The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) publishes a comprehensive set of policies related to students' rights and responsibilities that support the mission of the institution in the university catalog and in other resources available to students. The university is committed to protecting students’ rights, disseminating information and expectations of professional standards to all students, and providing learning experiences for students that foster understanding and respect for campus rules and regulations. Students are provided information annually about their rights and responsibilities.
Student rights and responsibilities are available in the UTMB General Information Catalog (1), which is available in both hard cover and on the Internet. The section covers such topics as student travel, speech and assembly, use of facilities, and conduct and discipline rules drawn from the Regents' Rules and Regulations (2) and UTMB’s Institutional Handbook of Operating Procedures (3). The catalog also includes information on academic integrity and professionalism (4a) (4b).
Information related to students’ rights and responsibilities, Federal Education Right to Privacy Act (FERPA) guidelines, and student ombudsman services (5) is disseminated to new students at orientation and reminders are sent to current students at the beginning of each term by email. The ombudsman program handles both academic and non-academic concerns related to the rights and responsibilities of students, such as fee payment, housing, financial aid, grades, professors, parking, and other university-related issues.
Honor Pledge and Professionalism Charter
UTMB provides students with a framework within which to understand their academic and professional responsibilities. The UTMB Honor Pledge states: “On my honor, as a member of the UTMB community, I pledge to act with integrity, compassion, and respect in all my academic and professional endeavors.” The Honor Pledge is taken by all new students at orientation. It serves a capstone to the UTMB Honor Policy and other codes and statements of principles of the UTMB schools.
The Honor Pledge Committee is comprised of both students and faculty. Their charge is to build awareness and educate the campus community about the relevance of issues such as academic integrity, cultural competence, professionalism, classroom etiquette, and ethical issues related to the health professions and researchers. The committee has developed the UTMB Honor pledge that is taken by all new students at orientation. The Honor Pledge Committee participates in new student orientation, conducts periodic cheating surveys, and hosts guest speakers. They also work with other campus groups including the Professionalism Committee and the School of Medicine Honor Education Council.
The UTMB Professionalism Charter outlines the standard of conduct for everyone at UTMB. “Each member of the UTMB community has a responsibility to act with integrity, compassion and respect toward one another and those we serve. Honoring this responsibility and being accountable is the essence of professionalism.” The Professionalism Charter outlines 12 commitments to uphold. They include commitment to Professional Responsibility, Service, Diversity, Professional Competence, Confidentiality, Honesty, Responsible Use of Resources, Improving Access to Education and Health Care, Quality, Maintaining Appropriate Relations, Managing Conflicts of Interest, and Knowledge (6).
UTMB has established a professionalism website so students can learn more about professionalism and to report unprofessional behavior and mistreatment (7). The website states: “UTMB is committed to providing the best educational climate possible. If you experience unprofessional behavior or mistreatment—whether from a resident, faculty member, fellow student or someone else—we want to know about it, so we can rectify the problem for you and for others. This online reporting tool is a resource for students seeking to report unprofessional incidents to a neutral third party. We will strive to protect a student’s confidentiality, when possible, and to protect students from retribution.”