So you have become a Course Director!
Congratulations! As a Course Director, you have assumed responsibilities central to the educational mission of the school. The information below is designed to make your job easier by anticipating and answering some frequently asked questions and pointing you toward useful resources. It is essential reading for Course Directors and may be useful for your students and instructors as well. It should be read in conjunction with the official Policies and Procedures Manual of the School found on the web. There should be no inconsistencies between the information in this Course Directors Handbook and in the Policies and Procedures. If there are, please let us know. The Policies take precedence. If you don't find what you need to know, please get in touch with Dr. Chandran or Dr. London in the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education (UME) (4-1030).
The Curriculum Committee (a committee of the Faculty Senate) is chaired by Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, and meets on the first Monday of each month. It has primary responsibility for designing and evaluating our curriculum. The Curriculum Committee has five important subcommittees: 1st and 2nd Year Course Directors (Roger Cameron, Chair), Clinical Course Directors (Susan Lane, Chair), the Competency Committee (Mary Kritzer & Latha Chandran, Co-Chairs), the Systems Course Director Committee (Paul Richman, Chair), and the Outcomes & Assessment (Sidonie Morrison, Chair). You should plan to attend your Course Director’s committee. The Dean has delegated his authority over educational matters related to students to the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education led by Dr. Latha Chandran, who is responsible for administering the educational program. The Office of the Dean and the Course Directors also are key players in curricular planning. Course Directors carry the primary responsibility for teaching and evaluating students.How did you become a Course Director?
At the recommendation of the Curriculum Committee, the Dean of the School of Medicine appoints Course Directors, usually for three years with renewable terms. Vice Dean Chandran should have sent you a letter of appointment with a copy to your chair and Marilyn London in the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education. This letter triggers a very important event: Dr. London adds you as a Course Director in CBase, our web-based curriculum management program, and sends you your username and password. Bookmark the URL for CBase.Your responsibilities for CBase are detailed below. CBase is the essential locus of your course schedule, syllabus, course and teacher evaluations, student records, and links to all course materials. The UME office will give you and your administrator, if you have one, as much hands-on training as you need.
On November 7, 2011, the Curriculum Committee passed this proposal for how course directors are selected:
As described in the SOM Policy and Procedures, the policy that relates to appointment as course director involves selection of an individual by the Departmental Chair, review by the Curriculum Committee, and approval by the Dean of the SOM. In an attempt to maintain the high quality of our courses and comply with LCME guidelines related to curricular management (ED 33), the purpose of this proposal is to provide further refinement regarding the selection of course directors, wherein it is proposed:
The Mission of the Stony Brook School of Medicine is broad and the curriculum is designed to meet it. The first two years of medical school are comprised primarily of a set of required basic science courses. The elements are represented in schematics of the first, the second, the third and the fourth years. In the last two years, students must take ten clerkships (Ambulatory Care, Medicine, Family Medicine, Ob/Gyn, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Surgery, Neurology, Emergency Medicine and Radiology), a 4 week sub-internship (medicine, pediatrics, or surgery), 4 weeks studying surgical sub-specialties, 4 weeks of a didactic course (laboratory medicine, surgical anatomy, clinical therapeutics, or emergency medicine), two weeks of Psychiatry in Medicine, and they must satisfy a requirement in Medicine in Contemporary Society. Currently, they must also complete 16 weeks of elective work.What are our overall objectives in the Stony Brook SoM curriculum?
The stated mission of the medical school is to improve the quality of health care to the citizens of New York and the nation, and to demonstrate national leadership in education, research, patient care and community service. Stony Brook University School of Medicine articulates its values as ICARE: Integrity, Compassion, Accountability, Respect and Excellence. We expect teaching and learning to occur in a collaborative and nurturing environment aligned with the stated values of the school.
A. Educational Goals
The competent physician should possess the medical knowledge, judgment, professionalism and clinical and communication skills to provide high quality patient care. The Stony Brook School of Medicine aims to achieve excellence in the preparation of students for careers in medical practice or research and to foster their continuous professional growth. The goals of the educational programs are to provide broad knowledge and skills in the life sciences and clinical sciences, nurture appropriate professional behavior and attitudes, and emphasize commitment to continued learning. Similar goals apply to the education and training of resident physicians. The Educational Mission and Competencies for our medical school are found on the web. Specific course objectives must be related to the sub-competencies, which are our institutional objectives.
B. Research Goals
The School of Medicine conducts active research programs in the basic and applied medical sciences. Research activities are an integral component of the medical school mission since they are essential to achieve our educational goal and to advance medical knowledge.
Underlying Research ObjectivesC. Service Goals
The provision of high quality medical care is inherent to the School of Medicine's educational role. The School has the mission of addressing the health and educational needs of the community at the local, national and international levels. To fulfill this mission the School will:
The mission and original list of objectives for the School of Medicine were adopted in 1970 when the school admitted its first class. They have been revised periodically since, at approximately five year intervals. The list above was specified in 1996 and formally modified in 2004. Our current competencies can be viewed at http://www.stonybrookmedicalcenter.org/som/faculty/educationalcompetencies.
This year, 2011, the school began its next round of competency and educational objectives revisions. These revisions will be implemented in the 2012-13 academic year.
For an individual with no relevant financial relationship(s), the learners must be informed that no relevant financial relationship(s) exist.
An instructor must disclose the above information to learners prior to the beginning of the educational activity. That disclosure may be accomplished by entering the appropriate information on the School of Medicine COI website. Learners will be presumed to be familiar with information on the website.
An instructor teaching in an organized course or program must inform the course or program director of any financial relationships with a provider of commercial products or services relevant to the educational presentation. If the instructor is the course or program director, the instructor’s immediate supervisor should be informed.
Planning a Course
Scheduling and the Academic Calendars
The number of hours allocated to each course by the Curriculum Committee, in consultation with the Course Directors and Dean’s Office, determines its place in the academic calendar. The UME Office maintains and controls the official academic calendar for each academic year as well as the calendar for all non-academic events for the School of Medicine. These five calendars are available on the Web. Please bookmark this link. Your knowledge and use of these calendars is important for several reasons. Coordinating activities is essential to avoid conflicts between courses and other school events. Moreover, our policies stipulate that, except in extraordinary circumstances, any required course activity must appear in the appropriate calendar at least 6 weeks before the event or beginning of the course in which it is required. The inclusion of any mandatory activities in this calendar is designed to minimize conflicts between courses and to help students organize their lives. You may be surprised how many trips, weddings, family reunions and even births are planned by students months ahead of time on the basis of the information in the calendar.
Scheduling didactic courses: The preliminary calendar for the next academic year is completed by the UME Office in early winter and available to each Course Director. It is usually based on the calendar of the prior year with adjustments as required by the Curriculum Committee, changing holiday dates and other contingencies. School policy permits no more than five hours of classes a day. The Calendar stipulates when and where classes will be held and lists any mandatory activities - labs, CPC's, case conferences, discussion groups, exams, papers, case reports, OSCE’s, etc.. Before the calendar is finalized, you will have an opportunity to request needed adjustments. Requests for changes are made to Dr. London in the UME office at 4-8189 or by e-mail: Marilyn.London@stonybrook.edu. The Dean’s Office will try to accommodate your request to the extent possible and, if there are conflicts, help broker resolutions with other Course Directors. Course Directors share common problems and have a history of working collaboratively to resolve scheduling conflicts.
Scheduling Labs/Rooms: Time and assistance in the Multidisciplinary Labs (MDL) are not organized through the UME office but with the assistance of Lana Ovtcharneko (Svetlana.Ovtcharneko@stonybrook.edu) (444-9715). If you have labs in your course, it is imperative that you arrange the timing with her well ahead of time. It is easy to forget that first and second year courses both require laboratory time, so looking at the calendar only for your year will not assure that the Multidisciplinary Labs are available to you. Call Lana to make arrangements before you plan a lab in your syllabus. Room change requests, OTHER THAN LABS, should be directed to Burke Kincaid at 444-7542.
Once final (official calendar is set in early winter), changes become much more difficult because other courses, School of Medicine organizations, other HSC schools, UH, clinical departments, and main campus constituencies quickly fill the available gaps. Failure to plan well ahead has traditionally hindered, if not precluded, changes.
Finally, we all know that not everything is predictable. Your visiting lecturer may cancel or be trapped in the OR or in Chicago. If there are unanticipated changes in scheduling you must notify the UME office - Dr. London and Vice Dean Chandran- as well as the students. The UME office will help rearrange the event.
Scheduling Clinical Courses: Third year courses run from two to eight weeks, depending on the course. The schematic of the third year calendar indicates the start and end date for each clerkship as well as the periods in which students may take electives. Student schedules and sites are determined during registration in winter of the second year. Students are given state holidays off as well as time during the end-of-year holidays.
The fourth year courses are scheduled in two or four week blocks as indicated in the course calendar. Electives start any Monday of the academic year. In December, course directors notify the UME office of the start and end dates of electives for the next academic year. There are no regular breaks in the calendar for the 4th year students. Students are required to complete 36 weeks of study in their fourth year.
For details about required course work, please refer to the description of the curriculum provided on the Admissions website.
In December, the clinical Course Directors provide the UME office with a list of the numbers of spots and the sites where their rotations will be offered. Third and fourth year registration is determined on the basis of the information that is provided by the Course Directors. During this time, clinical and elective Course Directors (or their designees) are also expected to update their course descriptions in CBase so that the course descriptions are ready for the students to see on the Web prior to the registration period. Meeting deadlines for submitting information is crucial since registration cannot occur until accurate information is available. The dean’s office announces the deadlines at committee meetings and via email.
The first responsibility of a Course Director is organizing the structure and content of your course. A complete and accurate Course Syllabus is the key to students understanding the goals of your course, your expectations of them and what they can expect of you. Each course MUST have a syllabus. Here are some essential elements:
List your objectives for the course as a whole. Make sure they align with the overall institutional objectives. List the objectives for each class. Objectives are what you expect the students to be able to DO at the end of the course. They are indispensable in curricular design. Objectives drive course content, determine the appropriate teaching techniques and control modes of evaluation.
Objectives are traditionally classified by their focus on knowledge, skills, and student attitudes, but all are expressed in terms of behavioral objectives. For example, “The students will do such and such to demonstrate their knowledge, skills or attitudes.” Substantial literature on the language of objectives and how to write them can be obtained in the UME office.
III. A statement of prerequisites, if any.
IV. A general description of the course with course requirements.
V. Class-by-class course calendar specifications:
name of the site.
Indicate the grade designations to be given (the default is Honors, High Pass, Pass, Low Pass, Fail) and how grades will be determined. Indicate the process for appealing a grade or asking for reconsideration. Refer to the appeal process described in the Academic Policies and Procedure manual. See also the discussion of Grades and Evaluation below.
a. Your requirements regarding course material (e.g. no downloading of exam questions; no distribution of digital images; etc.) Students are bound by their Honor Code to respect your rules, but they must be specified, not "presumed."
b. A list of course faculty and their contact information.
c. Include the following statement:
If you have a physical, psychological, medical or learning disability that may affect your course work, please contact Dean Aldustus Jordan. Once you are tested by the Psychological Testing Center, the Disability Support Services office can determine with you what accommodations are necessary and appropriate (631) 632-6748. All information and documentation is confidential. Students who have been cleared for accommodations must self-identify to their professors before the beginning of the course. Students requiring emergency evacuation are encouraged to discuss their needs with their professors and Disability Support Services.
d. Finally you are responsible for placing your course syllabus on CBase (see discussion below), though you may also distribute a paper or CD version. The costs of duplicating paper versions of course materials will not be covered by UME. If you wish to distribute a printed syllabus, be advised that it is at your own expense. If you need help creating or duplicating an electronic syllabus, please contact Informatics for assistance. Your course, including your syllabus, will be reviewed comprehensively every three to four years by the Curriculum Committee.
Administering a course
Once the academic calendar
is set, the UME ofice forwards it to Burke Kincaid, our Registrar and the Medical School
liaison with Media Services. Media Services will assign classrooms
for the first and second year courses as well as for the fourth year didactic
courses. You can see the room assignments online. Courses are generally listed by
course number, which you can find in CBase or from Burke Kincaid (4-7542, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please remember that many schools share our educational facility and compete for classroom space and that there are deadlines for securing space. Please contact Burke Kincaid (444-7542) directly and not the Media Services office when you request a room.
The UME office asks each Course Director in the spring to submit a budget for course related expenses that are covered by the Dean. Allowable expenses include but are not limited to: distributing your syllabus on disk (it must also be on the web), purchasing software for your course, media services, laboratory supplies and other course related materials. Students, departments and the dean's office share a desire to shift costs to someone - anyone - else and, though there is no algorithm, there are some practices that control who pays for what. Supplies and equipment not primarily for course use are left to departments to buy. The costs of ordinary course materials (texts, etc.) fall on students. Annual, recurring course expenses are paid by the UME office. Some special rules:
We are all becoming much
more dependent on electronic media and IT in the classroom. Media Services
(Kathy Gebhart) and Medical Informatics (Moshe Eisenberg) are the
administrative units to help with each. Media Services provides equipment and expertise for
AV classroom equipment and a number of other services listed in their website.
These services are billed, but course-related services come out of your course
budget and are paid directly by the UME office. Medical Informatics supports CBase, EZexam, and other important programs. MI is
available to assist with all computer-based instruction and provides a number
of other services, which are listed in their website.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF A COURSE DIRECTOR
RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE DEAN’S OFFICE
The UME office has administrative help for Course Directors to supplement departmental support. Moreover, some courses have student assistants assigned to help with course administration, tutoring and grading. Student assistants are arranged through the UME office.
CBase allows you to manage your course, allows students to input course related data, and allows us all to keep student records. Each Course Director's ID and password permits unique access to manage his or her course, including the following elements:
Marilyn London will send you your username and password when you are appointed a Course Director. If you lose it, please call Marilyn London at 4-8189.
CBase course rosters are up-to-date and show students who are registered for your course (see "Manage my Students"). . If you have any questions about whether a student will appear on the first day of class, please contact Marilyn London 444-8189 or Burke Kincaid, the Registrar, at 444-7542.
Grading and Evaluation
Course Directors are responsible for evaluating students and assigning grades. The official grades are H, HP, P, LP, F, I, W, Z and PO. (Incomplete, Withdraw, Z and Place Out are described in the Policies and Procedures). In courses long enough and structured to make it meaningful, students should be evaluated during the course (formative evaluation) and at the end (summative evaluation). The former is intended to inform a student of his or her weaknesses while there is still an opportunity to improve. In clinical clerkships and fourth year clinical rotations, course and site directors must meet with students to provide such mid-course feedback including reviewing clinical skills and clinical conditions if the course is 4 weeks or longer. The summative or final evaluation indicates the student's overall performance in a completed course. The final evaluation is entered in the student's permanent record in CBase. Please refer to the Policies & Procedures manual for a more detailed discussion of grading policy. Note that examinations of the objective multiple-choice type are automatically graded. You may review dropped questions (in “home-grown” exams). The Course Director is responsible for assigning course grades in accordance with policies described in the course syllabus. Please be sure that your course policies are in line with our official School Policies and Procedures. If an exercise is mandatory, please be sure to include a way to make up the exercise if it is missed and/or consequences for missing an exercise.
Once the Course Director determines final grades, s/he/designee must enter the grades comments into CBase. In the first two years, grades must be entered within two weeks of course completion. Clinical course grades are due within 4 weeks of the end of the rotation. Comments are due within six weeks of the end of the rotation. CBase provides a drop down list of grades from which to choose. Honors, Pass, Incomplete (for extenuating circumstances), “Z” (for failing an NBME exam) and Fail appear on the transcript although High Pass and Low Pass may also be included in the Medical Student Performance Evaluation ("Dean's Letter").
Course Directors can enter evaluative comments into CBase to accompany the grades. There are three areas in which comments may be written: comments for the record and confidential comments, including “Early Warning System” to alert the Vice Dean of unprofessional or unusual behaviors that need to be addressed or tracked, and an “Academic Alert” for the student who is having academic difficulty. The student can access these confidential comments, but they do not form part of the student's public record. "Comments for the Record" will automatically be downloaded to the Medical Student Performance Evaluation ("Dean's Letter) sent to residency programs.
Grade / Comment Reconsideration
At the completion of each course and clinical rotation, it is the responsibility of course directors to make grades and evaluation reports available on CBase as soon as possible. Students will be notified by e-mail when grades are entered into or changed in CBase. Students are responsible for checking their own grades and completing the course evaluations necessary to gain access to them.
A student who has a question regarding a course grade or evaluation should request reconsideration by the course director or use the appeal process, if any, described in the course syllabus. If the problem remains unresolved, the student may appeal in writing to the chair of the appropriate department who must respond within a week of receipt of the appeal. If the issue is not resolved at the department level, either party may appeal the matter to the Dean through the Vice Dean for UME. The appeal process is also described in the School’s Policies and Procedures under “Grade/Comment Reconsideration”.
The academic workload expectations of students must be congruent with the educational experience. As a general rule, for every hour of class time, no more than two hours of academic work may be assigned. Course Directors are responsible for determining the tools used to evaluate students - exams (local or standardized), papers, recitations, OSCE’s, etc. - and determining their weight. 20% of a course grade must be derived from some form of evaluation other than multiple-choice questions. Using attendance alone as a criterion for grading is discouraged. Course Directors may pick student assistants to help grade written assignments -- essays or short answer or homework assignments. Payment for Student Assistants can be arranged through Dr. Aldustus Jordan’s Office.
Unless an exception is granted by UME, all written exams – MCQ, short answer, essay, etc. – are to be administered using EZexam EZexam or NBME subject or customized exams. For EZexams, contact Neill Clenaghan to set up your course EZexam. All non-NBME on-line exams will be managed and administered by the Medical Informatics (MI) Department. Each exam must be delivered to the Medical Informatics staff in one of the several formats prescribed at least 5 days before the exam's date. MI staff will then load the exam onto the server within two days, and the Course Director will be responsible for reviewing it and approving the final version, with all necessary corrections, at least 48 hours before the actual exam time. Furthermore, the Course Director's on-line exam review must be done under conditions closely analogous to those to which students will be subjected when taking the exam. Failure to meet these deadlines will result in the cancellation of the exam. On the dates established by the Dean's Office on the academic calendar, the Dean's Office, with input from the course director, determines the timing of the exam.Beginning in the 2011-12 academic year, all exams will be taken in lecture halls or library classrooms or other designated areas on campus with the potential for being proctored. If you need proctors, you must make a request 4 weeks in advance of the exam date. Please contact Lorraine Reeve (444-1285 email@example.com ). (All NBME exams must be proctored on campus as per NBME rules and regulations.) Subject exams must be ordered at least 4 weeks in advance of the exam date. Customized exams can be ordered closer to the exam date, but it is highly recommended that course directors begin working on these exams 4 weeks before they are given or even earlier, when possible. )
Students who wish to take make up exams must contact Neill Clenaghan in Informatics. He will check with the UME office regarding the student’s eligibility for an exam, as well as the chosen date for the exam. The UME office posts exam dates on the academic calendar and arranges for proctors when requested by the course director. Make-up exam dates are also posted in the Official School Calendar. If you have questions, please contact Marilyn London, 444-8189. The rules above for other examinations apply here as well, e.g. all written exams are to be administered using EZexam or an NBME subject or customized exam, but the nature of the exam is determined by the course director. Grades from make-up exams do not supplant the earlier exam or course failure but are added separately to CBase Failures of NBME exams in the clinical years are reflected by a “Z” grade on the official transcript.
National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) Exams
NBME subject exams or NBME customized exams are required in some basic science courses: anatomy, pathology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, neurosciences, and pharmacology, as well as for Systems Segments. The UME office orders the exams for these courses, provides proctors, and processes the return of the exams. The UME office downloads the scores directly from the NBME website. Informatics posts NBME scores to Cbase. The Course Director receives subject exam results via an email from the UME office, can view them in Cbase, and can directly access the grades in the NBME web-site for customized exams. Students view their grades in Cbase. NBME exams offer a way to evaluate the effectiveness of your course, and they give students some practice on the kinds of questions asked by the NBME, authors of the Step 1, 2, and 3 licensure exams.
Clinical Clerkships in Ambulatory Care, Family Medicine, Medicine, OB/GYN, Pediatrics, Surgery, Neurology and Psychiatry require that students take and pass the NBME subject exams at the 7th percentile level. The UME office orders the exams at least 4 weeks prior to the exam date. Beginning in the 2011-12 academic year, departmental NBME clerkship exams will be web-based and given in the Library computer classrooms and proctored by departmental designees, along with members of the UME office. The UME receives and distributes the scores. Percentiles will be determined by the most recent chart provided by the NBME with each exam.
When a student fails an NBME exam, the Course Director notifies the student and refers the student to the Associate Dean for student affairs Dr. Aldustus Jordan and the Vice Dean for UME. The Course Director should also meet with the student to discuss deficiencies and ways to prepare for the retake exam if necessary. The Course Director, the student and UME office coordinate the time and place of the retake. Students take make–up exams on the official dates that are posted on the School Calendars. Starting in 2011-12, students can take more than one NBME exam on the same day.
Accommodations for students with disabilities
According to our Policies and Procedures, students must alert a Course Director at the start of a course if they require special accommodations for exams or other exercises. Please read the Policies and Procedures regarding compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you have questions regarding a student's request, please contact Dr. Aldustus Jordan at 444-2340 for additional information regarding accommodation requirements for individual students. If you need help accommodating a student, contact the UME office at 444-1285. Advanced notice is necessary to find proctors when needed and to reserve rooms when additional exam time is requested. Please make these requests as soon as the student makes his/her request to avoid difficulties with the arrangements.
It is imperative that Course Directors deal with suspected academic misconduct directly and promptly. Course Directors must report such instances to the Deans and to the Student Honor Code Committee.Though addressing suspected students directly is advisable, do not just "handle it" yourself, because a failure to report suspected occurrences may result in our school being left unaware of a pattern of conduct far more serious than a single instance of wrongdoing. Since the adoption of their Honor Code, students have committed themselves to identifying and reporting academic dishonesty by their peers but also have a procedure for investigating and addressing it. Once reported, the incident will be investigated by the Course Director, by the Deans' Offices and possibly by the student Honor Code Committee. When appropriate, the case will be referred to the Committee on Academic Standing (CAS) for further action.
For assistance in creating a Web page or other online resources for your course, contact Moshe Eisenberg in Informatics (444-3091).
Any time a student is having academic difficulty, the Course Director should contact the Associate Dean for Student Affairs & Academic Advising, Dr. Aldustus Jordan, for immediate follow up. (firstname.lastname@example.org, 444-2341). Prompt reporting of students with marginal or failing performance of any kind to Dr. Jordan will help immensely. Tutors are available to help students. Some may be assigned to first year courses, but Dr. Jordan has a group of student tutors who can assist students in years two, three and four. Linda DeMotta, (email@example.com) the school’s learning specialist, can also assist in finding tutors for students.
The Curriculum Committee meets on the first Monday of every month at 8AM in the OVP Conference room on Level 4 in the Dean's Suite. Chair: Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, Dean, School of Medicine (Contact Holly Ruttenberg at 444-7207.)
The Clinical Course Directors meet the first Monday of every month at noon in the Dean's Small Conference room on Level 4 in the Dean's Suite. Chair: Susan Lane, MD, firstname.lastname@example.org
The 1st & 2nd Year Course Directors meet the third Thursday of every month at noon in the OVP Conference Room on level 4 in the Dean’s Suite. Chair: Roger Cameron PhD. Roger.Cameron@stonybrook,edu (444-7728)
The Systems Course Directors meet once a month. Paul Richman, MD is the Chair and can be reached at email@example.com.To put your name on the email distribution list to be notified in advance of all meetings, contact Holly Ruttenberg (444-7207), firstname.lastname@example.org
Page last updated by Dr. Latha Chandran, on April 20, 2010.