The Smith School for Social Work Student Handbook is the student’s guide to the School. It contains the most up-to-date information available on:
  • M.S.W. Program requirements
  • Academic policies and procedures
  • Enrollment and registration procedures
  • Resources and services for students
Students are responsible for knowing the School and College’s policies and procedures as published in this Handbook and the Field Education Manual. Please take the time to read both carefully.

This Student Handbook is intended only to provide information for the guidance of the Smith College School for Social Work students. The information is subject to change, and the Smith College School for Social Work reserves the right to depart without notice from any policy or procedure referred to in this handbook. This handbook is not intended to be and should not be regarded as a contract between the Smith College School for Social Work and any student or other person.

Table of Contents

700 ACADEMIC DIFFICULTY

 


000 MISSION STATEMENT

The mission of the Smith College School for Social Work is to advance the aims of the profession through education for excellence in clinical social work practice and through the development and dissemination of knowledge.

The School for Social Work views clinical social work practice as concerned with the interdependence between individuals and their environments and the use of relationships to promote healing, growth and empowerment. Clinical social work appreciates and responds to the complexities of the human condition in its global context: its strengths, possibilities, resiliency, vulnerabilities, limitations and tragedies. Clinical social work expresses the core values of the profession, including recognition of client self-determination, the importance of relationship, the inherent dignity of client systems and growth and change in the client system. In addition, clinical social work includes a commitment to the pursuit of social justice, anti-racism work, and culturally responsive practice. It rests upon a liberal arts base and integrates evolving theories and research-informed knowledge about individuals, families, groups, communities and the larger social systems in which they are embedded.
 
In its educational practices, the School promotes critical thinking and self-reflection to help students expand their knowledge in the substantive areas of human behavior and the social environment, social work practice, research, social policy and field practice to prepare competent and effective practitioners and leaders in clinical social work. The School prepares students to apply the professional code of ethics.
 
The School prepares students for the evaluation and dissemination of evolving theories, research and practice models.
 
The School shares with the social work profession its historic commitment to serve oppressed, disadvantaged and at risk members of our society and to struggle against inequality and oppression related to: race, ethnicity, immigration status, class, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, age and ability. It is committed to implementing a curriculum that addresses the concerns, issues and interests of these populations. Through all of its programs, the School joins Smith College in its commitment to promote social justice, service to society and greater appreciation of individual and cultural diversity in a multicultural community. In recognition of the pernicious consequences of racism, the School works to identify and challenge the overt and covert aspects of racism.
 
The School implements its educational mission through its master’s and doctoral degree programs both of which include intensive block field internships, required individual research projects and its Program of Continuing Education, including its certificate programs. Through its publications, including Smith Studies in Social Work, the Clinical Research Institute, faculty and student publications and conference presentations, the School also contributes to the development and dissemination of knowledge relevant for social work. In its affiliation with a liberal arts college, the School places a priority on the process of teaching and learning. The School maintains relationships of mutual respect and influence with its affiliated agencies, major professional organizations and other representatives of the social work practice community to aid in curriculum renewal and to contribute to the development of the profession as a whole.

- voted and affirmed November 2018

000.1 Anti-Racism Core Principles

Prioritize intentional action over standard logistics: Prioritize purposeful action over standard “Smith SSW ways” or quick institutional responses. The goal is to bring awareness to the intention of organizational practices, center the formation of equitable practices and assess the impact of our practices, policies and actions on Black faculty/staff/students, faculty/staff/students of color, indigenous faculty/staff/students and those holding other marginalized identities.


Ensure accountability at the individual, program and institutional levels and that there are meaningful processes for repair and reparation: In a complex organization like the SSW, we understand that there will be occasions when actions at the organizational, programmatic or individual levels may cause harm. It is essential that SSW take responsibility for creating and sustaining processes of accountability, for the impact of our policies, decisions, actions and words on the experience of Black faculty/staff/students/alumni, that of other folks of color, indigenous folks, and folks with identities that have been marginalized. In recognition of our interdependence, SSW is responsible for ensuring that there are processes for repair and reparation following harm. We are responsible for account-giving of our history.

Center communities that have been marginalized for their strength, knowledge and beauty: SSW must draw on the knowledge, strength and beauty of Black communities, communities of color, indigenous communities and other communities that have experienced marginalization, in an authentic and central way to inform School vision and mission, policies, clinical social work curricula, practices and decision-making. By prioritizing the knowledge and experience of these communities, SSW can work toward decentering whiteness as the default.

Ensure that Black faculty and staff and faculty and staff of color are hired and retained at all levels of power in the organization: The hiring and retention of Black faculty and staff and other faculty and staff of color at all levels of the organization is an important way to ensure that the knowledge and strengths of communities of color are centered within School mission, policies and practices and that Black students and other students of color have access to role models and professional networks with whom they share identities. It is an important way to create and support a learning environment that continually works to decenter whiteness and promote action-oriented anti-racism practices.

Stay open to and actively engage with change: Organizational policies and practices must be reviewed continuously to ensure they are responsive to the needs of our learning community. The work of creating change is a collective responsibility and must also be taken up by those with power and privilege. Change must happen collaboratively and must center the lived realities and experiences of Black faculty/staff/students/alumni, other folks of color, indigenous folks and folks with identities that have been marginalized.

000.2 Statement on Philosophy of Inclusion

The social work profession serves diverse communities and individuals that include a wide spectrum of identities, backgrounds and experiences. The assumption of the faculty of Smith College School for Social Work is that social work is most effective when engaged in by a diverse and inclusive workforce.
 
We thus believe that our learning community must also be enriched by the same diversity our profession serves.
 
In keeping with our mission, we comply with all applicable federal non-discrimination statutes. We welcome all students regardless of identities, backgrounds and experiences, who are able to meet the educational standards of the School and the profession. We believe that the responsibility for respecting difference and the active inclusion of all members of our learning community is shared by each of us at the School, individually and collectively.

000.3 Notice of Non-Discrimination

Smith College is committed to maintaining a diverse community in an atmosphere of mutual respect and appreciation of differences.

Smith College does not discriminate in its educational and employment policies on the bases of race, color, creed, religion, national/ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, age, disability, or service in the military or other uniformed services.

Smith’s admission policies and practices are guided by the same principle, concerning applicants to the undergraduate program who identify as women, and all applicants to the graduate programs.

The following office has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies:

The Office for Equity and Inclusion
College Hall 302
Northampton, MA 01063

Floyd Cheung
Vice President for Equity and Inclusion
Phone: ​413-585-2121
Email: fcheung@smith.edu

 

000.4 Religious Accommodation

Students in an educational institution who, because of their religious beliefs, are unable to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study or work requirement on a particular day shall be excused from any such examination or study or work requirement, and shall be provided with an opportunity to make up such examination, study or work requirement which they may have missed because of that absence, provided that the make-up examination or work shall not create an unreasonable burden upon the School. The institution shall not charge a fee of any kind for making this opportunity available to students. No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to students availing themselves of the provision of this section.

 

000.5 Council on Social Work Education Professional Competencies

The Smith College School for Social Work its curriculum and policies are guided by the Council on Social Work Education’s nine professional competencies:

  • Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior 
  • Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice 
  • Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic and Environmental Justice
  • Engage in Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice
  • Engage in Policy Practice
  • Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations and Communities
  • Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations and Communities 
  • Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations and Communities
  • Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations and Communities

 

101 ESSENTIAL ATTRIBUTES AND ABILITIES

Becoming a competent clinical social worker is a lengthy and complex process requiring the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and experience including the development and deployment of a conscious and skillful use-of-self. The professional activities of social work students are guided by the application of professional knowledge that is grounded in relevant biological, psychological, and social knowledge and research. This includes but is not limited to knowledge and skills in relationship-building, data-gathering, assessment, interventions and evaluation of practice.

The skillful use-of-self, the primary instrument of clinical social work, requires a certain set of attributes and abilities that enable students to engage successfully in the full spectrum of the experiences and the requirements of the curriculum. The following standards (distinguished from academic standards such as grades, class attendance, etc.) describe those attributes and abilities necessary for students to have and to demonstrate throughout the entirety of the program study in which they are enrolled at the SCSSW. They are informed by both the mission of the School for Social Work and its anti-racism commitment. Students at the Smith College School for Social Work are expected to have and demonstrate these abilities and attributes at a level appropriate to their year in the program. Attention to these standards are critical to the School’s mission to educate effective clinical social workers and will be part of evaluations of students’ progress in all arenas of the program, including classroom, internship, and as members of the school community.

Evident in its antiracism commitment is the School’s recognition that structural racism and multiple forms of oppression manifest within all organizations and systems. Accordingly, the School also acknowledges that dominant standards of professionalism have been, and can be, used to further marginalize, exclude, and discount the contributions and competence of social workers from marginalized communities. A driving force for diversifying higher education is to decenter dominant narratives and to welcome a multiplicity of voices and knowledges within the profession. The School acknowledges, therefore, that building structures and processes of accountability that will aid the ongoing review and assessment of its practices and policies is also a critical component of the School’s mission to educate effective clinical social workers.
 
In applying the standards outlined below, the School is committed to interrupting the ways that the forces of racism and structural oppression materialize within its own institutional policies and processes. In recognition, moreover, that students are placed in a broad range of field internships, each at a different phase of their anti-oppression work, the School also affirms the need for ongoing work with these partner organizations in support of students as they navigate those systems. In all aspects of its educational programs, the School will strive to attenuate the impact of structural racism and oppression on the learning and progress of all students in general, and students of color and those identifying with other marginalized communities in particular.

101.1 Professional and Ethical Commitment

  • Demonstrate commitment to the broad scope of values, ethics, goals, and standards of the profession as outlined by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the National Association of Social Work (NASW), and the principles of the SSW Mission statement and anti-racism commitment.

101.2 Diversity & Social Justice

  • Demonstrate an appreciation for the value of human diversity in all aspects of their professional interactions.
  • Demonstrate a willingness and capacity a commitment to engage the complexity of inequality and structural oppressions in all aspects of their professional interactions.

101.3 Self-Awareness & Self-Management

  • Demonstrate the ability to recognize and reflect upon one’s own values, attitudes, beliefs, biases, emotions, and past experiences, and be adept at examining and managing how these affect their thinking, behavior, and relationships in all aspects of one’s professional interactions.
  • Demonstrate a willingness and capacity to critically examine and modify one’s behaviors when they impede or contradict the values, ethics, and standards outlined by the profession and the School.

101.4 Empathy

  • Demonstrate the capacity to understand the experience and perspectives of other individuals or groups and be able use this empathic connection as a basis for productive professional relationships.

101.5 Communication

  • Demonstrate the willingness and capacity to communicate effectively and respectfully in all their professional interactions.
  • Demonstrate a willingness and capacity to express one’s ideas and feelings clearly.
  • Demonstrate a willingness and capacity to be aware of the possible impact that personal communication on a social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, etc.) could have in a professional setting.
  • Demonstrate a willingness and capacity to listen respectfully to others. Demonstrate sufficient skills in spoken and written English to successfully engage in all components of the program.

101.6 Interpersonal Skills

  • Demonstrate the interpersonal skills needed to relate effectively and respectfully in all professional interactions. These include but are not limited to: compassion, altruism, integrity, and respect for and consideration of others.

101.7 Organizational Awareness

  • Interact respectfully and effectively with people in all capacities and hierarchical ranks within organizations.

101.8 Professional Behavior

  • Comport oneself within the scope of one’s role as a social work student, adhering to the profession’s code of ethics and practicing within the scope of their developing competencies.
  • Demonstrate the willingness and capacity to critically analyze one’s level of competence, making active use of feedback from relevant sources.
  • Comport oneself as a professional in all arenas of the program.
  • Professional comportment includes but is not limited to: timeliness, responsiveness, punctuality, reliability, and appropriate self-presentation. Be aware of and abide by the ethics, laws and policies of all arenas of the program (e.g., HIPPA, ADA, FERPA, etc.).

 


200 PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

 

200.1 Program for Master’s Students in the 27-month Program

The academic program structure for master's students enrolled in the 27-month program consists of five academic sessions comprised of three successive 10-week summer sessions of coursework, with two intervening fall/winter sessions of field internships.

Academic Sessions

Session I

The entry session for first-year master’s students. This 10-week block of coursework is divided into two five-week terms: Term I & Term II. The courses take place on the Smith College campus.

Session II

The first field internship period for master’s students which follows Session I.  Students are placed in an agency-based field internship for 30 hours per week.

Session III

The second 10-week coursework block follows Session II. This 10-week block of coursework is divided into two five-week terms: Term I & Term II. The courses take place on the Smith College campus.

Session IV

Students are placed in an agency-based field internship for 30 hours per week and spend an additional 60 hours total over the course of the internship period on a community based anti-racism experience

Session V

The final 10-week block of is divided into two five-week terms: Term I & Term II. The courses take place on the Smith College campus.

200.2 Program for Master’s Students with Advanced-Standing Status

The academic program for advanced-standing status students consists of sessions III, IV & V.

Session III

This 10-week block of coursework is divided into two five-week terms: Term I & Term II. The courses take place on the Smith College campus.

Session IV

Students are placed in an agency-based field internship for 30 hours per week and spend an additional 60 hours total over the course of the internship period on a community based anti-racism experience.

Session V

The final 10-week block is divided into two five-week terms: Term I & Term II. The courses take place on the Smith College campus.

200.3 Overall Degree Requirements

200.3A For Master's Students in the 27-Month Program

  • Satisfactory completion of 130 quarter hour credits as follows:
  • Satisfactory completion of three summers of coursework (60 quarter-hour credits), which includes a specified required curriculum.
  • Satisfactory completion of two field internships (60 quarter-hour credits).
  • Satisfactory completion of the community-based anti-racism experience (6 quarter-hour credits).
  • Satisfactory completion of two field seminars (4 quarter-hour credits).

See the Course Section of the online Curriculum for details about course offerings.

200.3B For Master's Students with Advanced Standing Status

  • Satisfactory completion of 76 quarter hour credits as follows:  
  • Satisfactory completion of two summers of coursework (38 quarter-hours).
  • Satisfactory completion of the field internship requirement (30 quarter-hours).
  • Satisfactory completion of the community-based anti-racism experience (6 quarter-hours).
  • Satisfactory completion of one field seminar (2 quarter hours).

See the Course Section of the online Curriculum for details about course offerings.

200.4 Changes in Curriculum, Course Requirements or Schedule

The School reserves the right to make changes in the curriculum, course requirements, student handbook and/or schedule without advance notice. 

 


300 COURSE EXPECTATIONS

300.1 Class Attendance

Students’ Engagement in Summer 2020 Courses

The following policy for students’ engagement in the classroom applies to summer 2020:

  • Faculty will take attendance in classes for the first two class sessions. This is to ensure that all students enrolled are intending to take the course and that students who are not enrolled are not attending the course so that course size and membership remain consistent with pre-enrollment.  

  • Students are expected to participate in “live” or synchronous classes where these are offered or participate in asynchronous activities where these are offered. If they are unable to attend a scheduled “live” or synchronous class, they are expected to let their instructor know as soon as possible, and to attend or participate in the alternative asynchronous learning activity for that class. In many cases, this may involve listening to the recorded class or reading the transcript and/or following any alternative class tasks assigned by instructors. 

What happens when students miss live class time? 

Asynchronous activities should have built-in ways of noting how a student participates and “is present or engages with the class material.” Students can demonstrate their participation or engagement with either the live class or the asynchronous activity to fulfill their participation/engagement requirement. 

Faculty will use the standard 80% principle to assess engagement (showing up in class or completing asynchronous tasks) for synchronous and asynchronous class time. If a student completes less of the work and has valid reasons that the instructor was informed of before assignments were due, instructors will work with the student to understand the extenuating circumstance and offer an alternative. 

A key principle is that students should be able to demonstrate an acceptable level of competence or skill to continue to the next level of field and coursework. Such competencies are evaluated using course rubrics for each assignment and for engagement/participation.

With the exception of required practice courses, students with extenuating circumstances may receive incompletes and complete their work in the interterm week, in the following term or before entering field. Students in this situation should consult their adviser, who will work with the sequence Chair and – as needed – with the ADAA.

300.2 Extensions

Any request to an instructor for an extension to complete work must be made prior to the due date of an assignment. Instructors may grant an extension of up to 3 days per assignment. Additional days may be granted with documentation from the Office of Disability Services (ODS), which must be provided to the instructor ahead of the assignment deadline, up to a total of 5 days for mid-term assignments and beyond the last day of class at the end of a term. Any student who has been given an extension beyond the end of the term will be given an Incomplete until the work is completed.

300.3 INCOMPLETE WORK

300.3.1 Incomplete Work in Courses

Any request to an instructor for an extension to complete work for a course must be made prior to the due date of the assignment. All extensions must be granted in writing by the instructor.
 
Requests for extensions to complete course work will only be granted in extraordinary circumstances, which include but are not limited to requests to accommodate a documented disability. The period of extensions, determined at the discretion of the instructor, may not exceed 5 days beyond the last day of the given term.
 
Any student who has been granted an extension beyond the end of the term will be given an Incomplete as the grade. If the work is not completed and submitted within the granted extension period, a final grade will be assigned based on all work that has been submitted by that date.

Students who choose to take a Leave of Absence in the midst of a term may be assigned a grade of Incomplete at the determination of the Academic Associate Dean if at the time of the request:

  •  The student is not currently failing the course, and
  • The student has completed more than 60% of the course. 

Exceptions to these limitations may be made at the discretion of the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.

300.3.2 Incomplete Work in Field Internship

A final grade of Incomplete in field education can be given only in rare instances and only with the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in consultation with the Director of Field Education.

300.4 Withdrawing from a Course

A student may withdraw from a course in which they are currently enrolled after the add/drop period and not later than the completion of 60% of the course (i.e., for a two-credit course, the student would need to withdraw by the end of class 5 of a 10-session course; for field the student would need to withdraw by the last field day in January.)
 
If a student withdraws within the time frames outlined above, the official record of the School will indicate “Withdrawn” rather than a grade; they will not receive credit for this course.
 
Students who discontinue a course after the 60% point but before completing course requirements will receive an F for that course.
 
On rare occasions, when a student has completed more than 75% of a course but has not completed all course requirements, the ADAA may recommend that the student receive a grade of Incomplete and arrangements may be made, in consultation with the sequence Chair, to complete the course.  (See 300.3.1 Incomplete Work in Courses.)

300.5 Student Feedback on Courses and Internships

Students are required to complete a feedback form for all courses and field internships in which they have been enrolled. Failure to complete the required feedback forms by the deadline will result in:

  • grade/transcript hold;
  • registration hold; or
  • diploma hold.
 

400 GRADING POLICIES

Using the official school grading policy, instructors are expected to assign grades on the basis of a critical and fair assessment of the student's work. It is the right and obligation of the instructor to assign the grade they deem appropriate.
 
Students are responsible for attending to academic progress criteria, monitoring their own learning performance against those criteria, identifying problems in meeting course criteria, and initiating timely efforts to address them.

400.1 Grades for Coursework

All courses will be graded on a pass, marginal pass, fail basis. Any student who fails a course must repeat and pass that course in order to graduate from the program; no course may be re-taken more than once.
 
Grades are kept indefinitely as part of the student’s permanent record (Section 900.2).
 
A student's performance in each course shall be assessed on the basis of the grading criteria specified in the course syllabus. Criteria often cited for evaluation include:

  • mastery of course content
  • ability to conceptualize
  • timeliness of work
  • class preparation
  • critical thinking
  • integration across the curriculum
  • creativity and originality
  • writing skills
  • professional conduct in the classroom
Letter grades are assigned in accordance with the categories defined below:
  • P – Pass: performance reflecting an acceptable mastery of graduate level course content. 
  • MP - Marginal Pass: performance of a marginal quality, falling below the mastery of graduate level course content.  A marginal pass in this system should be viewed as the equivalent of the work in the "C" category in an A to F grading system.
  • F – Fail: performance that fails to demonstrate creditable mastery of graduate-level course content. 
  • I – Incomplete:  used for cases in which the student has not completed all assignments for a course but has obtained written permission, following the established procedures, for additional time to complete those assignments. The grade of Incomplete is a temporary grade designation.
  • W – Withdrawal:  used when a student withdraws from a course, following all established procedures (see section 300.4).

400.2 Grading

The Field Education in Social Work courses (PRAC 580 and 680) are graded on a Pass/Marginal Pass/Fail basis. Credit is granted only if the entire course is completed satisfactorily. No partial credit is granted. The grade for the course is assigned by the Director of Field Education and is based upon the written evaluations submitted by the field internship supervisor as well as feedback from the FFA, obtained from rubric-based evaluations of demonstrated competencies on assignments and in the field internship.   

400.3 Grade Changes

Normally, grades may not be changed after they have been submitted by the instructor to the Registrar’s Office. Under rare circumstances, an instructor may submit a written request and explanation to the Chair and Associate Dean for a change of grade.

400.4 Appeal of Grade

A student who receives a grade that they believe violates the School's stated grading policies may petition the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs (ADAA) for a review of the grade. The ADAA’s decision shall be final. The following procedures regarding appeals shall govern.
  • The petition must be submitted to the ADAA in writing no later than seven (7) days following the publication of the grade by the Registrar’s Office.
  • If the ADAA determines that the School's grading policies have been followed, the student shall be so notified and the grade will stand.
  • If the ADAA determines that the School's grading policies have not been followed, the ADAA, in consultation with the appropriate sequence chair, will grant to the student a remedy which may include an opportunity for re-examination, submission of another paper/assignment, or the possibility of re-taking the course.
  • Should, however, the ADAA determine that the circumstances were ambiguous in regard to the School's stated grading policies, the ADAA will refer the matter to the Academic Progress Review Committee, which will consider the case and make a recommendation back to the ADAA.

400.5 Good Academic Standing 


Students are expected to maintain Good Academic Standing throughout their time in the program.  Students lose Good Academic Standing by:
  • receiving more than 2 MPs or 1 F in required courses in any given year. A third MP or an F in a required course in any year will result in Academic Probation; see section 800.5). 
  • violating any personal or professional standards as outlined in Section 702.2.2A   
  • Failure to maintain Good Academic Standing puts awarded Merit Scholarships (if any) in jeopardy; discretion to continue/discontinue a merit scholarship will be determined by the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.
Students are expected to receive a Pass or Marginal Pass for all courses.  Any course which a student fails must be retaken; no course may be retaken more than one time. Once a course has been successfully retaken and passed, that F will no longer count against the student’s being in good standing.


400.6 Failing Grades

400.6.1 Failing Grade in Field or Practice Courses

Failure in either a required practice course (PR 500, PR 501, PR 600 or PR 601) and/or field education will initiate a meeting of the student’s learning progress by the practice sequence Chair and Academic Adviser or Director/Associate Director of Field Education with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.  A determination will be made as to whether informal problem-solving or an Academic Progress Review is the appropriate next step. 

400.6.2 Options for Making Up Failing Grades

When a student fails a course, several options exist for making-up the credits from the failed course:

​A course can only be taken one more time to pass.

  • Retake the failed course (mandatory for required courses)
  • ​Retake the failed course voluntarily (for elective courses)
  • Make up the credits by taking and successfully completing another elective (an option for courses failed in second summer)
  • Re-do the course through an independent study, pending approval of the Chair for the sequence in which the failed course is located and of the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs (ADAA)
  • Make-up the failed course at another institution, upon prior approval of the course by the ADAA.

 


500 COURSE REGISTRATION

Students are responsible for registering for courses that meet the degree requirements for graduation and for ensuring that they are properly registered in each course, and for following the School's established registration procedures.
 
Students whose names do not appear on the final course enrollment lists will not receive credit for a course.        
 

500.1 Add/Drop

Students may add or drop courses within the posted add/drop period as long as the alternative choices meet degree and credit requirements to graduate. The Registrar’s Office will modify add/drop choices that jeopardize a student’s ability to graduate on schedule.   

Final term of the third summer provides an opportunity to carry a course overload of 2 credits.  Ordinarily students cannot exceed the maximum number of credits beyond these 2 credits but under unusual circumstances, a student may be allowed do so with permission of the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.

500.1 Withdrawing from a Course

See section 300.4 Withdrawing from a Course

500.3 Auditing

Students are not permitted to audit courses.

500.4 Course Scheduling

The School reserves the right to reassign sections, make changes in course scheduling, bracket courses, and/or cancel elective courses or required course sections if enrollment is insufficient. The School does not guarantee a student’s first choice of elective courses or required course section.
 

500.5 Prerequisites for Course Registration

PR 500 and PR 501 are prerequisites for the First-Year field internship. Students cannot progress to the First-Year field internship without passing (P or MP) these prerequisite courses, except in exigent circumstances as determined by the Academic Adviser, Chair of the Practice sequence, Director of Field Education, and the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.  
PR 600 and PR 601 are prerequisites for the Second-Year field internship. Students cannot progress to the Second-Year field internship without passing (P or MP) these prerequisite courses.
 
PR 500 is a prerequisite for PR 501, as is PR 600 for PR 601. Students cannot progress to PR 501 or PR 601 without passing (P or MP) its prerequisite course.
 
Students who do not successfully complete either field internship period (Session II or IV) may not register for subsequent required courses.  They may, however, register for electives if approved by the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. 

500.6 Transferring Course Credit

Up to 12 transfer credits may be awarded for courses completed with a grade of B or above from an accredited graduate school of social work. Students must send the transfer request form (available from the Office of Academic Support Services) with supporting documentation, including a syllabus and a statement as to how the course met SSW requirements, to the Registrar’s Office by the posted deadline in order for the transfer request to be considered. The appropriate sequence chair, in consultation with the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, will make the decision with regard to the transfer credit. No credit will be granted for previous work experience or life experience.
 

500.7 Waiving a Required Course

Some required courses may be waived if students can demonstrate that they have mastered the course content prior to enrollment. No credit is awarded for waived courses; credits must be made up by taking electives. The transcript will indicate when a waived course has met a requirement.
 
Students must submit waiver forms to the Registrar’s Office by the posted deadline in order for the request to be considered. The appropriate Sequence Chair has the discretion to waive a course requirement.  

 


600 STUDENT ADVISING

Academic and field advisement is made available to all SSW students. Its purpose is to support student learning and address concerns, questions or issues as they arise. It is the aim of SSW to ensure that structural components such as factors at the School or agency in field advisement are taken into consideration within advisement as well.

600.1 Summer Academic Advising

Instructors for practice courses PR500/501 serve as the Academic Advisers for first-summer students; first summer students are required to meet with their Academic Adviser at least once over the course of the summer. 

Instructors for practice courses PR600/601 serve as Academic Advisers for second-summer students. Although meeting with advisers is not required in second-summer, it is highly recommended that students initiate at least one such meeting over the summer.

The Registrar Office will randomly assign advisors from the resident faculty to serve as advisors for third year students. Exceptions for the assignment of advisers are made when instructors hold an administrative role within the School. Advisers can be consulted as needed during the student’s third summer.

600.2 Field Advising

Field advisers are assigned each field year for the September-April term. Advisers are matched to students based on a number of considerations, with emphasis on geographical proximity, advisers’ familiarity with the site.

600.3 Community Based Anti-Racism Experience (CBARE) Advising

Students are assigned an adviser for the duration of the CBARE. 

600.4 Research Practicum Advising

A Research Practicum is a 2-credit elective course equivalent usually completed during the second field session.  The Practicum may serve as the student’s third summer research elective. Students must seek and secure agreement from a Resident faculty member or from an SSW adjunct faculty member who is conducting the study.  The faculty member will serve as the Research Practicum adviser. Approval from the Research Sequence Chair is also required.

 

700 ACADEMIC DIFFICULTY

Students who encounter academic difficulties are encouraged to discuss learning challenges first with the instructor of the relevant course and next with their Academic Adviser if the difficulties extend across a number of courses. The Office of Disability Services is available to assist students who require specific accommodations due to disability.

700.1 Informal Problem-Solving Processes

Students, faculty, and/or administrators are encouraged to address student learning needs and issues through an informal process of advisement and problem solving to address these issues as they emerge. The key outcome of this informal process is to identify supports for students to help them resolve challenges and to support them in their learning.

Students should seek to address any challenges with the instructor of the relevant course or their field supervisor. The Office of Disability Services is available to assist students who require specific accommodations due to disability. It is expected that the majority of issues impacting student learning will be addressed and resolved through academic and field advising.

The list below outlines the individuals and/or offices that may be involved in problem-solving with the student in the recommended pathways. Resources are listed in the order in which they should be utilized.

Academic
a) Classroom
  1. Instructor
  2. Adviser/Course Coordinator/Sequence Chair
  3. Associate Dean of Academic Affairs 
​b) Field Education
  1. Supervisor
  2. Faculty Field Adviser
  3. Associate Director / Director of Field Education
  4. Associate Dean of Academic Affairs 
c) Community Based Anti-Racism Experience (CBARE)
  1. CBARE Adviser
  2. CBARE Coordinator / Policy Chair
  3. Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
d) Course issues (credits, registration, course waivers, etc.)
Registrar Office
 
e) Disability issues / learning accommodations
Director, Office of Disability Services
 
f) Leave of absence, medical leave, withdrawals
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
 
Residential Issues
  1. Head Resident
  2. Housing Coordinator  
  3. Associate Dean of Graduate Enrollment and Student Services  
Racism
a) Systemic
Marta Sotomayor Fellow / Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
b) Classroom
  1. Professor
  2. Course Coordinator / Sequence Chair
  3. Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
OR

Marta Sotomayor Fellow (anonymous consultation at any point in process)
c) Specific Concerns
Faculty/Marta Sotomayor Fellow
 
For a list of additional resources for learning, social, and emotional issues see “Have Questions and Issues” flow chart.
 

700.2 Academic Progress Review

The Academic Progress Review constitutes SSW’s procedures to address a student’s ongoing, serious academic and learning issues. These procedures aim to ensure that:
 
  • serious concerns about a student’s academic progress are brought to a student’s attention;
  • expectations, supports, and relevant timelines for amelioration of the concerns are established;
  • updates on student progress are reviewed; 
  • and a range of possible outcomes for the student are reviewed.
 
An Academic Conference is the first of the two steps of the Academic Progress Review process. The second step is the Review.
 
The Conference should precede a Review except in cases of serious personal or professional misconduct. The Conference typically results in the development of an Action Plan outlining expectations and timelines for students, advisers, supervisors, and/or administrators. The Review is a deliberation phase that may result in one or more of a number of possible outcomes, including but not limited to, dismissal from the program.

The decision to convene a consultation or a review is made by the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs in response to a request by a sequence Chair. The Chair is responsible for gathering written reports from key people regarding the areas of concern and extending requests to participate in the review.
 

700.2.1 Conference, Stage 1 of the Academic Review Process 

The purpose of the Conference is to discuss educational goals and mediation of issues to achieve learning goals when the advisement and informal problem-solving process has proven insufficient in resolving learning challenges. It is expected that a holistic analysis of the student’s learning situation will be continued through the Conference process. There will be an examination of the student’s learning issues and the learning environment, including structural factors that may be impacting it. The adviser, with the agreement of the curricular sequence chair, may make a request for a Conference to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. The Associate Dean makes the decision whether the situation should move into the Academic Progress Review process or remain as an advising issue.

Serious issues of personal or professional misconduct move directly to Review, the 2nd step, of the Academic Progress Review process.

The following procedures will guide the Conference process:

a) The chair of the sequence or designate will facilitate the meeting.

b) The meeting will result in one of three outcomes:  Action steps articulated for the organization or school. No substantive action steps identified for the students. In this case, the Conference is considered closed for the student.
 
Action steps identified for the student, supervisor and/or adviser. In this case, the School will work with the adviser and/or supervisor or agency to resolve issues, and the student will be informed that if their progress issues remain unresolved, it may result in moving to the Review phase of the Academic Progress Review process. The Action Plan should have a clear end date, no later than May 31st, by which a final determination of progress is made.
 
Action steps articulated for the student only, with no substantive action steps identified for the organization or School. In this case, the student will be informed that if their progress issues remain unresolved, it may result in moving to the Review phase of the Academic Progress Review process. The Action Plan should have a clear end date, no later than May 31st, by which a final determination of progress is made.
 
c) The Action Plan will include a check-in point to make sure that issues are being resolved, what criteria will be used to make this determination, and who is responsible for initiating the check-in.

d) The Action Plan will be drafted for the review of all parties. All parties should provide feedback within a reasonable time frame, typically one week. The Chair of the curricular sequence will hold final responsibility for the content of the Action Plan. If any party continues to be in disagreement with an aspect of the Action Plan, they should submit their concern in writing. This will be appended to the Action Plan and taken into consideration through the check-in phase to the conclusion of the conference phase.

e) At the end of the period specified in the Action Plan, the relevant adviser will submit a written report to the Associate Dean summarizing the progress made on the Action Plan on or before May 1st. In developing the Action Plan Update Summary, the adviser should consider the following sources of information:
  • Input from instructor and student regarding the issues outlined in the Action Plan with attention to individual level and structural issues;
  • Where relevant, monthly field narratives and field evaluation forms to date in the current internship;
  • Relevant correspondence; and
  • Independent information that the student may submit.
Upon review of the Action Plan summary report, the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs will determine in consultation with the Chair of the curricular sequence whether:
  • The Action Plan is considered successfully accomplished and all issues resolved. In the case where there are student requirements, the Action Plan is considered concluded. 
  • The Action Plan should be renewed and continued; A timeframe must be specified for any continuation.
  • An additional Consultation is indicated to further examine evolving issues. This may result in a modification to the Action Plan.
  • The issues cannot be resolved thorough the Consultation process and a Review, stage 2 of the Academic Progress Review, should be convened.
 

700.2.2 Review, Stage 2 of the Academic Review Process 

The Review is the second and final phase of the Academic Progress Review Process.  Students may be referred to a Review in cases of ongoing academic difficulty that have not been resolved successfully through the Consultation Phase (as outlined above) or in serious situations of personal or profession misconduct outlined below. 

700.2.2.A Personal and Professional Misconduct Violations

Personal and/or professional conduct of a student that calls for a Review process without an intervening Consultation includes, but is not limited to, such matters as the following:
  1. Egregious violations of the National Association of Social Work (NASW) Code of Ethics.
  2. Harassing, coercing, verbally abusing, or intimidating any persons the student encounters in any arena of the Program, including classroom, internship, and the larger school community.
  3. Unauthorized or improper use of college, school and/or internship agency services, equipment, and facilities, including and not limited to computers, email or web addresses, social media platforms, and telephones.
  4. All forms of dishonesty including cheating, knowingly furnishing false information to the college, school, or internship agency, any alteration or misuse of college, school, or internship agency documents, records, or instruments of identification.
  5. Improper disclosure through electronic or other means, of protected information and/or information designated as confidential that the student encounters in their role as a student and/or as a member of the school/college community.
  6. Theft of or intentional damage to property of the school, college, internship agency or of members and visitors of the above.
  7. Physical abuse or harm or threat of physical harm or abuse to any persons that the student encounters in any arena of the program, including classroom, internship, and the larger school community. 
  8. Plagiarism, defined as presenting all or parts of another’s work product as one’s own.
  9. A violation of the Smith College Policy on Substance Use and Abuse.
  10. A violation of the Smith College Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures or Smith College Sexual Assault Policy.
Once it is determined that an Academic Progress Review is needed, procedures detailed below will be followed. 

700.2.2.B Convening the Academic Progress Review Committee

The Academic Progress Review Committee (the "Committee") serves as the body before which all issues pertaining to a student’s academic Progress and personal and professional conduct comes for hearing and disposition.

Any given Review will be attended by a subsection of the Standing Committee, and by others who will be invited by the Chair of the Standing Committee to present information regarding the Review.

Voting Committee Members at the Review:
  • The Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
  • The Chair of the curricular sequence
  • In circumstances in which the Chair cannot attend, a designee who is approved by the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
  • Two faculty from among the appointed pool Resident Faculty on the Standing Committee.

Non-Voting Committee Member at Review:
One student member (from among those on the Standing Committee) may attend the meeting and participate in all discussions. The student being reviewed by the Committee must give written permission for the student member of the standing committee to be present at the Review.
 
The student member from the Standing Committee attending the Review will remain present and participate throughout the proceedings, including the deliberation process.
 
A Sotomayor Fellow will attend the meeting and participate in all discussions as a non-voting member. The Sotomayor Fellow is charged with observing and attending to issues of fairness and structural matters relevant to the Review process. The Sotomayor Fellow who attends the Review proceeding is not present as an advocate for the student undergoing the Review. The student is free to consult privately with one of the other Sotomayor Fellows for support.

Members of the Standing Committee include:
  • The Associate Dean of Academic Affairs or designee–Chair
  • Curricular sequence Chairs – Field, HBSE, Policy, Practice, Research
  • A minimum of four additional Resident Faculty members appointed by the Dean who serve as a faculty pool from which the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs may draw faculty representation
  • A Sotomayor Fellow
  • Two students identified by the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs with input from the Student Organization Executive Committee, Council of Students of Color leadership, and the Student Curriculum Committee leadership.

700.2.2.C Invited Participants at Review

The relevant adviser will be present in person, through conference call or visual medium.
 
In a Review generated from the Field sequence, the relevant internship supervisor and/or training director may also be asked to participate by phone to address questions.

700.2.2.D Supporting Participant at Review

The student under Review may request in writing that a person of choice, who is a member of the School community in good standing, be present at the Review as a non-voting participant.
 
The written request from the student under Review serves as that student’s informed consent to the presence and participation of this supporting individual at the Review.
 
This individual will be present during the presentation/discovery portions of the Review but will not be present during the deliberation/adjudication of the committee.
 
If the student under Review chooses, the supporting individual may be present with the student under Review for the Committee’s presentation of the Review outcome.
 
The role of the supporting participant will be to help the student prepare for and present the student's point of view, ensure that the committee has considered the points the student has presented, and that the committee has followed its own stated guidelines. They may also make a statement on behalf of the student.
 
The supporting participant will sign a notice of confidentiality prior to the Review, indicating the participant’s agreement that no portion of the proceedings can be disclosed to any person or persons.

700.2.3 Review Procedures

A Review is initiated in writing by the relevant adviser, sequence chair, or administrator (e.g., Associate Field Director) in consultation with the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. Written request for a Review is sent to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.
 
There are two pathways to a Review:  personal and/or professional misconduct of a student that calls for a Review process without an intervening consultation. (See the non-exhaustive list of examples under Personal and Professional Misconduct Violations)
 
Upon receipt of a preliminary request for a Review, the Chair of the sequence that generated a preliminary request for a Review is responsible for gathering written reports from key people relevant to the areas of concern. This information will be reviewed by the Chair and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs who will jointly determine whether a move to Review is warranted.
 
Materials must reflect a structural as well as individual level examination of learning progress. Materials to be reviewed may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Student’s written statement: The student may submit a written statement in response to the identified concerns within a timeframe specified by the Chair, typically 7-10 days
  • Documentation that was presented for the relevant Consultation request
  • The Action Plan Update Summary letter. 

If Field related:

  • Any additional monthly field narratives
  • Any additional relevant email correspondence
  • Standard information about the learning environment, which may include:
  • Agency description
  • Number of years of relationship with the agency
  • Log information about the agency focused on organization
  • Student and FFA ratings of the organization
  • Where possible, number of consultations/reviews conducted involving that agency/organization
  • Demographic summary of students placed there in the past
  • Once initiated, the Associate Dean or designee is responsible for managing the review process from notification to the implementation of any action items for the student or other parties.

700.2.3.A Notice of Review

The Office of the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs (Chair of the Review committee) or designee will notify the student of the Review in writing and outline the areas of concern.
The Office of the Associate Dean will notify the committee and the student of the date and location of the Review meeting which will be scheduled as swiftly as possible.
 
The Associate Dean or designee will hold a pre-meeting with the student to overview the Academic Progress Review process and a post-meeting with the student to review next steps. The student may seek support from the Sotomayor Fellow or a faculty member through the process.

700.2.3.B Pre-Review Information Dissemination

The information identified above will be distributed to participating Review committee members.
The student may authorize the sharing of this information with other key members of the SSW community (e.g., Office of Disability Services, support participant)

700.2.3.C Preparation Meeting of the Participating Review Committee Members

Prior to the commencement of the Review, the voting members, and non-voting Sotomayor Fellow and student member (if participating) of the Review Committee shall meet to define the function, focus, and terms of the Review.
 

700.2.3.D Review Meeting Process

Exploration Phase
The Review will commence with the student presenting their view of the situation (in a specified amount of time), followed by comments, questions, and discussion from other participants.  
 
Deliberation Phase
Deliberations will be conducted only by the voting members, Sotomayor Fellow, and non-voting student member (if participating) of the Review Committee.
 

700.2.4 Notification of the Review Outcomes

At the conclusion of the Review, the Chair of the Committee will meet with the student under Review to inform the student of the committee's findings and decisions. A written letter from the Chair of the Review Committee will serve as a summary document. The Summary document which will be sent to the reviewed student, members of the Review Committee who participated in the Review, and in field-related reviews, to the Chair and Associate Director of Field and to the Dean of the School will include:
  • Information on the notice of the Review;
  • the reason for the Review;
  • the names of the Review Committee members and presenters who participated in the Review;
  • the Committee’s decisions and the recommended sanctions;
  • the salient facts the Committee relied upon in making its decisions, including information regarding outcomes from the summary of the Action Plan (CAP) as applicable.

700.2.5 Non-Exhaustive List of Authorized Sanctions

  • No action, which means that the Committee determines that the student under Review may continue in good standing.
  • Warning, or a reprimand, which becomes part of the student’s official record but is not considered a formal disciplinary action.
  • Additional work such as writing extra papers or accumulating extra credits in order to graduate.
  • Probation, for a period to be specified by the Committee, with or without conditions, which is intended to serve as a serious warning to students whose performance and/or conduct give cause for concern. The student will be relieved from probation if, at the end of the set period of time, satisfactory conduct, as outlined by the Committee, has been maintained. Failure to meet the conditions of probation is a serious matter and will ordinarily result in mandatory leave or dismissal.
  • Mandatory leave of absence which requires that the student not register for a specified period of time and is recorded on the student’s permanent transcript.
  • Dismissal, an action taken in the most serious cases, which ends a student’s connection with the School and is recorded on the student’s permanent transcript. 

A combination of sanctions is also authorized.

700.2.6 Confidentiality

All deliberations of the Review Committee are held in private and are to be treated as confidential by all those participating in the Review. Information regarding the activities of the Committee and/or its decision making process should be kept as confidential and only shared with School and College employees who have a legitimate educational need to know; moreover, such information should not be shared with external entities except where deemed necessary (e.g., where supervisor support is required to meet the educational goals in an Action Plan, among other possibilities) as described above in the Notification of Review Outcomes, or if legally required (e.g., in response to a valid subpoena).

700.2.7 Student's Request to Withdraw or Take a Leave of Absence Prior to a Review

For policy regarding requests to withdraw in light of an upcoming Review, see section on Withdrawal from the Program. For policy regarding requests to take a leave of absence in light of an upcoming Review, see section on Leave of Absence.

700.2.8 Appeals Procedures

Any decision by the Academic Progress Review Committee can be appealed to the Dean, whose decision shall be final. The following procedures regarding appeals shall govern.

700.2.9 Appeal of the Academic Progress Review Decision

The student Reviewed, any member of the Academic Progress Review Committee, and any other participant of the Review who believes the Committee did not follow its procedures as delineated in this Handbook may appeal to the Dean in writing within seven (7) days after the date of the written notice of the Committee’s decision to the student is issued by the Chair of the Committee. The Dean’s decision shall be final.
 

 


800 LEAVE OF ABSENCE, WITHDRAWAL, PROBATION & DISMISSAL

 

800.1 Voluntary Leave of Absence (Including Medical and Parental Leave of Absence)

Students in good standing (section 400.5) may apply in writing to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for a leave of absence on an individual basis for any personal reason (including medical and parental leave), at any point in the program.
 
Leave is generally granted for a one-year period, which may be renewed for a period not to exceed a total of three years.
 
To initiate reinstatement to the program, a student must request in writing to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs by January 5 of the year the granted leave expires.
 
To request extension for the leave of absence, a student must request in writing to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs by January 5 of the year the granted leave expires.
 
A student who fails to comply with the terms of the leave will be withdrawn from the school.

800.2 Mandatory Leave of Absence

800.2.A Adjudicated by the Progress Review Committee

The Progress Review Committee may mandate a leave of absence. If a student refuses the mandatory leave, the Committee will decide whether to dismiss the student or to allow the student to withdraw from the program.
 
Decisions about completion of the community based anti-racism experience (CBARE) will be made independently. Fees may apply. A grade of Incomplete may also be granted in the circumstance where the student is allowed to continue work on CBARE, in which case an Incomplete will remain on the record in the term in which the leave was granted.
 
A final grade will be recorded in the term during which the work was completed. 

800.2.B Adjudicated by the Dean’s Office

In rare and exigent circumstances including, but not limited to emergencies and other crises that affect the immediate ability of the student to demonstrate the essential attributes and abilities outlined in the section on Essential Attributes and Abilities, the Dean or Associate Dean may require a leave of absence of any student.
 
A student who has been on a required leave of absence adjudicated by the Dean’s Office and wishes to be reinstated to the program, will be required to undergo a Review by the Academic Progress Review Committee who will determine the student’s readiness to be reinstated.
 

800.3 Returning from Leave of Absence (LOA)

If a student voluntarily leaves the program for any reason, they must immediately request a change of status with the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs’ office (for a withdrawal or a leave of absence). If the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs’ office does not receive a written request for a leave of absence within two weeks of their final day in the internship, the student will automatically be withdrawn from the School.
 
Any student considering a voluntary leave of absence from the field internship, for any reason, must be in contact with the supervisor, Faculty Field Adviser and Director or Associate Director of Field to develop a sound termination plan that holds client care central. There are no partial field credits granted for students who do not complete the field internship.
 
A student who has withdrawn from the School and who seeks to return to the program must reapply to the School.
 
A student who is readmitted to the School will be granted credit for successfully completed academic units taken previously in the program only if no more than three years have elapsed since the date of the original withdrawal. This three-year period would include a leave of absence if one has been granted. However, given the special need for continuity between the academic and practice components of the program, in specific cases where students have withdrawn having completed only the first academic summer session, it shall be left to the discretion of the committee on admission whether a student readmitted to the program would be required to repeat the first academic summer or could re-enter the program at the beginning of the fall internship period.

800.4.A Notation on Student Records

If a student whose academic work is in good standing withdraws from the School, the official record of the School will indicate "Withdrawn."
 
If a student withdraws with the permission of the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs after an Academic Progress Review has been called but before the Review has been held, the official record of the School will indicate "Withdrawn."
 
If a student withdraws without the permission of the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs after an Academic Progress Review has been called but before the Review has been held, the official record of the School will indicate "Withdrawn Pending Review."
 
If a student withdraws while on probationary status the official record will indicate "Withdrawn on Probationary Status."

800.4.B Credits

Unless contraindicated by a decision of the Academic Progress Standing Committee or the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, a student who is granted a leave of absence during the field internship will be considered withdrawn from the field course, from the research practicum (if taken) and/or from Community Based Anti-Racism Experience Practice, and a grade of W (withdrawn) will appear on the transcript if the request for Withdrawal falls into the requirements for course withdrawal outlined in section 300.4. No partial credit is given for incomplete field work.
 
Upon return from a leave of absence (LOA), the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs (ADAA) will configure the remainder of the student's course requirements in order to be consistent with current M.S.W. program policies. If there have been changes in graduation requirements while the student has been on LOA, the ADAA has the discretion to create alternative curricular structures that are consistent with faculty policy to meet the student's graduation requirements.  
  
An incomplete may be granted in the circumstance where the student is allowed to continue in a field internship in the next winter term after Review by Academic Progress Review Committee.

800.5  Academic Probations

The Smith College School for Social Work reserves the right to place on Probation any student from the School for failure to maintain Good Academic Standing (Section 400.5) and/or for personal or professional conduct standards (Section 702.2.2A).
 
Any student going onto Academic Probation will receive an Academic Probation Notice from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (ADAA). That notice will be followed up by a meeting between the ADAA, the student, and the student’s academic and/or field adviser. The meeting will result in an Academic Plan to support the student’s academic and field progress going forward. If the student remains below the maximum number of MPs and/or F’s allowed cumulatively in one year, the Academic Probation period will end.

When a course is retaken and the F is replaced by a passing grade, the Academic Probation period will end.  If a course in which a student received an F is taken a second time and receives a grade of F a second time, they will be dismissed from the program.
 
A student can be placed on Probation for unprofessional conduct or behavior by a decision of the Academic Progress Review Committee, which will specify the terms of the Probation. In exigent circumstances the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs or the Dean may place a student on Probation. The terms for completing Probation will be decided upon by the ADAA or the Academic Progress Review Committee.

If a student withdraws from the School while on probationary status, the record will indicate "Withdrawn on Probationary Status."
 

800.6  Dismissal

Grounds for dismissal from the program based on grade include:
A fourth MP in a required course in the same year, a second F in a required course in the same year, or a combination of 3 MPS and an F in required courses the same year.  
 
Cumulatively, no student may acquire more than 4 MPs and/or 1 standing F in required courses. Therefore, 4 MPs and/or an additional F in a course that has not yet been retaken will be grounds for dismissal.
 
The School reserves the right to dismiss any student from the School for failure to maintain Good Academic Standing, section 400.5 and/or personal or professional conduct standards.
 
In cases of dismissal, fees will be refunded as stated in the section on Refund Policy. Student financial aid will be canceled. The student record will indicate "Dismissed."

800.6.1 Appeal of a Dismissal
If a student who has been dismissed from the program believes the School’s stated policies have been violated, they may appeal their dismissal to the Dean of the School for Social Work.  The Dean’s decision shall be final. The following procedures regarding an appeal of a dismissal shall govern.
  1. The petition must be submitted to the Dean in writing not later than 10 days following the receipt of the dismissal notification.
  2. If the Dean determines that the School’s stated policies have been followed, the student shall be so notified.
  3. If the Dean determines that the School’s policies have not been followed, the Dean, in consultation with the ADAA, will grant to the student a remedy that may include an opportunity for re-examination, submission of additional work, or the possibility of re-taking a course(s).

800.7 Exit Interview
Any student leaving the SSW on a temporary or permanent basis will be offered a confidential exit interview to be arranged by the School and conducted by an independent agent.

 

900 STUDENT RECORDS

 

900.1 School Policies & Procedures in Accordance with FERPA

This statement is issued by Smith College School for Social Work in accordance with the United States Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) as amended. The purpose of the act is to give students and former students access to their official records at the college, to provide an opportunity to correct inaccurate or misleading statements and to ensure that records are not released to unauthorized persons without the consent of the student.
 
According to the terms of the act, access may be provided to administrative officers and members of the resident and adjunct faculty who have legitimate interest; to certain specified agents of the government for the purposes of enforcement and study; to military personnel for recruitment purposes; and to other educational agents and institutions in connection with applications for admission and requests for financial aid. All authorized persons outside the college who request access will be required to file a written, signed statement of purpose; this statement will be kept on file and will be made available for inspection only to the student upon request.
 
Transcripts of or information concerning student records will be released to other persons outside the college only with the written consent of the student or upon subpoena, in which case the student will be notified. The act stipulates that the student's written consent indicates which records are to be released, the reasons for such release and to whom the copies are to be released. A copy of the material to be
released may be requested by the student.
 
Certain information designated as "directory information" may be released without consent. At Smith College, this information includes the following: name, home address (while in college), college address and telephone, email address, dates of attendance, major, degrees and awards, pictures, extracurricular activities (if known) and most recent previously attended college/s. A student or former student who is unwilling to have this information given to inquirers without consent should notify the Office of Academic Support Services annually in writing. In the case of former students, the college reserves the right to verify degrees.
 
Students' official records include records, files, documents and other materials containing information directly related to a student that are maintained by the college. They do not include notes kept by instructors, advisers, administrative personnel or Deans for their own use and available to them only; such notes are maintained by individual administrators and are destroyed when no longer relevant or useful.
 
In communications with parents, we will assume that most students are not dependents. The School for Social Work will respect the privacy of the student and not disclose information from student education records without the prior consent of the student. At the request of the student, such information will be provided to parents and guardians.
 
Student records at Smith are described below. Procedures for students who wish to consult their records are as follows:

  • Submit a request in writing to the Registrar Office; the record will be available for inspection five work days after the date of the request. 
  • Requests to see records in the Career Development Office or Office of Disability Services should be made to each respective office.
  • Students who have questions about their immunization records and the use of them are referred directly to Smith College Health Services 
  • Questions concerning the files or requests for correction should be made in writing to the Registrar Office or the director of the Career Development Office, in the case of CDO files, to be brought to the attention of the official in charge of the particular record. If the official in charge is not able or willing to make the correction requested, the case shall be brought to the registrar, Associate Dean and Dean.

900.2 Records Kept by the Registrar Office

Permanent academic records are maintained online, and hard copies are maintained in the Registrar Office in Lilly Hall or in the College Archives. They are available to the student and to administrative officers and members of the resident and adjunct faculty of the School who have legitimate need for access.
 
The official transcript includes name, dates of attendance and notations of leave of absence or withdrawal, notation of probation, course numbers, titles, credits, grades, internship agencies and grades, degree and date. Any credits transferred from other colleges toward the social work degree are also listed. Copies of transcripts ordered by students to be sent outside the college contain this information.
 
The permanent student file includes:
  1. Grades submitted by summer teaching faculty;
  2. Student learning plan for field internship;
  3. Faculty Field Adviser field visit reports;
  4. Community Based Anti-Racism Experience evaluation;
  5. Supervisor's final field evaluation for each year in the field;
  6. Research practicum evaluation (if applicable);
  7. Faculty Field Adviser’s final summary of student's field internships;
  8. Final transcript;
  9. Summary document of Academic Progress Review (if applicable) and documentation of any subsequent resolution of sanctions arising from the Review, if applicable (see 603.5 - Notification of the Review Outcomes).

900.3 Records Kept by the Student Financial Services Office

For students receiving financial aid, the Student Financial Services Office maintains a financial aid file containing the following information:
 
  • Student's application form and all application materials;
  • Financial analysis of the student's application;
  • Award letters to the student from the Committee on Financial Aid;
  • Source-of-Award letters to the student from the Committee on Financial Aid;
  • Loan application material;
  • Miscellaneous correspondence;
  • Copies of student's and parents' (if applicable) tax forms;
  • Student Agreement/Title IV Authorization Form.
 
This information is available only to the members of the Student Financial Services Office and the Committee on Financial Aid. Under the Rights and Privacy Act, the School cannot release to a student that portion of the financial aid application containing parental financial information, the financial analysis, or copies of the parents' tax forms. Information on students receiving financial aid is kept for five years after the student's graduation or departure from the School.
 

900.4 Records Kept by the Office of the Dean

The Office of the Dean maintains materials on file pertaining to student consultation, reviews, leave of absence, and withdrawal.
 

900.5 Records Kept by the Field Education Department

Field internship forms and materials are maintained by the field education department until the student's graduation or departure from the School.
 
Students may access these files by request; these materials are otherwise only used by SSW faculties relevant to the field internship process and except as noted above are kept until the student graduates or permanently leaves the program.
 

900.6 Records Kept by the Office of Disability Services

This information is accessible to disability services office professional staff and Deans:
  • Disability identification form;
  • Documentation of disability which has been submitted by the student;
  • Correspondence with the student;
  • Correspondence with faculty and other administrative offices, which has been authorized by the student.
  • Release of Information Informed Consent Form


 

1000 FINANCIAL MATTERS

 

1000.1 Refund Policy

Any student who officially withdraws from the School according to the procedures outlined under the section entitled "Withdrawal," is dismissed from the School, or who goes on a leave of absence will have their fees and aid, including all institutional and federal student aid, prorated using the same methodology prescribed by the Department of Education for federal student aid as follows:

The official date of withdrawal or leave will be used to determine what percent of the billing payment period the student has attended using a daily proration schedule. If the student leaves within the first 60 percent in the billing cycle, fees and aid will be prorated accordingly and any unused federal funds will be returned to the Department of Education. If, after the necessary proration is completed there is a credit balance from a direct payment made by the student, those funds will be returned to the student. If the withdrawal or leave occurs after the 60 percent point in the billing cycle, all charges and aid will be considered to have been used and no proration will occur or aid returned.

 

1000.2 Financial Assistance

Financial assistance is available to students in the master's program. Awards are based on financial need, with an additional commitment to those who have demonstrated exceptional dedication to working with diverse populations and issues of racial equity. Because resources are limited, students are expected to use personal, family and loan resources to the fullest extent possible. The School is not able to meet full expenses for a student's graduate program. Every effort is made to assist students in obtaining educational bank loan funds.

To maintain maximum objectivity and standardized criteria in analyzing each student's financial circumstances, the School utilizes the FAFSA Form; for more information go to: Tuition and Financial Aid.

Financial aid awards are made for a 12-month period and students must submit a second application for assistance for their second year of graduate study. Although every effort will be made to continue financial assistance, the School can make no guarantee that this will be possible.

Because of limited financial aid resources, students generally are expected to finance their final summer session through educational loans or other personal resources.

If a student departs from the School, any financial aid award will be adjusted to be consistent with the Refund Policy.

Financial aid payments will be discontinued for any student who departs from the School.

 

1000.3 Fees and Expenses

Returning from a leave of absence or repeating a portion of the program:

Students who will return to the program from a leave of absence or who will repeat a portion of the program should check with Student Financial Services regarding tuition charges.

Students will not be permitted to register, continue in field internships or enroll in post-residency advising if bills are not paid. All college bills must be paid before a student will be granted a diploma or an official transcript.

Should the School submit a student bill to a collection agency, the student will be subject to collection charges in addition to the outstanding balance (approximately one-third of the balance).

1000.4 Library Fees

Each student is responsible for all materials signed out from the library in their name and will be charged a replacement fee in addition to the cost of any material that is not returned. All materials must be returned to the library and fees paid before a student may receive a diploma or an official transcript.

1000.5 Miscellaneous Fees

Other miscellaneous fees will be charged to a student's account, if applicable. All miscellaneous fees must be paid before a student may receive a diploma or an official transcript.

1000.6 Late Fees

A late fee of 1.25 percent per month (15 percent per annum) will be assessed for balances that remain unpaid past the due date.

Students will not be permitted to register, continue in field internships or enroll in post-residency advising if they have not been cleared by Student Financial Services. All school bills must be paid before a student will be granted a diploma or receive an official transcript.

1000.7 Post-Residency Fees

A post-residency fee will be charged for each term a student receives post-residency advising.

1000.8 Pro-Rated Fees

Pro-rated fees will be charged to students who are enrolled in less-than-half-time status and who continue to work in the field, on the thesis, or on the community practice experience. These fees will vary by circumstance.

1000.9 Health Insurance

Health insurance is mandatory for all full-time students. Students will be automatically enrolled in the School's health insurance plan, but may waive out of this plan if they have an alternative qualifying plan. Students must be enrolled at least 3/4 time in order to qualify for Smith's health insurance plan; if a student's status drops to less than 3/4 time their coverage will be discontinued.

Students who have their own coverage must provide the School with the following information: name and address of their insurance company and policy number.

For details on health insurance, costs and deadlines, go to Healthcare Resources.

1000.10 Campus Housing

The School for Social Work has on-campus mixed-gender housing available during the 10-week summer academic session in certain undergraduate dormitories for students who choose to live on campus. The Room and Board fee includes the assigned unit and twenty-one meals per week for the duration of the 10-week summer academic session. Each student is responsible for the full room and board fee, which will be charged to the student's account prior to the start of the academic session.

Any student who officially withdraws from the School according to the procedures outlined under the section entitled "Withdrawal," is dismissed from the School, or who goes on a leave of absence will have their room and board costs prorated using the same methodology as detailed in the section entitled "Refund Policy." Any student who indicates they will be living on campus and subsequently informs the Housing Coordinator that they will not be utilizing on-campus housing will have their room and board costs prorated using the following schedule: 100% refunded before May 1st, 90% refunded from May 1st to the first day of classes, 80% refunded by the first Friday of the summer academic session, no refunds of Room and Board costs will be made after the first week of classes. Exceptions to the refund schedule may be considered for extraordinary circumstances.

Any student who is assigned on campus housing must agree to and abide by the terms of the Housing Contract.

1001 CAMPUS LIFE & RESPONSIBILITIES

 

1001.1 Social Events Accessibility Policy

Smith College Social Events Accessibility Policy

 

1001.2 Using Social Media in Professional & Educational Endeavors

Social media includes many widely used forms of electronic communication (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, SnapChat, microblogs, websites, etc.) allowing users to create online communities and to share information, messages, and other content. It offers quick and effective ways to stay in touch with family, friends and colleagues. It is vibrant and immediate. It also offers many ways to make new connections and has been widely used to promote political advocacy and social justice. Social media can be a valuable part of professional and personal activities, but must be used thoughtfully and in accordance with the NASW Code of Ethics (2008), within the confines of agency policies, the policies of the Smith College School for Social Work, and all local, state and federal laws.

When used in relation to one's professional activities, social media deserves some careful consideration. There are legal risks, ethical risks and pragmatic risks along with social media's many merits. Be mindful that once information is posted on social media it may be impossible to delete. The technology for capturing online information is already well developed. You may not be able to retract or correct any information you post - forever. Recent newspaper reports indicate that employers are increasingly checking job applicant's social media sites and using the data they find for formal and informal decision-making. Both your personal and professional information may be checked by employers and others.

Learning about, carefully setting and regularly reviewing the privacy settings and other features of any social media you use is wise for all professionals. A simple search will identify many sites to help guide you about using social media programs. However, bear in mind that many of these sites are business oriented and assume you mainly wish to build referral traffic. Social workers must carefully distinguish their personal and professional uses of social media. For social workers, one helpful starting point is the University of Texas at Austin's "How to Manage Your Social Media Privacy Settings" online at https://identity.utexas.edu/everyone/how-to-manage-your-social-media-privacy-settings. It is wise to review your online presence as a client or employer might do.

Several ethical obligations must be kept in mind. First, discussion or disclosure of client information without documented client consent is prohibited by law, institutional policies and social work ethics. Federal HIPPA regulations, state licensure and practice laws and agency policies all prohibit disclosure of client information to others not directly charged with the client's care. Professional advice should never be offered outside an agency or practice setting. Social workers should always practice in their areas of competence in defined relationships to clients (NASW Code of Ethics, Section 104).

Second, social work professional ethics also prohibit discussion of client information outside of direct work activities. It is inappropriate to refer to clients, client situations, supervisors or field agencies on social media regardless of efforts to restrict or limit access to the information. The NASW Code of Ethics, Section 1.07 (i) states that "Social workers should not discuss confidential information in any setting unless privacy can be ensured. Social workers should not discuss confidential information in public or semipublic areas such as hallways, waiting rooms, elevators, and restaurants." Social media are effectively public or semipublic locations. The Code also states that "(k) Social workers should protect the confidentiality of clients when responding to requests from members of the media." Even restricted access social media sites may be viewed as media outlets. If you are speaking for an agency or group, (and only ever with explicit written permission and direction from that group) you should use their name to be transparent to other users. Only use your institutional affiliation when you are making professional postings, never for personal ones.

Third, the NASW Code of Ethics, Section 2.01 states that "(a) Social workers should treat colleagues with respect and should represent accurately and fairly the qualifications, views, and obligations of colleagues, and (b) Social workers should avoid unwarranted negative criticism of colleagues in communications with clients or with other professionals." Postings on social media about other professionals and about professional matters should be respectful, fair, accurate, and without undue criticism, including field agencies and their personnel. Your colleagues deserve to be treated with the same dignity and respect as social workers treat our clients. Hasty social media postings may violate these standards, make the evidence of such an infraction widely known, and may be difficult or impossible to undo.

Agencies and institutions have the authority to ask social media organizations to refuse, or to terminate, social media groups that use their institutional names. The reputation and social 'face' of an institution may be enhanced or undermined by social media sites, and thus these agencies and institutions have rights to limit how their names and images are used. Many names and images are copyrighted or trademarked. Using such names and images may violate the law. Always ask for approval before using institutional or agency names in online posts. If you need to make an institutional connection, ask permission from the Director or Dean before making any post including institutional names, content or images.

Finally, any academic process or information that is considered confidential should not be shared publicly on social media. This includes, but is not limited to professional review proceedings or information about other students' professional performance.

Failing to use professional judgment when using social media may harm you, colleagues and clients. Professional conduct on social media deserves appropriate care. Failing to meet the policies of Smith College School for Social Work, laws, agency policies, NASW Code of Ethics and can lead to consultation, review and potentially dismissal from the program. It may also lead to external actions through professional sanction or legal suit. Use social media wisely and with care when it has any link to your professional activities.

 

1002 Communications from the School

Information from the School will be communicated to students via the Smith email account. It is the student's responsibility to check this account on a regular basis; students will be held accountable for this information.

 

1003 Policies of Smith College

Smith College School for Social Work students are obligated to know and adhere to the policies of Smith College.
 

1003.1 Statement of Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression

1003.2 Policies Concerning Freedom of Expressions and Dissent

1003.3 Smith College Equal Opportunities Policy

1003.4 Smith College Sexual Assault Policy

1003.5 Smith College Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Policy [PDF]

1003.6 Smith College Policy on Substance Abuse and Substance Use

1003.7 Smith College Policies Regarding Alcohol

1003.8 Smoking Policy

1003.9 Pranks and Hazing

1003.10 AIDS Guidelines for the Smith College Community

1003.11 Disability Services Policy

1003.12 Service and Support Animals Policies

1003.13 Parking Policies

1003.14 Smith College Policy on Chalking

1003.15 Posting of Information

1003.16 Firearms Policy

1003.17 Missing Student Policy

1003.18 Bicycle Policy

1003.19 Smith College Social Events Policy