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Section 2: Curriculum

2.1 Guidelines for Enrollment, Drop/Add, Scheduling Changes & Auditing

2.1.1 Curriculum

The DVM curriculum is designed to be horizontally and vertically integrated, meaning that courses in each semester build upon those from previous semesters. It is therefore important for students to have completed all core courses offered in each semester before progressing to the next semester (see section xx, progression through the curriculum for further details).

The DVM curriculum is monitored and reviewed by the VMCVM Curriculum Board (CB). Each DVM class has a voting representative on this board and they may present student concerns for consideration. VMCVM is also monitored by the AVMA’s Council on Education (CoE), which requires a yearly report updating them on the 11 accreditation standards that all veterinary programs accredited through the CoE must meet and maintain.

All DVM students can anonymously comment on the college’s adherence to these standards through an electronic drop box, located on the intranet. (requires PID) Students may also send comments to their class CB representative.

The courses and clerkships (core, track, and elective) offered in the DVM program are included in the Course Catalog.

Classroom teaching in the DVM program is divided into a 1st Classroom Experience (years 1 and 2; 81 semester credit hours total) and a 2nd Classroom Experience (year 3, minimum of 28 semester credit hours total). Clinical teaching occurs between years 2 and 3, and in year 4 (68 semester credit hours total). All course and clerkship syllabi are on the intranet. (requires PID)

The CVM uses a tracking curriculum. Students may choose one of 5 available tracks: Equine, Food Animal, Mixed Animal, Public/Corporate, or Small Animal. Track selection occurs at the end of the second semester of the curriculum and may be changed up until before the closing of course registration of the fall semester of the 3rd year.

Progressing through the program requires the meeting of standards set by faculty and evaluated through periodic assessments. Within the DVM program, assessment is defined as a procedure used to determine the degree to which individuals have met the intended instructional learning outcomes. Assessments may include electronic, written, and performance-based assignments, exams, and quizzes, as well as other judgments regarding appropriate progression (e.g., clinical competence, professionalism, etc.). See sections X and X for additional information.

2.1.2 Enrollment

Academic Affairs enrolls all DVM students in their respective courses and clerkships across the curriculum. Students will be notified if Academic Affairs is unable to enroll them for any reason, and will include the reason if appropriate.

In March and October, Academic Affairs distributes information to third-year students detailing the courses available in the fall and spring semester courses, respectively. It includes the concurrent courses, track or elective classes that are capped and therefore may require “lottery” draws, and drop/add deadlines. Students not enrolled in a selected elective course(s) due to a cap, notification will be made with enough time to choose an alternate course(s).

Each student is responsible for verifying their enrollment in Hokie Spa is correct and that they are taking the correct courses for the track they have selected.

2.1.3  Drop/add of 3rd elective courses

  • The deadline to add an elective is the end of the first week of the semester
  • The early deadline for dropping Animal Use, Cadaver, and/or Capped courses is mid-July for the fall semester and mid-November for the spring semester. This date is communicated to students by Academic Affairs via email well in advance. 
  • The deadline to drop all other electives is the end of the second week of the semester
  • If the elective is completed within the first two weeks of classes, the drop deadline is 2 days before the beginning of the course. 

2.1.4 Adding an elective after the add deadline

After the add deadline has passed, no elective courses may be added unless there are extenuating circumstances. Should such circumstances arise, the student must make the request and provide any applicable/appropriate documentation to the Associate Dean for Professional Programs. If approved, it is the student’s responsibility to learn all information missed and coordinate with the course leader to determine what, if any, makeup assignments, exams, quizzes, labs, etc. will be provided and when.

2.1.5 Dropping an elective after the drop deadline

Courses that are capped, that use live animals, and/or uses cadavers cannot be dropped after the drop deadline. No more than 2 eligible courses may be dropped beyond the deadline, and the following conditions must be met:

  • The student continues to meet the minimum required number of credits for the semester, currently 14. 
  • The request is made at least 1 day prior to the final exam for the course. Withdrawal after the semester has ended is not permitted. 
  • A Course Withdrawal Form, found online or through Academic Affairs, is completed and submitted to the Course Leader and Associate Dean for Professional Programs for signature and approval.

Withdrawal requests may be made regardless of the grade earned up to the point of request for withdrawal. Withdrawals after the official drop deadline will appear on the transcript with a “grade” of “WG” and do not affect the student GPA.

2.1.6 Dropping an animal/cadaver/capped elective after the early drop deadline

The Early Drop Deadline is generally mid-July for fall courses and mid-November for spring courses. Withdrawal for courses that are capped, use live animals and/or cadavers is not permitted after the early drop deadline unless the following conditions are met:

  • Course Leader and Associate Dean both approve
  • Course is dropped before use of animals has started and will not impact the number of animals organized for the course 
  • Another student desires to take the care and can be switched with the student wanting to drop 
  • The student has been identified as academically struggling (refer to section X: Policies for Academic Progression)

2.1.7 Auditing courses

The VMCVM allows auditing of courses, defined as attendance without enrollment. DVM students may audit an elective or non-track course if approval to do so is provided by the course leader. Auditing students should not email course leaders with questions about the course material. Laboratory classes may not be audited. Audited courses will be notated as such on the student’s transcript.

2.2 Guidelines for Attendance and Excused Absences

2.2.1 Attendance

Some components of every course are required and students will be penalized if they fail to attend without an excused absence (see section IB2). For exams, lectures, laboratories, and quizzes, the Course Leader or her/his designee will identify all required sessions/activities at the beginning of the course or portion of the course for which s/he is responsible and/or clearly identify these within the course syllabus. In general, such sessions include: all exams, quizzes, laboratory classes, and integrative sessions along with their assessments. Course Leaders may, at their discretion, also designate certain lectures as required.

Attendance is expected at all other scheduled sessions. Every effort is made to ensure each session is recorded, but sometimes this does not occur. In the case of a missed lecture recording, it is the student’s responsibility to obtain the necessary information if they did not attend the session.

2.2.2 Excused Absences

An excused absence is when a student has approval to miss a required course session (see section IBA). Excused absences are only granted for the following approved reasons:

  • Physical or mental/emotional illness that is personal or involves and immediate family member 
  • Weddings and graduations of immediate family members 
  • Death in the immediate family 
  • Required court appearances that cannot be changed 
  • Religious and/or ethnic holidays 
  • Professional circumstances – see section XX below 
  • Other serious and unavoidable circumstances beyond the student’s control Examples include: motor vehicle accidents, military obligations, etc. 
  • Examples NOT covered include: heavy traffic, oversleeping, etc. 

Other situations may arise that are not covered here. These situations will be approved on a case-by-case basis and require the approval of the Associate Dean.

Immediate family is defined here as a spouse (including de facto partners), children/stepchildren, parents/stepparents/parents-in-law, siblings/stepsiblings/siblings-in-law, grandparents/step-grandparents/grandparents-in-law, and legal guardians.

An excused absence may not be requested and will not be granted after the student has completed an exam. If an exam has been started and the student must leave for any reason, the student may be excused from the remainder of the exam but will be responsible for rescheduling and retaking the exam within 72 hours of the original testing date. In this situation, the student will not earn a grade higher than 74% on the future exam on the make-up exam. Process

Students must log on to the intranet and locate the Excused Absence Request link for their respective situation (classroom or clerkship). This can be found at: → pre-clinical excused absences. Select the reason from the dropdown menu provided, attach any required documentation (as outlined in subsequent sections), and select the courses. When selecting “other,” ensure to include a brief explanation. The requests will be routed to the appropriate course leader(s) and individuals in Academic Affairs for approval.

Ideally, requests should be made at least 14 days (2 full weeks, including weekends) before the anticipated absence. In a true emergency that does not allow for such advanced notice, students should submit requests as soon as possible with an explanation included. Excused absences involving illness

Approval for physical, mental, and/or emotional illness of the student or an immediate family member requires appropriate documentation from a licensed healthcare provider (physician, counselor, etc.) indicating the student has/had the illness at the time of the required event that prevented them from attending. A hospital discharge notice also meets this requirement. The statement should be dated the day of or immediately before the requested absence and should be uploaded to the electronic system before submission.

  • Minor illnesses, such as colds, allergies, etc., do not qualify for excused absences. 
  • Statements indicating the student had an appointment during or on the day of the required session are not acceptable for excused absence approval

In the case of a positive COVID-19 test, submission of proof of a positive COVID-19 test and the date taken is sufficient. We continue to follow the CDC’s guidelines regarding COVID-19 infections and known exposures Excused absences for professional purposes

VMCVM and its instructors are primarily responsible for the education and training of DVM students. Occasionally, outside professional experiences can also enrich student learning and contribute to their professional networks. Therefore, excused absences for attendance at a professional meeting or workshop may be granted when they meet the following criteria:

  • Student has NOT been identified as needing additional academic support (see section covering Academic Progression) 
  • Student has NOT been previously granted an excused absence for a professional reason during the first or second teaching times 
  • The excused absence is approved by the Course Leader and the Associate Dean 
  • The absence is NOT requested from a laboratory exam, including animal-use exams

Acceptable Professional Purposes absences include the following:

  • National or International Association meeting, such as AAEP, AABP, SCAMVA Leadership, AVMA, etc. 
  • Accepted research or poster presentation for a reputable national or international organization 
  • Receipt of a specific external scholarship to attend a SAVMA or student chapter associated scientific meeting, such as AAHA, AAEP, VBMA, etc. 
  • Other situations may be approved on a case-by-case basis; this includes students who are requesting an excused absence for a second Professional Purpose reason

Excused absence requests (see section 2.2.2 Excused Absences) and rescheduling of make-up assessments are the student’s responsibility and follow the same guidelines as for other excused absences (see below). Excused absences for laboratory classes and exams

Because rescheduling of laboratory classes and exams is not tenable due to resource issues, excused absences for laboratory classes and exams will not be approved unless there are extenuating circumstances. If the laboratory class or exam is excused but the experience cannot be adequately replicated, the Course Leader may choose to provide an alternate exercise and/or assessment OR assign the grade of “Incomplete.” In the case of an “Incomplete” grade, the student must work with the course leader to attend an equivalent session during the semester immediately following to avoid the “I” becoming a “Fail.” Rescheduling missed required activities

Once an excused absence has been approved, it is the student’s responsibility to reschedule the missed activity, exam, quiz, etc. in conjunction with the Course Leader and Academic Affairs. When an excused absence is anticipated (i.e., planned wedding, graduation, etc.), the student is encouraged to do the missed activity/quiz/exam before the regularly scheduled date. In cases when this is not possible, the student must reschedule the missed activity/quiz/exam no later than 72 business hours after the regularly scheduled date unless there are extenuating circumstances, which will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. This is in place to ensure the student does not continue to get behind in studying for subsequent exams, and to ensure that exam results can be released promptly for both other students and to comply with University grade deadlines.

If the make-up activity/quiz/exam require access to the lecture or laboratory space coordinated by the MDL staff, the Course Leader and student must work with the MDL staff manager to find times that work for all involved and do not interfere with other uses and MDL staff duties. Unexcused absences for required activities

Missing a required activity/quiz/exam without an excused absence results in a score of zero (0) for that activity/quiz/exam. If there are extenuating circumstances, with approval from the Course Leader and Associate Dean the activity/quiz/exam may be rescheduled and should be completed within 72 hours of the originally scheduled event. Once the event is rescheduled and completed, the student will not earn more than a 74% for that event.

When there are no extenuating circumstances and/or the required activity/quiz/exam cannot be scheduled due to limitations on resources and/or other deadlines, the students will not be allowed to reschedule and the grade of zero (0) will be earned.

2.3 Guidelines for Canceled Classes and Non-Appearance of Instructors

2.3.1 Canceled Classes

Classes may be postponed or canceled due to equipment issues or a University decision. Lectures and/or laboratory classes will, whenever feasible, be rescheduled as soon as possible, which may include lunchtimes and/or after hours. Rescheduling will be managed by the Course Leader in collaboration with Academic Affairs with input from the Class President and/or student course representative(s) when possible. If rescheduling is not possible, if the lecture from the previous year has been recorded, this may be used to deliver the missed material. If the lecture has not been recorded and rescheduling is not possible, students are still responsible for the notes, reading assignments, and other materials scheduled for the missed contact period(s).

If the cancellation results in a canceled exam, every effort will be made to reschedule the exam as quickly as possible. In these instances, the Course Leader and the Class President should immediately contact Academic Affairs to coordinate the rescheduling of the exam. In most cases, rescheduled exams will take priority over rescheduling lectures.

2.3.2 Non-appearance of an instructor

If an instructor does not arrive within the first 5 minutes of a class/lab, the student course representative or other designated class member should attempt to locate the missing instructor by one or more of the following means:

  • Contacting the appropriate Academic Affairs staff member 1st and 2nd year: First Classroom Experience Specialist 
  • 3rd year: Second Classroom Experience Specialist 
  • Laboratory session/course: MDL Manager 
  • Visiting the Academic Affairs offices to inform the staff of the missing instructor and the class or laboratory information 
  • Checking the instructor’s office or calling their office phone number and sending someone else to check their research laboratory and/or Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

If students are unable to locate the instructor by 15 minutes past the scheduled start of the session or the instructor indicates they are not able to deliver instruction that day, the class is canceled. The instructor and/or Course Leader will reschedule the session in consultation with Academic Affairs and/or MDL. The students will be notified of the rescheduled session as soon as possible by the instructor, the Course Leader, and/or Academic Affairs/MDL.

2.4 Guidelines for Student Evaluation of Courses

Student input is an important component of the ongoing curriculum evaluation within the College. Therefore, students are asked to complete course and instructor evaluations on a regular basis.

Course evaluations are conducted for all core, track, and elective courses every semester. These evaluations are delivered to students near the end of each course prior to final exams whenever possible. Results provide useful information to the Curriculum Board and to individual faculty members, who use the information to evaluate course content, delivery, assessments, and student learning.

The Curriculum Board reviews student evaluations at the end of each semester. However, needed actions (e.g., comprehensive review of a course) may only be taken if there is a ≥20% response rate for the course. For example, a course with a sum rating ≤58% would require a Curriculum Committee review, but if the minimum response rate for the class is not met, no action will be taken due to lack of adequate numbers to accurately determine whether there is an issue.

Data from course and instructor evaluations are also a component of the dataset used to select faculty for teaching awards and contributes to faculty annual evaluations as well. Feedback from students, alumni, and employers have resulted in substantial changes to some courses and the creation of new courses. Thus, student feedback is important, impactful, and therefore carries a high degree of responsibility with it and makes this feedback essential to ensuring our curriculum is evolving to keep up with the needs of our graduates and those who employ them.

Students should complete the evaluations independently. Data is collected anonymously, and any identifying information entered into the evaluation is discarded before review by faculty and the Curriculum Board. Note that disparaging remarks, offensive language, and personal attacks are unacceptable, unprofessional, and will also be discarded. To make the biggest impact, therefore, use constructive and specific language (see examples below).

Example comments:

Constructive: Dr. X showed up to class late three times and refused to end class on time, making us miss our break. I would appreciate a policy that helps students address this situation professionally.

Positive: The questions on Dr. Z’s exams felt fair and were directly related to the Learning Objectives provided at the beginning of each session.

2.5 Guidelines for Assessment

2.5.1 Date and length of exams

Examinations during the 1st Classroom Experience are delivered at the beginning of the week and generally occur every 2 weeks. While most exams are two hours, this may vary at the discretion of the Course Leader in collaboration with Academic Affairs.

Exams during the 2nd Classroom Experience are scheduled by the Course Leaders in collaboration with the Second Classroom Experience Support Specialist and do not follow a particular pattern.

Lab exams and skills-based exams (sometimes referred to as OSCEs) may also be scheduled for some courses during both classroom experiences. These are usually aligned with the lecture exams.

Once exam dates are set and the schedules published, exams will not be changed unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as a University closure.

2.5.2 Exam procedures during the semester

For all in-class exams delivered via Exam Soft:

  • Students may only bring their primary testing device into the exam room – that is, a computer or tablet. No other electronic devices, including smart watches, phones, calculators, etc., may be brought into the room. 
  • Scratch paper will be provided for those who wish to use it. Students may NOT provide their own. 
  • Students may enter the exam room up to 20 minutes after the scheduled start time. No additional time to complete the exam will be given. 
  • Students will not be permitted to enter the exam room and take the exam if they are more than 20 minutes late. If this occurs, the student will incur an unexcused absence and must contact the Course Leader to determine next steps. 
  • Students may not leave the exam/exam review and leave the room until 20 minutes after the exam begins. 
  • For a restroom break, the student should pause their exam, leave their device in the exam room, go to the closest restroom, and return to the exam as quickly as possible. No additional time is provided to make up for restroom breaks. 
  • If the exam is completed before the allotted time, they should submit their answers to Exam Soft, show their exit (green) screen to a proctor, and leave quietly. 
  • If the exam time ends and the student is still in the exam room, the proctor will announce the end of the time. Students must stop and exit Exam Soft immediately, then demonstrate to the proctor that the program has been closed before leaving the room.

Students with approved or temporary accommodations on exams will be provided them in alignment with their accommodations letter from the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) – see section D5, DVM students with accommodations.

2.5.3 Use of electronic devices during exams

Most exams during the DVM program are delivered via Exam Soft. Student-owned computers and tablets that meet University specifications may be used to take these exams. Using any other electronic devices is not allowed. This includes, but is not limited to, smart watches, calculators, music players, earbuds, and the like. The Course Leader may grant exceptions if their exam requires the use of an additional device, such as an approved calculator. Students with accommodations that explicitly address the need for additional electronic devices will always be honored, as long as it is contained within the accommodations letter from the SSD office. Violation of this policy is a breach of the DVM Honor Code and will be referred to the appropriate board.

2.5.4 Late submission of exams/assignments

Instructors are not obligated to accept late assignments or exams. Students should read each syllabus and organize their calendars to reflect exam dates and assignment due dates at the beginning of each course. When an exam is still open after the proctor calls for it to be closed and for instructors choosing to accept late assignments, the student may earn no greater than a 74% final score on the late exam or assignment.

2.5.5 Exam accommodations

Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) is the Virginia Tech office that provides accommodations for students in all programs. Accommodations are provided on a case-by-case basis after consultation between the student and a representative within SSD. Students with identified or suspected disabilities must contact SSD directly to begin the process of receiving approved accommodations: SSD works with Academic Affairs to provide any approved accommodations either within the College or in the SSD office. Students are encouraged to meet with SSD as soon as possible upon acceptance to the program and before the beginning of each subsequent semester when accommodations are needed.

Students who have not gone through the formal process of requesting accommodations will not be provided accommodations by the College. This is to ensure a fair process and that any accommodations provided are correct and appropriate for the individual student. However, if a student is identified at any point during the program as having a potential need, the student will immediately be referred to SSD and temporary accommodations may be granted until the final decision of SSD is received.

Any questions about this process, including where to go, who to contact, or what to do if you suspect you may need this service can be directed to Academic Affairs at any time. Procedures for those with approved accommodations Exams with accommodations provided within the college

Lecture exams during the semester

  • Extended time and quiet space may be provided by the College 
  • Additional accommodations may be provided on a case-by-case basis as determined through collaborations between SSD and Academic Affairs 

Laboratory exams during the semester

  • For skills-based exams (OSCEs) and lab exams related to the practice of veterinary medicine, extended time will be considered on a case-by-case basis in consultation with SSD, the Associate Dean for Professional Programs, and the course leader. 
  • The length of time may be extended for students with accommodations when such exams are completed individually 
  • The length of time will NOT be extended for students with accommodations when such exams are completed in a group Scheduling and administration of accommodations

Whenever possible, accommodated exams will be scheduled at the same time as the class exam with the addition of time either before or after the class exam time. Added time is generally scheduled during regular office hours (8:00a – 5:00p), although occasionally such exams may begin at 7:00a to prevent students from missing classes due to extended time. Depending on the amount of time added, some accommodated exams may extend into the lunch hour. 

Before the first exam of the semester, students will be provided an orientation to the accommodated exam processes by the appropriate Academic Affairs staff member. Exam schedules for accommodated exams will be released to students with accommodations once finalized. Note: when lecture and lab exams run concurrently, the Course Leader will determine the schedule for the accommodated exams. 

Accommodated student exams are taken in approved rooms. Students are monitored via in-class camera and/or in-person to ensure students are proctored at all times. If the appropriate accommodations as approved by SSD are not provided by the College, or the student prefers to take their exam elsewhere, students may take exams at SSD facilities. Such alternate accommodations will be determined by SSD with input from the Associate Dean for Professional Programs. Scheduling will be done through Academic Affairs Staff and SSD personnel.

About 10 minutes before the scheduled start of the exam, the student should sign in at the Academic Affairs office, where they will be met by a staff member who will guide them through the exam process. 

Students arriving >5 minutes after the start of the scheduled exam time will be allowed to take the exam but no time beyond the end of the original end time will be provided. 

Students arriving >20 minutes after the start of the scheduled exam time will not be allowed to enter the exam room or start the exam. This will count as an unexcused absence and the student will earn a grade of 0 unless there are extenuating circumstances.

  • Should a student have extenuating circumstances, they should contact the Associate Dean for Professional Programs and their Course Leader to determine whether they are eligible to reschedule the exam. 
  • Should a reschedule be granted, it is the student’s responsibility to coordinate the new time with Academic Affairs and the Course Leader. It must be rescheduled and completed within 72 business hours of the originally scheduled exam. 

Students are NOT permitted to eat during the exam in the testing room. If a student wishes to eat during an exam, they may requests a break from the proctor and will be monitored during the process. 

Water may be taken into the exam room as long as it is in a clear bottle with no labels, stickers, etc. attached to it. 

Bathroom and other breaks are permitted (including snack breaks) in accordance with the guidance provided in D2, bullet 6 above. 

If an exam is completed prior to the allotted time, Exam Soft must be closed and then the student may quietly exit the room, taking their computer with them and showing their “green screen” to someone in Academic Affairs. 

Once the allotted time is reached, someone from Academic Affairs will tell students to close the program, regardless of whether all questions have been answered.

Course Leaders have access to all Exam Soft exams through the program upon completion. Students with accommodations responsibilities

Prior to the first scheduled exam for each semester, the student must apply for their letter through the SSD site and ensure the appropriate Classroom Experience Specialist receives an electronic copy. Accommodations will not be provided until Academic Affairs has received the appropriate documentation. The only exceptions to this are outlined in D5 above and in the case of students who can provide evidence that they are in the process of obtaining the required documentation (e.g., an email from SSD indicating this is the case). 

Before the first exam in a course or at the start of the semester for the 2nd Classroom Experience, students must meet with Academic Affairs to finalize the exam schedule and review their requirements. Students with accommodations are required to attend this meeting if they wish to use their accommodations within the College. 

If new or updated accommodations letter from SSD is received by the student during the semester, for those accommodations to be provided the student must provide the updated letter to Academic Affairs. 

Students are not required to use all accommodations and they may select which accommodations they wish to use for each exam. However, written notice to Academic Affairs must be provided at least 48 business hours in advance if a student wishes to use only some of their accommodations. 

See xx for additional information for other guidelines regarding exam requirements and prohibitions during the exam period. These apply to students with accommodations as well.

2.5.6 Exam reviews and posting exam results

In some courses, exam reviews may occur immediately after completion of the exam and will provide preliminary exam scores. Scores may be updated after Course Leader(s) have reviewed the questions. Immediate exam review is not available for those students taking an exam remotely.

In other courses, exam reviews may occur during an organized, pre-scheduled session. Students should check their course calendars and/or schedules to find the dates, times, and locations of such review sessions.

It is a breach of the DVM Honor Code to reproduce in any way or use without approval any exam, quiz, or assessment of any sort that results in an earned score in a course. This is in force unless stated otherwise in the course syllabus. Refer to the section on the DVM Honor Code for consequences related to violating this policy.

Final exam scores are provided to students via the course Canvas site after ALL exams have been graded and the questions have been reviewed by the Course Leader(s).

2.5.7 Grading system

All courses and clerkships are graded Pass (P) or Fail (F). To earn a P, students must earn ≥64%. Rounding does not occur. Thus, 63.9% and below is an F. This is consistent throughout the DVM program.

2.5.8 Calculation of class rank

Class rankings are calculated at the end of each semester but are not disseminated to students unless a student makes a formal request via email to Academic Affairs. The calculation includes all credit-bearing courses completed by the student up to that point and is based on final course scores weighted by academic credit points per course.

2.5.9 Submission of grades, including “incomplete” (I)

Final course grades are reported by Course Leaders to the University Registrar via Banner before the University determined deadlines for each semester. A grade of “I” (incomplete) may be assigned when the course has not been completed and with approval from the Course Leader and the Associate Dean for Professional Programs. Without such approval, students not completing a course(s) will earn an F. An “I” grade must be replaced by a P or F by the end of the last week of the subsequent semester, i.e., by the end of finals week in December for an “I” earned during the spring, and by the end of the finals week in May for an “I” earned during the fall. If student has not completed the course requirements prior in manner sufficient to earn a P grade, the grade will automatically convert to an F for the course and the student will be dismissed from the program.

2.5.10 Appeal of a final grade for a DVM course

The following policy has been approved by the College to supplement Virginia Tech Policy 6800 and the Graduate and Undergraduate catalogs. Assignment of grades and criteria for grade appeals

The score earned by a student and the subsequent grade assigned rests solely with the instructor(s). Faculty should adhere to the principles of fairness and clear communication with respect to grading practices, expectations, and standards. Occasionally, such principles are not fully followed, including and a grade appeal may be warranted. The situations below describe specific violations that a student may use to justify a grade appeal:

  • Scoring and testing procedures are not described in the syllabus, which is available on the Canvas course site. 
  • Grading procedures are not consistently and uniformly applied to all students in the course. 
  • Scored assessments and/or assignments are not required during the course prior to final grades being recorded, resulting in lack of opportunities for improvement before final grades are earned. 
  • There is evidence of personal bias or discrimination during the course. 
  • Assessments do not align with course content, objectives, and delivery. Grade appeal policy

Based on VT Policy 6800, there are three levels of appeal of a final course grade. For the DVM program, the Department/Division level of appeal is provided by Academic Affairs. Students must begin with a level 1 grade appeal; beginning a grade appeal at level 2 or 3 will be returned to the student for submission at level 1 before it will be considered.

The student is responsible for initiating levels 1 and 2 grade appeals. If a level 2 appeal is denied, the appeal is automatically forwarded to the Dean as a level 3 appeal.

At each appeal level, the responsible individual will provide the student with written notification of the decision and, where appropriate, a copy of the decision will be sent to the Course Leader.

Level 1 grade appeal: Instructor assigning the grade 

Within 10 working days of written notification, which includes email, of the final course grade, a student may file a written grade appeal to the instructor assigning the grade if the student believes the grade was calculated incorrectly, not assigned in accordance with established criteria, or assigned in a manner not consistent with the stated standards, objectives, or content delivery. 

The appeal should address the 5 principles of fairness and clear communication listed section D10a above, and outline how the principles were not met in their specific situation.

Level 2 grade appeal: Associate Dean

Within 10 working days of written notification, which includes email, of the level 1 appeal, the student may file a level 2 appeal with the Associate Dean for Professional Programs, who will refer the appeal the Standards Committee. If the Standards Committee has already ruled on dismissal or reinstatement of the student making the appeal during the same semester as the course for which the grade is being appealed, the Associate Dean will appoint an ad hoc committee to review the level 2 appeal.

  • The ad hoc committee will consist of 4 faculty who do not provide instruction or assessment in the course being appealed. 

Regardless of which committee reviews the case, their responsibility is to determine whether or not: the grading standards were clearly stated in the syllabus; 

  • the grade was assigned in accordance with established criteria; 
  • the grade was assigned fairly and consistently with regard to performance of required work; 
  • and the grade was assigned in a manner consistent with the assessment of other students within the same course. 

The identified committee is advisory to the Associate Dean, who may accept or overturn the Committee’s recommendation, or may return the appeal to the Committee for additional investigation and consideration if additional issues are raised by the student or the Committee during the process.

Level 3 grade appeal: Dean

If a level 2 appeal is denied, the Associate Dean automatically forwards the levels 1 and 2 materials to the Dean unless directed otherwise by the student appealing the grade. The student may communicate to the Dean their response to the level 2 report within 21 calendar days after receiving the report (date of the report being received is viewed as day 0).

The Dean will determine whether appropriate due process has been followed in the first two appeal levels. S/he has the option of returning the appeal to the Committee for additional investigation and consideration if additional issues are raised by the student or Committee during the process. The Dean’s decision is final. Appealing a grade resulting in dismissal

If the grade(s) being appealed results in dismissal from the DVM program, the student may continue in the program in a probationary status. This status will remain until the grade appeal(s) is completed.

  • If the grade appeal(s) is denied, no credit will be earned for any subsequent grade(s) earned during the appeal process. 
  • If the appeal is denied and the student is dismissed, tuition refunds will follow University policies and procedures. 
  • Appeals will be suspended for any subsequent grade(s) received while the original grade(s) resulting in dismissal is appealed. 
  • If the appeal is successful for the student (i.e., the grade is overturned), suspended appeals will be reactivated and move through the appeal process. Progression to clerkships and grade appeals

A student filing a grade appeal that resulted in dismissal during the fourth semester cannot begin clerkships until the grade appeal is resolved in the student’s favor OR the semester is successfully retaken. If a failed clerkship grade is being appealed and the student fails another clerkship s/he will be placed on a leave of absence until a decision is reached on the original appeal. For further details regarding clerkship grades and progression, refer to the Clinical Year Handbook.

2.6 Policies for academic progression

2.6.1 Standards for academic progression

The following policies apply to DVM students. Pass/fail

  • All courses and clerkships are graded Pass/Fail (P/F) 
  • A final course score <64% will earn an F unless another mechanism for standard setting is stated in a course syllabus that has been approved by the Curriculum Board. This includes all core, track, and elective courses. 
  • Course scores are not rounded. 
  • Academic Affairs will maintain a record of course scores in percentages to calculate class rankings only. Progressing through the curriculum

  • In the first and second classroom experiences, students may not progress to the next semester unless all courses in the previous semester have been successfully completed (passed). 
  • To progress to the first clinical time, all courses in the first classroom experience must be successfully completed. 
  • Students must have successfully completed all classroom and laboratory courses in the first and second classroom experiences to progress to the 2nd clinical time. See the Clinical Year Handbook for further details. Automatic dismissal for academic cause

  • A failing score earned by a student in a course may be remediated through the passing of an advancement exam. If an advancement exam is declined by the student, the student is ineligible to sit for an advancement exam, or the student fails an advancement exam an F will be permanently recorded on the student transcript. See section F1d below, Advancement exams. 
  • Earning a failing score (<64%) in a core, track, or elective course will result in automatic dismissal for academic cause. Advancement exams

Students who fail a course are offered the chance to take an Advancement Exam to continue progressing through the curriculum. For this to be offered, the following conditions must be met:

  • Successful completion, defined as earning a passing (≥64%), on a cumulative exam to be taken after the conclusion of the failed course (the advancement exam). The advancement exam may include separate assessments if there are different course components, such as a lecture and a lab. 
  • Only one advancement exam may be taken each academic year during the first two years of the curriculum. 
  • Three total advancement exams may be taken during the course of the third year. No more than two (2) advancement exams may be taken during any single semester of the third year. 
  • Students who repeat a course and fail it will not be offered an advancement exam.
  • Students who are approved to take an advancement exam will earn a grade of “F” in Banner until results of the advancement exam have been recorded. 
  • The advancement exam must be completed at least 7 calendar days after the failing grade is officially recorded with the University Registrar and no more than 30 calendar days from the end of the semester in which the grade was earned. 
  • Academic Affairs, the Course Leader, and the student taking the advancement exam will work together to schedule the advancement exam. 
  • The format of the advancement exam is outlined in the Curriculum Board-approved course syllabus. 
  • Successful completion of the advancement exam will result in a grade change from “F” to “P” on the transcript and an overall course percentage of 64% will be used for class ranking calculation purposes. 
  • Failure of the advancement exam will result in the failing grade being recorded on the student’s transcript. Repeating courses

A student is only required to retake the course(s) failed during the repeated semester upon re-entry to the DVM program after academic dismissal.

2.6.2 Reinstatement after voluntary or involuntary withdrawal

Students may withdraw from the DVM program for voluntary reasons, such as medical leave and academic relief, or be dismissed for academic failure (see Standards for academic progress), unacceptable behavior, and/or professional misconduct (see Professional standards and DVM Honor Code).

In accordance with University policies, voluntary withdrawal from the DVM program may be made at any time with the approval of the Associate Dean for Professional Programs. Initiating the process involves emailing the Associate Dean the reasons for withdrawal. Upon approval, the Associate Dean will direct the appropriate Academic Affairs staff member to complete a withdrawal form on the student’s behalf. The completed form will be filed in Academic Affairs and a copy provided to the student for their records, as well as submitted to the VT Registrar’s Office. Tuition and fees refunds are dependent on the date of the withdrawal noted on the Student Resignation/Withdrawal Form and is in accordance with University policy.

Students dismissed for academic reasons of based on unacceptable behavior/professional misconduct will have a withdrawal form submitted of the Registrar’s Office by the appropriate Academic Affairs staff member. Should students in these situations wish to re-enter the program, they must follow the procedures outlined below.

All students who resign voluntarily, are dismissed from the program for academic failure, or are dismissed for unacceptable behavior/professional misconduct have the right to apply for reinstatement via written (email) petition.

  • Students resigning voluntarily or withdrawing for medical reasons should address their petition to the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Admissions. 
  • Students withdrawing voluntarily due to academic reasons should address their petition to the Chair of the DVM Academic Standards Committee.

Once the petition has been submitted, the appropriate person or committee will evaluate the petition and make a recommendation to the Associate Dean. Reinstatement is not automatic and is contingent upon satisfactory demonstration that the reasons for resignation have been addressed. More stringent academic standards may be a condition of reinstatement whether the withdrawal was voluntary or involuntary.

In consideration of all reinstatement requests, the individual or committee receiving the request may consult with pertinent individuals that may include the student and/or the student’s instructors, counselors, and other responsible parties, and will recommend the Associate Dean if reinstatement should be offered and if additional actions or steps for remediation are needed. If reinstatement is offered by the Associate Dean, the conditions will be defined and presented to the student in writing (email). Each agreement will be customized for the specific case and will be structured to support the student, as well as protect the interests of other students, faculty, and staff within the College.

The reinstatement petition will be reviewed by the appropriate individual or committee and a recommendation made to the Associate Dean for Professional Programs, whose decision is final. There is no appeal process.

Students reinstated after academic failure, or after voluntary resignation while failing one or more courses, will automatically be enrolled in the appropriate proactive support and intervention program (PSIP) level upon re-entry (see section 3 below). The weighted course scores from previously completed semesters will remain the same upon re-entry. Advancement exams in a previous semester of the academic year will be remain on the record. Students are required to pass all repeated courses, but will not be offered Advancement Exams for repeated courses (see section E1d: Advancement Exams).

Petitions for reinstatement after a second or subsequent dismissal are considered but will only be granted in cases involving extraordinary extenuating circumstances where convincing evidence is presented that all barriers to successful completion of the program have been appropriately addressed and/or eliminated.

Petitions for reinstatement must be sent to the appropriate person before 31 March for students wishing to re-enter the program in the fall of the same calendar year and before 15 October for students wishing to re-enter in the spring of the next calendar year. Additionally, petitions for re-entry must be filed no more than 2 years after the date of withdrawal as noted on the withdrawal form. If a student wishes to re-enter after the 2-year period has passed, they must go through the full application process to gain admittance.

For students dismissed by Virginia Tech University, the College will follow all policies and procedures as dictated by the University regarding re-entry.

2.6.3 Proactive support and intervention program (PSIP)

VMCVM is invested in the overall success of students, which includes academic success, throughout the DVM program. The Proactive Support and Intervention Program (PSIP) is designed to provide academic support at various stages throughout the program. PSIP works with students who may require additional academic support to identify needs and establish short- and long-term action plans that promote success academically, professionally, and personally.

For all levels of PSIP, the Director of Student Success will reach out to the students to let them know they have been identified as a student needing additional support. Students are enrolled in the appropriate PSIP level by the Director of Student Success. Exit from PSIP is also managed by the Director of Student Success.

Students enrolled in PSIP levels 2 and 3 are not eligible to run for any student leadership role. However, this does not preclude students from participating as members of any student organization (see Section IIB4, Class Leadership; for further information, see the Guide to Student Support).

PSIP Level 1

Level 1 of the PSIP implements services and support earlier in the academic program and before completion of the semester. A student earning <67% on any exams in the first two years of the DVM program is automatically enrolled in level 1 of PSIP, unless the student is already enrolled in PSIP.

For initial enrollment or re-enrollment in PSIP, the student is required to meet with the Director of Student Success to discuss and identify reasons for the low exam performance. College and University resources will be identified that may help the student. This may include the DVM Peer Tutoring program, the DVM Peer Mentoring program, study skills and time management assessment, accommodations evaluation or referral, and mental health support systems.

Level 1 PSIP enrollment lasts for the duration of the course, regardless of subsequent exam performance. Once the course concludes, if the student’s lecture exam average is ≥70% the student will be removed from PSIP.

PSIP Level 2

A student with an average lecture exam score of <67% at the end of each semester during the first two years of the DVM program OR who earns a final course grade of >70% in Becoming a Veterinary Professional I, II, or II is automatically enrolled in PSIP level 2. The Director of Student Success will inform the student about the requirements and continue offering support and resources. Any previously identified academic support systems may remain in place and additional services and/or support systems may also be identified based on the individual student’s needs.

Removal from PSIP level 2 occurs only if the student maintains an average exam score of ≥70% in each course by the end of the semester.

Should a student be dismissed for academic reasons and petition for re-entry, the Academic Standards Committee will consider what support systems were offered and how often the student used them to help them make their recommendation.

PSIP Level 3

At the end of the first two years of the program, all lecture exams taken are averaged for each student. Students with an exam average of ≤67% are placed into PSIP level 3 for the duration of their 3rd year in the DVM program. Students enrolled in PSIP level 3 are required to participate in individual success planning. Additionally, in consultation with the Director of Student Success, a variety of support systems, resources, and programs will be made available to the student.

Should a student be dismissed for academic reasons and petition for re-entry, the Academic Standards Committee will consider what support systems were offered and how often the student used them to help them make their recommendation. 


Level 1

Level 2

Level 3


Less than 67% on an exam

Less than 67% exam average in entire course

Exam average of 67% or less on entire 2 years of 1st teaching time


Meeting with Director of Student Success

Complete PSIP Level 1 requirements

Not eligible to run for leadership roles

Meeting with Director of Student Success

Complete PSIP Level 2 requirements

Not eligible to run for leadership roles

Meeting with Director of Student Success

Complete PSIP Level 3 requirements

May be counseled in scheduling 3rd year


Exam average of 70% or higher at end of course

Must average 70% or higher on exams at the end of a following semester

Duration of the 3rd year

2.7 FERPA Waiver

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. Schools must have written permission in the form of a FERPA waiver to release any information from a student’s education record. As a result, any time as student requests a letter of recommendation addressing specific academic achievement, needs a letter of good academic standing, or needs information about their academic performance released to a third party, a signed FERPA waiver must be on file.

If a student chooses to sign a waiver allowing anyone to view their records, the student should be aware of the implications of this decision. 

The University and College may disclose, without consent, “directory” information, which includes student name, local and permanent addresses, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, enrollment status, anticipated graduation date, dates of attendance, etc. Students may designate some of all directory information as confidential. Doing so results in:

  • Student name and address being excluded from web and print directories 
  • Student name and degree information being excluded from all commencement programs, dean’s list, and award listings 
  • Inability to verify enrollment, graduation, or degrees awarded to third parties, including potential employers.

To mark part or all of your record confidential, you may do so via HOKIE SPA, under the HOKIE PLUS menu by clicking on the “Confidentiality Options.”


2.1 Curriculum, enrollment, drop/add, auditing

        2.1.1 Curriculum
        2.1.2 Enrollment
        2.1.3 Drop/add of 3rd elective courses
        2.1.4 Adding an elective after the add deadline
        2.1.5 Dropping an elective after the drop deadline
        2.1.6 Dropping an animal/cadaver/capped elective after the early drop deadline
        2.1.7 Auditing courses

2.2 Attendance and excused absences

        2.2.1 Attendance
        2.2.2 Excused absences
          Excused absences involving illness
          Excused absences for professional purposes
          Excused absences for laboratory classes and exams
          Rescheduling missed required activities
          Unexcused absences for required activities

2.3 Canceled classes and non-appearance of instructors

        2.3.1 Cancelled classes
        2.3.2 Non-appearance of an instructor

2.4 Student evaluation of courses

2.5 Guidelines for Assessment

        2.5.1 Date and length of exams
        2.5.2  Exam procedures during the semester
        2.5.3  Use of electronic devices during exams
        2.5.4  Late submission of exams/assignments
        2.5.5 Exam accommodations
           Procedures for those with approved accommodations
                    Exams with accommodations provided within the college
                    Scheduling and administration of accommodations
                    Students with accommodations responsibilities
        2.5.6 Exam reviews and posting exam results
        2.5.7 Grading system
        2.5.8 Calculation of class rank
        2.5.9 Submission of grades, including “incomplete” (I)
        2.5.10 Appeal of a final grade for a DVM course
          Assignment of grades and criteria for grade appeals
          Grade appeal policy
          Appealing a grade resulting in dismissal
          Progression to clerkships and grade appeals

2.6 Policies for academic progression

        2.6.1 Standards for academic progression
          Progressing through the curriculum
          Automatic dismissal for academic cause
          Advancement exams
          Repeating courses
        2.6.2 Reinstatement after voluntary or involuntary withdrawal
        2.6.3 Proactive support and intervention program (PSIP)

2.7 FERPA waiver