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Teacher-Learner Relationship

Expectations of Faculty and Students in the Teacher-Learner Relationship to foster the
Learning Climate of the CWRU School of Medicine

An underlying principle of the medical school is that students and faculty will work together as partners to ensure that every student achieves his/her fullest potential and succeeds in the educational program.

We as faculty – physicians, researchers, residents, fellows, and other health care and research professionals – are committed to treating our students as our professional colleagues who, like faculty members, will exercise privileges and responsibilities throughout their education.

We expect students and faculty to demonstrate respect for others by upholding a classroom atmosphere conducive to learning, interacting in a considerate and cooperative manner with other students and faculty, judging colleagues fairly, and attempting to resolve conflicts with respect for the dignity of others. We expect students and faculty to neither practice nor tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, religion, age, sex, color, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, status as a disabled veteran or other protected veteran under US federal law, or socioeconomic status.

We expect students and faculty to demonstrate responsibility by striving for excellence and professional growth, by recognizing their own limitations and seeking help when needed, by avoiding the use of alcohol and other drugs in a way that could interfere with clinical or educational responsibilities, by seeking frequent constructive feedback on their interactions with one another, and by conducting themselves professionally at all times in demeanor, language and appearance in the classroom, with patients, and in health care settings.

We expect faculty to commit their time and effort to ensure appropriate delivery of an interactive curriculum. We expect students to attend all sessions for their own learning, to enhance the learning environment for their peers, and out of respect for faculty effort.

We expect teachers and students to demonstrate respect and professional concern by holding each other to the highest standards in learning, without abuse, humiliation or harassment of any kind, by not exploiting a relationship for personal gain or advantage, and by demonstrating the highest standards of ethical conduct in all settings.

We expect teachers to demonstrate strict confidentiality when providing health care to students and complete impartiality when assessing student performance. The CWRU School of Medicine prohibits any faculty member or resident who has provided health services to a student to complete any formative or summative assessment of that student. Students must not ask any faculty or resident who has provided them health care to provide any assessment of their performance.

Mistreatment arises when behavior shows disrespect for the dignity of others and unreasonably interferes with the learning process. Examples of mistreatment include public belittlement or humiliation, threats of physical harm or punishment, inappropriate requests to do personal services (shopping or babysitting), sexual harassment, and discrimination or harassment based on race, religion, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

Neglect might be used to describe situations in which a student is openly ignored, is excluded from important decisions, or made to feel “invisible.” Neglect is different from overt mistreatment but can still interfere with the learning process.

Harassment, mistreatment and neglect policies are discussed at new student orientation, orientation to year 2, and again prior to starting clerkships. If a student feels that he or she has been harassed, mistreated or experienced neglect during the conduct of the curriculum, and is uncomfortable addressing this directly with the colleague involved, we urge the student to discuss his/her concerns as soon as possible through one of the options detailed below.

What Happens with a Report?

All reports are handled confidentially, and wherever possible, de-identified information about the event is used. The School of Medicine is obligated to follow federal guidelines (Title IX) for reporting sexual misconduct. For other situations, the Society Dean or Associate Dean of Student Affairs will pursue the report as follows:

  1. Reports are collected by medical school staff in the Offices of Student Affairs.
  2. If known, the reporting student will be contacted by Student Affairs Dean, basic information verified, and additional information requested if needed.
  3. The report is logged in the Office of Student Affairs on the University’s Log of Student Complaints.
  4. If appropriate, the report is redirected to University (i.e., Title IX).
  5. A de-identified report is reviewed by the Student Affairs Dean with the appropriate curricular leader.

Depending on the judged severity of event and timing related to grades and evaluation, the Student Affairs Dean may to determine any of the following is appropriate:

When deemed appropriate, the professional and his/her supervisor are asked to create an action plan that is shared with the Society Dean or Student Affairs Dean.

The Society Dean or Student Affairs Dean will post an incident report summary including outcome to the eCurriculum or student portal (without any identifying features) and if known, sent to the student who submitted the report.

Unprofessional behavior with learners that is severe or repeats despite feedback will result in removal from the teaching program and may be cause for learners’ dismissal from their degree program or faculty members’ termination for just cause as provided in the CWRU Faculty Handbook.

Aggregated Reports

The School of Medicine reports aggregated de-identified data on learner mistreatment to each department chair and the Dean on a quarterly basis.

Discussion/Reporting Resources:

Addendum to Teacher-Learner Relationship Policy

Mistreatment Complaint Procedures

This document describes a process for addressing reports of student mistreatment in the CWRU School of Medicine. Written individual reports of student mistreatment can be received through a variety of mechanisms as described in the Teacher Learner Relationship Policy. Depending on the mechanism of the reporting, the report is directed to one of the following deans: Curriculum (Pre-clerkship), Clinical Education, Student Affairs. This individual is responsible for the Initial Steps and Triage described below.

Initial Steps:

Next Step: The CWRU SOM Mistreatment Working Group (MWG), chaired by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, is comprised of Society Deans, CCLCM Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs (or her designee), Associate Deans of Curriculum (or their designees), a clerkship director appointed by the Joint Clinical Oversight Group, a faculty affairs representative, and G. Dean Patterson, as needed. The MWG reviews reports presented by the individuals above, determines the level of severity of the complaint, and develops an action plan to address the report. The MWG may elect to share the report with:

The Mistreatment Working Group will develop an action plan, including the responsibility for implementing the plan, which may include any of the following:


1 The Higher Learning Commission accredits the University; the student complaint log is an accreditation requirement.

Approved by the Committee on Medical Education 7/28/16.
Revised 12/13/16

Published and maintained by the Office of Student Affairs and the Academic Societies
Revised 11/16/17