In March 2012, Vice Chancellor Joseph Castro established the Students Experiencing Academic Difficulty (SEAD) Task Force whose charge was to study the issue of health professions students experiencing academic difficulty at the University of California, San Francisco. The Task Force reviewed relevant literature, surveyed practices in the four health professions schools at UCSF and comparison institutions, and through presentations, focus groups, and interviews, drew on the perspectives and expertise of a variety of colleagues and stakeholders.
The Task Force concluded that UCSF health professions students are impacted by a broad array of issues that in some cases instigate or exacerbate academic difficulties. The Task Force further concluded that early identification of students experiencing difficulty results in the most optimal opportunity for remediation and ultimate success academically. The Task Force also explored the issue that stigma can play in competitive health professions environments and began the process of better understanding stereotype threat and other cultural issues that can impact students underrepresented in health professions schools.
The Task Force has outlined a series of recommendations that build upon the already broad array of UCSF services, programs, and processes in place to identify and support students who experience academic difficulty. These recommendations are rooted in the conviction that the public, UCSF professional students, and UCSF faculty and staff will be better served by a) enhanced and better coordinated support services, programs and processes; b) improved access to information about resources and processes; and c) simplified processes that are built from a similar framework — when possible — across schools.