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Social Work

Student Handbook

Policies and Procedures

Confidentiality
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (The Buckley Amendment) provides that the educational institution will maintain the confidentiality of student education records. Education records are those that directly relate to a student and are maintained by the University or by a party acting for the University. Hence, the advising folder (containing test scores, grade reports, admission materials, transcripts, and any miscellaneous memoranda kept by the advisor) is considered an official education record. All that is maintained in the advising folder comes under the 1974 Act. This means that:

  1. The student has the right of access to the folder's contents but may view these contents only under supervision. The student can challenge the contents, (but not demand removal), have a hearing if the outcome of the challenge is unsatisfactory, and submit explanatory statements for inclusion in the file.
  2. No one outside the institution shall have access to, nor will the advisor disclose any information from the advising folder to anyone outside the University without the written consent of the student, except (a) to persons or organizations providing the student with financial assistance, (b) to officials of other institutions in which the student seeks to enroll, (c) to accrediting agencies carrying out their accrediting function, (d) to persons in compliance with a judicial order, (e) to persons in an emergency in order to protect the health or safety of students or other persons.
  3. Disclosure may be made within the University only to those University personnel who individually or collectively are acting in the student's best interests within the limitations of a need to know.

Advisors may wish to keep private, personal notes on their service to and relationship with an advisee. If so, such notes should be kept in the advisor's personal file, in his/her own handwriting; they should not be passed on as part of the official advising folder. These notes must not be shown to anyone within or outside the University.

Above and beyond the questions of compliance with the 1974 Act regarding education records, advisors must also be sensitive to the professional ethics involved in the advisor-advisee relationship with regard to confidentiality. This is particularly so when the advisee confides personal matters that transcend the usual academic matters to which most advisors limit themselves. Advisors may be obligated to use self-disclosed information for admission to program, field, or in the North Dakota licensure examination recommendation process. As professional social workers, advisors are liable by law to report suspected abuse and are bound by the profession to intervene when homicidal or suicidal behavior indicate a student may be harmful to self or others. Additionally, as professional social workers, advisors are also responsible on the one hand to enhance the educational experience of all students and, on the other, to assure that those graduates are in fact capable and have the requisite knowledge, values, and skills to successfully engage in professional social work practice.

Policy on Student Performance Review

It is assumed that all students who are admitted to the Social Work Program have the academic and personal potential for successful completion of the Program and are expected to maintain standards set by the Minot State University Social Work Program and those held by the social work profession. Should questionable student conduct or performance warrant attention beyond the normal advisement process, criteria has been established for possible review as part of the responsibilities of the Performance Review Committee.

Criteria for Review by the Performance Review Committee

  1. Conduct that is not congruent with the values and ethics of the social work profession (e.g., NASW, CSWE) and the Student Conduct Policy at Minot State University. Included is behavior that occurs in the studentís fieldwork and in the classroom.
  2. Behavior that interferes with the studentís functioning and/or jeopardizes the welfare of those to whom the student has a responsibility, such as fellow students, clients and coworkers.
  3. Failure to communicate effectively, both verbally and in written form, including interviewing skills, conflict resolution and interpersonal skills that permit comfortable interaction with other people.
  4. Failure to use sound judgment, both in work with clients and in regard to oneself, such as failure to seek professional help for physical and emotional problems that interfere with professional functioning.
  5. Academic dishonesty, including cheating on examinations or plagiarism, which involves presenting the work of someone else as oneís own.
  6. A request by a faculty member for a review due to the studentís academic performance.

Procedures for Student Performance Review
The BSW Program Director will be responsible for convening the meeting for the review process. The Performance Review Committee is charged with assessing and detecting as soon as possible any emerging problems with a studentís academic performance and professional conduct. Students will be notified of the review process at least five business days in advance of the Committee meeting. Students may submit written information or evidence regarding the issue to the Committee.

The issue is considered by the Committee in a private and confidential meeting. The Committee will review the issue with the individuals involved and discuss options for resolution. Should a studentís performance be evaluated as deficient, the Committee will determine, what, if any, action will be taken to bring the student back into compliance with the programís standards and professional expectations. The Committee will work together with the student, faculty advisor and other relevant parties in resolving the issue.

Where appropriate, a written agreement between the student and the Committee will be created outlining the specific problems to be solved, actions to be taken to resolve them and the time period for completion and reevaluation of the studentís performance.

Consequences, including potential dismissal from the Social Work Program, for non-performance of the course of action agreed to will also be a part of the agreement.

Criteria for Dismissal from the Social Work Program

  1. Failure to maintain a 2.00 overall grade point average and a 2.50 social work grade point average
  2. Failure in the Field Practicum
  3. Failure to subscribe to and abide by the values and ethics of the profession in carrying out program related activities and in meeting academic expectations
  4. Failure to comply with any contract or agreement set forth by the Performance Review Committee to remediate problems or deficiencies

Notification Procedures
In the event of dismissal from the program, the Committee will send a written statement to the student, with a copy to the faculty advisor, indicating that he or she has been dismissed from the Program and inviting the student to meet with the advisor, should the student wish to discuss options and reinstatement.

Reinstatement Procedures
The student may petition the BSW Program Director for continuance in the Program. The petition should be made in writing and needs to address two major points:

  1. Any extenuating factors that may have contributed to the poor academic performance, and
  2. what steps the student will take to alleviate those factors and to improve future academic performance.

Upon reviewing the studentís petition, the Program Director will review all relevant information, which may include consultation with appropriate individuals, and make a decision.

The Program Director will inform the student and the advisor in writing of the decision, which will include advising the student of their right to appeal through appropriate university channels.

Policy on Student Grievances
The adjudication of student grievances is part of the function of the Performance Review Committee. Students are expected and encouraged to voice their concerns regarding factors that may present barriers to their learning objectives in the Program. Recognizing that conflicts may arise, the Social Work Program has developed procedures for review and consideration of student grievances.

Grievance Procedure
The following procedure has been established with the approval of the Social Work Program faculty and the Student Social Work Organization (SSWO):

  1. An individual wishing to lodge a grievance with the Performance Review Committee is advised to submit a typed Grievance Form (See Appendix H) to any member of the Performance Review Committee.
  2. The Faculty chair of the Performance Review Committee will convene a private confidential meeting of the full Committee to consider the grievance within 10 business days of the submission of the Grievance Form.
  3. The Performance Review Committee will review the grievance with the individual who submitted the grievance. Options for resolution will be considered.
  4. If no resolution is found, the Committee will meet with both parties of the grievance. Options for resolution will again be considered.
  5. If no resolution can be found after this meeting, the Committee will hold a formal hearing wherein both parties may present evidence and witnesses supporting their view. The Committee would then make a decision relative to the appropriate action.

Policy on Course Substitution
Transfer students must submit an official transcript sent directly to the Records Office from each college/university previously attended. Upon receipt of all transcripts, the Records Office will determine those credits that will transfer as well as those credits that may be applied to the Universityís general education requirements.

Evaluation of credits as they may apply to the social work major is done in consultation with the department chairperson at the time of the studentís registration for his/her first term at Minot State University. The Social Work Program Curriculum Committee accepts and reviews Course Substitution requests (See Appendix B) in the spring and fall semesters. Substitution requests need to include course syllabi and/or course descriptions for each course, an attached transcript, and a social work faculty advisor signature.

Policy on Course Overload
A normal undergraduate load for fall or spring semester is 12-18 credits. A normal undergraduate load for a summer session is six credits.

Students who attempt more than 18 credits a term must meet the minimum cumulative grade point average requirements noted below. Students may not register for more than 24 credits per term. The Overload Approval form must be signed by his/her faculty advisor and must also contain the division or department stamp.

Policy on Repeating Courses
Students may repeat Minot State University courses taken in residence in which they have grades of D or F. Repeated courses must be taken in residence. Only the last grade earned in a repeated course is used in calculating a grade point average. Students should obtain and complete a Petition to Repeat a D or F form from the Records Office in order to ensure proper coding is done to their permanent record.

Students who have received a grade of C or better are not automatically entitled to repeat the course. Students must obtain a Petition to Repeat a Course form from the Records Office. The form must be signed by the studentís faculty advisor, the chair overseeing the course, and the chair overseeing the studentís major for the course to be repeated. Students must provide compelling reasons for repeating courses in which they earned a C or better.

Policy on Grade Appeals
Grade Appeal procedures for the Social Work Program follow those outlined in the 2004-2006 Undergraduate Catalog, p. 18.

Course grades are considered final unless an appropriate appeal is filed by the student. The student will first confer with the instructor who issued the grade, outlining why he/she believes the grade to be incorrect. Following this faculty-student conference, the instructor will advise the student of the outcome of the course grade review. If the student still believes the grade to be incorrect, she or she may appeal within 14 days. The procedure for this step is obtained from the office of the college dean in which the faculty member resides (Social work is in the college of Education and Health Sciences). If the student remains unsatisfied with the results of this step, he or she may formally appeal to the Student Rights Committee within 14 days through the Director of Records. The decision of the Student Rights Committee is considered final.