructors,
  • preferably switching clinical assignments with a classmate to insure coverage for patient care and completion of his/her own clinical requirements.  A switch must also be requested via Meditrek.

Additional Information/Requirements with regard to specific reasons for absences:

Absence to Attend Professionally Related Activities or Corporate-Sponsored Educational Programs/Events

  • Absence must be approved in advance regardless of the number of days of absence.
  • A student must have a GPA of at least 2.200 and may not be on Warning, Probation and/or Inquiry Status.
  • A student will be granted one leave for professional activities per term. Extraordinary circumstances may warrant an exception.  Exceptions will be reviewed on an individual basis, but may be granted if the student has an official role in the event, (e.g. officer, coordinator, etc.) and should have a GPA above 2.80.  The student’s role should be described as part of the request.
  • Under no circumstances will a student be allowed to attend more than two events in a given term.

Student participation in professional activities is encouraged by the College.  It must also be recognized that a student’s priority is to his/her studies and his/her obligation to patient care. 

Absence to Attend Professionally Related Activities or Corporate-Sponsored Educational Programs/Events

  • Absence must be approved in advance regardless of the number of days of absence.
  • A student must have a GPA of at least 2.200 and may not be on Warning, Probation and/or Inquiry Status.
  • A student will be granted one leave for professional activities per term. Extraordinary circumstances may warrant an exception.  Exceptions will be reviewed on an individual basis, but may be granted if the student has an official role in the event, (e.g. officer, coordinator, etc.) and should have a GPA above 2.80.  The student’s role should be described as part of the request.
  • Under no circumstances will a student be allowed to attend more than two events in a given term.

Student participation in professional activities is encouraged by the College.  It must also be recognized that a student’s priority is to his/her studies and his/her obligation to patient care. 

Absence Due to Jury Duty

A student must submit a request at least 45 days in advance to the Office of Academic Affairs providing a photocopy of the Jury Duty Notice as well as documentation that all appropriate absence policies have been followed and authorized.  A student must switch lab sessions and clinic assignments with classmates. 

Absence from a Laboratory Session

A student must obtain prior approval from the laboratory instructor, instructor of record or the appropriate department chair if the instructor(s) are unavailable prior to the start of the laboratory session.

Absence from a Mandatory Class or Meeting

A student must obtain prior approval from the instructor of record for the class and/or the appropriate office convening the meeting.

Absence from Midterm and Final Examinations

All students are required to attend midterm and final examinations on the dates published by the Office of Academic Affairs except in the case of serious illness or personal emergency.  If a student is ill or has a personal emergency, the student must contact the Office of Academic Affairs (617-587-5587) prior to the start of the examination to request an excused absence. Not all requests will be approved.  If there is no one available in Academic Affairs to verbally discuss the request for an excused absence, the student should leave a message on Academic Affairs’ voicemail and must then contact the Office of Student Services (617-587-5593) to inform them of his/her inability to attend.  The office that is verbally contacted will inform the instructor of record that the student is unable to attend the examination.

In the case of illness, a written medical excuse must be submitted to the Office of Academic Affairs.  The written medical excuse documentation must include date(s) of the illness and a date specifying medical clearance to return to the College.  In the case of a personal emergency, the Office of Academic Affairs will inform the student of what documentation is necessary.

The Office of Academic Affairs will contact the instructor of record via email with a copy to the student and the Registrar’s Office as to whether or not the absence from the examination has been approved.

Upon written notification of an approved absence from the Office of Academic Affairs:

  • The student is required to contact the instructor of record to reschedule the missed examination immediately upon his/her return.
  • If the missed exam is the final exam, the instructor of record will award a grade of Incomplete until the exam has been made up.  Please see “Resolution of Incomplete Grades” with regard to deadlines.

In situations where a student does not follow the correct procedures as stated above, the student will not be given an excused absence.  The instructor of record is not required to offer a make up exam for this student. Options include recording a grade of 0 (zero) for the exam, requiring an alternative exam and/or other additional assignment, or other options at the discretion of the instructor of record.

The Office of Academic Affairs will keep a record of examinations missed by each student and will forward the records to the Associate Dean of Students each term.  Habitual absences from examinations will not be tolerated as this provides an unfair advantage over classmates.  Habitual absences will be treated as unprofessional conduct.

Absence Due to National Boards

A student may schedule one day of travel time prior to the administration of the board exam and one day after administration of the exam.  A student may not schedule time off for boards during the first week of a clinical rotation.  A student must obtain approval from his/her clinical preceptor in advance.

Absence from a Quiz

The instructor of record will determine the consequences for being absent from an announced or unannounced quiz.  A student should contact the instructor of record prior to the quiz for a previously announced quiz.

Absence Due to Religious Observance

In general, the College does not observe religious holidays.

Each student, upon notifying his/her instructor of record, lab instructor, clinical preceptor and clinical director at least 45 days in advance, shall be excused from class, lab or clinical assignment to observe a religious holiday of his/her faith. 

While the student will be held responsible for the material covered in his/her absence, each student shall be permitted a reasonable amount of time to make up any work missed.  No test, quiz, major class event, or major College event will be scheduled on a major religious holiday.  Faculty and administration shall in no way penalize a student who is absent from academic or clinical activities because of religious observances.

Miscellaneous Processes and Policies

Leave of Absence and Readmission

A student, who is in good academic standing and has a cumulative GPA of 2.000 or above in a first professional program or a cumulative GPA of 3.000 or above in a graduate program, may request a leave of absence from the College.  This request must be in writing and must be submitted to the Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs at least 30 days in advance of the anticipated leave date.  This requirement of an advanced notice will be waived only under extraordinary circumstances.

If the student is in his/her final year of a first professional program and/or in a graduate program, The Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs will notify the Clinical Education Office and/or the Office of Graduate Studies upon receipt of the request. 

The Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs will inform the student in writing of the decision and any terms and date of reentry relative to returning to the College as well as also notifying the appropriate offices.

Please note the following:

  • The decision to grant the leave will be a function of consultation between the Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs, the Director of Clinical Education if student is in his/her final year, the Director of Graduate Studies if student is in a graduate program,  the Chair of the Student Affairs Committee, and any other appropriate individuals.
  • A leave of absence may not be granted before all tuition and fees are paid in full and the student has met with the Financial Aid Office to discuss the effect of the leave upon financial aid arrangements.
  • A leave of absence is usually not extended beyond one year. Ordinarily, a student is granted only one leave of absence.
  • A student who returns to the College after a leave of absence may be required to take additional course work due to curriculum changes.  A student taking a leave of absence does so with the understanding that course sequencing may change during the leave of absence. A student may be required to pass a clinical proficiency examination prior to assignment to clinical patient care. 

Conditional Leave of Absence and Readmission

If a student is not eligible for a leave of absence as described above, yet presents extraordinary extenuating remediable circumstances, a conditional leave of absence may be requested.  Examples of such circumstances could include illness or other medical/personal conditions.  Documentation of the circumstances by a practitioner deemed to be qualified by the College must accompany the requests.  Remediation of the condition by a qualified practitioner must be presented by the student in order to return to the College.  Conditions set in the return documentation, such as continued medical care or therapy, must be adhered to.

If the student is in his/her final year of a first professional program and/or in a graduate program, the Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs will notify the Clinical Education Office and/or the Office of Graduate Studies upon receipt of the request. 

The Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs will inform the student in writing of the decision and any terms and date of reentry relative to returning to the College as well as also notifying the appropriate offices.

Please note the following:

  • The decision to grant the conditional leave will be a function of consultation between the Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs, the Director of Clinical Education if student is in his/her final year, the Director of Graduate Studies if student is in a graduate program,  the Chair of the Student Affairs Committee, and any other appropriate individuals.
  • A leave of absence may not be granted before all tuition and fees are paid in full and the student has met with the Financial Aid Office to discuss the effect of the leave upon financial aid arrangements.
  • A leave of absence is usually not extended beyond one year. Ordinarily, a student is granted only one leave of absence.
  • A student who returns to the College after a leave of absence may be required to take additional course work due to curriculum changes.  A student taking a leave of absence does so with the understanding that course sequencing may change during the leave of absence.
  • A student who returns to the College after a conditional leave will be required to pass a clinical proficiency examination prior to assignment to clinical patient care.  If the student fails to pass, the student will be required to complete clinical tutoring before retaking the proficiency examination.  Failing to pass a second time may result in the student being reclassified as to his/her level in the program or not being allowed to return.

Withdrawal

A student in a first professional program may withdraw from the College by informing the Registrar in writing.  This should be done at least two (2) weeks before Final Exams begin or three (3) weeks before the end of a final year clinical assignment.  A student who does not withdraw by these deadlines will receive a ‘Zero/Fail’ for any missed examinations, papers, etcetera and this ‘Zero/Fail’ will be used in the grade calculation. A student must make an appointment with the Associate Dean of Students and have exit interviews with the Financial Aid and Business Offices.

A student in a graduate program may withdraw from the College by informing the Director of Graduate Studies in writing.  The Director will notify the Registrar in writing and provide the student’s withdrawal letter.  A student must have exit interviews with the Financial Aid and Business Offices.

When the withdrawal from the College becomes official, the following actions will occur:

  • Deactivation of the student’s identification card to remove access to campus buildings except as a visitor during regular business hours.
  • Discontinuation of the student’s email account.  The student must provide the IT Department with another email address within five (5) days where email can be forwarded for thirty (30) days.  If a student fails to give the College IT Department another email account within five (5) days forwarding will not be instituted.

Reapplication after Withdrawal or Dimissal

A student who has withdrawn or has been dismissed from the College must reapply by submitting new documentation to the College for readmission to the program.  A student who withdraws or has been dismissed from the College must apply to the Admissions Committee for readmission but will not be readmitted without the recommendation of the Student Affairs Committee.  The Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs or designee in consultation with the SAC and the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) if applicable will determine the reentry level, date of reentry and modified program, if necessary.  The original expected graduation date may be revised as appropriate.

The former student must have met all prior fiscal obligations to the College before petitioning or applying for readmission.  Withdrawal from the College in good academic standing does not in itself guarantee readmission.  Previous admission to the College in no way guarantees successful readmission by a former student who reapplies to the College.  Readmission to the College will only be decided by the process listed in the above paragraph.  An administrator or faculty member of the College has no authority to insinuate that a student will be successfully readmitted.

Student Rights and Responsibilities

The College uses electronic and written communications in the delivery of its educational programs and in the conduct of its business affairs.  Students are responsible for assuring that they read and respond appropriately to all communications from faculty and administration.

Copyright Policy

The New England College of Optometry (‘the College’) is committed to providing an environment that supports the research and the teaching activities of its faculty, students, and staff.  As a matter of principal and practice, the College encourages all of its members to publish their papers, books, and other forms of communication without restriction in order to share openly their findings and knowledge with both the optometric profession as well as the general public.

In furtherance of this credo, the College has adopted a Copyright Policy that is intended to provide guidance for the members of the College community, including faculty, visiting faculty, staff, administrators, and students, in matters of copyright compliance when using a variety of creative works including, but not limited to printed materials, digital media, sound recordings, and computer and educational software.  The College expects that all members of the community adhere to the provisions of the United States Copyright Law – Title 17, United States Code, Sec. 101, http://www.copyright.gov/title17/.  The Policy presents to the College community a summary of U.S. copyright law related to the use of copyrighted works in the classroom, in the CMS (Moodle) and the library as well as to provide guidelines and procedures for obtaining permission to use copyrighted works.

While the policy provides practical advice and procedures on copyright matters, legal advice should be sought if a member of the community feels clarification is needed.  Members of the College community who willfully disregard the Policy do so at their own risk and assume all liability.  Therefore, each member should not rely on this summary; rather he/she should read the Copyright Policy in its entirety at http://neco.libguides.com/copyright

Disability Services

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability and protects qualified applicants and students with disabilities from discrimination in all aspects of the application process and student life.  The ADA also requires educational institutions to provide qualified applicants and students who have disabilities with any necessary reasonable accommodations that do not impose undue hardship to the school.

The College strictly adheres to the provisions of the ADA. Applicants and students with disabilities are invited and encouraged to make their necessary accommodations known to:

Associate Dean of Students
New England College of Optometry
424 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02115
617-587-5593

If you believe you have been discriminated against with regard to the ADA, please contact the Associate Dean of Students immediately.

Student Conduct Code

The New England College of Optometry has a code to regulate conduct on campus. The code provides for dismissal, suspension, disciplinary probation, and official censure. Faculty members and students should consult the
Student Handbook, available on Neco.edu