Ph.D. Program Handbook
This handbook includes statements of the major policies and regulations of the Smith College School for Social Work. Faculty and students are expected to be conversant with its contents.
Statements in the Smith College School for Social Work's Ph.D. Program Handbook should be taken as the School's current determination of courses, programs, policies, tuition and fees as presently established. Admission to specific courses will be dependent on qualifications of the students and availability of instruction.
The School reserves the right to change its courses, programs policies, tuition and fees subsequent to the publication of this handbook.
Table of Contents
900.8 Smoking Policy
900.9 Pranks and Hazing
900.11 Disability Services Policy
900.13 Parking Policies
900.15 Posting of Information
900.16 Firearms Policy
900.17 Missing Student Policy
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
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.
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.
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
Vice President for Equity and Inclusion
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.
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
- The Smith College School for Social Work Ph.D. program is committed to recruiting, teaching, mentoring, and graduating students with a strong commitment to advancing professional knowledge, awareness, values, and skills of clinical social work practice and research with an anti-racism lens. The aim of the SSW Ph.D. Program is consistent with the Quality guidelines of Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work (GADE). The broad goal of the program is to educate practitioner-scholars through the development of knowledge, values, and skills to inform and transform clinical social work research, education, and practice. SSW is committed to continuously developing resources to ensure that the PhD program recruits a culturally diverse community of scholars, is nationally competitive, and contributes to leadership in the social work profession.
- Create new knowledge through research and practice at the culmination of their training and education
- Discuss and appraise the history of the social work profession, current issues and debates within the profession
- Critically analyze theories, practices, policies, and research
- Demonstrate advanced levels of competence as clinicians, supervisors, educators and researchers
- Infuse an anti-racism perspective and social work values of social justice into all areas of their professional work
- Articulate a detailed research agenda that addresses issues relevant to clinical social work and/or the social work profession
- Develop research and funding proposals both independently and in collaboration with others
- Conceptualize, design, and implement advanced research on issues related to clinical social work practice
- Disseminate knowledge that contributes to the advancement of social work research, practice, and policy
- Demonstrate their teaching philosophy through courses that they teach as social work educators
100.2 – Program Structure: Residency & Post-Residency
Residency (the Block Plan)
During the residency period, students engage in 2.5 summers of academic coursework on the Smith campus and two intervening 8-month periods of clinical practice and research in the field. Each Session must be successfully completed before enrollment in the next subsequent Session, except under special circumstances.
- Session I: the first academic session
(10 weeks on Smith campus, June to mid-August)
- Session 2: the first clinical internship period
(32 weeks in the agency, September through April)
- Session 3: the second academic session
(10 weeks on Smith campus, June to mid-August)
- Session 4: the second clinical internship period
(32 weeks in the agency, September through April)
- Session 5: the third academic session
(5 weeks on Smith campus, June to mid-July)
Upon satisfactory completion of Sessions I through V, students enter the period of Post-Residency during which the dissertation is developed. The School has established a 5-year limit for completion of the dissertation.
In the case that students have not completed the doctoral requirements within 5 years after coursework, students may petition for a 1-year extension. Students may petition for a total of three 1-year extensions. The Ph.D. director may approve these extensions based on the student’s progress in the program. Students who do not complete the program requirements within the stated timeframe may be terminated from the program.
Students pay an annual advising fee during this Post-Residency period.
100.3 – Program Requirements
Two 10-week periods (Sessions I & III) and a final 5-week period (Session V) of on-campus academic studies over three successive summers.
Two 32-week periods (Sessions II & IV) of approved clinical internship in which a minimum of 3 days each week is devoted to clinical training.
Equivalent to a half-day per week to be completed during one of the two clinical internship sessions.
A written paper to be developed during the 2nd year of clinical internship, which integrates students' learning. It consists of a final publication-quality manuscript based on original work.
Ph.D. students are strongly encouraged to engage in some form of teaching. This may be in the form of classroom teaching or clinical supervision/consulting.
An independent, defensible, scholarly research project relevant to clinical social work. The final dissertation manuscript must be accepted by the faculty within 5 years following completion of the final academic session (Session V).
- Deepen students' understanding of clients' psychological functioning and psychosocial contexts
- Broaden students' knowledge of strategies and interventions for change
- Enhance students' mastery of methods for studying clinical processes and modes for articulating and developing practice knowledge
Coursework is organized to deepen students' understanding of the psychological functioning and psychosocial contexts of the clients with whom they work, strategies and interventions for change, and methods for studying clinical processes, and modes of articulating and developing practice knowledge.
Course descriptions are in the Ph.D. Program brochure. Students take all required courses in sequence. Class schedules and course syllabi are distributed at summer registration. Unless otherwise noted, classes meet 4 hours/week and receive 2 credits each.
As the doctoral degree is intended to denote a balanced professional education in advanced clinical social work theory and practice, rather than just the accumulation of a fixed number of credit hours, supplemental study related to clinical learning needs or independent assignments for specialized career objectives may be required of individual students.
101.2 – First Summer Courses
Term 1 (5 weeks)
Advanced Clinical Practice I
Advanced Psychological Theory I
Social Policy I: Health Policy
Social Work Research Methods I (6 hrs per wk, 3 credits)
Advanced Social Theory I: Sociological Paradigms for Clinical Practice
Term 2 (5 weeks)
Advanced Clinical Practice II
Treatment with Oppressed Populations
Advanced Psychological Theory II
Social Work Research Methods II (6 hrs per wk, 3 credits)
Metaperspectives on Clinical Social Work
101.3 – Second Summer Courses
Term 1 (5 weeks)
Qualitative Research Methods
Advanced Clinical Practice III
Advanced Psychological Theory III: Object Relations Theories
Statistical Methods for Data Analysis I (6 hrs. per wk., 3 credits)
Practice Elective (Students take 1 practice elective in the 2nd summer. A second elective may be taken on an overload basis as schedules permit.)
Term 2 (5 weeks)
Perspectives on Social Work Education I: Supervision
Theory Development & Research: Infancy & Early Childhood
Advanced Social Theory II: Anthropological Perspectives on Development
Social Policy II: Mental Health Policy and Services
Statistical Methods for Data Analysis II (6 hrs. per wk., 3 credits)
101.4 – Third Summer Courses
Term 1 (5 weeks)
Advanced Psychological Theory IV: Contemporary Trends
Senior Seminar in Clinical Social Work Theory & Practice: Intersubjectivity
Research on Clinical Social Work Practice
Dissertation Design Seminar
Perspectives on Social Work Education II
- Students advance their clinical skills
- Reflect upon the integration of theory and practice
- Systematically study clinical processes in depth
- Think critically about their knowledge, values, and skills
- Gain advanced competence as scholars in research and teaching
The Clinical Internship is intended as a 2-year laboratory. Most students develop work-study internships within their places of employment. Others develop internships at training centers or agencies around the country. Students are strongly advised to arrange clinical internships before beginning their first summer of classes. Arrangements are to be made in consultation with the program director and the clinical training center. Final approval for the clinical internship, including supervision, must be obtained from the program director.
The Clinical Internship is graded on a Pass (P) /Marginal Pass (MP) / Fail (F) basis. A grade of MP for the first clinical internship session initiates a meeting of the student’s learning process involving the student, the Faculty Field Advisor and the clinical director (or Program Director). A plan for extended time in the clinical internship experience for the student to successfully meet first year learning goals will be developed. The student may be permitted to participate in session 3 (second academic session). The student must receive a Pass in their first year clinical internship.
A student receiving a grade of F in either of the two clinical internship sessions will not be permitted to continue on to the next academic session, but would be given an opportunity to repeat the failed clinical internship session. A second grade of MP or F in clinical internship would be grounds for dismissal from the Program.
For the 1st year clinical internship, the final grade is made up of three components: (1) the grade for clinical internship; (2) the grade for the Written Clinical Qualifying Exam; and (3) the grade for the Oral Clinical Qualifying Exam.
The written clinical qualifying exam is given at the end of the 1st year clinical internship session. The oral clinical qualifying exam is given at the end of the 1st year clinical internship session or in December of the 2nd year. Both exams, as well as the clinical internship component, must be passed before a student's transcript will show a grade of Pass for the 1st year clinical internship. More specific information on the Clinical Qualifying Exams may be found later in this section.
The training center supports advanced clinical education for social workers and accords priority to students' learning needs during the clinical internship by providing the following:
- Opportunities for intensive treatment, including treatment over a two-year period, with a patient population varied as to age and diagnosis.
- An emphasis on individual treatment as well as opportunities in a range of treatment modalities (i.e., couple, family, and group treatment, short-term treatment, etc.).
- Supervision by a clinical social worker who meets the School's criteria. If a Ph.D. or advanced practitioner is not available, an advanced, dynamically oriented practitioner from another discipline may be proposed. - Regular consultation with senior staff involved in specialized areas of practical. (i.e., couple, family, and group treatment, child treatment, adult treatment, etc.)
- Supplemental educational resources, such as staff conferences where clinical data are examined from theoretical and dispositional points of view. Whenever training sites offer educationally relevant seminars, it is expected that students will have access to these learning opportunities.
- During the 2nd-year internship, opportunities for pertinent professional experiences in consultation, clinical teaching assignments, and supervision.
a) Administrative Supervisor
The clinical internship is overseen at the training center by an Administrative Supervisor, the person at the agency who is responsible for:
- Seeing that the student is provided with the caseload and learning opportunities outlined here.
- Overseeing the clinical supervision that takes place within the agency.
- For 1st year students: Seeing that the student is provided with a room in which to take the Written Exam, which is given in early April. This would be a room equipped with a computer and email access. The room would be needed for 4 hours.
- Also for 1st year students, proctoring the Written Qualifying Exam (receiving and giving the exam questions to the student on the morning of the exam). In cases where it is not possible for the Administrative Supervisor to perform this function, other arrangements can be made with the approval of the Program's Clinical Director.
- Where appropriate, helping the student gain experience in teaching and supervision.
Students are expected to spend a minimum of 3 days a week in clinical practice at the training center. Those in private practice may do 2 days at the training center and the third day in private practice. Second-year students who hold full-time faculty positions may petition the program director for one day less at the training center.
- Cases should represent diversity in race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, and physical ability.
- Students are expected to have 8-12 clinical hours a week of direct client contact, mostly with individuals, especially during the 1st yr. They are expected also to do couple, family, or group treatment, especially during the 2nd year.
- It is expected that students will carry 3 or 4 clients over both years of clinical internship. Those students expecting to return to a training center for a second year should arrange to maintain contact with continuing cases. Appointments with these clients should be scheduled for the last two days of the 1st yr internship and again in July, during the summer recess. First-year administrative responsibilities associated with these cases should be completed before the 1st year internship ends.
- Students should also carry at least 2 planned short-term cases.
- The agency should locate for the 1st year student at least 3 clients who will be ready to start treatment at the point of the student's entry into the training site.
c) Extra Clinical Learning
Students should seek out additional learning opportunities (e.g., in-service training, consultation seminars, etc.) within the training center and the community, including any learning opportunities that are within a reasonable commuting distance. The School permits students 3 days during each field session for attending conferences. Students should obtain information about conferences that would be reasonable for them to attend during clinical internship periods and should make plans well in advance so that time may be taken at the convenience of the training center.
d) Permitted Holidays during the Clinical Internship
Clinical Internship runs from September through April. The School prepares a yearly calendar indicating beginning and ending dates for clinical internship as well as dates for School-permitted holidays occurring during this period. Training centers may observe additional holidays; students are permitted these times off as well. Jewish students who wish to observe Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Passover are permitted one day for each. Christian students are permitted time to attend church services on Good Friday. Students who wish to take additional time in accordance with personal beliefs should clear this in advance with their FFAs.
Ideally, the student will use both a Primary Clinical Supervisor, who is a senior clinician (social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist), and a Secondary Clinical Supervisor. While clinical supervision by a senior social work clinician is considered important, not all clinical supervision needs to be with a social worker. Arrangements for Clinical Supervision are to be made in consultation with the Training Center and the Program's Clinical Director.
a) Supervisory Guidelines
- Students are to have 2 hours a week of clinical supervision by a psychodynamically oriented supervisor (or 1 hour per week by each of 2 different psychodynamically oriented supervisors).
- Supervision should focus largely on individual treatment, but should also cover other modalities the student may be using.
- Supervisors should be able and willing to teach from process recordings.
- Primary Clinical Supervisor has responsibility for coordinating student's overall learning in the field and for submitting 4 performance evaluations of the student's clinical work over the course of the clinical internship session.
- Supervisors must be available to meet 2 times a year with the student's Faculty Field Adviser when the FFA makes the field visit to the student's clinical internship.
- 1st year supervision. Supervisors help the student prepare for the clinical qualifying exams. Students are expected to know, apply, integrate, and critique advanced psychodynamic theories (drive, ego psychology, object relations, self psychology). Not every supervisor is expected to be well versed in all four theories; however, they should have expertise in at least two of them.
- 2nd year supervision. Supervisors should be aware that students are preparing their comprehensive exam. In addition, students may be engaged in teaching and in research on practice.
b) Supervisory Evaluations
Supervisors are asked to comment 4 times a year on various aspects of the student's performance in the internship. Evaluations are completed by supervisors via Sonia, the system program utilized by the School. Students are expected to participate with their supervisors in the evaluation process and to acknowledge each report through Sonia.
c) Supervisor or Consultant?
"Supervisor" refers to a person at the agency where the student is doing her/his clinical internship, who is providing the student with clinical supervision. “Consultant" refers to a person outside the agency, who provides clinical supervision to the student at the student's own expense.
The Faculty Field Adviser (FFA) is responsible for overseeing the student's clinical internship. FFAs are members of the School's resident faculty, and serve as teaching, mentoring, evaluative, and administrative liaisons between the student and the School. They monitor caseloads and supervision, comment on students' field assignments, and serve as consultants on problems that may arise in the field, or issues that may emerge from case material. Entering students are assigned FFAs at the start of the first summer session. The FFA contacts the student's supervisor to build an alliance and to prepare her/him for the internship goals. FFAs help 1st-year students organize a study plan to prepare for the clinical qualifying exam that is given in April. They advise 2nd year students on preparation of the comprehensive examination.
a) FFA Field Visits
FFAs make field visits each fall and spring to evaluate students in their clinical internship settings. They meet with students for a minimum of 2 hours to discuss written assignments, process recordings, and other case materials; to frame areas for further learning; and to help organize preparations for exams. FFAs meet also with the student's supervisors. Field visits usually require half a day. It is the student's responsibility to make all meeting arrangements.
b) FFA Field Visit Reports
Following their fall and spring field visits, FFAs complete a Field Visit Report via Sonia, the system program utilized by the School. Students receive reports, and are expected to acknowledge each report, through Sonia.
Students are required to submit monthly reports from the field, including case studies and other types of written assignments, as well as a summary account of clients seen and educational activities attended during the previous month.
Reports are to be submitted through Sonia for review by the student's FFA and the Program's Clinical Director.
a) First-Year Clinical Internship Field Assignments
The list of monthly field assignments for the first year clinical internship is shown in Appendix A, with case study guidelines shown in Appendix B;
b) Second-Year Clinical Internship Field Assignments
The list of monthly field assignments for the second year clinical internship is shown in Appendix C.
a) First-Year Clinical Internship Standards of Performance
While each class is made up of students with a range of experience and knowledge, it is expected that, students will expand their knowledge and skill beyond their individualized beginning points. Progress in clinical learning is measured, therefore, in terms of the following criteria and individualized beginning points. During the internship, the first-year student should gain the knowledge, values, and skills to demonstrate:
- The capacity to utilize the four psychologies and trauma theory in formulating a treatment plan;
- The use of social theories in understanding, analyzing, and intervening in the client’s social contextual conditions
- The capacity to take a critical, reflective, "meta" theoretical stance, appreciating the contextual nature of theories and the ways in which each theory assigns different meanings to the same material
- The capacity to make informed biopsychosocial assessments and to develop treatment plans with specific clinical interventions that follow from those assessments
- The ability to reflect upon those social structures that maintain discrimination and inequality and to selectively identify strategies for change
- The capacity to establish and maintain clinical relationships with a range of diverse clients
- The capacity to set long- and short-term goals including clinical case management
- The capacity for self-awareness and for the differential use of self
- The capacity to understand and evaluate the working alliance, transference, and countertransference
- The capacity to show evidence of the effectiveness of practice using process recordings
- The capacity to evaluate clinical processes using data as clinical evidence
- The capacity to make effective use of clinical supervision
- The capacity for ethical practice based on the NASW Code of Ethics
- The capacity to critique agency practice and social policies that influence service delivery
b) Second Year Clinical Internship Standards of Performance
The goal for the second year is to prepare students for a range of leadership roles in clinical social work. In addition to increasing their clinical knowledge and skill, students are now expected to gain teaching experience, whether as classroom teachers, supervisors, and/or consultants, and expected to demonstrate:
- The capacity to critically examine and apply a variety of practice modalities as strategies for change, including individual, group, and family therapy
- The capacity to critique advanced theories and practice based on research findings for their fit with clients' needs and contexts
- The capacity for differential uses of self including transference/countertransference and intersubjectivity
- A more advanced ability to reflect upon those social structures that maintain discrimination and inequality, and to selectively identify strategies for change
- An advanced capacity to synthesize social and psychological theories and their application to biopsychosocial assessments and treatment processes
- An advancing capacity to select from among biopsychosocial theories and treatment modalities, using time limits and other parameters with a clearly articulated understanding of the gains and losses inherent in any clinical decision
- An understanding of the specific and differing meanings of treatment interruptions to clients, especially those whose long-term therapy was interrupted during the summer academic session
- The ability to critique social policies that contribute to inequities, conflicts, and barriers to delivery in mental health service models, including the effects on the clinical process
- The capacity to teach practice, theory, research, or policy
- A more advanced capacity to evaluate process and outcomes in practice
- Leadership in teaching writing, program development, consultation, or administration
When a student has not completed all internship requirements before completing all summer courses, they will incur additional costs for an extended field period. Such extensions may also impact on student loan availability and repayment.
Applicants who have been accepted in the Ph.D. Program may petition to enter with Clinical Advanced Standing status. The option is available to meet the needs of the rare applicant for whom our standard two years of supervised advanced clinical practice would be truly superfluous. Clinical Advanced Standing status is achieved by taking and passing the clinical qualifying exams before commencing the first summer of coursework, rather than taking them at the end of the 1st year clinical internship, as is usual. A fee is charged for the exam. Note that for Clinical Advanced Standing candidates, each of the clinical qualifying exams is graded on a Pass/Fail basis only. There is no grade option of Marginal Pass for Clinical Advanced Standing candidates, and therefore, no opportunity to rewrite any part of either exam. If the status of Clinical Advanced Standing is not achieved, the accepted applicant may still enter the Program as a regular degree candidate. Clinical Advanced Standing students must meet all Program requirements, except that they may choose one of the following clinical internship options.
Option A: One year of clinical internship with the standard three days a week of seeing clients and two hours a week of clinical supervision. This one-year internship conforms to the 2nd year clinical internship, except that clinical advanced standing students choosing this option take the internship during their first year in the Program. These students are required to meet the performance standards and to complete the field assignments for the 2nd year rather than the 1st year clinical internship.
Option B: Two years of clinical internship with one-and-a-half days a week of seeing clients and one hour a week of supervision. (Option B adopted 2001-02.)
The Clinical Advanced Standing student consults with the Program's Clinical Director on how to integrate into her/his schedule the 2nd year teaching requirement.
Scheduled at the end of the 1st year (except in the case of Clinical Advanced Standing), a written clinical exam is given to assess the student's mastery of 1st year learning objectives and readiness for advanced clinical learning. Exam requirements are conveyed to students by their Faculty Field Advisers (FFA's). The oral clinical exam is offered at the end of the 1st year of internship or in December of the 2nd year clinical internship. The 1st year clinical internship and 2nd year internships are graded separately with Pass (P), Marginal Pass (MP) or Fail (F) based on the evaluation of learning objectives in the field and assessed by the clinical supervisor(s) and faculty field adviser. All students typically need to receive a PASS in their 1st year clinical internship before proceeding on to further academic coursework.
The Written and Oral clinical exams are graded separately with Pass (P), Marginal Pass (MP) or Fail (F). A student receiving a grade of F in either or both exams would not be permitted to continue on to further academic coursework, and will be given one opportunity to repeat the 1st year clinical internship session and, at the end of the session, to re-take the failed exam(s). A second grade of F, either in Clinical Internship or in the exam(s), would be grounds for dismissal from the Program.
A student receiving a grade of MP in either or both of these exams would be given one opportunity to re-write the part(s) of the exam(s) found to be unsatisfactory. The re-write is evaluated by the student's Faculty Field Adviser and the program director, and must be completed and successfully passed before the student would be permitted to continue on to further coursework or clinical internship. The grade for the clinical internship would be I (Incomplete) until the re-write of the written clinical exam. If an MP is given in the oral clinical exam, a student may also need to re-take the entire clinical oral exam at a later date and submit a different case summary. The grade for the clinical internship would be I (Incomplete) until the re-take of the oral clinical exam. A grade of PASS on this exam would be required to proceed with further academic coursework.
The Written Exam consists of a published article and a set of questions raised by the article that relate to the clinical learning objectives of the 1st year. The exam is taken in early April of the 1st year at the student's clinical internship site, and is proctored by the student's Administrative Supervisor, or by another person at the agency approved by the Program's Clinical Director. It is 4 hours in length.
On the day before the exam, the article is emailed to the student, and the sheet of exam questions is emailed to exam proctor to give to the student the next day. No books or notes are allowed in the exam room. Students compose their answers on a computer. At the end of 4 hours, they email their exam paper as an attachment back to the School. The exam paper is read by the student's FFA and the Program's Clinical Director, and is evaluated based on the following criteria:
- Read a published article that combines clinical psychodynamic theory and practice, and identify the theoretical position from which it is written.
- Explain the phenomena described in the article from an alternative theoretical position drawn from the four psychologies. Based on evidence in the article, compare and contrast both theoretical positions, discussing the gains and losses inherent in each.
- Examine the practice interventions in light of the theory the author uses. Be able to think critically about how a different theory might lead to a different intervention.
- Critique the theoretical position taken in the article in terms of its social and historical contexts.
- Demonstrate Ph.D. level writing within the constraints of a timed examination.
This exam, based on the student's case study, consists of a face-to-face discussion between the student and a committee made up of three members of the School's Ph.D. Program faculty and associates. The Program Clinical Director serves as the ex officio member of every exam committee.
The exam takes place on Smith Campus (or conducted via video-conferencing) in late April of the 1st year internship or in early December of the 2nd year internship. It lasts approximately 2 and 1/2 hours. First, the committee meets in private to discuss the paper, and then the student is invited into the room to join the discussion. Afterwards, the student is asked to leave the room while the committee comes to a decision about the exam, and then the faculty field adviser (FFA) meets privately with the student to convey the committee's decision on the exam. At times, the FFA and Clinical Director, or the entire committee meets with the student to share feedback. Finally, the Clinical Director sends formal notification to the student. The oral exam is evaluated on the following criteria:
- Present a coherent biopsychosocial-spiritual assessment using those psychodynamic, developmental and social theories that best serve the client, with particular attention given to relevant issues of diversity.
- Articulate a treatment plan with specific goals and interventions, in both Agency-based and theoretical languages, demonstrating how they serve the client.
- Select one theory drawn from the four psychologies, apply it to the case, and based on the assessment, defend the rationale for the theoretical position in the treatment of the client.
- Compare and contrast the chosen theory with another theory drawn from the four psychologies, noting the gains and losses obtained with each theoretical perspective.
- Address both long-and short-term goals in terms of the assessment formulation and as demonstrated by evidence in the process recordings.
- Evaluate progress in treatment based on a review of treatment goals and measures to assess outcome.
- Demonstrate understanding of the working alliance, transference, resistance, and countertransference in the therapeutic relationship.
- Entertain an alternate point of view and discuss it in a clear and coherent manner.
- Address any ethical dilemmas raised by the case.
104.1 – Educational Objectives
- Provide students with hands-on experience in research prior to the dissertation;
- Expose students to as many parts or phases of the research process as possible to help them gain an understanding of how the method of inquiry is related to the overarching research questions(s);
- Advance students' capacity to describe and analyze conceptual and methodological issues in their research, and to anticipate the vicissitudes that can arise in the conduct of research in the field.
Development of these skills is seen as helping to prepare students for the dissertation research they will undertake, usually after they have completed the 3rd academic summer (Session V). Accordingly, the research internship requirement should be completed before the 3rd summer begins.
104.2 – Options for the Research Internship
In general, the more varied the activities the student participates in, the better, though these activities will have to be within the limits of what is possible both for the student and the host project or faculty mentor. All internship proposals must be reviewed and granted approval by the Ph.D. Program's Director. Three options are available for fulfilling the research internship requirement.
Option A: Students may identify and affiliate with ongoing funded research projects relevant to social work that are situated in their geographic areas. A student must negotiate with the project's principal investigator to obtain the equivalent of a half-day per week of work on the project for the 32-weeks of winter session (128 hours). Students' involvement in research projects may not be limited to one role, task, or activity (i.e., coding only, or interviewing only), and as much as possible, should allow students to become acquainted with both the substance and the processes of the research.
Option B: Members of the resident faculty or adjunct faculty teaching in the Ph.D. Program may offer the opportunity to one or more selected Ph.D. students to participate in a specific piece of faculty-directed research. Faculty members offering such opportunities will circulate descriptions of their projects during the summer so that affiliation decisions can be made before the winter session begins. The time demand on students shall be the equivalent of a half-day per week of work on the project for the 32-weeks of winter session (128 hours). Students' involvement in research projects may not be limited to one role, task, or activity (i.e., coding only, or interviewing only), and as much as possible, should allow students to become acquainted with both the substance and the processes of the research.
Option C: Any student or group of students may propose a student-generated project provided that the student(s) is able to recruit a qualified faculty member to supervise the project. The time demand on each student shall be the equivalent of a half-day per week of work on the project for the 32-weeks of winter session (128 hours). It is important to recognize that student generated projects often require more than a half-day per week involvement (128 hours) as the student is responsible for all aspects of the research project. The Director of the Ph.D. Program should be consulted before pursuing such a proposal.
For all options, responsibility rests with the student to identify, negotiate, and complete the research internship according to the procedure described here.
104.3 – Research Internship Proposal
(updated 2007, 2009)
A written proposal is submitted, describing the following content:
- Name of Student and Research Advisor
- The nature of the project
- The period of the student's affiliation with the project
- The learning goals for the internship experience
- The specific variety of activities in which the student will be involved
- The option selected for the research internship, and the name and credentials of the person who will serve as the student's mentor during the internship (If external to Smith SSW, this person's CV should be attached to the proposal.)
The proposal is submitted to the Ph.D. Program's Administrative Coordinator, and is reviewed by the Ph.D. Program's Director. If the Director approves the proposal, this is conveyed to the student in writing. The Research Internship must then be completed as described.
104.4 – Research Internship Report
At the completion of the Research Internship, the student must submit a written summary, describing what actually transpired during the internship and reflecting on what was and was not learned about research in the process.
This final report is to be sent to the Director of the PhD Program and copied to the Administrative Coordinator of the PhD Program (email@example.com).
The director will provide a letter to the student approving the completion of the Research Internship or requesting additional details for the report.
A Suggested Outline for Research Internship Report
- Name of student and name of research advisor
- Date of completion of Research Internship Report
- The title (or description) of the project, location of the project, and name of the supervisor
- The option selection for the research internship (Option A, Option B, or Option C – review section 104.2 for details of the three options)
- The nature of the project
- The period of the student’s affiliation with the project
- The learning goals for the internship experience and discussion of how each goal was met.
- The specific variety of activities in which the student was involved. Discussion of activities that were anticipated but not undertaken as well as additional activities that were undertaken should be included.
- Overall statement of the results of the research project (or results up to the point the student completed the internship.
104.5 – Faculty Support for the Research Internship
Responsibility for helping students plan for the Research Internship is a shared responsibility. Primary responsibility for guiding students in planning for the Research Internship rests with the Research Adviser. Monitoring of progress toward completion of the Research Internship is part of the FFA's role. Research Internship proposals and final reports are submitted to the Ph.D. Program's Administrative Coordinator when complete. Overall administration of the Research Internship, approval for the Research Internship proposal, and grading of the final Research Internship report is the responsibility of the Ph.D. Program's Director.
104.6 – Guidelines for Authorship, Ownership, & Acknowledgment
In negotiating the Research Internship, students may wish to discuss possible co-authorship within a research team. To help students understand how multiple authorship is negotiated and how it is related to the kinds of work undertaken, the School offers guidelines for collaborative student/faculty undertakings. (See Appendix D)
105.1 – Overview
The purpose of the comprehensive examination is to assess the student’s ability to apply, in an integrative fashion, knowledge from two or more areas of the curriculum (clinical theory, practice, policy, research or field) to an issue of significance to clinical social work (theory, practice, policy, research or field). The area selected is optimally, but not necessarily, one from which the student’s dissertation will arise. The yield of the comprehensive examination is an independent (i.e., sole authored or first authored) publication-quality manuscript based on new work; no previously published or presented work may be used for the comprehensive examination. The manuscript may be based upon a case study, a quantitative or qualitative research study, a critical or systematic review of the literature, or a theoretical paper. Implications for future practice and research must be included.
105.2 – Educational Objectives(updated 2017)
- Identify and articulate a topic of relevance and importance to clinical social work knowledge and practice;
- Conduct a formal review and critique of both the theoretical and empirical literature pertaining to the topic of study;
- Plan and report a conceptual framework orienting the proposed study;
- Identify and critique the limitations of the relevant literature and to articulate the research implications inherent in the literature; and
- Complete a clearly written and well-organized manuscript ready for publication conforming to the standard publication expectations of the target journal.
- Document proof of submission to the selected journal. (Acceptance of the manuscript for publication by the journal is not part of the comprehensive examination requirements; the educational intent is for the student to obtain additional feedback from the journal’s editorial reviewers.)
Each student will work with a research advisor in the development of the comprehensive exam. Students are no longer required to submit a comprehensive examination proposal to the PhD Program Director for approval. When the student has completed the comprehensive exam and the research advisor approves of its completion, the student will then submit the comprehensive examination to the PhD Program Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org) for an internal peer review process by a SSW faculty member. One faculty member will read a student’s comprehensive examination and evaluate the manuscript with the purpose of strengthening the manuscript for its submission to a journal. A rubric has been developed to aid faculty in this evaluation process. The examination is graded on a Pass, Marginal Pass, or Fail basis. The rubric has broad categories of Pass, Marginal Pass and Fail that would guide the faculty member in whether the student “passed” or not. The rubric is included in Appendix E of this PhD Program Handbook. If a student receives a Pass, the evaluator may still provide recommendations to strengthen the manuscript. If a student receives a “Marginal Pass” or “Fail”, the evaluator will support the student in making revisions (clarifying evaluator comments, reading revisions based on evaluator feedback, etc.).
The comprehensive examination manuscript may be submitted for approval up to three times. If a failing grade is assigned upon the third submission the student will be automatically dismissed from the program.
Finally, each student must document proof of submission of the comprehensive examination manuscript to the journal of their choosing after it has received a passing grade. This may take the form of a return receipt for post or an email message from the journal documenting receipt of the manuscript. The name and contact information for the target journal must be included along with a receipt date. These materials are to be submitted to the Ph.D. Program Coordinator (email@example.com).
As is customary in manuscripts submitted for publication, the manuscript should:
- Clearly identify the study question or topic;
- Include both an abstract of 150 words or fewer, clearly stating the core thesis or argument of the manuscript, and 3-5 keywords;
- Indicate the relevance and importance of the study to clinical social work;
- Identify a conceptual framework for the study (a conceptual framework provides one or more lenses through which the research problem is viewed. The lens can be a worldview, such as Marxism or democracy that informs a study; it can be one or more theories, such as those of Freud, Winnicott, Kohut or Kohlberg that explain certain phenomena in considerable detail; it can be research perspectives such as those of social psychologists, cognitive scientists, or economists; and it can be constructs used to conceptualize the phenomenon of interest (such as social isolation), and note how this conceptual framework will add to existing knowledge;
- Thoroughly review the relevant theoretical and empirical literature pertinent to the topic;
- Identify the strengths and limitations of prior theoretical and empirical literature;
- Clearly describe the data sources employed (case materials, theories, standpoints, qualitative or quantitative data);
- Analyze and discuss the yield of the analysis;
- Provide a discussion that integrates new data or findings with prior literature and/or empirical findings;
- Address implications for clinical practice and research, and policy if relevant;
- Use APA citation and language format, avoiding inappropriate language;
- Complete a well organized and clearly written manuscript of no more than 20 double-spaced pages in length, excluding figures/tables and references (length may differ based on the requirement of the student’ selected target journal).
- At the end of the final comprehensive examination manuscript, attach a bibliography of references that directly pertain to the student’s topic or dissertation. A minimum of twenty citations should be included in the bibliography.
- Clearly identify the journal to which the comprehensive exam will be submitted.
The final comprehensive examination manuscript is submitted by email to the Ph.D. Program Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org) for an internal peer review process by a SSW faculty member. Students may submit the manuscript at any time prior to the due date. However, time for review of comprehensive examination proposals and manuscripts is available only from September 15 through April 30. The School is unable to provide review time during the summer session. Evaluation of the comprehensive examination is the responsibility of the SSW faculty.
MANUSCRIPT DUE DATE: November 15th after the third summer.
Advising for the preparation of the comprehensive exam manuscript will be led by the student's Research Adviser (RA) assigned during the second summer of classes. During the first academic year, students are assigned the PhD Director as a Research Adviser to orient them to the comprehensive exam purpose and process. Students may choose to use informal consultation from other sources.
Additionally, second year students are required to participate in a Comprehensive Examination Seminar designed to support students’ completion of this manuscript. The seminar meets electronically four times a year. Post-Resident students are also encouraged to participate.
(revised 2019, 2020)
By the end of the first summer, each student is assigned a Research Adviser (RA), usually the Ph.D. Program Director, whose role is to orient students to the Research Internship and Comprehensive Examination requirements of the program. By the end of the second summer, each student is assigned a Research Advisor, usually a member of the School's resident faculty or adjunct faculty, whose role is to: (1) assist the student in developing a research internship plan; (2) assist the student in identifying and refining a preliminary area of study and preliminary plan for the dissertation; and (3) oversee completion of the comprehensive exam manuscript.
During the field internship periods, the RA will communicate with students by mail, telephone, and electronically. The specific nature of the work to be accomplished during the first internship period should be negotiated between the student and the RA, but should include preliminary identification of a topic for the comprehensive exam. During the second year internship period, the RA works with the student to complete the comprehensive exam.
Although the School is unable to support visits by the RA to their students, the RA will be available for in-person consultation if the student can come to the RA when schedules are mutually convenient. Summer meetings between student and RA may be possible during the summer period.
The RA is required to send periodic reports to the Ph.D. Program Director to document student progress.
The RA must provide approval of the comprehensive exam submission before it can go to the Ph.D. Program Coordinator for internal peer review.
Monitoring of progress toward completion of the comprehensive examination is part of the RA's role. Overall administration of the comprehensive exam and approval and grading of the final comprehensive exam manuscript is the responsibility of the Ph.D. Program Director.
Approval of the comprehensive examination manuscript is the responsibility of the Ph.D. Program Director. The research advisor will when making comments and deciding when the comprehensive examination is completed, take into consideration these factors when advising student on the comprehensive examination.
- Clarity, timeliness and importance of the study question or topic to clinical social work;
- Quality of the review of prior theoretical and empirical literature, including explicit attention to highly regarded publications in this area of study;
- Clarity and appropriateness of the conceptual framework of the study;
- Appropriateness and quality of data sources employed;
- Quality of data analysis employed;
- Coherence and quality of the discussion of the study yield;
- Clear statement of implications for clinical practice, policy and research;
- Quality of recommendations offered and their clear linkage to study data or findings, as well as avoidance of over-generalizing;
- Overall organization and coherence of the manuscript;
- Clarity of writing;
- Consistency with social work values and ethics; and
- Fit of manuscript to APA formatting conventions (or the conventions of the target journal, if other than APA).
When the RA has indicated that the comprehensive examination is complete, the student may then submit the comprehensive examination to the PhD Program Coordinator (email@example.com) for review by a SSW faculty member. One faculty member will read a student’s comprehensive examination and evaluate the paper in a way to prepare the student for submission to a journal. A rubric has been developed to aid faculty in this evaluation process (rubric is in Appendix E). The Comprehensive Examination is graded on a Pass, Marginal Pass, or Fail basis. The rubric has broad categories of Pass, Marginal Pass and Fail that would guide the faculty member in whether the student “passed” or not.
If a student receives a Pass, the evaluator may still have recommendations to strengthen the manuscript.
If a student receives a “Marginal Pass” or “Fail”, the evaluator will support the student in making revisions (clarifying evaluator comments, reading revisions based on evaluator feedback, etc.). The comprehensive examination manuscript may be submitted for approval up to three times. If a failing grade is assigned upon the third submission the student will be automatically dismissed from the program.
Finally, each student must document proof of submission of the comprehensive examination manuscript to the journal of their choosing after it has received a passing grade. This may take the form of a return receipt for post or an email message documenting receipt of the manuscript. The name and contact information for the target journal must be included along with a receipt date. These materials are to be submitted to the Ph.D. Program Coordinator.
Guided educational opportunities are developed for Session IV and/or Session V based on individual learning needs, talents, interests, and career objectives, in which students develop a laboratory for teaching, whether it be classroom teaching, supervision, field advising, or consultation. Students explore the possibilities with their instructor in the Session III education course, and with their FFAs and the director of the Ph.D. program. Students interested in classroom teaching may be able to arrange their third summer schedule to include a supervised experience in classroom teaching. This is dependent upon whether opportunities are available at the School that correspond to the student's qualifications. Interested students should consult with the director of the Ph.D. program.
107.1 – Overview
An independent research or scholarly project relevant to clinical social work is required of all Ph.D. students. Through completion of this project, students demonstrate their capacity to contribute to the development and dissemination of knowledge for the profession. Completion of the dissertation is the academic project that marks the transition from student to scholar.
107.2 –Standards for the Dissertation Project
The dissertation project is expected to be a defensible, original inquiry into an issue of potential professional relevance. It is not essential that a project succeed in clarifying an issue, only that it constitutes a well-grounded attempt to illuminate a matter of relevance. (Quality standards for evaluating the dissertation may be found on Moodle "Dissertation Planning Guide.")
- Students are expected to demonstrate mastery of relevant prior work that has bearing on the substantive issue, an informed selection of relevant study methodology and a strategy for inquiry, the effective conduct of the study as outlined in the proposal, and a grasp of the results of this inquiry and their connection to prior knowledge. Normally, experience in the conduct of research clarifies the aptness of certain choices and the pitfalls of other choices. It is expected that students develop a balanced perspective on their project and succeed in making the results of it clearly and conveniently available to an interested audience.
- Responsibility for the initiation, design, conduct, and defense of the dissertation project rests with students. The School undertakes to assist students in meeting these responsibilities through provisions intended to enhance the productive use of students' time and to support their learning and achievement. In addition to maintaining continuity in advising, we attempt to provide students with ready access to advisery and committee assistance and with expeditious review of written material. Through these and other means, the Program attempts to assist students in timely completion of dissertation work. While students are expected to take advantage of opportunities available in the Program for pursuit of their dissertations, the success of the enterprise is viewed in terms of active, ongoing learning achievements and the ultimate completion of a defensible inquiry, rather than in terms of a time interval.
- The time limit on dissertation work is five years from completion of Session V. This limit is meant to aid the timely completion of the project, not to undermine the educational function of the dissertation project or compromise the project's integrity. Specific information about time limits may be found in the section (following) on Extensions for Dissertation Work.
107.3 – Guidelines for Authorship, Ownership, & Acknowledgment
The School offers guidelines for collaborative student/faculty undertakings. (see Appendix D)
107.4 – Supports for the Dissertation Project
The Ph.D. Program supports students' development and completion of the dissertation project in several ways.
- The first is through the series of required research courses that provide the foundation of knowledge needed both to assess the prior work of others and to develop work of one's own. In particular, a dissertation design seminar is offered in the third summer. (In those instances where a student is well along in the preparation of a proposal by the second summer, the dissertation design seminar may be taken then, with permission from the director.)
- Secondly, a Research Adviser (RA) is assigned to each student.
- Finally, a dissertation committee is appointed for each student to assist in the development of a dissertation proposal and in completion of the dissertation.
a) The Research Adviser (RA)
The role of the RA is covered more fully in this Handbook in the section on the Comprehensive Exam. Briefly, one role of the RA is to assist the student in identifying and refining a preliminary area of study and preliminary plan for the dissertation.
b) Post-Residcency Dissertation Advisement
Post-residency students are encouraged to keep in touch with the RA through phone calls, written communications, and in-person visits so as to advance toward completing their dissertation. The School cannot support travel by RAs to visit with students. However, contact is encouraged, as needed, between students and faculty members who are visiting in the student's geographic area.
c) The Dissertation Committee
- The dissertation committee consists of a minimum of three people: a chair and at least two members. It is required that each person on the committee bring expertise in some significant aspect of the proposed work. At least one member of the committee must have methodological expertise in either qualitative or quantitative research.
- The dissertation chair must have an earned Ph.D., and it is preferable, though not necessary, that committee members have earned Ph.D. degrees and hold at least the rank of an Associate Professor with tenure. While the chair is often a member of the School's resident faculty, with approval of the School, appropriately qualified members of the adjunct faculty (i.e., Adjunct Instructors, Faculty Field Advisers, or Research Advisers), or persons who are recruited specifically for a role on the committee, may serve.
- One member of the committee may be a person not otherwise serving in a faculty role at Smith. If the chair is not a member of the School's resident faculty, then both committee members must be. Occasional exceptions to this policy can be made by petition to the director. Dissertation chairs not on the School's resident faculty are paid an annual small honorarium by the School. The School also pays a nominal honorarium to outside committee members when they have read the dissertation proposal and the dissertation report.
- Students are responsible for identifying and recruiting the chair and the members of their dissertation committee. Because the chair usually functions as the principal adviser for the work, it is generally prudent to recruit the chair first, and then to consult with her/him about possible committee members. The student's RA may or may not be the logical person to work as dissertation chair, depending on the goodness of fit between the dissertation content area and the RA's areas of interest and expertise. The RA and the program director are both available to consult with students about the composition of their dissertation committees.
- Request for approval of the dissertation committee must be made by the student in writing. This request must be sent to the director of the program prior to finalization and defense of the dissertation proposal. Outside committee chairs or committee members are asked to furnish a curriculum vita prior to appointment. As a matter of policy, the program's director serves as ex-officio member of the dissertation committee. Only after approval of the comprehensive examination may students make their request for approval of the dissertation committee. Typically, the research internship is completed before the start of dissertation work.
- The chair of the dissertation committee oversees the dissertation proposal and dissertation process. Students should consult with the chair about all aspects of the dissertation process, beginning with the formulation of a researchable question, the development of a research methodology, data collection, data analysis, and writing the dissertation. Typically, the chair coordinates and discusses with other committee members (during, and in some cases, prior to the scheduled defense) the student's completed work.
- A cover sheet recording the composition and approval of the dissertation chair and all committee members, including the program director, must be attached to, and submitted to the School with each completed dissertation proposal and dissertation report. A model for the cover sheet may be found on Moodle 999.
d) Working with the Chair and the Committee
Chairs may work differently. In preparation for a proposal review, some Chairs may wish to involve all committee members; others may prefer to work principally with the student, bringing members into the process when the proposal is nearly ready for review. Issues of working style are part of what students should consider when selecting a chair.
The ways students and chairs work together will vary. Student and chair should develop a working relationship that accommodates the needs of both. Establishing a reasonable working relationship may begin with clarification with the chair and committee members about how you should work with each other. Students might ask questions regarding:
- How frequently there should be contact between the chair and the student;
- Whether the chair prefers to review whole drafts of chapters, relatively polished drafts, or smaller chunks of less well-formed writing;
- What might be a reasonable time frame within which the student could expect to receive comments from the chair;
- What kind of feedback the student would find most helpful at different stages of the writing process;
- How the chair would prefer to work with committee members.
Keep your chair informed about your progress. Chairs can be most helpful if they know what you are working on, what problems you are experiencing, and the progress you have made. Some students see their dissertation committees for the proposal hearing and then never see them again until the final dissertation defense. Other students prefer more frequent contact. It may be appropriate to request a consultation with the full dissertation committee when the student is floundering. Committee members might offer very helpful suggestions for overcoming some of the obstacles in completing a dissertation.
107.5 – Proposal Hearing & Dissertation Defense
The School uses an in-person dissertation proposal hearing and dissertation defense. The purpose of the proposal hearing is to permit direct interaction between students and committee members as they discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the work. The dissertation defense also centers on critical appraisal of the work, as well as offering an opportunity for students to describe and explain their work to an audience of interested and knowledgeable professionals.
No funding is available from the School to cover travel expenses associated with the conduct of dissertation proposal hearings or dissertation defenses. While in-person meetings are optimal for dissertation proposal hearings and dissertation defenses, the use of technologies such as video conferencing and conference calling are allowed to contain costs. This will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis with the dissertation committee chair. In particular, in-person participation for the dissertation defense is expected unless exigent circumstances are negotiated with the chair.
Dissertation proposal hearings are scheduled to meet the availability of the committee and the student. They are typically not open events. Dissertation defenses are traditionally open events to the SSW professional community. Family and friends are not permitted to attend. The Ph.D. Program Coordinator will email all resident faculty regarding the date, time, and location of defenses. Professional colleagues in the SSW professional community are expected to conform to the procedures described in this Handbook (which specifies that some parts of the defense are closed).
a) Scheduling the Proposal Hearing or Dissertation Defense
The dissertation chair, with consultation and assistance from the student, has the responsibility for scheduling and chairing the proposal hearing or dissertation defense. These take about 2 hours. Keep in mind that neither proposal hearings nor dissertation defenses can be accommodated by the School between June 1st and September 1st. During this period, faculty is not available to review or participate in defense hearings because they are preparing for and teaching summer courses at the School, and preparing follow-up work related to Summer Session.
Meetings may be scheduled to occur almost anytime between the beginning of September and the end of May, excepting the last week of the year, when the College is closed.
Prior to the scheduled proposal hearing or dissertation defense, the student has the responsibility of providing copies of the work to all members of the committee, including the program director.
b) Procedure of the Proposal Hearing or Dissertation Defense
Both meetings begin with the student waiting outside the room while the committee chair and members consult with each other about the issues they will wish to have discussed and the questions they will wish to ask. The student is then invited into the room and begins by offering an overview of the work. Committee members then ask their questions of the student. In the dissertation defense, the Committee Chair will invite questions from other interested participants, as appropriate. Overall, the presentation and discussion takes about an hour. At its conclusion the student, as well as any invited guests, are asked to leave the room while committee members again consult with each other. Finally, the student is invited back into the room to hear the committee's comments and its decision as to whether or not the work is to be accepted as written.
c) Signing Off on the Proposal or the Dissertation
The committee's decision is recorded by the chair on the cover sheet of the dissertation proposal or dissertation by checking the appropriate box and entering the date of the meeting. This part of the process is completed with committee members signing their names on the cover sheet above their typed-in names. It is the student's responsibility to see that all signatures have been obtained on the cover sheet, and that the signed cover sheet is returned to the Program's Coordinator. The student should retain a copy of the signed cover sheet for his/her own records. Model cover sheets for the dissertation proposal and the dissertation may be found on Moodle 999.
d) Follow-up to the Dissertation Defense or the Proposal Hearing
The decision of the committee may be to accept the work as is, accept the work pending minor or more extensive revisions, or reject the work. Should the committee require any revisions of the work, the Committee Chair will send a letter/email to the student outlining the required revisions. This letter/email will also be copied to the Program’s Coordinator. These revisions should be accomplished by the student, in consultation with the chair, in the manner and within the timeframe set by the committee. Regarding the dissertation proposal, once any required revisions have been completed, a finalized copy of the revised dissertation proposal should be emailed by the student to the Program’s Coordinator. Proposals are kept on file at the School and are made available for review by Ph.D. students and faculty. Instructions regarding submission to the School of the finalized dissertation are available online on Moodle 999.
If the committee accepts the proposal with extensive revisions requiring another full committee review and rejects the work for a second time, the student will be automatically dismissed from the Program.
107.6 – Developing the Dissertation Proposal
The development of a dissertation proposal or prospectus offers Ph.D. students an opportunity to pursue a special professional interest in depth and to acquire the skills necessary for undertaking independent scholarship or research. Research and scholarly activities that contribute to an evolving body of verified, synthesized, and communicable knowledge vary greatly in method. The School's general objective for the proposal allows wide scope for both area and style of study. Choice of method will depend, in part, on the state of knowledge in the subject area selected. Topic is limited only to those with demonstrable relevance to clinical social work. Method and its suitability to the topic is determined by the dissertation committee.
a) Selecting a Subject
It is suggested that you select a subject you believe to be important and about which you would like to know more. Bear in mind that every study effort is selective and that no study effort is definitive. Consequently, in developing the focus of your effort, you should be prepared to narrow the scope of your study area so that you can formulate a specific problem for investigation that can contribute to knowledge that is useful for practice. The narrowing of a study effort may occur through deliberate selection on the part of the student based on interest or hunch about what is more important or valuable about the subject. Of course, narrowing of a research effort can be most coherently attained by making use of what is already known about the area. The knowledge about any study area you are likely to find helpful will probably include the following:
Clinical and Theoretical Literature. Reports of practice or theoretical papers in which some attempt is made to abstract concepts about practice problems may be useful.
Research Studies. It is difficult to find a subject in relation to which some prior study has not been attempted. The most closely related studies should be used.
Clinical Experience. It is possible to collect the experience of skilled practitioners who are in a position to have thoughts about a study area. Do not exclude your own experience as a resource in the process of isolating significant focal points within an area.
b) Refining the Study Issue
The kinds of questions to bear in mind include the following. About what points is there general agreement and where do differences lie in the literature and/or experience? What aspects of a problem are not adequately explained by the literature or experience-based observations? Are there any clues about possible explanation of processes that lie in the fringe areas of knowledge?
After locating a productive and specific professional issue or question, plan to re-examine sources of insight into this topic. That is, plan to review the clinical and research literature as well as clinical experience from the standpoint of the tentative explanations that are suggested from this material. It would be usual to complete more focused reading and review of experience after a highly specific issue is located than would be possible prior to that time. During this review, attention should be given to the evidence consistent or inconsistent with specific explanations or hypotheses. You may be able to assemble and weigh the evidence in relation to a single hypothesis, or you may instead identify the tenability of a series of alternate explanations for a clinical event, question, or issue.
Once having formulated the specific study issue you intend to address, you will want to consider the most feasible method for carrying out the proposed study - the design strategy. Thus, you will have to consider the type of research that you propose for the study and the procedures you propose to use in sample selection, data collection, the measurement of the major variables, and the data analysis.
c) Planning the Proposal Document
A proposal is a working document intended to help in the process of developing productive research. The proposal provides an intellectual and methodological roadmap for the proposed study. Only by attempting to orchestrate an inviting study issue, an accessible study opportunity, and effective study means, can the promise of a plan be appraised. And only by attempting to synthesize the components of a total plan can one foresee its problems. The proposal is thus expected to serve as a stimulus for consideration of the choices it expresses and their alternatives in order to progress toward the goal of an effective project. In planning and conducting further development work, in weighing elaborations or revisions to the proposal, the student has an opportunity to exercise substantial initiative. The following outline identifies matters that normally require some treatment in a proposal. It is not necessarily expected that all be developed in comparable detail. Indeed, brevity consonant with clarity should be sought. If you would like consultation of a faculty member or others in advancing your planning effort, the proposal should provide the basis for an informed review of your thinking.
Statement of the Study Issue. The statement of the study issue is the most important component of a study. It tells the reader (1) the issue, problem or concern the study addresses, (2) why it is important, (3) how the study will answer some part of the problem, issue, or concern, and (4) briefly describes the evidence from the literature of practical experience that justifies the study issue. State the central focus of the study in as few words as possible (in 250 words or less). It is best to capture the study issue in a single sentence. Then clarify and elaborate so that a reader can grasp the subject of the proposed inquiry.
Rationale. The rationale is an articulation of the reasons why the proposed study should be conducted. It places your research in a context that clarifies why it should be done (e.g., its importance or urgency). Provide some information about the current conditions or positive consequences of the proposed research by explaining the contribution this research will make to general knowledge or the need for your research data to further work in this area, etc.
Specific Aims. In one to two pages, state one or two clearly focused aims. The aims should be specific, measurable and time-phased objectives. Indicate how these aims relate to the research plan (e.g., the aim of the study is to describe; to compare; to explore; to predict, to develop or to conceptualize theory, etc.).
Prior Relevant Work. All good research and scholarship start with a thorough examination of the literature. Attention should be directed to both theoretical material related to the topic and to prior investigations bearing on it. Rather than simply cataloging the work of others, present your analysis of it. Make clear its scope and limitations for illuminating the issue of concern.
Method. This section should include a description of the general plan and design of the study, and the basis for its choice. Projects with substantial empirical emphasis should identify the data source, sampling techniques, and size of the sample envisioned, the method and procedures by which the student expects to secure the data, and the procedures to be followed in analyzing the data. Ethical issues and the measures employed to address them must be addressed. For projects not emphasizing the collection of original data, an outline of the proposed course of work should be offered. Be as clear and as explicit as possible in describing the methods to be used.
Feasibility. It is important to determine whether the resources needed for the pursuit of a project exist and are accessible. An efficient way to investigate the feasibility of the plan is to try it out. Experience in attempting to implement a plan often serves quickly to identify the unanticipated problems; part of design work is charting a course around such obstacles.
It may not be possible at this stage to clarify every part of the plan in full. However, it is useful to attempt to specify as far as possible the plan in its entirety so as to identify the aspects that need further work. For the aspects of the plan that cannot be specified, the statement of design should indicate the procedure by which clarity about these matters can be achieved.
d) Preparing the Proposal Document
Students are expected to follow the instructions available on Moodle, describing "Preparing the Dissertation Manuscript." to have proper scholarly citations for their dissertation proposal literature review in accordance with the instructions contained in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition., 2009). Refer also to the dissertation sample pages/templates and worksheet for submission on Moodle.
107.7 – Human Subjects Review
All dissertation projects must be reviewed for conformance with current ethical standards in the conduct of research. The Institutional Review Board (IRB) process generally takes place after the dissertation proposal has been approved, but must occur before any sample members are contacted or any data are collected. If the sample is to be independently recruited, the student must secure review and approval of the research proposal through Smith College’s federally constituted Institutional Review Board (IRB). If the study sample is to be drawn from an agency or other institution, the student has the responsibility of securing review and approval first from the study site and then from the College’s IRB. Please contact Sherry Wingfield, Program Coordinator of the Smith College IRB at (413) 585-3562 or firstname.lastname@example.org to indicate your plans to prepare an IRB application and receive updated information on the application process.
The purpose of the institutional review (Human Subjects Review) is to weigh potential risks to participants in relation to potential benefits that may be gained from the research. Data collection procedures should be designed to reduce risks to participants, and consent issues should be handled so as to ensure that participants are free from coercion and informed when they are first approached about the nature of their participation and about the risks and benefits of participation. Confidentiality is usually a major issue to be addressed in reducing risks. The Dissertation Committee Chair can assist in the IRB process and may be required to document his or her supervision of the project in some settings.
The procedures described in the IRB application, once approved, cannot be altered significantly without re-review. Once a project is approved, you, as the researcher, have entered into a contract with the reviewing institution to conduct the research in the manner described, and all terms of the contract, including details of the storage of data and feedback to participants, must be fully honored. Requirements and procedures for obtaining approval on research using human subjects may be found on the Smith College Institutional Review Board website - https://www.smith.edu/irb/
This information is also available on the SSW999 Moodle course for Dissertation and Post Residency Resources.
107.8 – The Dissertation Manuscript
(updated 2009, 2010, 2013)
Normally dissertation manuscripts consist of five basic chapters that include an introductory, literature review, methods, findings, and discussion chapter. Complete guidelines for the dissertation manuscript are found online on Moodle. In general, the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th Edition., 2009) is the reference to be used on matters of form and style for the dissertation proposal and dissertation manuscript. As the APA Manual indicates, however, certain adaptations to its standards are desirable when preparing a dissertation manuscript. This is because the dissertation is a final copy. Unlike a manuscript that is being prepared for publication in a journal or book, the dissertation manuscript will be published as is. The guidelines provided on Moodle give the standards for preparing Ph.D. dissertations at Smith, identifying how they are consistent with, and differ from, APA article format.
If the committee accepts the dissertation with extensive revisions requiring another full committee review, and rejects the work for a second time, the student will be automatically dismissed from the Program.
107.9 – Dissertation Deadlines
The School has established a time limit on dissertation work of 5 years following completion of the final academic session (Session V). To be eligible for award of the Ph.D. degree at the School's August commencement, completed dissertations must be submitted to the School no later than May 31st. Finalized manuscripts must be submitted no later than July 1st. If the committee requires revisions to the dissertation, these must be completed in time for the manuscript to be sent to the School by the June 1st deadline. Students unable to meet the April 15th deadline may submit their completed dissertations no later than November 1st, with final manuscripts to be sent to the School no later than December 15th.
a) Extensions for Dissertation Work
(updated 2009, 2010, 2020)
Ph.D. candidates in good standing with the School who have not completed their dissertation within 5 years following completion of Session V may petition the School for an extension. A written request for extension is to be addressed to the program director. The request should detail any extenuating circumstances and, most importantly, should outline the progress that has been achieved toward completion of the dissertation. Normally, it is evidence of progress in the work that is deemed most important in determining whether or not an extension should be granted.
Extensions are granted for only one year at a time, and must be received at the School by March 1st. Students who have not submitted their extension request by that date will be withdrawn from the Program.
A total of no more than 3 extensions may be granted. If the dissertation has not been completed by that time, action will be taken to withdraw the student from the Program.
b) Billing during the Post-Residency Period
Refer to the FINANCIAL MATTERS section of this Handbook (section 600)
- Fees & Expenses (600.3)
- Post-Residency Enrollment Fees (600.4)
- Waiver of Post-Residency Enrollment Fees during Leave of Absence (600.5)
200.1 – Class Attendance
Class attendance and the honoring of deadlines for written work are central to the learning process. It is the student's responsibility to inform an instructor if a problem is anticipated, and to develop with the instructor a plan acceptable to the instructor for meeting the student's academic responsibility.
200.2 – Grading Policy
General criteria for award of grades are determined by the Doctoral Program faculty. Criteria are communicated by the director to summer instructors, who will inform the class at the first meeting as to how the criteria are to be applied in the course. Instructors are expected, at that time, to inform students specifically as to the nature and timing of the evaluative tools to be used in grading, the requirements for class attendance and participation, and any other criteria the instructor intends to use. Criteria for grading will be put in writing and distributed to students.
200.3 – Grading Structure
PASS (P). Used for performance falling in the range from exceptional, outstanding meritorious achievement to adequate, acceptable graduate level mastery of course content.
MARGINAL PASS (MP). Used for performance falling below expected graduate level mastery of course content. Given that our summer academic sessions utilize many part-time faculty from varied backgrounds and academic systems, it is necessary to indicate clearly that MP should be viewed as the equivalent of work in the "C" category in a graded graduate system.
FAIL (F). Used for performance that fails to demonstrate creditable mastery of course content.
INCOMPLETE (I). Used for incomplete work.
200.4 – Evaluative Measures & Academic Warnings
- The School requires instructors to use two or more graded assignments. In a 10-week course, the instructor shall assign at least three graded assignments, one during the first 5 weeks. Thus, any grade below P on a first assignment shall serve as notice to students that a passing grade is in jeopardy.
- In a 5-week course, whenever feasible, the instructor shall assess on-going performance as early as possible to identify problems before the final assignment. If there are reasons to be concerned about a student's performance at any time before the final assignment, the instructor shall notify the student and make clear the nature of the concerns. Upon notification, it is the responsibility of the student to initiate a discussion with the instructor about ways to address the concerns in future work. The instructor shall also notify the Doctoral Program director.
- A student's academic performance shall be assessed on the basis of evidence of: (1) mastery of course content; (2) ability to conceptualize; (3) timeliness of work; (4) evidence of preparation; (5) evidence of critical thinking; (6) integration across the curriculum; (7) evidence of creativity and originality; (8) writing skills; and (9) appropriate professional behavior.
- In making assignments, instructors are to bear in mind the constraints of the 5-week term and the intensity of the educational experience. Using the School's grading policy, they are expected to assign grades on the basis of a critical and fair assessment of the student's work. It is the right of the instructor to assign the grade he or she deems reflective of the student's performance.
200.5 – Grade Requirements for Required & Elective Courses
- A final grade of MP in any course will be regarded as an occasion for review of the student's learning needs.
- A grade of F in any required course would disallow a student from continuing in the Program.
- A grade of F in an elective course will mean that the student must consult with the Registrar regarding deficiencies in course credit. A student may receive no more than one F in an elective course and remain in the Program.
200.6 – Grading for Ten-Week Courses
Most academic courses are 5 weeks (one term) in length. Some are 10 weeks (two terms) in length, and are graded once at the end of the 10-week period. The final grade for a 10-week course shall be recorded on the transcript in each of the two terms. Thus, a grade of MP in a 10-week course will be the equivalent of two MPs and will be so recorded on the transcript.
200.7 – Final Grade of Marginal Pass or Failure
It is the policy of the School to advise students of problems in their academic standing when these become evident. When feasible, faculty will offer early notification about performance falling below acceptable standards and will attempt to help students meet course criteria. In 5-week courses, when substantial weight is carried by the final assignment, prior notification of problems in standing may not be possible. In such instances, lack of prior notification shall not be grounds for an appeal of a grade based on failure or due process.
It is the student's responsibility to attend to academic performance criteria, to monitor his/her own learning performance against these standards, to identify problems in meeting course criteria, and to initiate timely efforts to address them.
- Normally, instructors contemplating giving a MP or F grade shall consult with the program director. However, it is the final responsibility of the instructor to determine a grade and to document for the student the reason for a grade of MP or F.
- Students will be notified of final grades of MP or F through the Office of the Registrar.
- Over the 26 months of Doctoral Program residency, a student may receive up to two (2) MPs in a required course; a subsequent third grade of MP or F in a required course will result in dismissal from the Program.
- In non-required courses, a student may receive up to two (2) MPs and one (1) F, or three (3) MPs, and still remain in good standing. Any subsequent additional MP or F grade will result in dismissal from the Program.
- A student who receives a fourth grade of MP or lower in any combination will be dismissed from the Program.
200.8 – Incomplete Work
A grade of Incomplete indicates that no credit will be granted until the work in question has been completed satisfactorily. Assignment of this grade by an instructor must be accompanied by a written explanation addressed to the dean or director, and a date by which the incomplete work is due. Normally, work must be completed by the beginning of the field internship period following the summer session. If the due date passes without an additional extension agreed upon by the instructor and the director, in writing, the incomplete will become an F.
200.10 – Grade Changes
Normally, grades may not be changed after they have been submitted to the Registrar. Under special circumstances, an instructor may submit a written request and explanation to the dean or program director for a change of grade. Generally, all such requests should be made within one week of the submission of the instructor's grade report.
200.11 – Grading the Clinical Internship
(updated 2005, 2011, 2020)
The clinical internship carries academic credit, with grades assigned on a Pass/MP/Fail basis. A grade of MP for the first clinical internship session initiates a meeting of the student’s learning process involving the student, the Faculty Field Advisor and the clinical director (or Program Director). A plan for extended time in the clinical internship experience for the student to successfully meet first year learning goals will be developed. The student may be permitted to participate in session 3 (second academic session). The student must receive a Pass in their first year clinical internship.
A student receiving a grade of F in either of the two clinical internship sessions would not be permitted to continue on to the next following academic session, but would be given an opportunity to repeat the failed clinical internship session. A second grade of MP or F in clinical internship would be grounds for dismissal from the Program.
For the 1st year clinical internship, the final grade is made up of three components: (1) the actual clinical internship session; (2) the written clinical qualifying exam; and (3) the oral clinical qualifying exam.
The written clinical qualifying exam is given at the end of the 1st year fieldwork session. The oral clinical qualifying exam is given at the end of the 1st year fieldwork session or in December of the 2nd year. Both exams, as well as the clinical internship component, must be passed before a student's transcript will show a grade of Pass for the 1st year clinical internship.
300.1 – Role and Function(updated 2019)
The function of the Academic and Clinical Internship Performance Standing Committee for the PhD Program is to serve as the body before which all issues pertaining to the academic and clinical internship performance, and personal and professional conduct of PhD students shall come for hearing and disposition. Class attendance, honoring deadlines for written work, meeting curriculum criteria to receive a passing grade, and meeting the academic and field requirements of the clinical internship are central to the learning process. It is the student’s responsibility to inform an instructor, FFA or clinical supervisor if a problem is anticipated, and to develop with the instructor, FFA or clinical supervisor a plan acceptable to the instructor, FFA or clinical supervisor for meeting the student’s academic responsibility.
300.2 – Committee Composition
The Committee shall be composed of the following voting membership:
- The member of the full-time faculty who holds the position of Director of the Ph.D. program;
- One resident faculty member appointed by the Dean for a two-year period (optional);
- One part-time faculty member appointed by the Dean for a period of 3 years initially and 3 years thereafter; and
- The Faculty Field Adviser (FFA);
- One student, elected by the PhD Student Body for a term of one year. (One PhD student each from the first year, second year and third year cohorts – will be identified to serve in this role. It is necessary to identify several student options for this role as someone from the same cohort as the student under review may not be able to provide an unbiased hearing or may be placed in a challenging position. Only one of these three students will sit on the committee for the review process).
The position of Chair of all Review processes shall be appointed by the Associate Dean, and shall be a voting member only in the case of a tie vote.
In the event of a vacancy, conflict of interest, or the unavailability of a member, the Associate Dean may appoint a substitute member.
A quorum of the Committee shall be four (4) voting members, including the student member. If a quorum of the Committee is present, the vote of a majority of the members present shall be the vote of the Committee.
The Chair may invite other persons involved in the student's learning (for example, a supervisor or course instructor) to attend the Review as non-voting participants.
The student may request to have one Ph.D. student or faculty advocate of their choice, who is a member of the School community in good standing to participate as a non-voting observer. If a student does not wish to have an advocate, they will sign a release waiving that right.
The Committee shall meet on an ad hoc basis in response to issues raised about the standing of any Ph.D. student.
300.3– Review of a Student's Clinical Internship Performance
A student's clinical internship performance is subject to ongoing and shared assessment by the student's supervisor and Faculty Field Adviser (FFA) as outlined in this Program Handbook, and, if it is felt by the supervisor, the Program Director. If it is decided that a Review is not needed, the director will inform the requesting person, the Associate Dean, and other appropriate parties of alternative actions.
If it is decided that a Review is appropriate, the director will notify the Associate Dean (Chair of the Committee). The Associate Dean may proceed on the basis of such notice, or, alternatively, may designate a faculty member to investigate the concerns identified, and to report back to them. After reviewing the report, the Associate Dean will decide whether to proceed to a Review.
When a Review is called, the Chair will notify the Committee and the student of the date and location of the review. The Chair shall stipulate in writing to the student whether the Review is for personal, academic, professional, or a combination of performance reasons. They shall also send written notification to the student outlining the areas of concern. Because of the nature of the Review and its importance to the student and agency, the Review will be scheduled as soon as possible. The student will be requested to submit a written statement, including representative case material, in response to the notification by the Chair, or a written waiver of the right to submit such a response. The written statement or signed waiver must be received by the Chair at least one week in advance of the Review. If the situation demands, the Chair may allow a shorter time.
At the time the student submits the written statement or signed waiver, the student may request that an advocate of their choice, who shall be a member of the School community in good standing, be present at the Review as a non-voting observer.
The role of the student's advocate is to observe whether procedures are followed, and whether they feel that all relevant materials and points of view have been heard. If they feel that either of these requirements has not been met, they should inform the Chair. The advocate may also make a statement on behalf of the student, and may stay for the Committee's discussion. While the advocate may not reveal any of the content of the Committee's discussion, they may report to the student or, with permission of the student, to any part of the School community, their assessment regarding whether the discussion was fair and open and whether appropriate guidelines were followed.
a) Student's Clinical Internship Performance
If a student withdraws rather than participate in a Review, the transcript will read "Withdrawn." The student may request permission from the Associate Dean to Withdraw or to take a Leave of Absence (LOA). The Associate Dean will consider the request in conjunction with the director and one other full-time faculty member on the Committee. If a LOA is granted, conditions may be specified in writing that must be fulfilled in order for the student to return to the Program. The Associate Dean, in conjunction with the director and a full-time member of the Committee, will determine whether conditions have been successfully met when the student petitions to return to the Program.
b) Review Procedures
- Before the commencement of the Review, the voting members of the committee shall meet to define the function and focus of the Review.
- The Review will then proceed, and will include the student, supervisor, FFA, student's advocate, and other participants invited by the Chair. The Review will start with a field overview presented by the director, or a faculty member designated by the Dean in the summer.
- The order of presentation will be determined by the Chair and include adequate time for the student to speak on their own behalf. Members of the Committee, the student, and the student advocate shall have reasonable opportunities to direct questions to each presenter.
- After the issues have been discussed to the satisfaction of the Committee and all participants, the supervisor will be asked to leave that portion of the Review. Whoever presents the material and concerns prompting the Review will then give an overview of the student's performance in the Program at large. The student will have a chance to respond. Ordinarily, this should be a brief part of the Review. The student and FFA will then be asked to leave.
- The proceedings of the Review up to point (D) above, shall be tape recorded. Subsequent Committee discussion shall not be tape-recorded. The tape, or copy thereof, shall be available to the Committee and, on request, to the student and the student's advocate. The part of the Committee proceedings that include the student shall be audio taped and available to any member of the Committee, the student, and the advocate. The discussion that follows, which does not include the student or those persons bringing the concerns, shall be confidential and shall not be tape-recorded. Notes, however, may be kept by the Dean's office.
- The Committee will review the student's performance based upon the statements and written materials presented during the tape-recorded portion of the Review. The Committee will review the student's performance based on the statements of the director, the supervisor, the FFA, the student, and the representative case material submitted by the supervisor and student (if applicable).
- The School will make a good faith effort to identify for the student in writing, in advance, all areas of concern to be considered by the Committee. However, the Committee may act on the basis of material presented at the time of the Review, which may raise other concerns.
- On the basis of the Review, the committee will take one of the following courses of action:
(a) The Committee may determine that the student's performance is satisfactory and does not warrant action on the part of the Committee.
(b) The Committee may mandate a Leave of Absence, including a medical Leave of Absence, and outline the goals to be achieved during the Leave.
(c) The Committee may send a written statement to the student outlining the deficiencies in performance and the requirements necessary to remedy these deficits. The statement will advise the student that their performance will be reviewed again at a follow-up Review. The student will also be advised of the month in which the follow-up Review will occur.
(d) The Committee may dismiss the student or institute a probationary period.
(e) The Committee may determine that a student has failed to complete the learning objectives for clinical internship and, in assigning a grade of "incomplete," may mandate a defined period of additional field experience.
- The Chair of the Committee shall meet with the student and, if the student wishes, with the student's advocate to discuss the Committee's findings and decisions. The Chair may ask another Committee member to participate in this meeting. The Chair shall advise the student in writing of the decision of the Committee, and the student's right to appeal to the Dean. The presenter of the material and the concerns prompting the Review shall advise the supervisor and FFA of the Committee's findings. The decision of the Committee will be retained in the student's permanent record.
The student, any member of the Committee, and any other participant in the Review who believes the decision of the Committee lacks due process may petition the Dean to appeal within seven (7) days after the written notice to the student is issued by the Associate Dean.
d) Students on Probation
If a student's work is to be re-reviewed, or if the student has been placed on probation: (1) The supervisor and the FFA will be responsible for submitting a written progress report and current assessment of the student's performance to the director, and to the student, at least one week in advance of the second meeting of the Committee; and (2) The student will be responsible for submitting a written assessment of their performance, or a signed waiver of that right, to the director, at least one week in advance of the meeting. At the same time, the student may ask to have an advocate of their choice, who is a member of the School community in good standing, present at the second meeting as a non-voting observer.
At the second meeting, the Committee will review the statement of the director, supervisor, FFA, and student (if applicable), and make one of the following decisions:
- Determine that the deficiencies have been remedied.
- Determine that the deficiencies have not been remedied and institute a probationary period, or extend the previous probationary period, until the next scheduled meeting of the Committee. If the student is placed on probation, his or her performance will again be reviewed at the next scheduled meeting of the Committee.
- Determine to dismiss the student.
- At the next scheduled (third) meeting of the committee, the committee will make one of two decisions. The same procedures will apply as listed for the second meeting, or
- Determine that the deficiencies have been remedied and remove the student from probation, or,
- Determine that the deficiencies have not been remedied and dismiss the student from the School.
300.4– Consultation on a Student's Clinical Internship Performance
The purpose of a consultation is to develop a plan that will assist in the resolution of learning issues that have been identified by the student, supervisor, or FFA. Before a consultation is called, reasonable efforts will be made to resolve concerns in conversations between supervisor and student, FFA and student, and supervisor and FFA. Consultations will occur when such conversations have been insufficient to problem solve the issues at hand. Additional efforts at problem solving may include but are not limited to multiple party conference calls or face-to-face meetings. The director can initiate a consultation.
In most situations, the Consultation process will be sufficient to resolve the difficulties. No disciplinary action may result from a Consultation. If the performance problems are serious enough and there is still doubt about their future resolution, the Review process or a second Consultation may be recommended.
b) Composition of Consultation Committee
The Consultation Committee for Clinical internship Performance shall be composed of the following members drawn from the Committee:
- The Ph.D. program director and one Ph.D. Program Faculty member
- A member appointed by the Associate Dean
- The student's advocate, if the student chooses
c) Consultation Process
The Consultation process can be initiated by a student, supervisor, faculty member, or FFA. The requesting individual should submit to the Consultation Committee Chair, with a copy to the student, a written statement of the problem, including representative materials detailing the student's difficulties, or if called by the student, materials representing the student's concerns. The FFA and supervisor will be notified should a student request a Consultation with regard to concerns or issues pertaining to their work at the agency. If the director chooses to initiate the consultation process, the Consultation Committee will meet with the individual requesting the Consultation and other appropriate parties (e.g., student, supervisor, or FFA), as may be indicated.
At the conclusion of the Consultation, the student will be verbally informed of the outcome. A written statement of the recommendations of the Consultation will be sent to the student. No information obtained during a Consultation will be placed in the student's permanent record. If a Consultation leads to a Review, a written statement will be provided to the Associate Dean by the Chair of the Consultation Committee. The student may add an addendum to the Chair's written statement prepared for the Review.
300.5– Review and Consultation of Academic Performance
Issues pertaining to academic matters will be referred to the Associate Dean, who will refer them to the Chair of the Ph.D. Program Academic and Clinical Internship Performance Standing Committee during summer academic sessions. During the summer session, the Consultation Committee for Academic Performance shall be composed of:
- The Ph.D. program director and one Ph.D. program faculty member
- A member appointed by the Associate Dean
- The student's advocate, if the student chooses
a) Role of Consultation Committee
A student's academic performance is governed by the grading system guidelines (see Academic Standards section of this Handbook). The role of the Consultation Committee is to provide consultation and recommendations to the parties who have convened the Consultation Committee. Any instructor who has serious concerns about a student's academic performance should discuss such concerns with the Ph.D. program director to determine whether or not a Consultation is indicated. If a Consultation is indicated, the instructor should submit to the Committee a written statement, including written work representative of the student's performance. Any student who received a first final grade of Marginal Pass in a required course or a second final grade of Marginal Pass overall shall come before the Consultation Committee for a Consultation regarding their academic work. The purpose of this meeting is not to grieve a grade, but to assist the student with learning issues to which the grade has called attention.
Normally, this Consultation will take place during the summer session. The instructor for the given course will attend the meeting. The Consultation Committee will decide who, in addition to the student and the Associate Dean, should be informed of its recommendations. The Consultation Committee meeting may provide sufficient Consultation around the learning issues identified and require no follow-up. The Consultation Committee may also recommend to the student additional supports outside of the classroom to assist them to master particularly problematic content areas. The Consultation Committee may suggest that the student make active use of the Center for Academic Development. The Consultation Committee may also decide to refer a student to the Academic and Clinical Internship Performance Standing Committee for a Review. The director collects all materials necessary for such a Review.
300.6– Personal or Professional Conduct: Academic and Field
A Review or Consultation may be called for personal or professional conduct at any time based on concerns in the classroom, the field, or with the community at Smith. Any member of the community can inform the Associate Dean of concerns about personal or professional conduct. Except as provided below, the processes for determining whether a Review will be held and how a Review will be conducted are the same as those that govern Reviews for clinical internship or academic performance.
a) Review of a Student's Personal & Professional Conduct
Personal and professional conduct that call for a Review process and that are subject to dismissal include, but are not limited to, such matters as the following:
- All forms of dishonesty, including cheating, knowingly furnishing false information to the School or placement agency, any alteration or misuse of School or placement agency documents, records, finances, or instruments of identification.
- Theft of, or intentional damage to, property of the School, College, placement agency, or members and visitors of the above.
- Physical abuse of, or threat of physical abuse to, any person on College or placement agency premises, or at School-sponsored or supervised functions.
- Conduct involving serious or substantial plagiarism shall automatically necessitate the calling of a Review. The role of the Committee is to determine whether or not serious or substantial plagiarism occurred. If a determination of serious or substantial plagiarism is made, dismissal is automatic. A student charged with serious or substantial plagiarism cannot withdraw from the Program in good standing. A Review must take place, and in its absence, a student's record shall read "Withdrawn."
- Other conduct that renders a student an undesirable member of the School community.
Professional conduct resulting in dismissal is defined in terms of the Code of Professional Ethics adopted by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).
If the Committee determines that the student's personal or professional conduct is such as to render them an undesirable member of the School community, the Committee may dismiss the student from the School. The decision to dismiss may be appealed to the Dean only on the grounds of gross error in procedure, material violation of the student's rights, new evidence unavailable at the time of the Review, or extreme bias on the part of the Committee. Appeals may not be filed based on disagreement with the Committee's decision.
If circumstances were ambiguous with regard to due process, the Dean may then convene the Committee, which will Review the case and make a determination of the due process issue, including recommendations to the Dean as to outcome. Other faculty involved, for example, the instructor or the program director, may be invited to attend as non-voting participants. In addition, the student may request to have present as a non-voting observer an advocate of their choice, who is a member in good standing of the School community.
400.1 – General Grievance Procedures
Any student may petition through appropriate channels for a given request at any point in the educational continuum. A student may petition the Dean in writing on any question that the student believes requires special consideration or investigation. The Dean shall appoint a committee, consisting of the student's Faculty Field Adviser and such other members of the faculty as may be deemed necessary, to investigate the grievance and to report a recommendation.
400.2 – Procedures for Pursuing Concerns Regarding Race & Diversity
The procedures outlined below are to be followed for issues that arise within the School for which formal or legal redress is not being considered. They govern issues that need to be addressed as part of the ongoing community and educational life. Formal grievances or civil rights complaints go directly to the Director of the Office of Institutional Diversity. (See section on Other School and College Policies.) The procedures outline where to go first and include what forum or redress is available if the first efforts are considered insufficiently resolved by any directly involved party. The processes are suggested for what the Civil Rights policy terms "informal resolution."
|Issue||Where to go|
Ph.D. Program Director
|Clinical/Internship Issues||Ph.D. Program Director
A student, faculty member, Program Director, or Dean may also consult with the Racism Monitoring Committee, which will serve as a sounding board, and which may also offer suggestions to the parties involved. It does not have decision-making power and may not be used as a replacement for the other channels listed. The Dean may also call together the Dean's Ad Hoc Summer Advisery Committee, which consists of the Associate Dean, two faculty members, and the Marta Sotomayor Fellow. Final decision-making power resides with the Dean if the issues are not resolved at the other levels.
400.3 – Formal Grievances or Civil Rights Complaints
Formal grievances or civil rights complaints go directly to the Office of Institutional Diversity in College Hall. Students may also consult with the Smith College Ombudsperson. If a determination is made that an issue in the classroom also raises questions of academic freedom, the student and faculty member will be referred to the School's Personnel Practice Committee.
400.4 – Procedures for Grievance Regarding Academic Performance
A student may grieve a grade either on the basis of due process or on the basis of an evaluative judgment. A student must clarify on which basis a grievance is being pursued.
400.5 – Due Process
A student who receives a grade of MP or F, who believes that due process has not been followed, may petition the Dean for review of the circumstances. If the investigation reveals that due process has been followed, the student shall be so notified. If investigation reveals that due process has clearly not been followed, the Dean, in consultation with the Ph.D. program director, will grant the student an opportunity for re-examination, submission of another paper, repetition of the specific course requirement, or the possibility of re-taking the course.
The Dean will report to the Academic and Clinical Internship Performance Standing Committee on the petition, the circumstances, and the outcome of the investigation. However, should the investigation reveal that the circumstances were ambiguous with regard to due process, the Dean will then convene the Academic and Clinical Internship Performance Committee to review the case and make a determination of the issue to the Dean, including a recommendation for outcome. Other faculty involved (e.g., the instructor, or the Ph.D. program director) may be invited to attend as non-voting participants. In addition, the student may request to have an advocate of his/her choice, who is a member in good standing of the School community, as a non-voting observer.
Actual appearance before the Committee by the student, instructor, FFA, or supervisor is necessary only if any of these parties requests it. Written statements detailing the student's performance as satisfactory will warrant the presence of the FFA, supervisor, or student. Following the initial investigation, the Dean decides if the Fairness Grievance requires further investigation, and asks for a Committee finding and recommendation.
400.6 – Evaluative Judgment in Course Grading
Normally, responsibility for evaluating and grading a student's work rests solely with the instructor. Only in the rare event that professional responsibility has been neglected or abused beyond reasonable doubt should the judgment of another person or persons be substituted for that of the instructor. However, if a student believes she or he has evidence that an instructor has been unfair in the assignment of a course grade, s/he may express dissatisfaction with the instructor's handling of the grade in the following manner:
- The student must first discuss the concern with the instructor to clarify the reasons for the grade, or to see if some agreement over the grade can be arrived at informally.
- If no clarification or agreement is possible, the student may then express dissatisfaction to the program director, who will discuss the matter with both student and instructor, and try to achieve a resolution. If a resolution is not achieved, the director or the student may elect to take the matter to the Dean. The Dean may elect to make a decision, but if he or she believes a more thorough investigation is necessary, the Dean may activate the Academic and Clinical Internship Performance Standing Committee. Based on its findings, the Committee shall make a recommendation to the Dean for final disposition.
- Both the instructor and the student shall have the right to attend the Standing Committee's meeting. The student may bring an advocate and the director shall also be invited so as to safeguard further the rights of both the student and the instructor.
- If the issue at debate is the fairness of a course grade based on written course assignments, the Chair of the Committee shall appoint a full or part-time faculty member from the Program to read a blind copy of the materials in question (with comments eliminated), and to submit a grade to the Committee, along with any comments the reader wishes to make. The Committee may use this grade as one factor in its determination.
- If the Committee decides in favor of the student's grievance, the Dean, in consultation with the Committee, may grant the student an opportunity for re-examination, submission of another paper, repetition of the specific course assignment, or the possibility of retaking the course. If a recommendation is made that the student is to be given an opportunity to re-do an assignment, the instructor who gave the original grade shall be informed of the Committee's assignment. If the instructor declines, the Chair of the Committee shall obtain an independent evaluation of the student's work for the purpose of assigning a grade for the course.
For grievances related to grades, the student must report the decision to grieve to the Sequence Chair no later than one week after notification of the grade. Either the Dean or the Standing Committee will make its recommendations by the end of the third week in September. If an opportunity to re-do an assignment is offered, both the student and instructor grading the assignment will be expected to act in a timely fashion. A written record of the final outcome will go into the student's record only upon request from the student.
500.1 – Leave of Absence (LOA) (Including Medical and Parental Leave of Absence)
A student whose academic and clinical internship is in good standing may apply, in writing, to the Associate Dean for a Leave of Absence (LOA) (including medical and parental leave) at any point during Ph.D. study. A LOA may be necessary for medical, financial, academic, or personal reasons. Requests for a LOA should be made for a specific reason and after consultation by the student with his/her Faculty Field Adviser and the program director. Conditions for re-entry, such as a review of the student's performance, may be set by the School where warranted. No partial credit is given for an incomplete clinical internship. A student granted a LOA must meet the Program requirements of the class into which she or he is readmitted.
Students may petition for a Leave not to exceed a total period of three (3) years, with the understanding that the School will evaluate each situation on an individual basis. A student extending Leave beyond the approved period will be considered to have withdrawn from the School, and reinstatement will be subject to the procedures governing withdrawal.
The written request for a LOA, detailing the reason for the Leave and giving the dates of both the beginning and the anticipated end of the Leave, must be sent to the Associate Dean, with copies to the Ph.D. program director. The School will respond in writing and may set conditions or specify procedures to be followed when the student requests re-admission to the Program.
a) Tuition Reduction or Waiver of Fees for Students on LOA
Information regarding tuition reduction for students in residency status who are granted a Leave may be found in the section of this Handbook entitled Financial Matters. Information on waiver of fees for post-residency students who are granted a Leave may be found in the section of this Handbook entitled Waiver of Post-Residency Enrollment Fees during a Leave of Absence.
b) Returning to the Program from LOA
Anytime during the 3-year limit of the LOA, a student wishing to end the Leave and return to the Program may submit to the Associate Dean a written request for reinstatement in the Program.
- 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. The student should copy the Ph.D. program director, RA or dissertation chair.
- 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. The student should copy the Ph.D. program director, RA or dissertation chair.
Failure to write by the deadline may result in dismissal from the program. The request for reinstatement must include a statement from the student describing the period of Leave, and justifying the request for re-entry. The School has the right to determine the subsequent educational requirements for the student at that time. Any requirements and procedures set forth by the School for the re-entry process must also be followed.
The Academic and Clinical Internship Performance Committee recommendations (when applicable) will be made by the Associate Dean in consultation with the Ph.D. program director. The Associate Dean's decision will be made on the basis of congruence between the reason for the LOA and the student's statement regarding the resolution of the situation giving rise to the Leave. A Leave is recorded in the student's academic record. A student in good standing at the beginning of a LOA is considered to be in good academic standing upon re-entry into the Program.
Returning from mandatory leaves during the post-residency period is covered under "Billing During the Post-Residency Period" in the Dissertation section of this Handbook.
c) Medical Leave: Mandatory and Elective
The School may require a Medical Leave of Absence of any student after consultation with appropriate faculty, agency personnel, and appropriate medical personnel. After a Review, the Academic and Clinical Internship Performance Standing Committee may require that a student take a mandatory medical leave. Reasons for this decision as well as learning objectives and other remedies for problems defined for the Leave shall be stated by the Committee. The Committee shall also determine the minimum amount of time for the Leave, which may not exceed three years. The Committee shall determine and specify whether the Associate Dean, or the Committee, will decide whether or not the objectives have been met upon the student's petition to re-enter.
Mandatory Medical Leave of Absence. The Associate Dean may require a Mandatory Medical Leave of Absence of any student after consultation with appropriate faculty, agency personnel, and appropriate medical personnel.
Elective Medical Leave of Absence. A student may petition the Associate Dean for Medical Leave of Absence. Reasons for the request as well as a statement from a physician or appropriate professional person, which documents the need for a Leave, must be included with the letter of petition. The procedures and policies for the length of Leave allowed and for reinstatement are the same as for a regular Leave of Absence, but must include supporting documentation from an appropriate professional person.
d) Maternity/Paternity Leave
This type of Leave applies to field internship period only. The faculty strongly affirms that there be a flexible policy at Smith that supports planning for continuation of education while allowing for a 6-week maternity/paternity Leave at the birth or adoption of a child. The parameters of such planning must include the hour requirements and performance expectations for field learning and concern for clients while attempting to accommodate to the student's needs. This policy applies to the Clinical Internship only and students are expected to make up the time. There can be no such policy for the academic summer sessions, given their structure and the continuity of the learning experience. Procedures for arranging Maternity/Paternity Leave are as follows:
- Student writes to the Associate Dean and the program director informing them of the pregnancy or adoption, and making a request for a 6-week Maternity/Paternity Leave.
- The director will then be in touch with the student to acknowledge receipt of the letter and to discuss with the student his/her plans. An interview may be arranged, depending on the proximity of the agency to Smith College. The student may request another faculty member be present for the interview to assist with planning.
- The director responsible for internships will take responsibility for discussing the request for Maternity/Paternity Leave with the student's supervisor, the Director of Training of the Agency, and the Faculty Field Adviser.
- The director responsible for internships and the student will plan with the agency personnel around the Maternity/Paternity Leave. If, for some reason, a plan cannot be worked out with the assigned agency, the director, in consultation with the student, will talk with, or attempt to work out such plans with, another agency. Such planning may not be feasible, depending upon the timing of the delivery.
500.2 – Withdrawal
Except in instances where the School has identified an alleged case of plagiarism, or a review has been called, a student may withdraw from the School at any time. The student must submit a formal letter of withdrawal to the director. For withdrawals requested during periods of clinical internship, the student must meet with the director prior to withdrawal, and must make arrangements with the clinical internship site, including arrangement for the care of clients. For purposes of the School record, the official date of withdrawal will be the date indicated on the withdrawal form or the date the School receives the official notification, whichever is later. Mere absence from class or clinical internship does not constitute withdrawal.
For a student whose academic and clinical internship is in good standing at the time of withdrawal, the official record of the School will indicate "Withdrawn." If a student withdraws after a Review has been called, but before the Review has been held, he/she may do so without permission from the Associate Dean. The official School record will indicate "Withdrawn." If a student withdraws while on probationary status, the record will indicate "Withdrawn on Probationary Status."
A student who has withdrawn from the School is not automatically readmitted. An application for readmission must be made to the Committee on Admission, accompanied by new application materials covering only the period of time between withdrawal from the School and the new application for readmission. The Committee will review the application in the light of current admission policies, and with due regard to the circumstances surrounding the student's withdrawal.
A student who is readmitted to the School will be granted credit for completed academic and internship 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 had 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.
500.3 – Probation & Dismissal
The Smith College School for Social Work through its various faculties and appropriate committees reserves the discretionary right to place on probation or dismiss any student from the School for failure to maintain satisfactory academic standing, personal conduct, or professional standards. In cases of dismissal, fees will be refunded as stated in the section on Refund Policy. The student's financial aid will be cancelled. If a student withdraws from the School while on probationary status, the record will indicate "Withdrawn on Probationary Status." If a student is dismissed from the School, the record will indicate "Dismissed."
500.4 – Dismissal - Academic Work
Please review the section of this Handbook pertaining to Marginal Pass and Failing grades. A student in the Ph.D. Program who receives any of the following shall be dismissed from the Program:
- A failing grade in any required course (Within our structure the course cannot be repeated. See section of this Handbook regarding Failing Grades), or
- A grade of Marginal Pass in three required courses (Also see section of this Handbook regarding Marginal Pass in ten-week courses), or
- Failure to progress in work and/or to complete the dissertation requirement within the five-year post-residency time limit, except when written notice of an extension to this time limit has been granted by the School, either in recognition of a student's ongoing productive work on the dissertation or in consideration of special extenuating circumstances communicated by the student to the School, or when formal leave of absence has been granted by the School.
A decision to dismiss a student from the Program can also result from an action of the Ph.D. Academic and Clinical Internship Performance Standing Committee. Any situation warranting or placing a Student at risk of dismissal may be brought to the Ph.D. Academic and Clinical Internship Performance Standing Committee by a concerned party, including the student, except when the dismissal results from a prior action of the Committee itself. In that case, the recourse of the student is to a grievance or appeal procedure.
600.1 – 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 prorations are 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.
600.2 – Financial Assistance
Very limited financial assistance is available to students in the Ph.D. Program. Students are expected to use personal, family, and loan resources to the fullest extent possible. 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. Application packets are available from the Student Financial Services Office.
600.3 – Fees & Expenses
A late fee of 1.25% per month (15% per annum) will be assessed for balances that remain unpaid past the due date.
Students will not be permitted to register, continue in field internship, 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 an official transcript.
600.4 – Post-Residency Enrollment Fees during Leave of Absence
Ph.D. students who have completed their course work and are still working to complete their dissertations will be enrolled automatically each year as continuing students for the winter session (Term 1 covers September through December; Term 2 covers January through April). This automatic enrollment will be based upon half-time student status, defined as 15 hours or less of dissertation work per week for both terms. Students enrolled for dissertation study under this half-time student status will be billed a continuing enrollment fee of $500 per winter term.
Students will also have the opportunity each year to register for full-time student status, defined as 20 hours or more of dissertation work per week for both terms. Students enrolled for dissertation study under this full-time student status will be billed a continuing enrollment fee of $750 per winter term. Students wishing to register for full-time student status may do so by making a formal written request to the director by June 1.
Payment of the continuing enrollment fee entitles the student to dissertation advising services from the research adviser or dissertation chair. Post-residency Ph.D. students maintain their eligibility to work towards the degree by paying the Continuing Enrollment Fee. This fee may be waived only during an official Leave of Absence.
600.5 – Waiver of Post-Residency Enrollment Fees during Leave of Absence
On occasion, circumstances may arise that preclude a post-residency student from active work on the dissertation for one or more winter terms. Under such circumstances, the student may request a Leave of Absence. (Refer to the section in this Handbook covering Leave of Absence.) Continuing enrollment fees may be waived only if the student's written request is received by the Associate Dean by the qualifying date. To qualify for a waiver of Term 1 fees, the written request must be received before August 15th. To qualify for a waiver of Term 2 fees, the written request must be received before December 1st. If the written request for LOA is not received by these dates, applicable continuing enrollment fees will be charged.
600.6 – Miscellaneous Administrative Fees
(updated 2013, 2020)
- Late Fee. 1.25% per month (15% per annum) will be assessed for balances that are past due.
- Collection Fee. Students whose School bills are not paid will not be permitted to register or to continue in field internship. Should the School submit a student's unpaid bill to a collection agency, the student will be subject to collection charges (approximately one-third the outstanding balance of the bill) in addition to the outstanding balance of the bill.
- Returning from Leave of Absence. Students who will return to the Program from a leave of absence should check with Student Financial Services regarding tuition charges.
- Repeating a Portion of the Program. Students who will repeat a portion of the Program should expect to be charged the usual tuition fees.
600.7 – On 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 houses range in size from 43 to 80 students per building. Each floor has communal bathrooms, which are shared by all the occupants on the floor. There is very limited on-campus housing available during the 10-week summer academic session for students with children. 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.
600.8 – Other Fees
- Library Fees. Each student is responsible for all materials signed out from the library in his/her 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.
- Miscellaneous Fees. Other miscellaneous fees will be charged to a student's account, if applicable. All college bills must be paid before a student is granted a diploma or an official transcript.
700.1 – School Policies and 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, adjunct and clinical 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), previously attended institutions and pictures. You may withhold the release of this information by completing the appropriate form available annually at Central Check-In or in the SSW Registrar's Office in Lilly Hall. Written authorization to withhold directory information must be made each academic year and must be submitted within five days of the start of the summer academic session in order to ensure non-disclosure in printed materials.
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:
- To view records in the SSW Registrar's Office, obtain an "access request" form in Lilly 110. Complete the form and give it to a staff member. The record will be available for inspection five work days after the date of the request. To request a correction to your record, address it to the SSW Registrar, including your name and, if available, Smith ID (99) number.
- Requests to see or correct records in the Office of Disability Services should be made to that office.
- Students who have questions about their immunization records and the use of them are referred directly to the Ph.D. Program Office.
If the official in charge is not able or willing to make the correction requested, the case shall be brought to the SSW Registrar, Associate Dean, and Dean. Official information is on file in the various Smith College School for Social Work offices as follows.
700.2 – Records kept by the SSW Registrar's Office
Permanent academic records are maintained online, and hard copies are maintained in the SSW Registrar's Office in Lilly Hall, or in College Archives. They are available to the student and to administrative officers and members of the resident, adjunct and clinical 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, course numbers, titles, credits, grades, internship agencies and grades, dissertation title, 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:
- Materials forwarded from the Admission Office at the time of acceptance: Student application form; transcripts from previous colleges attended; student's autobiographical statement and test scores (where applicable); and for Advanced Standing students, the employment experience form and case;
- Narrative evaluations and grades submitted by summer teaching faculty*;
- Petitions for waiver or transfer credit;
- Faculty Field Adviser field visit reports;
- Supervisor's field evaluation for each year in the field;*
- Correspondence and records regarding academic matters;
- Notice of professional social work practice violations (if applicable)*;
- Status change documents;
- Name change authorizations;
- Check-in packet sign-off;
- Intent to Graduate form;
- Directory Information release form (permanent if student graduates or withdraws with a Directory hold in force);
- Special registration requests;
- Grade changes*;
- Final transcript* [paper copy kept in file as backup to electronic copy].
*Asterisk denotes items that are kept indefinitely. All other items are destroyed 5 years after graduation or departure from the School.
Other academic records exist in electronic format and include identifying information about the student and the academic record. The data is accessible only to staff members. Lists of classes, geographical distribution, mailing labels and aggregate statistics are made available to authorized persons within the college community.
700.3 – 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 5 years after the student's graduation or departure from the School.
Note: During clinical internship periods, Ph.D. students are required to submit various written and statistical reports. None of this material is included in the student's official record. The written and statistical reports are emailed to the Program's Administrative Coordinator, logged in, and then printed out for the Faculty Field Adviser and the director of the program. These reports are destroyed after the student's graduation or departure from the School.
700.4 –Records kept by the Career Development Office
As of September 1, 2009, the Smith College Career Development Office launched its partnership with Interfolio, the premier dossier, credentials and online portfolio service. In order to maintain references from faculty to support future applications to jobs or internship, you should contact Interfolio. Learn more about Interfolio's services.
700.5 – 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.
800.1 – Social Events Accessibility Policy
800.2 – Using Social Media in Professional & Educational Endeavors
Social media 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 applicants' 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.
First, discussion or disclosure of client information without documented client consent is prohibited by law and institutional policies. 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 worker 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 institutions have rights to limit how their names and images are used. Many names and images are copyrighted or trademarked.
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 academic review proceedings or information about other student’s academic 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 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.
800.3 –Religious Accommodation (formerly Pref.)
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. No fee of any kind shall be charged by the institution for making available to students this opportunity. No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to students availing themselves of the provision of this section.
800.4 – Smith College School for Social Work Policy on Alcohol
No alcohol shall be allowed in the classroom.
800.5 –Communications from the School
Important information will be communicated to you via their 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. Please note that the school will use this account exclusively; no personal email accounts will be used. Students should be sure to monitor this account regularly.
800.6 – CSWE Curriculum Policy Statement
Smith College School for Social Work students are obligated to know and adhere to the policies of Smith College.
(enacted 3/29/18, updated 2020)
1000.1 – Membership
The Dean appoints the members of the Ph.D. Program Policy and Oversight Committee for a 2-year term that may run consecutively. The faculty appointments will ensure representation of a balance of both clinical and research foci. In the augural year, the term for 1 faculty member teaching in the program, 1 faculty member at larger and 1 student will run for 3 years to stagger terms.
The membership consists of:
2 ladder faculty teaching/advising in the PhD program
2 ladder faculty at large
The program director
The Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
2 current students in the PhD Program, non-voting
PhD program coordinator, non-voting
Dean, ex officio
In cases of a tie vote, the Dean will cast the tie-breaking vote.
It is expected that the PhD Program Policy and Oversight Committee will seek information on curriculum and programmatic issues from additional members of the Resident faculty, part time faculty teaching and/or advising in the program, and students, alumni, and larger social work community as appropriate.
1000.2 – Committee Chairperson
The PhD Program Policy and Oversight Committee will be chaired by the PhD program director. The Director is a faculty administrative position appointed by the Dean in consultation with the resident faculty.
1000.3 – Functions and Duties of the Committee
The purpose of the Committee is to provide sufficient oversight and direction to ensure that the program uses current standards and best practices of doctoral education in terms of admissions, curriculum, and clinical and research training.
- The PhD curriculum shall be formally instituted by a vote of the faculty following the School’s curricular policies regarding new courses
- The Committee is responsible for
- PhD program admission process working with the Associate Dean for Graduate Enrollment and Student Services.
- Implementation of the PhD Program in conjunction with the faculty
- Monitoring and evaluation of the program stated goals and objectives
- Monitoring and evaluation of program infrastructure and resources to ensure the delivery a rigorous educational experience
- The Committee is expected to meet at least once monthly
PURPOSE: The purpose of this constitution, by-laws and amendments is to structure the Doctoral student body and allocate responsibility and obligation in such a manner as to promote and achieve a graduate school experience in social work that adequately deals with changing social problems.
I. NAME: The name of this organization shall be the Doctoral Student Organization of the Smith College School for Social Work.
II. PURPOSE: The purpose of the Doctoral Student Organization shall be to:
II.A. Secure and advance student rights and responsibilities over their schooling and education.
II.B. Organize and unite the doctoral student body in such a manner as to achieve our collective goals and to provide for the special needs of individuals and groups within the Doctoral Program.
II.C. Advocate for an educational experience that provides and allows for the growth and development of individual skills and interests within the broad spectrum of social welfare education.
II.D. Participate actively in matters of social concern.
III. MEMBERSHIP: All students of the Smith College School for Social Work Doctoral Program shall be members of the Doctoral Student Organization.
IV.A. The Executive Committee
IV.A.1.a. The Offices of the Executive Committee are President, President-Elect/Treasurer, Secretary, and Class Representatives (one from each class).
IV.A.1.b. The qualifications for election to the Executive Committee are described in Article V.
IV.A.2.a. Shall function as the official governing body of the Doctoral Student Organization.
IV.A.2.b. Shall carry out all business as stated in this Constitution and any other business as deemed necessary by the membership of the Executive committee itself.
IV.A.2.c. Shall oversee and administer the GSA.
IV.A.2.d. Shall have financial legislative authority over all matters pertaining to the Doctoral Student Organization, except those specifically delegated to the membership.
IV.A.2.e. Shall, in part or in whole, represent the Doctoral Student Organization to any organization outside this body, such as faculty, administration, Alumnae Association, and other appropriate organizations.
IV.A.2.f. Shall, in part or in whole, negotiate agreements with other organizations on behalf of the membership.
IV.A.2.g. Shall pass upon the budget presented by the Treasurer.
IV.A.2.h. Shall bring such matters, in addition to constitutionally provided matters, before the membership, as it deems necessary.
IV.A.2.i. Shall have responsibility for determining the legitimacy of groups seeking Provisional Representation status on the Executive Committee
IV.A.3.a. Each office of the Executive Committee shall have one equal vote, except the President, who shall vote only in the case of a tie.
IV.A.3.b. Decisions shall be made by majority rule of a quorum present. A quorum shall consist of half of the Executive Committee.
IV.A.3.c. Meetings of the Executive Committee shall be open to the Doctoral Student Body; participation of non-Executive Committee members in debate shall be at the discretion of the President.
V. DUTIES OF THE OFFICERS
V.A. Eligibility: Any member of the doctoral Student Body may run for office subject to the following conditions:
V.A.1. Only students from the second year are eligible to run for President.
V.A.2. If an office is stipulated to be class specific, only members of that particular class may hold that office.
V.A.3. No more than two individuals may conjointly hold any office, with the exception of the President, which shall only be occupied by one individual per term.
V.A.4. An office may be declared vacant by the Executive Committee should the representative miss two consecutive meetings of the Executive Committee. The position may be filled by the Executive Committee and ratified by a vote of the membership at the next meeting of the Doctoral Student Organization.
V.B.1. Shall assume office from the position of President-Elect or be elected by the Doctoral Student Body.
V.B.2. Shall either preside over all general meetings of the Doctoral Student Organization or share this responsibility with the President-Elect.
V.B.3. Shall preside over all meetings of the Executive Committee.
V.B.4. Shall act as the official representative of the Doctoral Student Body.
V.B.5. Shall be responsible to oversee all activities of the Doctoral Student Organization.
V.B.6. Shall have a vote in all meetings only in case of a tie; at all other times the President shall refrain from voting.
V.B.7. Shall be an ex-officio member of all committees.
V.B.8. Shall attend the Winter Curriculum Conference, or designate a substitute.
V.C.1. Shall be elected from the first-year class by membership of the Doctoral Student Body.
V.C.2. Shall assume the Presidency in the following year.
V.C.3. Shall be a member of the Executive Committee and act as an official representative of the Doctoral Student Body.
V.C.4. Shall be the Treasurer and as such maintain a record of all financial transactions and shall publish them at the end of his/her term.
V.C.5. Shall have the authority to sign checks on behalf of the Doctoral Student Organization.
V.C.6. Shall organize and carry out the mechanics of the election procedures.
V.C.7. Shall organize the orientation and welcoming activities for the next year's first-year class.
V.D.1. Shall be elected by the Doctoral Student Body.
V.D.2. Shall be a member of the Executive committee and act as an official representative of the Doctoral Student Body.
V.D.3. Shall record, keep, and publish an official record of all minutes of the Doctoral Student Organization and the Executive Committee meetings.
V.D.4. Shall publicize all meetings of the Doctoral Student Organization and the Executive Committee at least one day in advance of said meetings.
V.D.5. Shall be responsible for maintaining all Executive Committee and doctoral Student Organization correspondence and historical records.
V.D.6. Shall be responsible for revising this Constitution as amended.
V.D.7. Shall see to it that this constitution, as amended, is posted in at least two public places on campus throughout the summer sessions.
V.D.8. Shall maintain a list of all groups that have established a Recognized Relationship with the Doctoral Student Organization.
V.D.9. Shall be responsible for the production and distribution of a newsletter to the Doctoral Student Body at least twice during the winter period.
V.E. Class Representatives
V.E.1. Shall be elected from each class and represent that class as members of the Executive Committee.
V.E.2. Shall receive petitions and concerns of their class members and present them to the Executive Committee.
V.E.3. Shall report to their class members on the activities of the Executive Committee.
V.E.4. Shall hold class meetings to determine class opinion on various issues, and shall reflect consensus of majority opinions of the class to the Executive Committee.
V.E.5. The first-year class representative is responsible for organizing end of residency exercises for the second-year class at the end of first term the following year.
VI. REQUIRED MEETINGS
VI.A. The doctoral Student Body shall meet at the request of the Executive Committee.
VI.B. The doctoral Student Body shall meet if petitioned to do so by 10% of its membership.
VI.C. The Executive Committee shall meet weekly during the summer sessions in open meeting.
VI.D. Meetings may be called as necessary.
VII.A. No Executive Committee member shall concurrently hold another office, neither by election or appointment.
VII.B. All retiring members shall provide transitional information to incoming members.
VII.C. No more than two individuals may conjointly hold any office, with the exception of the President who shall only be occupied by one individual per term.
VII.D. Members of the Executive Committee are elected by the constituencies and methods described in this document.
VII.E. A term of office is one year. An incumbent is eligible for a second year of office except for the Presidency and students at end of residency.
VII.F. If an office is stipulated to be class specific, only members from that particular class may be nominated and hold that office.
VII.G. General election
VII.G.1. the entire membership of the Doctoral Student Organization shall be qualified to vote in a general election to be held during the fourth week of the first summer semester (except in 1994)
VII.G.2. The ballot shall include all offices to be filled by a vote of the Doctoral Student Body, and those offices that are class specific, along with any referenda and amendment issues.
VII.G.3.a. The President-elect shall conduct the election process and the various meetings associated with the election.
VII.G.3.b. The President-Elect shall organize an informational meeting during orientation for the entering class. At this meeting students will be informed concerning the various offices and the duties of each office.
VII.G.3.c. Nominations for the election will be collected the third week of the first summer semester. The President-Elect will make nomination forms available to the membership. A student may either nominate her or himself, or be nominated by a peer.
VII.G.3.d. The election will take place on the Monday or Tuesday of the fifth week of the first summer semester at a meeting of the doctoral Student Organization.
VII.G.3.e. Installation of the new Executive committee will take place at the first Executive Committee meeting after the election.
VII.G.3.f. Any offices remaining vacant after the election shall be filled by the Executive committee.
VII.G.3.g. Any election that results in a tie shall be resolved by a majority vote of the Executive Committee.
VII.H. Special election
VII.H.1. Elections other than the General Election may be called to deal with urgent matters, such as amendments and referendums.
VII.H.2. Special Elections may be authorized by the Executive Committee, or by a petition brought before the Executive committee by 10% of the Doctoral Student Body.
VII.H.3. Any vacancies on the Executive Committee at the time the election is called may be added to the ballot.
VIII.A. The procedure for amending the constitution shall be as follows:
VIII.A.1. All amendments to the Constitution shall be decided during the General Election with the following exception
VIII.A.1.a. Amendments to the constitution may be made by Special Election consistent with Article VII H.
VIII.A.1.b. Amendments to the constitution may be made by a vote taken at a meeting of the Doctoral Student Body convened by a petition of 10% of the doctoral Student Body, or called by the Executive Committee.
VIII.A.2. Proposed amendments must be posted in a common area of the campus by the proposing body at least one full week before the voting takes place.
VIII.A.3. Amendments shall be passed by a simple majority vote of the Doctoral Student Organization.
IX.A. Ratification of this Constitution shall be accomplished by the approval of a majority of votes cast in favor of the ratification by at least two-thirds of the first- and second-year doctoral classes, and as many of the third-year students attending.
X. ACTS OF PROTEST CLAUSE
X.A. In cases of dispute between the doctoral Student Organization and any other group, a majority of the doctoral Student Body will vote to approve or disapprove extraordinary measures such as censure, boycott, or strike.
XI.A. A quorum for a general meeting of the doctoral Student body shall consist of: three officers, the class representative or their designates, and three other members.
XI.B. A quorum of the Executive committee shall consist of one-half of the Executive committee.
XII.A. By-laws and rules may be enacted by the Executive committee by a simple majority vote of its members, where such rules are not specifically provided for by this constitution.
XII.B. Robert's rules of Order shall govern all doctoral Student body and Executive committee meetings, where no other rules have been specified by this constitution.
XIII. CONFLICT OF INTEREST CLAUSE
XIII.A. No current member of the Executive Committee may charge or accept a fee for services performed on behalf of the Doctoral Student Organization.
Students are required to submit monthly reports during the clinical internship. These assignments include monthly statistical reports, case studies, and other written papers, as described below.
- The Monthly Statistical Report is a summary of clients seen during the previous month, as well as educational activities attended, and is required for all months from September to April on the 28th of each month.
- Due date for all assigned papers is the 15th of the month due.
- All written papers should be prepared and formatted according to APA guidelines (Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition).
- Case studies should be prepared following the Case Study Guidelines (see Appendix B ).
- Students must submit all field assignments via Sonia.
SEPTEMBER: 1st yr Learning Goals & Reading Plan
Given your first summer, what do you now want to learn? Consider your strengths and weaknesses as a therapist and the gaps in your understanding of the theoretical perspectives presented in 650/651. How will your reading address your learning goals?
OCTOBER: Drive/Structural case study
Choose a case and conceptualize it from four of the metapsychological perspectives (i.e., genetic, dynamic, topographic, economic). Discuss the major social problem the client faces and consider which social theory best helps to understand it. Prepare your paper according to the Case Study Guidelines. Include a Case Study Face Sheet and 2-4 pages of process recording. Do not choose the case that you plan to present for the qualifying exam.
NOVEMBER: Ego Psychology case study
Take the October case and now discuss adaptive and structural issues. Consider defenses, ego functions, mastery, competence, and conflict-free ego spheres. Include the social factors that impact upon this case. Prepare your paper according to the Case Study Guidelines. Include a Case Study Face Sheet and 2-4 pages of process recording. Do not choose the case that you plan to present for the qualifying exam.
DECEMBER: Clinical Placement narrative
Describe your clinical placement, addressing learning issues as well as supervisory issues.
JANUARY: Object Relations case study
Take the same case you summarized in October and November, and reconceptualize it from an object relations perspective. Use a second social theoretical perspective to discuss the social problems the client faces. Prepare your paper according to the Case Study Guidelines. Include a Case Study Face Sheet and 2-4 pages of process recording. Do not choose the case that you plan to present for the qualifying exam.
FEBRUARY: Self Psychology case study
Take the January case and reconceptualize it from a self-psychology perspective. Prepare your paper according to the Case Study Guidelines. Include a Case Study Face Sheet and 2-4 pages of process recording. Do not choose the case that you plan to present for the qualifying exam.
MARCH: no written paper this month
However, students are to submit their regular Monthly Statistical Report.
APRIL: Oral Exam case study
Prepare a case for the oral qualifying exam. Do not use the case(s) that you chose for previous case studies submitted during this session. Prepare your paper according to the Case Study Guidelines. Include a Case Study Face Sheet and 2-4 pages of process recording. Note that you will be taking the written component of the qualifying exam during the early part of this month.
MAY 15th: (3 reports are due)
Case summary for the Advanced Clinical Practice III (course 820) casebook: Use the case study you have already presented in the Oral Exam or one of the four case studies conceptualized through drive theory, ego psychology, object relations and trauma theories and self-psychology written during the first year clinical internship. In this case study, summarize the identifying information, the presenting problems, relevant current or historical information, diagnosis(es), length of treatment, and frequency of sessions and brief treatment plan. Here, the focus is on the therapeutic alliance, transference, and countertransference. Discuss these issues and provide 3 process recordings that include verbatim interactions between you and your client, including interventions and your client's responses to them at the beginning, middle, and end of the three sessions. Case summaries should be approximately 10-12 pages of text with two to three pages of process recordings.
Assessment of Learning narrative: Review and assess your learning over the course of the year, considering the changes both in your approach to practice and in your theoretical orientation. To what degree have you achieved the learning goals that you articulated in your September report? In what ways have your goals changed? Comment on your clinical internship and on the mentoring relationships, including the one with your FFA, that have enhanced your learning. What aspects of theory and practice do you feel you need to focus on during the upcoming summer academic session, and how are you planning to do so?
Evaluation of your FFA: The evaluation form will be available through Sonia.
- Disguise all case material.
- Write no more than 25 double-spaced pages.
- Support statements with citations from the literature.
- Illustrate points related to assessment, treatment goals, interventions and/or treatment processes by embedding segments of the appended process recording (or other process recordings related to the case).
- Citation sources are to be listed in a "References" section at the end of the paper.
- Papers should be prepared and formatted according to APA guidelines (See Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition) and the "Case Study Guidelines" provided here.
Case Study Face Sheet
To be used as the first page of case study papers, the Face Sheet summarizes sociocultural information for both you and the client.
State the purpose of your paper, including the particular psychological theory you are using. Note that 'client' can refer to an individual, couple, or family, but for purposes of applying these theories an individual client is the best choice.
Client's self-identification and description of gender, age, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, faith-based affiliation, sexual orientation, ability/disability, primary language, history of geographic location, marital/relational status, level of education, current occupation, living situation, and family context. Note relevant attitudes and experiences regarding these factors and awareness or lack thereof regarding privilege.
Briefly describe agency, services available, and clients served. Note whether referral is voluntary. Provide the views of presenting issues as expressed by both the client and clinician. Describe the client's mental status, physical appearance, and style of relating. Note current and prior contact with mental/behavioral health, social service, and/or legal systems.
Describe the strengths and vulnerabilities in each of the following areas and provide a summary at the end of the review:
- Biological. Previous and current history of mental and physical health concerns, including: illnesses; hospitalizations; medications; substance use and abuse; nutrition; physical, sexual, emotional and cultural/racial trauma; and genetic predisposition toward learning disabilities and other health challenges.
- Psychological. (a) Developmental accomplishments and ruptures throughout life cycle including significant losses; (b) Family of origin and extended family systems, including separations, divorces, foster care, adoption history, incarcerations, parole/probation, other significant events and relationships.
- Create a genogram.
Social/cultural. Current living arrangement, work/school situation, and support networks (e.g. family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, faith-based communities)
Spiritual. (a) Cultural orientation toward spiritual and faith-based practices; (b) World views and values
Note the diagnosis that best describes the client, or other diagnoses that you would have considered. Comment on level of functioning.
Demonstrate your ability to conceptualize the strengths and vulnerabilities in assessment, treatment planning and treatment processes within one theoretical paradigm. Address how the client's history affects his or her presenting issues. Use the developmental constructs relevant to the psychological theory you are using.
Treatment Plan (agency-based and theoretically-grounded articulation of goals, interventions & evaluation)
Demonstrate your ability to use your biopsychosocial-spiritual and theoretically grounded assessment to craft the development of a treatment plan. Articulate treatment goals and interventions both in Agency-based language as well as within your one chosen theoretical paradigm. Support your statements with citations from the literature and include a list of these references at the end of the paper. Describe the course of treatment as it relates to your theoretical understanding. The following points should be addressed:
- Short- and long-term goals. Describe both your client's and your own view of goals and how you arrived at agreed upon goals. Describe short-and long-term goals in agency-based language and in the language of one chosen theory. Write a brief summary of the goals in the text and include the goals and Interventions in an outline form. Note how you changed or re-focused goals, especially if the treatment is long-term.
- Interventions. Note types of interventions, once again in Agency-based language as well as the language of your chosen theory. Describe these interventions in the text and include the interventions that are aligned with specific short and long-term goals in an outline form. Interventions may include strategies and methods used by the clinician including techniques employed during clinical sessions and interventions at the home of the client as well.
- Transference/Countertransference. Discuss the current functioning and ways of relating that your client displays. Describe transferential and countertransferential themes and dynamics played out through projective identification. Discuss your understanding of these themes through the one theoretical perspective that you have chosen.
- Impasses. Discuss any impasses or ethical dilemmas raised by the case.
Evaluation of practice. Write a brief, cogent synopsis of your assessment and conceptualization of the case. Demonstrate the evaluation of practice, in both Agency based and theoretical languages, by addressing how effectively the short and long term goals were realized during the course of treatment.
Identify two or three concerns or questions about your case that you would like a consultant to address.
Provide 2-4 pages of verbatim process recordings that involve the actual dialogue between you and your client during various clinical encounters and sessions (i.e. I said, She said).
Students are required to submit monthly reports during the clinical internship. These assignments include monthly statistical reports, case studies, and other written papers, as described below.
- The Monthly Statistical Report is a summary of clients seen during the previous month, as well as educational activities attended, and is required for all months from September to April on the 28th of each month.
- Due date for all assigned papers is the 15th of the month due.
- All written papers should be prepared and formatted according to APA guidelines (Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition).
- Students must submit all field assignments via Sonia.
SEPTEMBER: 2nd yr Learning Goals & Reading Plan; Monthly Statistical Report due
After reviewing your learning statement from last year, establish a revised set of goals for this year's clinical internship. Indicate the areas of practice that you want to focus on and the clinical issues that you became aware of during last year. Assess the strengths and weaknesses in your supervision, and outline any changes you think it would be useful to make in the internship this year.
OCTOBER: no written paper this month; Monthly Statistical Report due
NOVEMBER: no written paper this month; Monthly Statistical Report due
DECEMBER: no written paper this month; Monthly Statistical Report due
JANUARY: Review of Learning Goals; Monthly Statistical Report due
Comment briefly on the goals you set in September: Which have been realized? Which are yet to be realized? How will you go about meeting/changing them?
FEBRUARY: no written paper this month; Monthly Statistical Report due
MARCH: Educational Experience in the Program; Monthly Statistical Report due
Comment briefly on:
- Changes in your approach to practice and your use of self in the treatment relationship,
- Evaluation of your integration of theory and practice
- Learning experiences in the Program that you found helpful and those that were disappointing
- Current career aspirations
- Other matters you would like to convey to your FFA and/or the Ph.D. faculty,
- Suggestions you have for changes in the Program.
APRIL: Casebook paper for Senior Seminar on Intersubjectivity (for course 865).
- 12 to 15 pages in length, double-spaced.
- Case should be one that presents some kind of dilemma for you that has left you with pressing ongoing questions or, perhaps, unresolved feelings (whether positive or negative). State the dilemma or the nature of your unresolved feelings at the beginning of the paper.
- Case should be one in which the nature of the interactions between you and your client seemed to have been, at least some of the time, front and center, whether or not the meanings of the interactions were discussed or brought into awareness.
- Include some history of the client: 2-3 pages of presenting problems as well as relevant contextual and sociocultural information.
- In 2 pages, summarize what has occurred in your work with the client.
- Include 2 process recordings that demonstrate material related to the dilemma, or that evoked some feelings in you and/or responses from you that you are still sorting through.
- You will be expected to present the case in class, so include in your paper two (2) questions that will help organize the class discussion around becoming useful consultants to you.
- Note that you are not being asked to theorize about how to view this case from an intersubjective point of view. That will be done in class, by everyone together.
Also due April: Evaluation of your FFA and Monthly Statistical Report
For many students, work in a graduate program constitutes the first experience of professionally reporting and writing results from research projects in which many persons, in varying roles, may have been involved. The Code of Ethics for the National Association of Social Workers states the following:
4.02. Acknowledging Credit
(A) Social workers should take responsibility and credit, including authorship, for work they have actually performed and to which they have contributed.
(B) Social workers should honestly acknowledge the contributions made by others.
Authorship is viewed as a nourishing experience for the academic environment. Therefore, the role of the mentor in this process is to assist the student in learning the craft of scholarly writing and to facilitate the student's career and his/her publishing record.
The following guidelines develop these ideas with considerable specificity. It is hoped that they will be helpful as students begin work with faculty and other students on research projects and publications.
Authorship of Research Paper
1. Faculty members should formulate and discuss their general philosophy and practices for publication credit with students and colleagues prior to beginning a research project. A student should feel free to ask a faculty member about these matters. Such a discussion does not imply commitment to a particular authorship assignment, but there should be agreement on the principles and practices to be followed should collaboration ensue.
2. The determination of and order of authorship in faculty-student collaborations should be guided by the principles proposed by Fine and Kurdek (1993):
a. Early in the collaborative endeavor, the faculty members should provide the student with information related to how authorship decisions are made, the nature of professional and nonprofessional contributions to publications, the meaning of authorship credit and order, and the importance of both parties agreeing on what contributions will be expected of each collaborator for a given level of authorship credit. This information will provide the student with the knowledge necessary to exercise his or her autonomy and to choose whether to participate in the authorship determination process.
b. The faculty member and student should assess the specific abilities of each collaborator, the tasks required for completing the scholarly publication, the extent of supervision required, and appropriate expectations for what each collaborator can reasonably contribute to the project.
c. On the basis of this assessment, the collaborators should discuss and agree on what tasks, contributions, and efforts are required of both parties to warrant authorship and to determine the order of authorship.
d. Agreements regarding authorship credit need to be renegotiated for two reasons. First, scholarly projects often take unexpected turns that necessitate changes in initial agreements made in good faith. Second, many manuscripts need to be revised substantially before they are accepted for publication. These revisions may require additional professional contributions beyond those necessary for the completion of the initial draft of the manuscript. Since the relative contributions of authors often changes over the course of a project, the faculty member and student should agree on when these issues will be revisited (e.g., at the end of the semester of an independent study, at the end of a summer research assistantship, when a proposal is due for a conference, when a draft article is ready for submission to a journal, etc.). If either the faculty member or student feels it is desirable, they may consider drafting a brief memorandum summarizing their verbal agreement regarding authorship and the division of labor.
Order of Authorship
Student-faculty research collaboration commonly leads to conference or other public presentations as well as to publications in journals or books. It is recommended that the issue of authorship assignment be discussed at the earliest feasible point in the collaboration so that possible misunderstandings can be avoided. In such discussion, it is recommended that the general APA guidelines as presented in the article by Bridgewater, Bornstein, and Walkenbach (1981) be followed: (a) design and manuscript writing warrants first authorship; (b) data collection, analysis, and literature reviews are minor contributions and do not warrant senior authorship; (c) the amount of time devoted is not to be a criterion, but rather the quality of the contribution; and (d) faculty status should not make a difference in assigning first authorship.
The student author should be the sole or first author on any publication version of a dissertation. The justification for this rule is that the School requires that a dissertation be based on original and independent investigation.
Faculty members may have a justifiable claim to co-authorship on dissertation-based publications. Although dissertations are to be original and independent contributions to the literature, they frequently involve some degree of collaboration and/or substantial consultation with faculty. This involvement is especially likely in instances where the dissertation research focuses on an area of concern that is an offshoot or extension of the faculty member's own research. In such instances, the faculty member should first be satisfied that his or her contribution has been sufficiently substantial to warrant an authorship, then raise the issue with the student at the earliest feasible date so that misunderstanding can be avoided and so that disagreements can be resolved and/or arbitrated prior to the student's experiencing any undue hardship or prejudicial treatment. In considering co-authorship, it is recommended that the following guidelines adapted from the APA be followed:
a) The student should be the sole or first author on any dissertation-based publication;
b) Co-authorship may be considered obligatory if the faculty member designates the primary variables or makes major interpretive contributions or provides the database or substantially contributes to the write-up of the published report;
c) Co-authorship is a courtesy if the faculty member designates the general area of concern or is substantially involved in the development of the design and measurement procedures;
d) Co-authorship is not acceptable if the faculty member only provides encouragement, physical facilities, financial support, critiques, or editorial contributions;
e) In all instances, agreement should be reviewed before the writing for publication is undertaken and at the time of submission. If disagreements arise, a third party using these guidelines should resolve them.
Acknowledgments and Credits
Regardless of authorship, assignment on a published version of a dissertation, both (a) the fact that the research was based on a dissertation project, and (b) the name of the author of the dissertation are to be included in the footnote to the published manuscript. Financial support of the research (grants or studentships) is also to be acknowledged in a footnote that includes the name(s) of the granting organization(s) and the recipient(s).
No policies or procedures can prevent the occurrence of all instances of actual or perceived unfair treatment. Although inequities can occur to either faculty or graduate students, graduate students are usually more vulnerable to faculty practices and less able to take action when they feel that fairness has been violated.
American Psychological Association. (1994). Publication Manual, 4th Ed. Washington, DC: APA.
Bridgewater, C.A., Bornstein, P.H., & Walkenbach, J. (1981). Ethical issues in the assignment of publication credit. American Psychologist, 36, 524-525.
Fine, M.A., & Kurdek, L.A. (1993). Reflections on determining authorship credit and authorship order on faculty-student collaborations. American Psychologist, 48, 1141-1147.