Administrative Policies and Procedures
1. Safety and Risk Management
It is the policy of Molloy College to consider the various levels of risk involved for the student, the agency, particularly the field instructor and the various key representatives with the academic institution. The following policies and procedures are reflective of these concerns.
Students in the agency setting should be alerted to any potential dangers inherent in working with certain populations or in particular settings. Safety procedures should be addressed in the orientation to the agency.
Legal decisions clearly place responsibility for supervisee's actions directly on the supervisor. Referred to as vicarious liability, imputed negligence, and respondeat superiore, the supervisee is legally regarded as an extension of the supervisor (Kadushin & Harkness, 2002). It is critical that proper practices include regular supervision where there is clear direction, instruction, and review of the student. (See roles and responsibilities for further discussion of supervisory practices.)
Liability Protection - All field education practicum students are required to have personal liability coverage. Information can be obtained from the American Professiobal Agency home page www.americanprofessional.com All students MUST have this coverage in place in order to begin their placement in September.
Child Abuse Training: All social workers are required to document training in child abuse reporting. Students must receive this training BY THE END OF THE FALL SEMESTER that field education is commenced and a copy of the certificate of completion must be on file with the Director of Field Education by January 31st. Training may be taken at many sites including Molloy College Department of Continuing Education, the Coalition Against Child Abuse and Neglect (516) 747-2966
or online through the New York State Nurses Association. Visit www.nysna.org click on continuing education then click on NYS mandatory courses online. Students can also contact
Transportation parameters: Some agency settings require the student to use their personal car for home visits. It is the policy of Molloy College to limit student driving to this use only. Students MUST NOT transport clients for any reason in personal or agency vehicles. This policy has been developed through consultation with representatives of NASW Insurance Trust and various field directors from accredited programs across the country.
Contractual Agreement: A current contractual agreement that has been signed by the appropriate agency and college representative must be on file.
Laws Relevant to Practice: Background and clearance checks are routinely required for many placement sites. Students with any history of documented criminal behavior or a finding with Protective Services must present this information to the Director of Field Education.
Students must become familiar with the federal and state laws that impact on the provision of service within each agency setting. Agency supervisors will assist with locating this information.
2. Questions, Concerns, Problems
Problem Resolution Procedure: There are occasional times when a field instructor and/or student may identify serious field education problems. As soon as major problems are identified, the following process should be implemented in order to ensure effective resolution.
- Discussion occurs between student and field instructor to identify problem(s) including proposed solutions
- Notification is made to faculty liaison and Director of Field Education by both field instructor and student identifying problems in field placement
- Immediate field visit with faculty liaison, field instructor and student to explore problem and potential resolution.
- Faculty liaison will complete the Field Education Problem Resolution Form, a report which documents the background of problem(s), steps designed to resolve the problem.
- If the resolution of the problem involves remaining in placement, a follow-up field visit will be scheduled within one month of the resolution statement.
- At the completion of the month, a recommendation concerning the viability of the placement is made by the faculty liaison (in collaboration with Director of Field Education, student, and field instructor).
- Notification of all faculty regarding the status of the problem and resolution process will be made by the Director of Field Education at the next department meeting.
- A final decision for continuation or reassignment of the field placement is made by the Director of Field Education.
- If reassignment of field placement occurs, the prior field instructor will submit a summary of the student's internship, including: 1) assignments, 2) total hours completed, 3) strengths and weaknesses, and 4) recommendations.
- The Director of Field Education (not the student) determines the advisability of reassignment.
Impairment, Incompetence, or Unprofessional Conduct in Field Education - Based on the NASW Code of Ethics (see National Association of Social Workers at www.naswdc.org ), social work professionals are ethically bound to address issues of impairment, incompetence, or unprofessional conduct. Any concerns related to violations of the Code of Ethics must be brought to the attention of appropriate personnel such as field instructors, faculty liaison, Director of Field Education, faculty advisor or Chairperson of the Department.
In order to meet the requirements necessary to develop competence in the profession of social work, students must acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values critical to effective practice. Any significant limitation that undermines a student's ability to participate fully in the requirements of the curriculum could interfere with the acquisition of competence. Curriculum requirements include standards in the physical, cognitive, emotional and character domains.
Social work education serves the function of assuring that competent persons enter the social work profession. Protection of the integrity of the profession and the rights of the clients to quality service require that graduates from accredited social work programs be prepared to deliver social work services in a professional manner. At times, during the field placement it becomes necessary to reassess a student's motivation and suitability for a career in social work. The criteria established for this decision will include one or more of the following:
- Inadequate academic performance: Students who fall below the 2.7 overall grade point average requirements or who receive less that a C+ in field education courses will be subject to termination from the social work program.
- Lack of adaptation to the goals of the field education program: A student may demonstrate, through behavior and attitudes expressed in the classroom or in the practicum, little or no commitment to the social work profession. Prejudices and other judgmental attitudes may present themselves. Students must be willing to develop self-awareness and grow toward professionalism by addressing prejudices. A student who continually rejects social work values or does not comply with the NASW Code of Ethics will be encouraged to select another major and may be terminated from the field education course.
- Inadequate interpersonal relationship skills: Social work requires the ability to relate to others nonjudgmentally and with warmth and genuineness. Although the ultimate test of the student's interpersonal skills is in relationship to clients, problematic relationships with faculty and peers may raise serious questions about the student's ability to perform effectively in a helping relationship.
- Personal problems: A student may have personal problems which are so overwhelming that they prevent the development of self-awareness and skills necessary for social work practice. Such students will be counseled and referred to appropriate help.
- Violation of ethical standards: A student may also be terminated from the social work program if a violation of ethical standards has occurred. A violation may include, but is not limited to:
- Behavior judged to be in violation of NASW Code of Ethics.
- Academic cheating, lying, or plagiarizing.
- Documented evidence of criminal activity that occurs during the course of study or which occurred prior to admission to the program and becomes known during field education.
- Misrepresentation of information on application for admission to social work program discovered through the field placement process.
No student will be denied the opportunity to major in social work without diligent efforts first being made to accommodate the student. However, the social work profession is not for everyone who wants to pursue it, and the program has an obligation to discourage and deter those few individuals who may be better suited for a different career.
3. Procedure for Termination from the Social Work Program
Students who have been identified by faculty as not meeting suitability requirements in either the academic or behavioral areas are referred to the Program Director. The Director will establish a termination committee consisting of two additional faculty members (the student's advisor and the faculty liaison). Students are advised of the fact that they are being referred to the committee, the purpose of the committee, their rights and the possible recommendations and actions that could occur.
The student appears before the committee to present the situation which will be reviewed thoroughly by the committee. The committee then makes one of the following recommendations: 1) permit the student to continue in the Program under specified conditions that must be met within a stated time period. However, there must be evidence that the student has the potential and motivation to correct or make satisfactory improvement; or 2) not allow the student to continue in the Social Work Program. The committee would then recommend that the student receive appropriate counseling to make a different career choice.
4. Field Education Days and Hours
Students are required to spend a minimum of 420 clock hours a year (approximately 210 each semester) in the field. For the majority of students, this will be accomplished through two full days each week. In some cases by joint agreement of the agency, student, and Director of Field Education, these hours may be spread over three days. The school year runs from mid-September through early May. If a student is asked to spend time in an agency during the summer prior to the school year, he/she must still remain in the placement until the first week in May. Permission for special field arrangements must be made in writing through the Director of Field Education.
Note: Students requesting evening/weekend internships due to full-time work schedules will be required to make arrangements for sufficient daytime hours to attend staff meetings and engage with daytime staff and agency operations.
5. School/Agency/Religious Holidays or Breaks
Calendar holidays and vacations: The field education year begins no later than the third week of the academic calendar. Students are excused from field work during the College Thanksgiving holiday, and for one week each during the Christmas and Spring vacations. The exact dates of the one week break are to be worked out with the field instructor in response to agency and student needs. The dual role (student and worker) created by field education will require prioritizing the needs of the clients and agency, thus negating many of the College holidays. Also, if the Spring break occurs close to the final week of field instruction, students and supervisor will need to ethically and critically plan for case terminations.
6. Illness and Other Absences
Absences: In spite of possible absence due to illness, weather, car trouble, emergencies, etc., students have a professional responsibility to clients, agencies, and the college to attend field education on assigned days. Absences are to be made up, or in the case of prolonged illness, an arrangement between student, field instructor, and faculty liaison should be worked out.
Field emergencies and class attendance: Occasionally, the student's field commitments (e.g. client court hearing, medical consult, etc.) may conflict with a scheduled class. Students should minimize these occurrences and make up content missed in class. The dual responsibilities of school and field placement must be maintained.
7. Monitoring, Evaluating, Grading
Mid-semester deficiency report: About six weeks into the academic semester (see Field Education calendar for exact date), supervisors are asked to submit mid-semester deficiency reports (see Appendix I) for any students having difficulty. Early identification can allow for adjustments and corrections prior to the end of the semester and the necessity for a failing grade.
Grade of incomplete - According to the policy in the College catalog, the grade of "I" should be given "only in the case of hardship circumstances which, in the judgment of the instructor, warrant special consideration". For further clarification of this policy, please see page 47 of the Undergraduate Course Catalog 2009-2011. An incomplete grade may be granted because:
- student has failed to complete a minimum of 175 hours at the end of the first semester (December or 420 hours at the end of the second semester (May). With the approval of the field instructor and the faculty liaison, the student may be granted an extension to complete the hours for field education. A Completion of Hours Agreement (see Appendix L must be on file with the Director of Field Education.
- student hasn't completed all agency requirements.
- student hasn't successfully completed all requirements of the integrative seminar as indicated in the course outline, e.g. log/journal submissions, reports, etc.
Attendance: Social work education is professional training. Class attendance and classroom participation are linked to this professional education. Course grades will reflect an evaluation of the quality and quantity of a student's presence and involvement. Illness, life problems, or stress may sometimes inhibit a student's ability to fully participate in the educational experiences of the classroom and the field. However, such life circumstances do not relieve students or faculty of their responsibility to insure the acquisition of professional knowledge and skill development. Therefore, students may need to repeat a course, take a temporary leave of absence, or delay completion of their education.
- Faculty liaison visits: Each semester the faculty liaison will schedule evaluation conferences with the field instructor and student. An overall assessment of progress is made at that time. It is suggested that supervisors review the Field Evaluation objectives and competencies during the site visit. If indicated, learning experiences may be developed to ensure that the student is exposed to opportunities for growth in all competency areas.
- Evaluations (see Appendix J) - a formal written evaluation of the student's work is to be submitted to the department at the end of the fall and spring semesters. These will be preceded by verbal conferences with the faculty liaison, both through formal visits to the agency and through individual meetings with both supervisor and student. Students and field instructors are encouraged to resolve differences of opinion with each other, but also to feel free to call upon the faculty liaison for consultation before serious problems develop. The field evaluation is an important assessment and learning tool.
- The evaluation is to be signed by both the field instructor and the student. If the student disagrees with parts of the evaluation, and the field instructor does not believe that a change in grading is called for, the evaluation should be mailed in, noting the student's objections. The student should then write his/her own statement pertaining to the specific areas of disagreement, and submit it to the Director of Field Education. The student's comments will be filed together with the original evaluation.