Academic Freedom Policy
Academic freedom is a cherished principle in higher education. At the University of St. Augustine, academic freedom is the right of faculty members to express their professional opinions regarding the content of the courses they are teaching, as long as they are measured against the intellectual standards of relevant professional disciplines. It should be remembered that the content of courses often builds upon itself, and this course content is coordinated to achieve the desired goal of meeting professional accreditation and national licensure subject matter. Faculty have the freedom in the classroom to discuss academic subjects, select instructional materials, and determine grades. Likewise, students should have the opportunity to study a wide spectrum of ideas so they may acquire critical thinking skills. We must never lose sight that our students are seeking guidance, not confusion. While they wish to know what to do in every single circumstance, we know they are better prepared if we teach them the skills and give them the content that will enable them to personally find answers. In the development of knowledge and creative activities, the faculty and student body are free to cultivate a spirit of inquiry and scholarly criticism and to examine ideas in an atmosphere of freedom and confidence.
However, there are limits to academic freedom. The courts have decided that free speech does not extend to shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre. Likewise, academic freedom, the right to express one’s personal views, has its limits and carries with it a measure of responsibility. By all means, faculty may express a different viewpoint about a professional topic, but it should be clearly expressed as a personal viewpoint. Faculty may not subject students to personal views and opinions concerning matters not related to the course of instruction itself. It is necessary that faculty conduct themselves accordingly, with due respect to the welfare of this University and the professions we represent. It is also necessary to ensure consistency within an integrated curriculum and when teaching various sections of the same course/seminar. The philosophy, programs, faculty, and administration of the University are not perfect, and helpful suggestions and constructive criticism can assist all; but publicly expressing displeasure with University philosophies or practices has no place in our organization.
It is important for faculty, staff, and students to know they can initiate changes and have a number of avenues within which they can work for change. Both on-campus and distant employees and students may speak (or write) to their Program Director or supervisor. The University supports your ideas, and suggestions will be treated with the respect and consideration they deserve.
If a faculty member, staff member, or student perceives an infringement on his or her academic freedom, the individual should follow the complaint policy and refer the issue to the appropriate Program Director, supervisor, and/or Dean. If the issue is not resolved in a satisfactory manner, the individual may submit a written grievance to the University’s Grievance Committee at 1 University Blvd., St. Augustine, FL 32086, where the issue will be handled according to established timelines and processes.
Diversity at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences is defined in three ways:
- Representation of the student, faculty, and staff across all campuses
- Allowing for diverse thought, leadership styles, and work environments
- Encouraging diverse ways to teach, to promote student cultural awareness, and to engage in scholarly pursuits
Representation of the student, faculty, and staff across all campuses: The University aims to support diversity by recruiting and retaining students and employees at all levels by
- recognizing that continued success in meeting the needs of our students requires the full and active participation of talented and committed employees who represent a variety of religions, disabilities, ages, ethnicities, races, sexual orientations, and genders. Diversity of employees also includes personal and work history, education, functional ability, personality, lifestyle, socioeconomic status, geographic origin, longevity with the organization, degree-program matriculation, and level of employment within the organization;
- supporting admission to students regardless of gender, race, ethnic origin, age, disability, or sexual orientation; and
- offering educational support to all students as needed.
Diverse thought, leadership styles, and work environment: The University believes that diversity encompasses the way we work, the work environment, and respect for people and ideas. It also encompasses varying management styles and ways of thinking, leadership abilities, skill levels, experiences, viewpoints, expression of thoughts, and differing ways of delivering services, provided there is consistency in the values we share. By fostering an atmosphere of acceptance and support, we value and appreciate the strengths afforded by the differences, styles, ideas, and organizational contributions of each person. For it is through diversity that our institutional core values and mission can best be met.
Encouraging diverse ways to teach, to promote student cultural awareness, and to engage in scholarly pursuits: The University supports faculty who offer diverse clinical expertise and approaches to patient management as a way to promote health science professional curricula that allows graduates to work with a diverse client population. Efforts are made to support cultural competence throughout the curricula and meet expected student learning outcomes in this area. The University fosters diverse faculty and student scholarly endeavors that involve various clinical, patient management, health promotion, and education research topics, with careful attention to the safety, confidentiality, and privacy of all research subjects.
Diversity is inclusion. It stresses equal opportunity, recognizes and respects the multitude of differences that employees and students bring to our workplace and classrooms, and acknowledges the changing face of the community we serve. The affirmation of diversity and full cooperation by all managers, supervisors, employees, and students is expected.
Transfer Credit Policy—All Programs
Transfer of graduate credits previously earned from another accredited degree-granting institution is limited to 25% of the total number of academic credits for the degree. Transfer of credits within the University is determined on a case by case basis. Transfer credit will in most cases be approved for graduate coursework awarded by schools, colleges, or universities whose accrediting bodies have recognition from CHEA (Council for Higher Education Accreditation) and the U.S. Department of Education.
Transfer of Credits From Another Accredited Institution
Acceptance or rejection of transfer credits is subject to the following provisions:
- The course(s) should have been completed within 5 years* preceding admission to the program, but the applicant may petition to the Program Director for an exception to this time limit.
*Some programs may be more restrictive than others and will expect a maximum of 3 years preceding admission (see First Professional Division reenrollment timelines)
- The course should have been completed with a grade of B or better. Courses having a B- or below will not be transferred.
- The course must be listed on an official transcript sent directly to the Registrar by the issuing institution.
- Graduate-level courses taken at accredited institutions can be used for credit transfer provided that the coursework meets the corresponding requirements of the program and the course being substituted by transfer.
- The course number and name of the course requested for transfer should reflect the content of the course it is replacing. Additionally, if the course requested for transfer will replace an elective, the content should be closely aligned with that of the curriculum and its potential electives.
- Undergraduate work is not accepted for transfer.
- In general, credit can be transferred if the requested substitute course is at the same course level or lower than the course being substituted (i.e., 7000-level courses would transfer for a 7000-level course or 5000 or 6000 level). In cases where a course from a master’s program is being requested for transfer into a doctoral program, consideration will be given to rigor and content and further documentation may be requested.
- Final approval for a transfer request is based upon review and authorization by the Program Director and will be based on assessment of whether a transfer of credit will allow the student to meet all program and course learning outcomes.
- If students are utilizing a variety of methods in transferring credits (from outside institutions, from another USAHS program, or from advanced standing), a maximum of 50% of the degree program total credits can be awarded. The remaining 50% of the total credits needs to be completed within the desired USAHS program.
- The Registrar is responsible for assuring consistency of transfer credit practice and procedure among the different campus locations.
The process for requesting transfer credits is as follows:
- The student completes a Transfer Credit Request Form, found on the MyUSA Students tab, and submits it to the Registrar. A course syllabus is required. It is the responsibility of the student to provide sufficient documentation to show equivalency to USAHS coursework.
- Requests for approval of transfer credits may be submitted within the first 4 months after acceptance into the program or at least 2 months before the start of classes for the trimester.
- The Program Director, in consultation with the appropriate course instructor(s), will review the transfer course syllabus to verify that its contents match those of the program’s course, considering the nature, content, quality, appropriateness, and applicability of the credit earned. The Program Director will then notify the Registrar of the decision.
- The Registrar will notify the student if the request for transfer credit is approved and will post any transferred credit to the permanent academic record at that time.
- Students have a right to appeal the Program Director’s decision to deny a course transfer. Such appeals will be forwarded to the Dean of the division who has final authority in the transfer determination.
Transfer of Credits From One USAHS Program to Another USAHS Program
Transfer of credits may take place from one USAHS program to another. Should a student wish to transfer credits from one program to another, the following guidelines will apply:
- Students may request transfer of credits from another program for up to 50% of the total credits in the program the credits will be applied toward.
- If electives are to be transferred, the Program Director will determine if those credits meet the program learning outcomes for the intended degree.
- Courses taught in a master’s level program that include outcomes and assessment measures designed for the doctoral level may be considered for transfer into doctoral-level programs if they have been approved for such and according to Program Director approval.
- The Program Director, in conjunction with the Registrar, will give final approval to the transfer plan.
The process for requesting transfer credits is as follows:
- The student completes a Transfer Credit Request Form, found on the MyUSA Students tab, and submits it to the Registrar.
- Requests for approval of transfer credits should be submitted 2 months before the start of classes for the trimester.
- The Registrar will notify the student if the request for transfer credit is approved and will post any transferred credit to the permanent academic record at that time.
Academic degree programs use a 4.0 scale to calculate GPAs. More information on the University’s grading system is located in the Student Handbook.
Credit and quality points are not included in GPA calculations for the following grades:
||No Grade Reported
Please see the Student Handbook for the full Grading System policy and additional information.
The course instructor or the Program Director may initiate grade changes. The grade change by instructor must first be submitted to the Program Director for initial approval. The Registrar’s Office will post any approved grade change to the official academic record. More information on grade changes is located in the Student Handbook.
Repetition of Course
On occasion, a student may be required to repeat a course. Under such circumstances, the highest grade achieved is counted towards the cumulative GPA. More information on repetition of a course is located in the Student Handbook.
The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences seeks resolution of all issues through the process of reason and expects all members of the University community to be governed by this principle. However, should a student, faculty member, staff member, visitor, invited guest, or other licensee, acting individually or collectively, while on University property engage in violence, destruction of property, or any act that disrupts or interferes with the functioning of the University or disturbs the academic processes of the classroom, and ignore or refuse to comply with official directives to desist, the University shall eject said violator from the campus or other University property. In addition, the University may seek to impose such penalties as provided by law. Where circumstances require, the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences may employ injunctive procedures or call upon civil authority to maintain order. University students, faculty, or staff engaged in such acts are subject to immediate suspension and a subsequent hearing, which may lead to expulsion or dismissal.
The University of St. Augustine is committed to providing a learning and working environment in which complaints are addressed fairly and resolved promptly. All complaints are taken seriously. The procedure for handling complaints encourages informal conciliation, facilitates early resolution, and maintains individual privacy and confidentiality.
This policy covers three general types of complaints:
- Student complaints
- Complaints from individuals outside the University
- Complaints from agencies outside the University
This policy does not cover complaints about incidents related to harassment. Complaints of this nature should be directed to the Director of Human Resources. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) discrimination complaints are also not covered under this policy and should be referred to the Director of Disability Services (see Student Handbook). Complaints regarding the sexual misconduct policy should be referred to the Title IV officer (see Student Handbook).
- Types of Student Complaints
Students should utilize the following procedure for complaints about service, support, or assistance provided by academic, administrative, or support departments of the University. Student complaints include academic issues, such as instruction methodology, grading, testing, or assignments, or nonacademic matters, such as IT support, University services, facilities, policies, financial matters, etc. The following procedure is not for complaints regarding academic or professional misconduct appeals policies and procedures. Please refer to the Student Handbook for appeals processes.
All information submitted as part of a student complaint will be treated as confidential and will only be available to the appropriate/involved parties. The student should also respect the need for confidentiality throughout the complaint process. A student who submits a complaint should be aware that complete confidentiality cannot always be guaranteed if effective action is to be taken. Where a complaint is in reference to a specific individual, the complaint cannot be investigated if the student does not wish the allegation to be made known to that individual. Anonymous complaints will not be considered.
- Student Complaints Procedures
A student should discuss his or her concerns with the person(s) who is directly responsible (course instructor, staff member, etc.) in order to resolve the issue. The initial party has 10 business days to address the issue. Depending on the severity of the issue, a written record may or may not be drafted and placed in the University’s complaint record.
- If the complaint cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of the student, the student should discuss the issue with his or her Program Director. The Program Director will consider the complaint and attempt to bring the issue to a satisfactory resolution within 10 business days
- In certain situations, the Program Director may refer the complaint to an appropriate University committee. The respective committee will consider the complaint and provide a written recommendation to the Program Director.
- The Program Director will consider the committee recommendation and notify the student in writing of the decision.
- Written documentation regarding the resolution will be placed in the University’s complaint file and maintained for 6 years.
- After following the steps above, the student may submit a formal written complaint to the Grievance Committee.
- The complaint will be investigated by the Grievance Committee and a written response will be provided to the student within 60 business days.
- The original written complaint, a copy of the response, and a description of any actions taken as a result of the complaint will be maintained on file for 6 years past the student’s last date of attendance.
Complaints From Individuals or Agencies Outside the University
Individuals or agencies from outside the University should address complaints about the University or a University program to the applicable Program Director, Dean, or the University President.
- Complaints Procedure
Complaints about a USAHS employee or student should be resolved by communicating directly with the individual or department head.
- If a resolution is not possible at this level, a written complaint may be filed. Written complaints should be addressed to the Grievance Committee:
University of St. Augustine
Grievance Committee Chair
St. Augustine Florida Campus
1 University Blvd.
St. Augustine, FL 32086
All complaints will be fully investigated by the Grievance Committee and a written response will be provided to the complainant.
The original written complaint, a copy of the response, and a description of any actions taken as a result of the complaint will be maintained on file for 6 years following the date of the resolution.
If a complaint cannot be resolved after following the procedures above, the following agencies can be contacted directly. This information will be posted and kept current on the University website.
- WASC Senior College and University Commission
- Complaints may be filed with the University’s institutional accrediting body by contacting the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) at http://www.wascsenior.org/comments and reviewing the Policy on Complaints and Third-Party Comments to ascertain the appropriate means to communicate comments and complaints.
- American Physical Therapy Association
- Complaints about the Physical Therapy program can be submitted to CAPTE by requesting the Procedures for Handling Complaints About an Accredited or Developing Physical Therapy Program.
- American Occupational Therapy Association
- Complaints about the Occupational Therapy program are handled as part of the Code of Conduct and Ethics Guidelines for AOTA.
- U.S. Department of Education
- Complaints about discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability are handled by the Office for Civil Rights.
- In California
- In Florida
- In Texas
- Additional States
- The University of St. Augustine has taken the necessary steps to apply and/or receive authorization to deliver education, to market, and to affiliate with clinical education sites in all 50 states. For information on a specific state, or to file a complaint go to http://www.usa.edu/p54-226-Complaints.aspx.
Students are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, which upholds the integrity of their profession and the University. Further information is available in the Student Handbook.
Suspension or Dismissal
The University, through its faculty or appropriate committees, reserves the discretionary right to suspend or dismiss any student from the University for failure to maintain
- a satisfactory academic record, or
- acceptable personal and professional behavior.
The student has the right to appeal to the appropriate University committee and, if applicable, to the President of the University, in the event of a decision to dismiss and/or suspend from the University.
First Professional Division Only
Advanced Course Standing by Examination
Based on previous academic coursework earned from another accredited degree granting institution or another program within the University and/or work experiences, a student may be granted advanced standing for a particular course after passing an examination on the contents of the course. The examination may be written or practical or both, and there is a cost associated with each exam. A maximum of 25% of the total number of credits for the degree may be granted for advanced standing. The granting of advance standing by examination is independent of the granting of transfer credit.
Approval for advanced course standing is subject to the following provisions:
- Documentation supporting the reason for requesting advanced course standing by examination.
- Supporting documentation may include transcripts showing applicable courses for credit, course descriptions, syllabi, continuing education courses/seminar descriptions and proof of completion, and work experience.
- Passing a challenge examination to verify competency in the particular subject matter. A student has only one attempt per course to pass the challenge exam. If the student fails the exam, the student must take the course in its entirety. The passing grade will be the same as the passing grade stated in the syllabus for the course in which advance standing is being requested.
The process for requesting Advanced Course Standing by Examination is as follows:
- The student obtains a request form for Approval of Advanced Course Standing by Examination, found on the MyUSA portal Students tab, and submits it to the respective Program Director with appropriate documentation.
- Requests for approval of Advanced Course Standing by Examination must be submitted at least 2 months before the start of classes for the trimester.
- In consultation with course instructors, the Program Director will review the request. If approved, the Program Director will notify the Registrar and a test time and date will be set up for each challenge exam. If the Program Director with consultation of the course instructor(s) concludes that the student’s previous coursework and experience are inadequate for passing the challenge exam, they may encourage the student not to seek advanced course standing or to take some type of remediation before taking the challenge exam.
- The Registrar will notify the student if the challenge exam has been passed and will post the course and its credits to the permanent academic record at that time.
Program Change Policy
All program change requests will be considered on an individual basis and are contingent upon space availability.
Incoming (new) students who want to request change of their admission to another degree program must make a request in writing (e-mail is acceptable) to the Director of Admissions at least 6 weeks prior to the start of the trimester. To be considered, the student must have successfully completed all of the required prerequisites for the program to which he or she is requesting change. The Director of Admissions will notify the student via e-mail of the outcome of the request. Please note: The start and completion dates of students who transfer between degree programs may be extended.
First Term Students
Program Change Request forms must be submitted to the student’s current Program Director by midterm of the first trimester. Change requests not received by the midterm deadline will be considered during the subsequent trimester. To be considered, the student must have successfully completed all of the required prerequisites for the program to which he or she is requesting change.
Second Term (and beyond) Students
Program Change Request forms must be submitted to the student’s current Program Director by midterm of the current trimester.
Program Change Request Process for Current Students
In order to be considered for a program change, a student must:
- Be in good academic standing at the time of the request. Program change requests will not be considered from students who are currently remediating or retaking coursework, who are under review for appeal or professional misconduct, or who are on academic probation. Program change requests from students who are on approved leave of absence will be considered.
- Complete the Program Change Request Form located in the MyUSA portal Students tab.
- Submit the completed form to:
- His or her current Program Director
- The Program Director of the degree program to which the student is seeking change
- The Director of Admissions. The Director of Admissions will approve only if the student has successfully completed all of the required prerequisites for the program to which he or she is requesting change.
- Clinical Education
- Once the Program Change Request Form has been considered by all applicable administrators, the student will be notified of the outcome via e-mail by the University Registrar.
- Please note: USAHS scholarships are not transferable from one program to another.
- Changing programs may extend the degree completion date.
Dual Degree Option Students
Dual degree option students who elect not to return to the University to pursue the DPT portion of the program immediately after earning the MOT degree must submit a Program Withdrawal Form to the Registrar’s Office by midterm of the last trimester of the MOT program.
Dual degree option students who want to complete the DPT portion of the program through the Flex DPT program must submit a Program Change Request Form to the Registrar’s Office by midterm of the last trimester of the MOT program. This form is located on the myUSA portal, Students tab.
A USAHS entry-level program graduate who decides to seek admission to another USAHS entry-level degree program must enroll within 3 years of his or her graduation date or he or she may be required to retake foundational (HSC) coursework and complete additional internship/fieldwork experiences. To be considered for admission to another entry-level degree program, a USAHS graduate must submit to the Student Services Office a completed application for admission; however, transcripts and GRE score reports do not need to be resubmitted with the new application.
Dual degree students who delay beginning the DPT portion of the program after receiving the MOT degree must reenroll in the DPT program within 3 calendar years or they may be required to complete additional foundational coursework and/or internships in order to complete the second degree. To reenroll a returning dual degree student must notify the Registrar in writing (e-mail is acceptable) of his or her intent to resume classes at least 6 weeks before the start of the trimester.
Transfer From Campus to Campus
Students who want to transfer to another campus location must submit a Transfer Request Form available on the MyUSA portal Students tab to their current Program Director by midterm of the trimester prior to the requested change. Such requests will be considered in an individual basis and are contingent on space availability. The student will be notified of the outcome of the transfer request via e-mail by the Registrar’s Office. Please note: Program completion dates of students who transfer between campus locations may be extended.