Student Affairs Deans are responsible for preparing the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE), sometimes referred to as the “Dean’s Letter.” The MSPE is a required element of the residency application process, and the BCM MSPE complies with AAMC guidelines. The MSPE includes the student’s identifying information and previous educational history, three student-composed noteworthy characteristics, special medical school awards, comments about leaves of absence, dual degree programs, pathways, and adverse actions. The MSPE includes narratives from each clinical rotation, as well as the student’s final grade for each rotation and a final summative paragraph highlighting the student’s performance in medical school.
The MSPE process begins late in the MS3 year or early in the MS4 year, several months before the MSPE submission deadline. Each medical student meets with a Student Affairs Dean to discuss the student’s residency goals, discuss application strategy, and review the contents of the MSPE.
The MSPE is prepared by deans in the office of student affairs who divide up the responsibility by the specialty to which the student is applying, taking into account those students who may have an actual or perceived conflict of interest with a particular dean. During the residency preparation workshop, when students are advised of this process, it is made clear that they may choose any of the Student Affairs deans or another faculty member for residency advising and to prepare their MSPE. When their MSPE meeting is to be scheduled with a Student Affairs dean by the administrative staff they are again given the opportunity to select a different Student Affairs dean or other faculty member for their meeting and for their MSPE. Students are not required to provide a reason for their request. If a student would prefer someone other than a Student Affairs Dean to write the MSPE, the students are instructed to make that request known to the Director of Student Affairs, a Learning Community Advisor, or trusted faculty member. In such a situation, the Director of Student Affairs will be informed of the choice and assign the student’s preferred faculty member to meet with the student and to write the MSPE.
As an example, a member of the Class of 2017 requested that his MSPE be written by someone outside the Office of Student Affairs. He was not required to disclose a reason for his request. He was asked his preference for MSPE writer, and he chose the director of his Learning Community. The administrator in the Office of Student Affairs worked with that faculty member to ensure that the MSPE met appropriate standards. The MSPE was processed as all others, and the student was successful in the Match process.
Before the MSPE is uploaded, students are afforded the opportunity to review the MSPE and are strongly advised to take advantage of this opportunity. Students are allowed to make edits to correct factual errors as well as errors in spelling, punctuation, or grammar. Students who experienced either an Adverse Action or other type of academic difficulty requiring explanation in the MSPE as well as students who took a medical leave of absence, were placed on an administrative leave of absence, or experienced another type of gap in training requiring special explanation will be given an opportunity to review the description of the unique circumstance well in advance of the MSPE submission deadline. Therefore, the grievance process will be able to unfold without compromising the timely release of the MSPE.
Students who take issue with any aspect of the MSPE narrative may request reconsideration of the narrative by informing the Director of Student Affairs of the request. The three Student Affairs Deans will then review the challenged language in a meeting to be held within 48 business hours of the initial request for reconsideration. If the panel of three Student Affairs Deans does not agree with student’s request, the student will be informed of his or her right to submit a formal grievance through the Integrity Hotline/Ethics Point system in accordance with Student Appeals & Grievances Policy 23.1.08 (Baylor login required). Submitting a grievance will allow for final resolution of the request to be determined through the formal institutional grievance policy.