Probation and Dismissal Policy
Probation and Dismissal Policy for the Department of Social Work
The Social Work Department Chair has the responsibility of placing students on probation and/or dismissing students from the Social Work program when social work faculty assess, in their best professional judgment, that probation or dismissal is the most appropriate option for the student and/or the social work program. Professional judgment is based on a number of factors including, but not limited to, student grade reports and/or direct behavioral observation of students. Probation or dismissal will be based on a student not meeting academic standards. Academic standards include course grades and observable behaviors in the classroom, campus or field education.
Generally speaking, it is the policy that students will first be placed on probation, with a development plan, when it is determined that they are not meeting academic or professional (non-academic) program standards. However, dismissal from the program may occur without a prior probationary period if, in the professional judgment of the Social Work Department Chair, in consultation with other faculty, and other parties as deemed appropriate, it is determined that immediate dismissal is the best interest of the Social Work Program, profession, student and/or clients. Judgments regarding probation or dismissal will be based on the type and/or frequency of student behaviors.
Academic Dismissal Policy
A social work major must achieve at least a C in all social work courses required within our department and maintain a 2.0 GPA within the courses required by the major. Students’ academic performance is reviewed by the social work faculty at the conclusion of each semester. If the student receives a grade of a C- or below in a social work course required by the major, they will be required to repeat the class and placed on probation. If a student does not have a 2.0 GPA within all courses required by the major, the student will also be placed on probation. Students will receive written notice of their probationary status from the Chair of the Social Work Department explaining the reason(s) for probation and requirements for removal from probation. Students will receive written notice of their academic standing at the end of the semester. Status possibilities include removal from probation (course has been repeated and a grade higher than a C- has been obtained and/or a major 2.0 GPA is obtained), continued probation (grades and GPA do not meet standards but progress is made), or dismissal from the social work program (grades and GPA do not meet program standards and no satisfactory progress has occurred). Students will also be subject to all of the college’s academic dismissal policies
Students will not be allowed to enroll in SW470 (Field Instruction I), SW471 (Field Instruction II), or SW498 (Senior Seminar) if a letter grade of a C or better in all required social work courses is not met and/or their GPA is below a 2.0.
Professional Performance Dismissal Policy
i. Plans and organizes work effectively
ii. Turns in assignments that are complete and on time
iii. Makes arrangements for learning accommodations in a timely manner
iv. Attends class regularly
v. Maintains at least a 2.0 GPA in all courses required by the major
vi. Maintains at least a 2.0 overall grade point average
vii. Obtains a letter grade of a C- or better in all social work courses required by major
b. Indicators of concern:
i. Poor organizational skills
ii. Repeated requests for extensions on assignments and exams
iii. Late or incomplete assignments
iv. Multiple absences from class or field placement
v. Lying, cheating, or plagiarizing
vi. Low grades
i. Demonstrates ability to work cooperatively with others
ii. Actively participates in class
iii. Shows respect for others’ opinions
iv. Open to feedback from peers and faculty
v. Demonstrates a willingness to understand diversity in people regarding age, class, color, culture, disability, ethnicity, family structure, gender, gender identity/expression, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation
vi. Conducts himself or herself according to the NASW Code of Ethics
vii. Passes criminal background checks and child abuse clearances
b.Indicators of concern:
i. Creates conflict in class
ii. Uncooperative or unwilling to participate in class activities
iii. Consistently late for class or field placement or leaves class or field placement early
iv. Sleeps during class
v. Disrupts class process by talking to others
vi. Uses derogatory language or demeaning remarks
vii. Appears unwilling or unable to accept feedback from faculty or peers
viii. Monopolizes class discussion
ix. Unwilling or unable to develop an understanding of people or worldviews different from oneself or one’s own.
x. Discriminatory behavior or harassment towards others on the basis of age, class, color, culture, disability, ethnicity, family structure, gender, gender identity/expression, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation
xi. Unethical professional behavior and/or unwillingness to uphold social work code of ethics and social work values
xii. Academic misconduct
xiii. Inability to pass annual criminal background checks and child abuse clearances
xiv. Lack of respect to clients, peers, professors, and supervisors
3. Self-awareness and self-control
i. Uses self-disclosure appropriately
ii. Able to engage in discussion and processing of uncomfortable topics
iii. Deals appropriately with issues which arouse emotions
iv. Demonstrates an awareness of one’s personal limits
v. Understands the effects of one’s behavior on others
vi. Able to form positive working relationships with clients, faculty, supervisors, and peers
vii. Able to work toward resolving one’s personal issues that may impair performance in the classroom, field placement, or the profession
b. Indicators of concern:
i. Unable or unwilling to work through unresolved personal issues
ii. Unable or unwilling to control emotional reactions
iii. Demonstrates behavior consistent with impairment as a result of using alcohol or drugs
iv. Demonstrates emotional problems that interfere with his or her ability to work effectively with clients, faculty, supervisors, or peers
v. Makes verbal or physical threats to faculty, peers, clients, supervisors, or others
vi. Demonstrates impaired judgment, decision-making, or problem solving skills
vii. Unable to form effective relationships with clients, faculty, supervisors, or peers
4. Communication skills
i. Demonstrates ability to follow the conventions of writing in written documents
ii. Demonstrates good organization of writing that follows a logical sequence
iii. Demonstrates use of critical thinking skills in communication
iv. Able to clearly articulate ideas, thoughts, and concepts
v. Able to communicate clearly with clients, supervisors, peers, and faculty
vi. Communicate honesty and consistently
b. Indicators of concern:
i. Unable to express information clearly and concisely verbally and/or in writing
ii. Unable to master the conventions of writing in written documents
iii. Unable to communicate clearly with clients, supervisors, peers, and faculty
iv. Denial of issues that are detrimental to perform adequately in the program
Professional Performance Expectation Policy Committee Review Process
- When a faculty member has identified that a student demonstrates at least one of the indicators of concern, he or she will meet with the student. At this meeting, the student and faculty member will develop a plan for addressing the concern. The plan will include a description of specific behaviors/concerns, goals for improvement, specific tasks for achieving goals and time limit for accomplishing the changes. The student, faculty member, and Social Work Department Chair will receive a copy of the plan. The Social Work Department Chair will meet with the student periodically to review his or her progress.
- If the student has not made significant progress within the time allotted or continues to demonstrate indicators of concern, the faculty member will submit a brief written statement to the Standards Committee (all full-time social work faculty members) regarding the issues, concerns, and a recommendation regarding the student. The statement should include a copy of the plan and any pertinent documentation. The faculty member should inform the student that he/she is proceeding with this step in the review process and send a copy of the letter with the guidelines for the Review Process.
- The Social Work Department Chair will call a meeting within seven working days of receiving the statement. The student is informed, in writing, of the time and date of the meeting. In addition, the student will be given the name(s) of witnesses and faculty members who will be attending, and the specific issues that are to be addressed. This notice will also include a list of possible recommendations the committee could make. The student is asked to appear and bring documentation on his/her own behalf.
- The committee members, faculty member, and the student will meet at the designated date and time for issues and concerns to be presented. The student is given the opportunity to present his or her own response and produce oral testimony or written statements of witnesses. The student may present any other supportive documentation.
- The committee will then meet to decide what action should be taken. The following may be recommended: a. Dismissal of the original plan b. Continuation of the original plan c. Revision of the original plan
If either b or c is recommended, then the committee will set up another date with the student to review the student’s progress.
- If the student again fails to complete the plan or abide by the plan or the student’s academic behavior is such that she or he would be unable to satisfactorily perform as a social worker, then the committee shall have the authority to select one or more of the following options: a. Recommend to the faculty member in whose course the student is enrolled that a failing grade be given to the student for the course. b. Institute a probationary period for the student with specific tasks, goals, and timelines. c. Suspend the student from the Social Work Program for a period of up to one year. d. Terminate the student from the Social Work Program.
- If the decision is made to suspend or terminate the student from the Social Work Program, the student has the right to appeal.
- The student is informed of the decision in writing within three days of the meeting of the Student Standards Review Committee.
- A copy of the decision of the Student Standards Review Committee is placed in the student’s file.
A student can appeal with a written statement to the Social Work Department Chair within ten days of the letter of notification from the Student Standards Review Committee. The statement must specify reasons for disagreement with the committee’s decision and the rationale for considering a different decision. The committee will then convene within ten days of receipt of the statement to review the appeal. The student initiating the appeal will be invited to address the committee. The committee will render in writing a follow-up decision that may involve a revised decision or continuation of the original decision. If the student believes the committee’s appeal decision was made in error, a written statement of appeal may be submitted to the Department Chair, who will confer with the Dean of the Faculty and the Provost.
Assistance For Individuals With Disabilities
The social work program goals and outcomes may be met with, or without, accommodations. The College complies with the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Therefore, the Social Work Department will endeavor to make reasonable accommodations with respect to its graduation requirements for an applicant with a disability who is otherwise qualified. “Disability” shall mean, with respect to an individual, (1) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life functions of such individual; (2) a record of such an impairment; or (3) being regarded as having such an impairment. The College reserves the right to reject any requests for accommodations that are unreasonable, including those that would involve the use of an intermediary that would require a student to rely on someone else's power of selection and observation, fundamentally alter the nature of the College’s educational program, lower academic standards, cause an undue hardship on the College, or endanger the safety of students or others.
Questions or requests for accommodations pertaining to the Social Work Department graduation requirements should be directed to Lynne Davies, Director of Disability Services at 717-361-1227 or the Chair of the Social Work Department.
Unless a student has expressly waived his or her privilege to confidentiality of medical records provided to substantiate either a disability or a recommendation for an accommodation, the Social Work Department personnel to whom such information has been communicated shall maintain such information in a manner that preserves its confidentiality.
Policy is effective Fall 2011 and will be applied to any grades obtained after that date.