II – 1.1 Purpose and Background
This code and accompanying guidelines were developed within the Department by faculty and students to protect the students’ rights to benefit fully from all academic and clinical programming provided by the Department. In addition to guidelines specific in this code to the Occupational Therapy program, this section and code also includes the following University-wide policies that all students must abide by:
II – 1.2 Occupational Therapy Student Code of Conduct
It is assumed that students applying to this program have researched the profession of occupational therapy and made an informed career choice. Acceptance into the program provides students with the opportunity to share in, and learn from, the Departmental Vision to “achieve international leadership in research and education” in Occupational Therapy and Occupational Science. This opportunity shall be regarded as a privilege. The Department informs prospective students of the intensity of the program. Once accepted and registered in this full-time graduate program, students are expected to demonstrate and sustain a corresponding commitment to the program.
Students will exhibit the respectful and ethical professional behaviour throughout all aspects of the program that is required of all health professionals. The demonstration of these behaviours, in combination with academic and fieldwork evaluations, provides a comprehensive profile of the student occupational therapist and his/her preparation for entry into the profession of occupational therapy.
Students will be respectful of the expressed needs of one another and will not take any action that compromises or hinders the learning needs and/or experience of the class as a whole, or any one individual member. To that end, the Department has specific expectations for student behaviour in the areas identified in the Guidelines for: Fully-Engaged Participation, Group Etiquette, Meaningful Communication, and Academic Integrity. Students will make all reasonable attempts to address and rectify any issue that is subject to the Code. The Guidelines list the key issues of concern but should not be considered exhaustive.
II – 1.3 Guidelines for: Fully-Engaged Participation, Group Etiquette, Meaningful Communication, and Academic Integrity
a) Fully-Engaged Participation
In a group setting, one individual can shift the dynamics and have an impact on the other participants. Therefore students must make all reasonable efforts to:
-Attend all components of the program including classes and fieldwork placements.
-Absences not only compromise the learning of the missing student, but may also affect classmates who cannot benefit from that student’s contributions to the learning process. Classmates, instructors and clinical supervisors should be notified as soon as possible when students will miss a class or a day of placement. Refer to the departmental MScOT Fieldwork Resource Manual for attendance requirements in fieldwork courses.
-Arrive on time to all components of the program, and remain for the duration of the particular session.
-Lateness is never acceptable, however, given that on the rare occasion lateness is unavoidable, spaces at the rear of the classroom should be considered reserved for students arriving late. Class notes and handouts should be placed at the rear of the class for easy retrieval.
-Participate in all components of the program, as they are able, interacting with others appropriately at all times.
-Students should consider “others” to be all-inclusive (i.e., to refer not only to fellow students and faculty, but also clients and their families, clinicians, guests, mentors, staff and supervising therapists).
-Students should demonstrate empathy and compassion.
-Students should demonstrate an effort to work harmoniously with others in a conscientious and reliable manner (i.e., with other students when working on group projects, with supervising therapists, the client and those involved in the promotion of his/her well-being).
b) Meaningful Communication
Student participation can take many forms, including playing a part in shaping the environment around them through his/her communication. Acceptable presentation must be demonstrated by students through:
-Communication must be professional in all situations: i.e., in class, study or mentor groups, individual meetings with Course Instructors, representing the program on clinical placements, sending individual or mass emails.
-Class email lists may be used for academic and related program and professional announcements only. Messages with commercial, disruptive or malicious purposes are in violation of this policy. Professors are encouraged to plan and communicate the timing of breaks in each class, to enable students to participate more fully in the classroom sessions without unplanned interruptions.
-Should be shown for the contributions of others by listening when others are speaking, and by responding to each other in turn. (In large group settings, this may require the raising of hands.)
-Should be demonstrated through a sensitivity regarding differences in gender, culture, religion, sexual orientation and social background.
-Should never make fellow students or their opinions feel unwelcome or unsafe. Students are never to engage in bullying, in all its forms, eg; cyber, physical, sexual, verbal or emotional.
c) Group Etiquette
In the interest of decreasing disruptions for others in the classroom, and in mentor and study groups, students must be considerate of others in the use of:
-Students are encouraged to bring their laptops to class for note-taking. However, it would be advisable to identify early in the term whether non-users will be distracted by typing sounds. If this appears to be the case, the class needs to agree on the best way to accommodate, perhaps designating areas for “users” and “non-users”.
-Must be turned off during all classes, mentor or study groups, meetings with faculty and staff and during “work time” while on placements.
-Volume / ringers on all computers, cell phones and other personal organizers should be muted.
-Respectful and appropriate use of the above, or any equipment supplied by the department/university is expected at all times (i.e., audio-visual equipment, OT assessment tools, lab equipment).
-Photography and filming within a classroom is not permitted, without consent of the instructor.
-Food and drinks (other than water stored in a secure container) are not allowed in classrooms, but may be permitted at the instructor’s discretion. Food that may trigger allergies or affect others’ learning is absolutely not permitted.
d) Academic & Professional Integrity
Students’ activities will be characterized by conscientious behaviour as is demanded of professional OT practice. Integrity will be demonstrated through his/her:
-Expected at all times and in all submissions or presentations of work, oral or written. Governed by the University’s Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters, which dictates that all academic dishonesty, including cheating and plagiarism are unacceptable, and subject to penalty. (See Part VI of these regulations: Guideline on Academic Offence of Plagiarism.)
-If a student is unclear of the parameters of plagiarism, especially for group work, he/she must speak with either the Course Instructor, Faculty Advisor or Graduate Coordinator prior to submission of any work.
-Students’ involvement in the health care system may put them in positions of power with clients. He/she must not take advantage of this to advocate for personal gain, values or beliefs.
-Conduct unbecoming to a practising OT may include such things as: breach of confidentiality, failure to keep proper client records, or acting in a conflict of interest
-Whether on the premises or away from the premises of the University, students will never engage in behavior that causes harm or endangers the safety of others. Specifically students will never assault a person sexually, verbally or physically. Students shall never engage in vexious conduct that is considered an offense under the University of Toronto’s Policy and Procedures: Sexual Harassment.
-Students will refrain from being under the influence of alcohol or drugs inappropriately and violating the Criminal Code of Canada
-Offenses against persons are also subject to sanctions by the University Code of Student Conduct
-Students must present themselves appropriately to the situation, both physically and interpersonally.
-Within the confines of the program, feedback of any nature should be directed to the person for whom it is intended (students, staff, academic and clinical faculty) within a reasonable time-frame.
-Individual feedback should be offered individually, group feedback in a group format.
-Should be presented in professional and constructive terms, whether verbal or written, including confidential evaluations.
II – 1.4 Consequence of Breaches
a) A student’s breach of the Code of Student Conduct or the University’s Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters, beyond reasonable circumstances will result in a verbal reprimand of the offending student from the Instructor, the Supervising Therapist, the Mentor or the Faculty Advisor, as applicable.
b) If the student further breaches the Code, the Faculty Advisor or the Graduate Coordinator (if the Faculty Advisor has already been involved) will become involved, as necessary, and a formal written reprimand will be placed in the student’s permanent academic file. In addition, the student may be placed on conduct probation for a period not to exceed one year.
c) If the student violates their conduct probation, the Department will request immediate termination of the student’s registration to the Vice Dean, Students, School of Graduate Studies.
II – 1.5 Code of Conduct Appeal
Students may, on occasion, dispute substantive or procedural matters as related to the Code. If the student wishes to appeal at any stage, the procedure is as follows:
Step One – Informal
a) In the case of dispute, students must first attempt to resolve the matter with the person of authority who first spoke to him/her about the breach.
b) Should the matter not be resolved with this person, and should the student wish to pursue the matter, the student must discuss the matter with the Graduate Coordinator, who is also the Chair of the Student Affairs Committee (SAC).
Step Two – Formal
Should Step One discussions fail to resolve the matter, the student may make a formal appeal in writing to the Chair of the Student Affairs Committee (SAC). This must be submitted to the SAC Chair within 2 weeks from the date of the decision or dispute under appeal. SAC will determine if the case falls under the jurisdiction of the Rehabilitation Sciences Sector Academic Appeals Committee (RSSAAC). If the appeal falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of OS&OT, the student can request to have an oral hearing before SAC or to provide the Committee with a written submission. He/she can also request that the student member of SAC not be present at an oral hearing, or not be provided with the written submission. In either case, the Chair of the Department, will not participate at this stage of the appeal. At the conclusion of the hearing and/or review of the written submissions, the SAC Chair will forward the Committee’s recommendation to the Chair of the Department regarding the merits of the appeal. The Department Chair will then render the department-level appeal decision.