Doctor of Physical Therapy Conduct and Professional Behavior Policy

Core Assumptions

  1. Members of the profession of physical therapy are guided in the development of professional behavior by a list of core values adopted by the American Physical Therapy Association: Accountability; Altruism; Compassion/Caring; Excellence; Integrity; Professional Duty and Social Responsibility.
  2. Guidelines for ethical practice of physical therapy are set forth by the American Physical Therapy Association in the Physical Therapy Code of Ethics and by the Georgia Legislature and the Georgia State Board of Physical Therapy in the Laws and Rules as governed and regulated by the State Board.
  3. Faculty of the Physical Therapy Department of North Georgia embraces the Core Values and the ethical practice of physical therapy. Students are expected to learn, understand and exhibit these values:
  4. Students will abide by the departmental and institutional expectations: The current North Georgia-DPT Student Handbook and Activities Calendar.
  5. Usual and customary application of common sense, courtesy, and mutual respect is also expected.
  6. Inappropriate professional behavior toward one's classmates, academic and clinical faculty, or patients will not be tolerated in any manner. Inappropriate professional behavior is defined as anything that shows disregard for the items listed above in 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Respect for the dignity and worth of the individual is paramount.
  7. Disregard for Conduct Policy demeans the violator and assaults the character and good name of the group, the faculty, the program the institution, and the profession of physical therapy. Failure to exhibit the expected professional behavior and violations of the Conduct Policy in any form will be grounds for programmatic sanctions including conduct remediation, probation, suspension or dismissal from the program.

General Policy

  1. Observed violations of the standards for Professional Behavior should be presented to the involved student's advisor directly or indirectly via the duly elected student/faculty liaison.
  2. A course manager, or other faculty member (including a student's clinical instructor), may bring a conduct violation to the student's attention and recommend appropriate resolution before bringing the violation before the student's advisor. Once the advisor is apprised of the violation, he/she will meet with the student to assure understanding of why the student's actions were a conduct violation and also discuss how to prevent repeat conduct issues.
  3. The advisor will meet with the student to address the issue on the day of the report of conduct violation, or as soon as possible. The faculty advisor and student may, at the advisor's discretion, develop an action plan to resolve the issue and/or present the discretion to the jurisdictional faculty or the program coordinator.
  4. A student who is concerned about a peer's conduct, and has been unsuccessful in resolving the conflict by addressing the person directly, should first address their individual advisor and together they should meet with the peer's advisor. The four individuals (two advisors and two students) should then meet to resolve the conduct issue involved in a manner to promote learning of conflict resolution, understanding of individual differences, and respect for others. If resolution is not acceptable to either involved party after the initial attempt through advisors, allegations of student violation or abuse of the Conduct Policy may be considered by the Physical Therapy Student Judicial Council and a recommended action made to the Promotion and Retention Committee.
  5. If the advisor elects to establish and manage a student action plan, the advisor will inform the jurisdictional faculty and Program Director, in writing, of any action taken with regard to any student. A report of student progress in compliance with the action plan will also be sent to the P & R Committee. In this instance the P & R Committee will make no formal ruling considering the involved student's actions but will remain aware of student issues.
  6. If any conduct issue is formally presented to the jurisdictional faculty (P & R Committee) by the advisor, the members of the Promotion and Retention Committee and student will meet to determine appropriate action which may include remediation; counseling, referral or programmatic sanctions (probation, suspension, or expulsion). Each case will be judged on an individual basis following due process procedures established by North Georgia College & State University and the Department of Physical Therapy.

Academic and Professional Integrity Policy

Information about the Academic and Professional Integrity Policy are included in the front section of the Graduate Bulletin. Rules and guidelines for understanding what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid unintentional acts of plagiarism will be discussed during the departmental orientation for new students and will be continually emphasized throughout the curriculum in each individual course. All required papers and/or project reports may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers and/or project reports will be included as source documents in the reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of such papers. Use of the service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the site. If the student is ever uncertain about how the rules apply, ask before proceeding.

Professional Behavior

Inappropriate behavior toward one's classmates, academic and clinical faculty, or patients will not be tolerated. Respect for the dignity and worth of the individual is paramount, and integrity should rule in all interactions. Therefore, students must become familiar with standards of professional behavior as represented within Professionalism in Physical Therapy: Core Values and embodied and applied in the APTA Code of Ethics at

Georgia State Board of Physical Therapy at

Ethical professional behavior, as a concept, as well as the Core Values and the Physical Therapy Code of Ethics, will be presented and thoroughly explored in the Professional Socialization series of courses. Additionally, students will be expected to manifest the standards of professional behavior as embodied in the Generic Abilities and Core Values.

Observed violations of the standards for Professional Behavior should be presented directly to the jurisdictional faculty or the Department Head or, indirectly to these individuals through the duly elected student liaisons to the faculty from each class.

Code of Conduct Sanctions for DPT Program

Allegations of Code of Conduct violations should be presented directly to the jurisdictional faculty or the program coordinator, or, indirectly to these same individuals through the duly elected officers of each class. Such allegations may be forwarded to the Student Judicial Council. Graduate physical therapy students whose conduct is judged to be unsatisfactory will be subject to the sanctions described below. However, breeches of academic, ethical, legal or professional conduct may also constitute grounds for immediate suspension from the program with no prior sanctions. Failure to comply with the standards of Professional Behavior as previously described may also result in the application of the Code of Conduct Sanctions.

  1. Conduct Letter of Notice: Students whose conduct, within a given term or event, is deficient, declines significantly, or otherwise indicates the potential for subsequent behavioral problems, as determined by the faculty, will receive a written notice.
  2. Conduct Letter of Final Warning: Students who are on Conduct Notice, or who repeat previously sanctioned behavior(s) will receive a Letter of Final Warning. All students so stipulated will negotiate a formal written contract with the faculty for professional growth. Failure to comply with terms of this contract will result in more serious sanctions.
  3. Conduct Dismissal: Students who have been previously sanctioned with Final Warning may be dismissed should they again be guilty of a conduct violation that could otherwise result in suspension.

Any student receiving a Conduct Sanction is required to seek-out the assistance of his/her faculty advisor. The advisor can guide the student in formulating a workable plan of action that will enhance future success in the identified area(s) of behavioral deficiency. Students who successfully resolve their conduct issue(s) will be restored to conduct good standing. Those for whom unsatisfactory performance continues will have further sanctions imposed.

Students have the right to appeal all Conduct Sanctions. Sanctions resulting from Academic Integrity violations may be appealed to the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs (AVPAA) who will have the merits of the appeal considered by the Graduate Professional and Academic Integrity Appeals Committee. Their recommendation will be forwarded back to the AVPAA. Sanctions resulting from all other Code of Conduct violations may be appealed to the Vice President of Student Affairs.

Academic and professional integrity appeals by students in the DPT program at North Georgia will follow the Academic Integrity Policy for Graduate Courses included in the front section of this bulletin.