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THE academic Societies


Upon matriculation to the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, all students are randomized to one of four Academic Societies. Societies are named after important people in the history of the medical school.

Students remain members of their assigned societies throughout their time as students. The Societies aim to foster close relationships and a sense of community among students. The Society Deans serve as mentors, helping students navigate the curriculum and providing students with advice and support for residency and career planning.

Mission Statement

The purpose of the Academic Societies is to provide a comprehensive support system for students so that they can master the academic and professional skills required to be a physician. This goal is accomplished through advising, teaching, collating assessments for the Medical Student Performance Evaluation, and building a sense of community.


Building Community

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The Society Deans advocate for their students

COS Referrals: At the School of Medicine, decisions about academic advancement are handled by the Committee on Students (COS). Referrals to this committee are made for academic and professional reasons. The guidelines for academic referrals are clearly spelled out in the student handbook. The student's Society Dean will meet with him/her in advance, describe the process and then attend the COS meeting as the student's advocate. The Society Dean will also collate the data about academic performance and present it to the COS.

Referrals to the COS come from sources such as a faculty evaluation, faculty complaint, student complaint, criminal referral or a mental/physical health referral. The Society Dean will meet with the student, explain the COS process, and ask the student to reflect on the complaint. The Society Dean will attend the COS meeting to advocate for the student.

Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) Letter Preparation

Graduating students need this letter as part of their residency application. The MSPE letters are prepared by the Society Deans. This is a transparent process that is accomplished through a series of 1:1 meetings. Students see the letter during the entire process, including the final product. The Society Deans collate each student's academic assessments and write the unique characteristics portion of the letter in collaboration with the student.

Avoiding Conflicts of Interest - Key Principles

The Society Deans are advisors. All academic assessments are prepared by faculty and the Office of Curricular Affairs and are provided to the Society Deans. The Society Deans present the data to their students and review the assessments with them to help them reflect on areas of strength and weakness. When students fail to meet expectations on a particular assessment or curricular competency, they are referred to their Society Dean who will communicate the timing and substance of the remediation designed by faculty and will help students prepare a remediation plan.

Whenever possible, the Society Deans avoid having their own students in a preclinical or clinical teaching activity and will ask IQ team coordinators not to assign students to a group facilitated by their Society Dean.

The Society Deans prepare the MSPE (Dean's Letter). Although this is a letter of evaluation, the Society Dean's role is to collate the assessments that are submitted by the faculty. The part of the letter that is crafted by the Society Dean is the "Unique Characteristics" portion which is written with the aid of the student and relies heavily on information provided by the student. If a student is uncomfortable with their MSPE, they may contact the Vice Dean for Education and Academic Affairs to request an independent review or a change in letter-writer.

The Societies work on a group practice model, and students are free to consult with any of the Society Deans. If a student genuinely feels that they have a conflict with their Society Dean and is not comfortable with this person, he or she may meet with the Vice Dean for Medical Education to request a change. The Vice Dean will make the final decision.

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Published and maintained by the Office of Student Affairs and the Academic Societies
Revised 10/22/18