Academic Performance Policies & Student Conduct

Academic Performance Policies

All students must maintain a B (3.0) or better GPA to be considered in good academic standing and must not receive more than two C’s.  An ad hoc academic and professional review committee will be formed if it is necessary to review the performance of a student.   The protocol for academic reviews is as follows: 1) Any student who receives a failing grade for a course will be referred for review; 2) Any student whose cumulative grade point average falls below a 2.75 will be referred for review; 3) Advanced standing students (30 hour program) with a cumulative GPA below 3.0 in the semester before they graduate will be referred for a review; 4) Students who continue below a cumulative 3.0 GPA for 2 consecutive semesters will be subject to review; 5) Students who have two C’s and a GPA below 3.0 will be subject to review; 6) Students who have more than 2 incompletes in one semester will be subject to review. Students who are unresponsive to a request for a required academic review run the risk of dismissal from the Kent School.  The protocol for academic warnings is as follows: 1) Those whose cumulative GPA is between 2.75 and 3.0 will receive an academic warning; 2) Those who have 2 C’s and a cumulative GPA above 3.0 will receive an academic warning; 3) Regular standing students (60 hour program) with a cumulative GPA below 3.0 in the semester before they graduate will receive an academic warning. Students receiving an academic warning will be referred to the advisor for oversight.  A formal review will not be necessary in this case.  The advisor merely has to discuss the problems with the student and come up with an informal plan of action.

The Dean’s office will notify students via formal letters at the end of each semester if academic reviews are needed, based on their GPA. Students are then required to contact their advisor, so that a formal review committee can be formed.  Apart from reviews based on GPA, any faculty person may recommend a review for any students who are perceived to be in academic difficulty, who appear to have engaged in inappropriate conduct in violation of the NASW Code of Ethics or the Student Impairment Policy, or the Code of Students Rights and Responsibilities. Written referrals for review are sent to the Dean’s office, who forwards the request to the Chair of the Committee. The referral should indicate specific concerns.

Scholarship Note: If students are receiving a scholarship from the Kent School of Social Work at the time that they have an academic review or warning, there is no guarantee that they will be awarded any money for the following semester(s).  They must write a letter to Dr. Anna Faul, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, to tell her why they should keep their scholarship and how they will maintain a 3.0 GPA in the next semester.

The Academic and Professional Standards Review Committee shall consist of 3 Full-Time faculty members, if a Practicum course is at issue, the Director of Field Practicum will be one of the participants. The Faculty Advisor will serve as the Chair of the committee, and with input from the student, will select 2 other Full-Time faculty who will serve on the committee.  In cases where the Dean is directly involved in the concern of record, the Associate Dean will assume the responsibilities of the Dean in that matter. (If the Associate Dean is directly involved, the Dean will assume the responsibilities of the Associate Dean). In cases where the Faculty advisor is directly involved in the concern of record, the Dean’s office will appoint another faculty member to serve as Chair. In cases where committee members are directly involved in the concern of record, they will be excused from participation and the Chair will find an alternate for the review from the faculty with input from the student.

This committee is intended to serve in a problem-solving capacity and is not devised to be adversarial. The function of such a committee will be to: (1) Review identified academic problems, including those from the field practicum, that cannot be resolved through informal channels with the parties involved; (2) Review concerns with student conduct that is contrary to the guidelines for professional conduct for social workers as specified in the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers; and (3)  Recommend to the Dean’s office a course of action that arrives from Committee deliberations with the student.

The Chair will convene the committee, if possible, within 2 weeks after receiving the request for review.   In establishing the time for the meeting, the Chair should indicate the nature of the specific concerns to the student. Present at the meeting should be the student and the committee. Faculty and other parties who may have pertinent information to share regarding the specific concern may be invited by the Chair to present that information. In cases where the field practicum is involved, the practicum supervisor may be invited to present information. These parties external to the deliberation will be present only to present and discuss their relevant information. After a discussion about the expressed concerns, the committee will continue to meet with the student to formulate possible remedies, if needed. Once the remedies are identified, the Committee will excuse the student and meet in closed session to formulate a recommendation to the Dean. The Chair will write a report of findings with a recommendation to the Dean’s office within one week of the review.  The Dean will notify the student and the faculty making the referral of any resulting decisions within one week of the committee recommendation.  The School may choose to modify this process if the seriousness of the concern so indicates (e.g., the incarceration of a student for a serious crime) or with the approval of the student (e.g., use of part-time faculty to expedite hearing in absence of Full-Time faculty).  All meetings/decisions should contain humanist values, with the understanding that the Kent School is to balance the well-being of the student as well as future clients.

Student Conduct in the Kent School

Students entering the Kent School of Social Work, by their formal acceptance into the School, agree to abide by The Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers and the Code of Student Conduct of the University of Louisville.

The NASW Code of Ethics provides guidelines for the professional conduct of social workers.  Since the profession is directed by a commitment to core values, the Code provides for conduct related to principles of service, social justice, dignity and worth of the individual, the importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence.  These values and the standards inherent in them provide a context for expected behavior during the period of enrollment in the educational programs of the Kent School of Social Work, and for the development of lifelong professional standards.  Issues of concern related to this area are referred to the Academic and Professional Standards Review Committee.

Students whose personal problems, psychosocial distress, legal problems, substance abuse, or mental health difficulties interfere with their ability to perform in the classroom or in the field should seek consultation with their academic advisor or field liaison, and the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.  Students should take appropriate action by seeking professional help, taking a voluntary leave of absence from the school, making voluntary adjustments in workload, or taking any other steps necessary to protect clients.  Students who do not take remediative action or whose remediative action does not result in improvement may be referred for an academic review.

The Kent School of Social Work Graduate Student Impairment Policy

The University of Louisville Kent School of Social Work adheres to the following definitions of impairment:

“Impaired graduate students show an inability to insightfully understand and resolve their own issues so that these issues do not interfere with the therapeutic process” (Bemak, Epp, & Keys, 1999, p. 21).  This can be reflected in one or more of the following ways: “(a) an inability and/or unwillingness to acquire and integrate professional standards into one’s repertoire of professional behavior, (b) an inability to acquire professional skills in order to reach an acceptable level of competency, and (c) an inability to control personal stress, psychological dysfunction, and/or excessive emotional reactions that interfere with professional functioning” (Lamb, Presser, Pfost, Baum, Jackson, & Jarvis, 1987, p. 598).

This definition of impairment is in sync with the NASW Code of Ethics, Section 4.05:

Social workers should not allow their own personal problems, psychosocial distress, legal problems, substance abuse, or mental health difficulties to interfere with their professional

(a)  Judgment and performance or to jeopardize the best interests of people for whom they have a professional responsibility.

(b)  Social workers whose personal problems, psychological distress, legal problems, substance abuse, or mental health difficulties interfere with their professional judgment and performance should immediately seek consultation and take appropriate remedial action by seeking professional help, making adjustments in workload, terminating practice, or taking any other steps necessary to protect clients and others.