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This petition aims to encourage the faculty and staff of Emory University’s Anesthesiologist Assistant Program to change the current policy regarding an academic leave of absence.

It is understood that this policy has been in place for many years and in the past it has been the most logical approach. However, with the recent addition of a summer semester, we believe that that the policy should be updated. Before the addition of the summer semester, students returning from academic leave would only have their graduation date pushed back by one year. With the new summer semester, any student who receives a D in the last didactic semester will not be able to return for 10 months, and their graduation date is pushed back by 2 years. These students also incur four more semesters of debt. In addition to this financial burden, such a lengthy absence without exposure to anesthesia is detrimental. Continuous clinical experience facilitates greater improvement and is more beneficial to the student than the current policy.

If a student is academically successful until the final didactic semester it would seem reasonable that they should not need to remediate the introductory semester. The review of this material does not outweigh the consequences of being absent from anesthesia for a year. Due to these concerns we request the policy be changed to the following:

If a first-year student meets either of the following criteria in any semester of the first year, then that student will be offered a leave of absence for academic reasons:

Receipt of D in any course


Receipt of F in any course.

In order for the student meeting the above criteria to be offered a leave of absence for academic reasons, then that student must complete all course work in the semester in which he/she meets the criteria for the leave of absence for academic reasons.

The leave of absence will begin effective at the end of the semester in which the student receives the D or F. If the student received the D or F in the first 3 semesters the student may then return to the Master of Medical Science Program at the beginning of the following summer semester to restart the educational program. If the student receives the D or F in the final didactic semester the student may resume their educational program in September.

We urge you to seriously consider this change and hope that you will keep the well-being of the student in mind.

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