Students are expected to attend all classes and clinic shifts they have registered for, and special seminars as required. AAHW distinguishes between excused and unexcused absences.
Excused absences: Students who cannot attend a class or clinic shift due to illness or unforeseen circumstances should contact instructors or school administration directly, as soon as possible, to explain their absence and arrange to make up missed material. Anticipated absences from class should be discussed ahead of time with the course instructor(s). Students are responsible for arranging to make up any missed work with the instructor, and must make up all assignments and/or exams in order to receive course credit.
Unexcused absences: Absences which are not explained or accounted for by the student may result in a reduction of his/her grade, loss of course credit, or involuntary withdrawal from the program. A student who has more than three unexcused absences from a class, or has missed more than 20% of the class content may not receive credit for that class. Three consecutive unexcused absences are considered by AAHW to indicate that a student has withdrawn from the program, and a student on financial aid will be reported as a withdrawal.
Tardiness may be counted as absence at an instructor’s discretion.
A student may request a Leave of Absence (LOA), which allows him/her to interrupt study while maintaining current registration. The request for a LOA must be made in writing and is reviewed by the Academic Dean or Campus Director. Permission is usually granted for any of the following reasons:
The expected date of return must be specified, and an LOA is limited to no more than sixty days. Under no circumstances can an LOA extend past the last day of the enrollment period during which the LOA is taken. If a student fails to return by the agreed-upon date, or at the end of 60 days, or does not return before the end of the current enrollment period, the student is considered to have withdrawn from the program
A student who has been withdrawn from the program due to non-compliance with the terms of his/her LOA agreement and who wishes to re-enter the program will need to re-apply under the admission policies then in effect and, if applicable, take all tests and make up all assignments in courses that they have not fully completed. While a student is on LOA he/she is responsible for tuition payments which must be paid in their entirety before the student resumes attendance.
Student educational records include all documents containing personally-identifiable information pertaining to students which are maintained by AAHW. Maintenance of student records by AAHW conforms to the mandates of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) which are designed to protect student privacy. Hard-copy student records are kept in administrative offices, in locked files and/or in office rooms which are locked when not occupied by administrative staff. Electronic records are maintained on password-protected computers.
Students have the right to inspect and correct their records upon request. Authorized AAHW employees may access student records for the purpose of monitoring academic progress, maintaining business office records, requesting and disbursing financial aid, and complying with requests from authorized federal and state agencies. Under FERPA regulations, student records may not be released to third parties without signed authorization from the student. Schools are required to disclose any information regarding registered sex offenders and anyone required to register under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. Students must keep school administration informed of their current address and contact information.
Clinic: Student interns and observers must document all clinical treatments and observations on clinic log forms, to be signed by supervising faculty. Log packets must be handed in promptly upon completion in order to receive credit for the course. Students in the clinic are required to follow federal HIPAA regulations regarding patients’ protected healthcare information.
All students must continue to make satisfactory academic progress (SAP) throughout the program to remain in good standing. Failure to meet SAP criteria could result in dismissal from the program if the deficiencies are not corrected. There are three criteria by which SAP is assessed: overall Grade Point Average (GPA); completing the program in the maximum timeframe; failing a required course three times. Since a student may matriculate during any trimester, a student’s academic year is considered to be three consecutive trimesters in attendance.
GPA: Master’s degree students must maintain an overall 2.0 or C average during their academic year. Doctoral students must maintain an overall 2.5 average. Student GPAs are reviewed every trimester. Students who fall below the minimum GPA in a trimester are notified to remedy the situation by the end of the next trimester.
Maximum Timeframe: The Master of Acupuncture with Chinese Herbal Medicine Specialization is designed to be a 4-year/12-trimester program. The Master of Acupuncture is designed to be a 3-year/9-trimester program. The Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine is designed to be a 2-year/5-to-6 trimester program. These are the “minimum timeframes” to complete the programs. It is also possible for any student to accelerate through their program and finish in less than the “minimum” time. Students must complete their program within double the designed time: the 4-year program must be completed in 24 trimesters; the 3-year program must be completed in 18 trimesters, the doctoral program must be completed in 4 years. These are the “maximum timeframes.” Master’s degree students who take 15 credits/trimester will finish their program in the minimum timeframe, and therefore 15 credits per trimester is considered “full-time.” Students must average 8 credits per trimester to complete their program in the maximum timeframe: therefore 8 credits per trimester is “part-time.” Students on financial aid must take 8 credits/trimester to qualify. All students are evaluated at the end of their academic year. If they have not completed 24 credits, they are advised to meet with the Academic Dean and submit a plan to make up the missed credits during their next academic year.
Failing a Course Three Times: A student who has failed a required curriculum course three times is academically unsatisfactory. When the course is failed the second time, the student will be put on academic warning. Failing the course a third time results in academic probation. In this case, the student must arrange a remedial program with the Academic Dean before attempting the class again, and will not qualify for financial aid until the course is successfully completed.
Failing a course, per se, will not result in academic warning or academic probation unless one of the SAP criteria cited above is triggered by the failure. Students who receive a failing grade in any required course will be required to repeat that course the next time it is offered and pay the tuition for that course at current tuition rates. Elective courses do not have to be made up, but a failing grade will affect the student’s GPA.
To ensure students’ ultimate success in the program, they are evaluated by school administration at three key points in their studies:
For the Master’s degree program students, AAHW administers two comprehensive examinations to determine the readiness of students to advance to the next phase of the program (preclinical exam) or to graduate (exit exam):
Preclinical Examination: This examination is given prior to clinical internship. It is designed to test students on their comprehension, retention and ability to apply all material covered during the first half of their program, including Chinese medicine theory, Chinese medicine pathology and diagnostics, meridians and point location, acupuncture techniques and treatment principles, clean needle technique, and Western biomedicine. Students in the Master’s program with specialization in Chinese Herbology must also pass an herbology exam. Students must pass the written and practical components with a minimum average of 70% before they can begin to treat patients in the Student Clinic.
Comprehensive Exit Examination: This examination is given prior to graduation to test students on their comprehension, retention, and ability to apply all material covered in their program. It allows students to focus on their areas of strength and weakness in preparation for the national board exam administered by the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Students must pass the written test with a minimum average of 70% to graduate from AAHW.
Students who do not make satisfactory academic progress (SAP), as defined above, may be placed on warning status or probationary status, depending on the circumstances. Falling below a 2.0 GPA in any trimester or failing a course for the second time trigger an academic “warning.” Students who did not achieve 24 credits by the end of their first year and are not on track to meet the minimum-timeframe requirements by their fifth trimester will also be put on academic warning. Falling below a 2.0 GPA for two consecutive trimesters or failing a course for the third time will cause a student to be placed on academic probation. Students on financial aid will have their financial aid suspended until they have raised their overall GPA above 2.0 or have passed the course in question. All students on academic probation must work out a remedial plan with the Academic Dean to correct their probationary status as soon as possible.
AAHW students must conduct themselves in a professional, respectful and ethical manner in their relationships with their fellow students, instructors, staff members and patients. Unprofessional conduct on school premises or in class includes, but is not limited to: text messaging in class; reading newspapers and unrelated books in class; talking during lecture or while someone else has the floor; shouting at others; demonstrating lack of respect for others with differing opinions; consistently arriving late for class; causing distractions to others; unreasonable demands to the instructor or administration; behavior which constitutes sexual harassment.
Students who display unprofessional conduct during class will be asked to leave the class. Behavior which occurs in school and which is disruptive to the educational process or the rights or safety of any individual must be reported to the Academic Dean. Depending on whether it is a disciplinary, academic or interpersonal issue, the Dean will either handle the matter directly or refer it to the appropriate resource. Initial and subsequent incidents of unprofessional behavior will be handled in the sequence of verbal warning, written warning, academic probation and dismissal from the program.
AAHW has adopted the following drug and alcohol abuse policy to protect the health and well-being of the school, its students and employees: The possession, use or sale of alcohol and/or unauthorized or illegal drugs, or the misuse of any legal drugs on school premises, is prohibited and will constitute grounds for dismissal from the program. Any student under the influence of drugs or alcohol while on school premises will be subject to discipline, including dismissal from the program. Students should advise the Academic Dean of any use of prescribed drugs which may affect the student’s judgment, performance or behavior.
Grades are determined by taking the average of all exam scores, with instructors reserving the right to adjust the final grade based on other academic factors, such as class participation, attendance, overall comprehension, effort, and trimester improvement. Letter grades are assigned for all didactic and clinic-related courses. See the following table.
Didactic Courses and Clinical Internship Courses
The Master of Acupuncture program at AAHW is a 3-year program consisting of 110 academic credits/1650 hours and 20 clinic credits/780 hours for a total of 136 credits/2430 hours. To complete the program and receive the Master of Acupuncture degree, students must meet the following requirements:
The Master of Acupuncture with Chinese Herbal Medicine Specialization program at AAHW is a 4-year program consisting of 152 academic credits/2280 hours and 30 clinic credits/900 hours for a total of 182 credits/3180 hours. To complete the program and receive the Master Acupuncture with Chinese Herbal Medicine Specialization degree, students must meet the following requirements:
The Doctorate in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM) degree is a 62 credit/1260-hour program designed to be completed in two years or less. To complete the program and receive the Doctorate in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine degree, doctoral candidates must meet the following requirements:
AAHW encourages truthful and frank dialogue among students, between students and faculty, and between students and the administration. In order to facilitate communication and satisfactory resolution of grievances, the following process should be followed:
All members of the American Academy of Health and Wellness, including faculty members, administrative staff, Board Directors, and Advisory Board members have a primary mission of assisting the student’s academic progress, as effectively as possible, towards the completion of graduation requirements. At AAHW, students have the right and privilege to receive an appropriate educational program; to be informed about all school policies which pertain to students; to attend the college in an academic and social climate free from fear and violence; to be free from harassment, threats, or intimidation which create a hostile or offensive learning atmosphere; to utilize the learning resources pertaining to students; and to receive fair and reasonable treatment from those who enforce AAHW policies. Students have the right to bring their concerns about academic or administrative rulings or procedures to the relevant department. It is the student’s responsibility to be informed of their rights and responsibilities.
The AAHW Student Handbook is the student’s guide to the official policies and procedures of AAHW. The Handbook is distributed to all entering students and is also available upon request. Students are expected to be familiar with all of the policies and procedures contained in the Handbook.
The AAHW Clinic Handbook is the student’s guide to the official policies of the AAHW Student Clinic. The Handbook is distributed to all students entering clinic observation and is also available upon request. Students are expected to be familiar with all of the policies and procedures contained in the Handbook.