Medical Student Promotion and Review Committee (SPARC)

The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (UWSMPH) Medical Student Promotion and Review Committee (SPARC) is charged with monitoring performance of all medical students and reviewing those medical students who fail to meet academic or professionalism standards.

The committee is empowered to establish individualized learning plans and levy sanctions or other disciplinary actions. The SPARC has access to all academic records of those students referred to it for review. UWSMPH respects student confidentiality and follows strict adherence to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Membership

Per the SPARC charter, the 12 standing voting members must hold faculty or academic staff appointments in the UWSMPH. Six members are elected and six members are appointed. Interim and replacement members may be appointed on an ad hoc basis by the UWSMPH dean or the dean’s designee. Appointed members are drawn from all departments, divisions and courses in SMPH with care taken to ensure a distribution of faculty and staff who teach and have knowledge of the basic science, population health, and clinical curricula. The chairperson is a voting member appointed by the UWSMPH dean. Faculty and staff including representatives of the Office of Student Services, Student Academic Support Services, MD Admissions, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and the Office of Medical Education serve as ex-officio members.

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Responsibilities

SPARC responsibilities include:

  1. reviewing academic progress of students not meeting the minimal academic requirements;
  2. reviewing allegations of student violations of the Professional Behavior Code;
  3. determining remediation and/or sanctions in cases of unsatisfactory academic progress or unprofessional behavior;
  4. reviewing, revising, and ratifying academic policies (in conjunction with the Educational Policy and Curriculum Committee and Academic Planning Council);
  5. approving Individualized Academic Programs for Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree program students;
  6. reviewing leave of absence requests;
  7. reviewing extended program requests;
  8. reviewing any other requested deviation from the standard academic plan;
  9. approving promotion to the next academic year of all students who have satisfactorily completed a given year’s curricular requirements; and
  10. approving graduation of all students who have completed the requirements for the MD degree.

Membership Terms

Voting members’ terms of office are four years beginning at the time of appointment or election. The term of an appointed member may be renewed indefinitely by the UWSMPH dean or the dean’s designee.

Nomination Procedure

Six voting members are appointed by the UWSMPH dean. New appointment nominations will be solicited from department chairs on an as needed basis.

Six voting members are elected. Nominations to fill vacancies for elected faculty or staff positions are solicited during a two to four-week period at the end of each academic year from faculty, division heads, and departmental chairs. Candidates must be willing to serve if elected. All nominees must be prepared to accept the time commitment and meeting schedule if selected. Upon the nominee’s acceptance, the SMPH dean will seek approval from the nominee’s supervisor or department chair.

Appointment Procedure

For appointed positions, nominations will be reviewed and appointed by the UWSMPH dean.

Election Procedure

For elected positions, SPARC elections will be held after the nominations are closed by online ballot. All tenure track, clinical health sciences track, and clinician-teacher track faculty with appointments of 50% or more are eligible to vote for faculty candidates. Nominations and elections shall be held as terms expire. A vacancy that would continue for one year or longer shall be filled at the time of the regular election for the period of the vacancy. Vacancies for periods of less than one year may be filled by a direct interim appointment of the SMPH dean or the dean’s designee for the duration of the vacated term. Absences of a single meeting may be filled by the SPARC chair via direct appointment for a single meeting. Faculty and staff with at least 50% appointments in the UWSMPH may be appointed for a single meeting. This mechanism is used only to ensure sufficient voting members to establish a quorum.

Roster

  • Jamie Hess, MD, Emergency Medicine, Chair (2026)
  • Kalyan Nadiminti, MBBS, Medicine (2026)
  • Erick Tarula, MD, Neurology (2026)
  • Greg Rice, MD, Pediatrics (2025)
  • Paul Caskey, MD, Orthopedics and Rehabilitation (2024)
  • Adam Nicholson, MD, Emergency Medicine (2024)
  • David Yang, MD, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (2024)
  • Sarah Ahrens, MD, Medicine (2023)
  • Timothy Juergens, MD, Psychiatry (2023)
  • Hau Le, MD, Surgery (2023)
  • Karen Krabbenhoft, PhD, Anatomy, Academic Affairs (2022)
  • Dan Uhlrich, PhD, Neuroscience (2022)