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Unprofessional administration at certain schools


I am wondering if anyone else has experienced such unprofessional behavior by their school's administration that it borders on unethical. The school I went to (which shall be nameless as of now) engaged in numerous practices that would fall into this category. And I don;t mean little things, I mean, I personally know people at our school that were given passing grades on tests they had failed because they were "favorites" of the admin, that sort of thing.

I spoke to ACAOM about it and they basically said they didn;t care, as long as the education we recieved follows their guidelines and we're passing our boards (we all do).

It is my opinion that if we want to be respected as professionals in our field that we need to be treated professionally during our education - to set an example to those starting out and also just on general principle! - and that if necessary, we should be policing ourselved in this area.

My question is, has anyone else experienced behavior that would fall into this category - or is it just my school, and also, since ACAOM doesn;t seem to care, does anyone have any ideas about where to voice some of these concerns so that the larger acupuncture community can be made aware?

At my school the administrators just rule with an iron hand. They are essentially petty tyrants and everyone is too scared they won;t be allowed to graduate to speak out.

Catsin (NOT my real name - that's how scary these people are!)


While this type of activity happens at all educational facilities, it appears to be somewhat common in professional schools (chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, etc.). The ACAOM would be the place to take complaints such as this within the acupuncture world, but you would need a formal complaint, ideally with proof of the accusations and other people signed on, before they would take the matter seriously. And, as they point out, so long as the schools meet various criteria and their students are passing the national exams there is usually little concern.

Now I'm sure if they received a complaint from 20+ people about the same matter they would look into it and if they didn't you could appeal the complaint (I imagine) to the US Department of Education who they are under.

The real problem, however, lies in the nature of the schools. In general schools make money from tuition. Now, in large universities they get federal funding, research funding, etc. and this offsets the need for tuition dollars in day to day operations. Acupuncture schools are professional schools, generally with very little other money coming in except from tuition. Therefore, there is very little incentive to fail students out of a program because they generally operate on very tight margins. If students can get out of the program and pass their board exams then they are legally (technically) fit to practice.

The truth is that a few years out of school there are few people who are actually in a successful practice, so it all sort of works itself out in the end. Lots of students pay for the schools which benefits those who are really there to learn and push themselves in the field - better equipped schools, better faculty, better retention rates among faculty and staff, etc. will benefit them.

The environment at some schools is across the board and I've experienced some that have been less than conducive generally speaking to building confident, well balanced, practitioners. Thankfully, we have choices on where to go to school these days - outside of geographical issues. And, I imagine, schools with bad environments will simply disappear over time as competition increases in the market. Right now some areas have one or two schools for 100's of miles, so competition is weak.

There are good schools out there, however, and this type of behavior doesn't exist systematically at many of the schools based on my experiences and those of others I have consulted with from across the country. Sure there are always a faculty/staff or two that are a problem but that is part of the human condition. Some schools do appear, however, to have systemic problems continued by faculty/staff hiring friends, "like-minded" colleagues, etc. - but over time this works itself out as well as the good faculty will leave and so will the students. At the very least, schools with systemic problems get very little alumni money and involvement which will hinder their ability to continue as the professionals in the field become more demanding about their institutions.

My recommendation on all of these matters is generally to just get through school, find someone while you are in school or soon thereafter, to apprentice under (ideally someone who strongly inspires you) and become a great practitioner. School is for licenses, for better or for worse, whereas the personal relationships you build amongst your colleagues and your guides is what will build you into a confident practitioner.

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