Students are required to attend all orientation activities. The orientation process is designed to provide a detailed overview of University expectations, policies, procedures and helpful advice that can assure success in each academic program. Orientation is also a time for each individual student to get to know their classmates and learn about the history, traditions and rites of passage associated with each academic program.
Academic Support & Mentoring Services
Upon matriculation, advising and support are available to all students. Academic skills, including time management, study techniques and test-taking skills, may need to be improved for students to succeed.
Resources range from assigned faculty advisors, to learning specialists and psychologists, to assistant and associate deans as well as Student Services staff. In addition to faculty advisors, all entering COM students are assigned a big brother/big sister, who serves as a mentor throughout their first year at the University. Learning specialists are available to offer academic skills workshops in addition to providing individual academic support through the Office of Learning Enhancement.
Learning Enhancement Programming
The University offers academic support including workshops, tutoring, board exam prep and remediation, course reviews, and one-on-one academic counseling. It is suggested that students seek this support at the first sign of concern about academic performance abilities. In Kansas City, the Office of Learning Enhancement is located in Leonard Smith Hall.
Janelle Dozar - Director of Advising & Learning Enhancement
Smith Hall 326
Leslie Burgess - COB
Smith Hall 307
Ray Elliott - COM-Kansas City
Smith Hall 322
Kathy Phillips - COM-Kansas City
Smith Hall 200
Stacie Scrivner - COM-Joplin
Abby Tribble - COM-Joplin
The tutoring program provides limited supplemental instruction at no cost to students. Qualified students are selected to provide both large-and small-group tutoring for graduate and medical students throughout the academic year. All KCU students are encouraged to receive tutoring.
COM Student Support Committee
The COM Student Support Committee (COM-SSC) is a committee made up of University faculty and staff charged with being the primary team for proactively identifying at-risk students and developing the interventions in order to assist students who are struggling. The COM-SSC will review a student’s academic record as part of their charge. In addition, the committee will review all qualitative and/or quantitative data and information about the student’s co-curricular experience, as well as any information that is available about any personal extenuating circumstances impacting the student’s academic success. As a part of this comprehensive review, the COM-SSC will make recommendations and in some cases will mandate specific actions designed to bring to bear all University resources to help the student improve their academic standing. The COM-SSC has broad authority to review students’ records, decide how best the University can assist the student academically, and can recommend a broad number of resources designed to support the student intellectually, emotionally and professionally. COM-SSC is not a disciplinary committee.
COM-SSC’s meetings are not public, and the committee follows all privacy guidelines in accordance with FERPA as a part of the processes and procedures.
Counseling & Support Services
The University understands the intense environment and extra stress that graduate and medical students experience. Because it is important for students to be emotionally healthy, students are encouraged to utilize the counseling services that are available to them. The University has licensed clinicians on each campus. Students are encouraged to set up appointments by emailing the respective counselor they would like to see.
Beth Epley, PsyD - Kansas City
Smith Hall 200
Kristen Sager, MSW, PhD - Kansas City
Smith Hall 327
Brandi Norman, PsyD - Joplin
Caitlin Overfelt, Ed.S., LPC - Joplin
The clinicians provide immediate support for students on-campus through psychotherapy, as well as proactive support programs to assist with the extra stresses associated with medical school and graduate study. They provide additional information and support through the University’s orientation program. They can also assist students who are dealing with any kind of substance abuse or addiction issue. KCU-Kansas City Counseling Services are located in Smith Hall. KCU-Joplin Counseling Services are located on the first floor in the Student Services wing.
For students wishing to be seen by a therapist or psychiatrist off-campus, the University partners with ERS, a free and confidential counseling service available to all students and their families. This program offers a limited number of financial, legal or emotional counseling services. Students interested in this University-paid service may contact Student Services for information or ERS at https://students.mylifeexpert.com or 1.800.292.2780. All counseling referrals and sessions are confidential and are not recorded in the student’s file.
KCU provides both COB and COM students with a comprehensive Office of Career Services. For students wishing to move from the master’s degree level to a professional school or to enter the workforce, Career Services is available to students for resume review and preparation, connections with local biosciences-related companies, and job placement strategies. In addition, for students seeking a career in medicine, research, and psychology, Career Services provides a wide variety of online resources for students that can assist with their application processes, specialty selection, and interviewing skill development. For more information, students are encouraged to contact the career counseling specialist.
Smith Hall 300
Nondiscrimination & Anti-Harassment Policy
KCU is committed to providing an academic and employment environment in which students and employees are treated with courtesy, respect and dignity. It is the policy of the University that no student shall, because of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, creed, religion, age, disability, veteran or military status, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or any other characteristic protected by law, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefit of or be subjected to discrimination in any program sponsored by the University. Inquiries regarding compliance must be directed to KCU’s chief compliance officer, who is the coordinator of the University’s nondiscrimination and Title IX program.
Please refer to Title IX & Sexual Misconduct Policy section.
KCU encourages student research engagement while enrolled and attending classes at the University. The Office of Research & Sponsored Programs (ORSP) serves to assist students in identifying and searching for research opportunities both on and off campus. KCU provides support for students to find opportunities if the students qualify academically, and if they are interested in participating in research. Curriculum in research methods, principles, policies, and procedures is made available to all students.
In addition, oversight of all research activities occurs in the ORSP, including compliance and training. The student may contact the ORSP to find out about available opportunities both on and off campus. Students must provide information to their appropriate dean to participate in research activities based on the student’s academic standing. Approval to participate in research activities will occur through the offices of the campus deans of COM and COB.
Two courses are offered to first- and second-year DO students. A basic course in research methods is offered to students during the first year. A more advanced course is offered to students as an elective option in the second year with the purpose of providing a more in-depth learning experience for which the proximal outcome is to have a research study proposal that may be used to pursue a research activity.
The following opportunities are available to students to gain research experience:
- Faculty-directed student volunteer research opportunities both on and off campus.
- Summer student research fellowship.
- One-year fellowship in Anatomy.
- One-year fellowship in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM).
- Third- and fourth-year elective rotations involved in research activities at clerkship sites.
- Support for scholarly activities, such as poster and manuscript development, grant applications and research fellowships off-campus.
The University sponsors the following events for the purpose of building student research capacity:
- Annual Research Symposium
- Science Friday Talks
Please refer to the ORSP’s website for additional details.
Student Government Association
Upon enrollment, all KCU students become members of the Student Government Association (SGA). The representative governing body of the SGA is the Student Senate. The Student Senate consists of four representatives and four officers from each COM class and officers from the Biosciences program, as well as representatives of the PsyD program. An executive council consisting of the president, vice president, secretary and treasurer presides over the Student Senate. Each class elects representatives and class officers according to the SGA constitution.
An activity fee, paid by each student, finances SGA activities and SGA-chartered organizations. The primary function of the SGA is to serve as a liaison between the students, faculty, and administration. Student Senate members serve on administration and faculty committees and help to bring about changes that will benefit the student body as a whole.
The Council of Presidents is an SGA committee composed of the presidents of all SGA-chartered organizations and recognized special interest groups. It was established to assist organizations in coordinating and organizing various activities.
Organization Policies & Procedures
KCU’s student organizations offer a variety of opportunities for leadership development, career exploration, community service, education, networking, and recreation. Most student organizations at KCU fall into one of two categories: SGA-chartered organizations or special interest groups. Chartered organizations are eligible to participate in SGA’s funding request process. Special interest groups are recognized as such by Student Services. The University affords both types of organizations certain benefits and expects them to abide by certain requirements and procedures, which are detailed below.
Student Services, along with representatives from the Student Senate, review requests for new chartered organizations. To become and/or remain a chartered organization, an interest group must have at least 10 members, have by-laws that include a mission supporting the education and career of KCU students, complete one service project per academic year, and have a recommendation from Student Services. Chartered organizations have the benefit of requesting SGA funds and all other privileges granted to KCU-endorsed organizations. Additional information about the new organization application process is available in Student Services.
Organized groups not interested or unable to meet the above-mentioned criteria can become a recognized special-interest group (not receiving SGA funding).
Student organizations endorsed by the University receive certain benefits. These benefits include:
- Privilege to have access to and use of campus facilities;
- Permission to host events and publicize via email notices and bulletin boards;
- Opportunity to request, through processes determined by Student Services, assistance of campus departments, (e.g. audio-visual, copy center);
- Inclusion in University publications and on the website with approval from Student Services;
- Limited funding at the discretion of the Student Senate (SGA-chartered organizations only);
- Opportunity to recruit new members at the annual fall organization fair;
- Documentation to satisfy requirements for national affiliation;
- Opportunity to schedule events on the KCU calendar.
The University is not responsible for the activities of student organizations; however, organizations are expected to meet certain criteria. In order to acquire and maintain officially endorsed status, organizations must:
- Abide by SGA and campus policies, in addition to federal, state and local laws and ordinances.
- Have at least one University employee who serves as an organization advisor.
- Submit the following documents to Student Services:
- Constitution and bylaws
- Membership list updated by Oct. 1 of each year
- Election dates
- Date and location of regular meetings (off and on campus).
- Have their president or a designated representative attend all Council of Presidents meetings.
- Participate in the annual organization fair to welcome new students to KCU.
- Conduct at least one community service project each academic year.
- Complete all forms required by Student Services in a timely manner. (Specific forms are referenced below.)
University-endorsed organizations may have such recognition revoked by the assistant vice provost for Student Services if the organization becomes inactive, has violated any requirements or if the organization’s activities are in conflict with the best interests of the University. If students wish to continue the organization’s activities once official recognition is revoked, the organization must go through the process established for official recognition of a new student organization.
Special Forms & Necessary Approvals
Student organization activities are approved by Student Services. Approval forms can be obtained online from the KCU intranet within the Student Services department pages or in the “Get Involved” section of the Campus Life course on Canvas.
Student organizations that wish to request use of campus space for an event are required to submit a Student Room Request Form, available online.
Student organizations that wish to invite a guest speaker to present on campus are required to complete and submit a Speaker Approval Form at least 14 business days in advance of the presentation. Guest speakers must be approved by Student Services.
Organizations involved in community service projects must complete a Community Service Project Approval Form. The Community Service Medical Project form must be completed whenever an activity involves a student functioning in the role of a student physician. This form should be completed and submitted at least seven days prior to the scheduled service project. For Community Service Medical projects, a licensed KCU faculty physician must act as a clinical supervisor during the entirety of the event.
Community Service Non-Medical Project forms must be completed by organizations who wish to participate in non-medical volunteer work. This form, also available online, should be completed and submitted at least seven days prior to the scheduled service project.
Organizations that elect to complete a fundraising project are required to submit a Fundraiser Approval Form to Student Services. Any and all external uses of the KCU logo or brand must be submitted to Student Services for approval.
All events, including meetings, guest speakers, parties and events by University-endorsed student organizations must be submitted in writing and approved by Student Services in order to avoid conflicts in dates and location. An organization calendar is available online via the KCU intranet or Canvas and is intended to serve as a resource in scheduling events and determining availability.
Student Leadership Requirements
Any KCU student who is holding a leadership role in a University-endorsed program or organization (e.g., student ambassador, student government, executive leadership) or campus employment position is expected to maintain professional standards and being in good academic standing. For COM, students must maintain at least a 77% overall percentage score. For COB (Biomedical Sciences or PsyD), students must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA. Students who are not in good standing or are placed on academic probation may be required to resign from their leadership or employment position. Students exhibiting unprofessional behavior and/or in violation of the Student Code of Conduct may similarly be required to resign from a leadership or employment position.
Students selected for the anatomy or OMM fellowship cannot concurrently hold an organizational officer position during the year of their fellowship.
A student may appeal the decision for any reason. The appeals process will be communicated to the student at the time the initial decision is delivered (verbally or in writing) to the student. If the student wishes to appeal, he/she will submit an appeal in writing to the assistant vice provost of Student Services at their respective campus. That appeal should be submitted for review within five business days of receipt of the initial decision.
International Student Services
A student’s status is defined by the nonresident category officially granted by an immigration official. Students in an F-1 status are in the U.S. legally and have benefits and restrictions specified in the immigration regulations for the F-1 visa category.
Period of authorized stay
F-1 status covers the period when a person is a registered, full-time student maintaining good academic standing and making progress toward his/her degree, as well as an optional period of practical training following completion of studies. The length of authorized stay is not related to the visa expiration date.
Federal law requires students to carry registration documents at all times, including I-20 and passport with I-94 card attached or F-1 admission stamp (depending on what was received upon entry). For day-to-day purposes, students should maintain these documents in a secure location and should carry photocopies with them. However, when traveling outside the Kansas City or Joplin area, students should carry the original documents. When traveling by air, train, bus or ship, students may be required to produce these documents before boarding. Students should maintain photocopies of all documents in a separate location in the event documents are lost or stolen.
The passport must be valid at all times. A copy of the student’s passport should be placed on file in the Office of the Registrar. Students should report a lost or stolen passport to the police as a police report may be required by the country of origin prior to issuing a new passport. Students may contact their country’s consulate in the U.S. in order to renew or replace their passport.
The visa is a stamp placed in the passport by the U.S. consular officer. The visa permits a student to apply for admission into the U.S. as an F-1 student. The visa need not remain valid while a student is studying in the U.S. Canadian citizens are not required to have a visa. Visas can only be obtained outside of the U.S. at a U.S. consulate.
If the visa expires and the student leaves the U.S., the student must obtain a new F-1 visa before returning.
I-20 Certificate of Eligibility
Issued by KCU, the Form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status (I-20) allows students to apply for an F-1 visa, enter and reenter the U.S. in F-1 status, and prove eligibility for various F-1 benefits.
The I-20 indicates the institution, program of study, and dates of eligibility. The I-20 must remain valid at all times. If an extension of the dates of eligibility is necessary, a student must request it prior to the expiration of the current I-20. A student is in violation of F-1 status if his/her I-20 expires prior to completing the academic program.
The I-20 is a printout from the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record. SEVIS is the web-based system that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uses to maintain information on Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified schools, F-1 students who come to the United States to attend those schools, U.S. Department of State-designated Exchange Visitor Program sponsors. Information is transmitted electronically throughout an F-1 student’s academic career in the United States. Each student has a unique SEVIS ID number, which is printed on the I-20.
I-94 Arrival & Departure Record
For most travelers arriving by air or sea, a paper I-94 card will not be issued. Instead, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official will issue an admission stamp in the passport. Travelers at land borders will receive paper I-94 cards.
The admission stamp or I-94 card records the date and place the student entered the U.S., immigration status, and authorized period of stay. Students may obtain a printout of the I-94 record on the CBP website.
Maintaining Legal F-1 Status
F-1 regulations are complicated, confusing to understand, and occasionally change. The tips listed below are a brief summary of the key points to remember for maintaining legal F-1 student status. For more specific details or clarification, visit the DHS website for international students studying in the U.S.
- Keep passport valid – more than 6 months from its expiration date.
- Always carry a copy of the passport or a printout of the I-94 documentation from www.cbp.gov/I94.
- Complete a full course of study each semester unless granted prior permission from a Designated School Official (DSO) to be less than full time.
- Request extension prior to current I-20 expiration if not finished with program.
- Inform DSO if planning to transfer to another school at same or different program level.
- Do not work off campus without prior authorization.
- Do not work on campus more than 20 hours per week while school is in session.
- Report a change of name in passport to KCU registrar within 10 days.
- Report change of U.S. address to DSO within 10 days.
- Have a DSO sign the I-20 before traveling outside U.S. if planning to return to continue the program.
Student and Exchange Visitor Program
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is a federally mandated program that began in 2003. The purpose of this program is to track all visitors to the U.S. in F, M, or J status. The internet-based automated system that was designed to accomplish this purpose is known as SEVIS. This system electronically monitors biographical and program information on all individuals, including dependents, who are in any of these three status classifications. Some of the information maintained in this data system includes name; date and country of birth; permanent, foreign and local addresses; program of study; enrollment history; dates of entry and exit from the U.S.; and employment authorizations.
KCU updates information about all F-1 students in SEVIS every semester. It is very important that students understand their responsibilities regarding their status so that they avoid any violations.
Maintaining a Valid I-20
Many kinds of updates must be reported to DHS through SEVIS. These updates also require a new I-20 to be generated. Students must notify a DSO of the following changes and request an updated I-20. Students should continue to maintain old/outdated I-20s for their permanent record, even after graduation. Do not discard any I-20, even from previous schools. It is the student’s responsibility to keep I-20s in case they are needed for future immigration benefit applications.
If a student is unable to complete his/her course of study before the completion date noted on the I-20, an I-20 extension must be requested. Requests should be made well in advance of the current I-20 expiry date.
If considering transferring to another school, contact a DSO for more information.
Change of Program Level
If a student completes a master’s program at the KCU and is accepted into a doctoral program, the I-20 must be updated.
Change of Funding
If there is a substantial change in the source or amount of funding, report this change to a DSO.
The name on the I-20 should match the name on the passport. If a student changes any part of his/her legal name—first/given name, middle name, or last/family name—on the passport, this change should be reflected on the I-20. Note: SEVIS is a separate database from KCU. Changes to a student’s KCU account do not indicate that a change to SEVIS has been made.
Immigration law requires that the alien registration be in a student’s possession at all times as evidence of legal entry and presence. (The alien registration is the entry stamp on the passport, or the printout of the I-94.) However, it is highly recommended that when traveling anywhere within the U.S. that students carry all of their immigration documents with them. Students may encounter immigration checkpoints when traveling near any U.S. land or sea border. Some states have also passed laws that allow local law enforcement agencies to the verify immigration status of individuals stopped for other reasons.
Returning to the U.S. After a Temporary Absence
At the port-of-entry the student must present:
- An original hard copy unexpired I-20 with a valid travel signature
- Valid F-1 visa
- Evidence of finances
- Copy of transcript and current course schedule
- SEVIS I-901 Fee Receipt
Students outside the U.S. for more than one quarter and those on Optional Practical Training (OPT) may have additional requirements.
Change of Address
Students must notify a DSO of an address change immediately and the change must be reported to DHS within 10 days. It is recommended that students update their local addresses by completing a Change of Address form, available on the Registrar page of the KCU intranet. The local address reported to DHS must be a physical address; P. O. box addresses are not accepted. Students may update a permanent foreign address via the Change of Address form as well. The permanent foreign address must be a non-U.S. address.
The expiration date of a visa has no bearing on how long a student may stay in the U.S. Since the visa is an entry document, a visa must only be valid at the time of entry. If a student’s visa expires while he/she is in the U.S., a new visa is only necessary if planning to exit/reenter the U.S.
The length of visa validity varies depending upon the visa classification and the diplomatic relationship between the U.S. and the home country. Similarly, visas may be valid for a single entry or for multiple entries.
Once a person is admitted into the U.S., the validity of the visa has no bearing upon that person’s legal presence.
Loss of F-1 Status
An F-1 student who does not follow the guidelines for maintaining status can lose his/her legal ability to remain in the United States as a full-time student. Violations of status include:
- Unauthorized drop below full-course load
- Failure to timely file for a program extension
- Accepting off-campus work without prior authorization
Optional Practical Training (OPT) & Residency
F-1 students may be authorized up to a total of 12 months of full-time practical training, which is a privilege provided by the U.S. government so students can gain practical experience in their field of study. OPT is a temporary employment authorization, and in order to apply for this kind of employment authorization, the student must receive a recommendation from the DSO, then file an Application for Employment Authorization with the USCIS. Once the USCIS approves employment, they will send the student an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
An application for standard post-completion OPT consists of four steps:
- The student makes a request for OPT via KCU email to the DSO.
The email must contain:
- Recommendation date requested. The recommendation date cannot exceed 90 days prior to graduation.
- Residency start date, which should include any required attendance program orientation.
- Name and location of program, if known at the time of request.
- After determining eligibility, the DSO updates SEVIS with an OPT recommendation.
- The DSO prepares a Form I-20 with the OPT recommendation, then signs and dates the updated Form I-20 indicating that OPT has been recommended.
- The student files a Form I-765 (with fee, signed Form I-20 with OPT recommendation, and any other supporting documents) with USCIS, within OPT filing deadlines.
A student is eligible for OPT if:
- The student has been a full-time student for one academic year at KCU.
- The student is not studying English as a Second Language.
- The student’s proposed employment relates to the student’s major area of study.
- The student has not used all of the practical training available at the current level of study.
Reporting Requirements while on OPT
While on OPT, a student is required to report the following to their DSO:
- Change in legal name.
- Change in address while on OPT.
- Changes in employment or interruption of employment.