Student advancement policy

The purpose of this policy is to create a process which will allow a timely and positive intervention when students are identified by faculty, field instructors, or student peers as experiencing problems which interfere with their progress in the MSW program. Through this policy the MSW program exercises its responsibility to the social work profession and its clients to determine whether students have demonstrated the required level of achievement, in the areas of classroom performance, professional and ethical behavior, necessary to interact positively with client systems.

Advancement requirements

Advancement of students from one semester to the next is contingent upon satisfactory progress each semester. Evaluation of student progress in class courses and in practicum is based upon criteria as stated in syllabi and the practicum manual and on skill, competencies, and personal behaviors listed below:

Academic performance

A "B" average (3.0 GPA) must be maintained in all work taken as part of the requirements for the degree.

The grade of "C" in each of three courses or a grade of "F" in any course will result in AUTOMATIC dismissal from the MSW program. The student may not be a candidate for the degree unless reinstated by the Director of the MSW program, upon recommendation of the faculty.

Professional performance

  1. Students are expected to obtain and analyze data, synthesize information, and reach sound assessment judgments.
  2. Students are expected to plan and implement effective interventions.
  3. Students are expected to relate well with clients and client systems, colleagues, agency supervisors, and community systems.
  4. Students are expected to demonstrate a commitment to and skill in self-evaluation of practice.
  5. Students are expected to respond to evaluation, testing and criticism with appropriate modification of behavior.

Ethical performance

  1. Students are expected to demonstrate honesty and integrity in all aspects of their academic program.
  2. Students are expected to adhere to the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics in all interactions with clients, peers, staff, full- time and adjunct faculty, practicum instructors, and all other members of the University community.

Advancement Process and Procedure

Advancement is a process intended to assure each student maintains adequate progress in gaining the skills, competencies and behaviors required for graduation and ethical professional social work practice.

Students will advance automatically from semester to semester unless they are informed otherwise. Problems in academic, professional or ethical behavior may be identified at any point in the semester by faculty (full-time and adjunct) or staff. Additionally, the faculty will review students currently enrolled once each semester. This will be done at a closed meeting in which responses to students' names will be limited to "concern". No details or discussion will be allowed to facilitate timely completion of the review. The individual expressing the concern, if someone other than the student's adviser, will confer with the student's adviser (or the director of the program if the individual is the student's adviser) to determine whether the concern justifies the process set forth below.

  1. Any faculty member (full-time or adjunct) or staff, who identifies a concern regarding a student's academic performance, professional behavior, or ethical conduct, shall immediately notify the student, the student's adviser, and the Program Committee Chair. The notice needs to be in writing and specify in what ways the student is failing to meet the advancement requirements.
  2. The person identifying the concern shall meet with the student, the student's adviser, and one of the following: Director of the program or Program Committee Chair. They shall develop a written plan to resolve the academic, professional, or ethical deficiency. The plan shall state with specificity the concern(s), the actions to be undertaken by the student, and the date by which the student must demonstrate the completion of and compliance with the plan. The plan must allow a reasonable period of time for completion, but shall not allow more than one semester beyond the semester in which the concern is expressed. The plan must be signed by all the participants of this meeting. If unable to reach consensus, the concern shall be returned to the Program Committee Chair who will appoint an Advancement Committee to consider the concern. A written copy of the plan agreed upon must be filed with the Program Committee Chair.
  3. Students who have unresolved concern(s) (i.e. concern(s) for which the written plan is in the process of development or the written plan remains executory) on file with the Program Committee at the end of the semester shall be notified by the Program Committee chair that they are advanced on a probationary basis. Notwithstanding the foregoing, students will not be approved for graduation if they have unresolved concern(s) on file.
  4. The student's adviser shall, on or before the date specified in the plan for resolution of the concern, consult with the person who identified the concern under item 1 above. If the student's adviser is the person identifying the concern, then he/she will consult with the Director of the program. They will determine whether or not the student has completed the actions designated I the plan and whether the concern has been resolved. This decision will be reported in writing to the Program Committee chair.
    • If the concern(s) is resolved, the Program Committee Chair shall provide the student a copy of this report.
    • If the concern(s) is not resolved, the Program Committee Chair shall notify the student in writing and provide a copy of the report. The Program Committee chair will appoint an Advancement Committee to consider action.

Advancement committee

The Program Committee Chair appoints the Advancement Committee which will determine if the student should be advanced in the program. The Advancement Committee shall consist of the following: the Program Committee Chair (chairs the Advancement Committee) and two faculty members. If the Program Committee Chair is the person identifying the concern under item 1 above or the student's advisor, the Director of the Program shall appoint another faculty member to serve o the committee and appoint one of the three members to serve as chair.

The Advancement Committee chair will convene a meeting of the Advancement Committee within 14 working days of its appointment. This meeting will include the Advancement Committee members, the person identifying the concern, university legal counsel as needed, the student's adviser and the student.

The student will be permitted to introduce any evidence, either in writing or through live witnesses, which the chair determines relevant to the proceeding. Formal rules of evidence shall not be applicable. The student may be accompanied by legal counsel or other adviser at his/her own expense. The accompanying adviser or counsel may provide advice to the student, but may not address the Advancement Committee. This process is designed to provide an opportunity for the student to be heard in an informal setting. It is not designed or capable of providing a court room setting with attendant technicalities in which attorneys are well versed.

The chair of the Advancement Committee shall arrange for the meeting to be audio tape recorded. Any additional record of the meeting shall be made at the expense of the requesting party.

The Advancement Committee will consider the concern(s) as explained by the person identifying the concern(s), the response of the student, and then discuss with the student's advisor any attempted resolution of the problem. At the conclusion of the discussion, the Advancement Committee will excuse themselves to determine a course of action.

The Advancement Committee may choose to:

  • dismiss the concern as having no merit
  • place conditions on the student's advancement in the program
  • recommend the student be suspended for a period of time or dismissed from the program

The Advancement Committee shall write a report that summarizes their deliberations and decision and send it to the student, the Director of the Program and the Dean of the College of Community and Public Affairs. The report shall be so delivered within 14 working days of the Advancement Committee meeting. Any notices or reports deliverable to the student hereunder shall be deemed delivered when such is accomplished in person or by deposit in the United States Mail with adequate first class postage prepaid to the student's address of record with the University.

The proceedings and deliberations of the Advancement Committee shall be confidential, except to the extent

  • necessary to implement the findings of the Advancement Committee,
  • necessary to any appeal,
  • that the student has waived confidentiality by discussing the matter with parties outside the Advancement Committee, and
  • that the student seeks resolution of the concern in a forum external to the University

Any report of the Advancement Committee shall become a part of the student's disciplinary record.

Last Updated: 3/2/14