Master's and Bachelor's
The professional and
technical standards outlined below are
required for completion of programs from the School of Social Work at
The University of Southern Mississippi. These standards describe the
physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioral requirements of social
work students. They are designed to provide an overview of non-academic
criteria required for students to fully participate in all aspects of
coursework and the field practicum.
Professional Performance Standards
The School of Social Work
recognizes that preparation for
professional practice requires more than scholastic achievement. The
program expects students to exhibit behaviors that are consistent with
professional performance. Such behavior is expected not only in the
classroom but throughout the University and the larger community. Some
specific examples of professional performance standards are outlined
Students must demonstrate:
- A commitment to the goals of social work and to the ethical
standards of the profession, as specified in the NASW Code of Ethics.
- The essential values of social work including the respect
for the dignity and worth of every individual and his/her right to a
just share of society’s resources (social justice).
- Behaviors that are in compliance with program policies,
institutional policies, professional ethical standards, and societal
laws in classroom, field, and community.
- Responsible and accountable behavior by knowing and
practicing within the scope of social work, respecting others, being
punctual and dependable, prioritizing responsibilities, attending class
regularly, observing deadlines, completing assignments on time, keeping
appointments or making appropriate arrangements, and accepting
supervision and criticism in a positive manner.
- A commitment to serve in an appropriate manner all persons
in need of assistance, regardless of the person’s age, class, race,
religious affiliation (or lack of), gender, disability, sexual
orientation and/or value system.
- Plans and organizes work effectively.
- Turns in assignments complete and on time.
- Keeps scheduled appointments (advisement, field work
- Makes arrangements for his/her special needs.
- Develops increasing levels of knowledge and skills with
awareness of integration as demonstrated through class participation,
assignment and field performance.
INDICATIONS OF CONCERN:
- Appears to demonstrate a pattern of:
- Poor organizational skills.
- Demonstrates inability to take initiative toward increasing
knowledge and skills relevant to performance demands.
- Requests for extension on assignments and exams.
- Turning in field and/or class assignments late or
- Excessive absences from class per class syllabus.
- Non-response to program communications.
- Multiple absences from field placement.
- Demonstrates ability to work cooperatively with others.
- Actively participates in class discussion groups/role plays.
- Shows respect for others’ opinions.
- Is open to feedback from peers/faculty.
- Is able to accept constructive criticism.
- Actively participates in field work supervision sessions.
- Demonstrates a willingness to understand diversity of
people regarding race, color, gender, age, creed, ethnic or national
origin, disability, political orientation sexual orientation, and
populations at risk.
- Conducts him/herself according to the NASW Code
INDICATORS OF CONCERN:
- Appears to create conflict in class which impedes learning
and /or building effective relationships.
- Uncooperative/unwilling to participate in class activities.
- Consistently late for class, or leaves class early.
- Consistently late for field placement.
- Sleeps during class periods.
- Disrupts class process by talking to others.
- Uses derogatory language or demeaning remarks.
- Difficulty in listening, e.g.: (overly sensitive,
externalizes blame, distorts communications).
- Appears unwilling/unable to accept feedback.
- Responds in a defensive manner.
- Consistently argumentative
- Monopolizes class discussions.
- Consistently complains about class workload to the point of
impeding class process.
- Unwilling/unable to develop an understanding of people
different from oneself.
- Inability to separate his/her personal values from
professional values and responsibilities.
- Inability to recognize the impact of personal values and
behaviors of others.
- Inadequate maturity, readiness, and/or ability for
generalist practice; for example, evidence of excessive anxiety,
grandiosity, passivity, etc.
- Discriminatory behavior or harassment towards other on the
basis of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, religion
- Physical action directed at clients, faculty, staff, or
- Unethical professional behavior (e.g., sexual contact with
- Inappropriate dress or adornment.
- Academic misconduct (see Statement on Academic Integrity).
- Takes little initiative in exploring areas of learning
- Uses self-disclosure appropriately (e.g., students seems to
have an insight, and self-awareness, and has resolved the issue he/she
- Appears to be able to handle discussion of uncomfortable
- Deals appropriately in class with issues which arouse
- Demonstrates an awareness of one’s own personal limits.
- Understands the effect of one’s behavior on others.
- When engaged in self-disclosure, the student appears to be
working through unresolved issues and/or avoiding client issues.
- The student appears to overreact to, or resent feedback
(e.g., takes it personally).
- Appears unable/unwilling to control emotional reactions.
- Possible alcohol/drug abuse, mental health issues.
- Verbal threats directed at clients, faculty, staff, or
- Demonstrates impaired judgment, decision-making, or
- Consistent failure to demonstrate ability to form effective
client/social worker relationship.
- Appears judgmental, abrupt in manner or unapproachable.
- Expects perfection of self and others.
- Pushes “own agenda” rather than listening to client.
- Consistently “glosses over” or ignores discussion of
- Crosses boundaries; doesn’t recognize them
- Shows consistency in written communication. Written
assignments demonstrate: good spelling, appropriate use of punctuation,
clear structure, paragraphing, good organization, follows logical
sequence. Demonstrates the ability to use citations (A.P.A style).
- Demonstrates ability to write effectively in records.
- Demonstrates ability to summarize, identify major points
and document succinctly
- Shows command of the English language.
- Abides by College Academic Standards.
- Demonstrates use of critical thinking skills.
INDICATORS OF CONCERN:
- Written work is frequently vague, shows difficulty in
expressing ideas clearly and concisely.
- Work appears to have been hastily prepared and not proof
- Student has many errors in the areas of spelling,
punctuation, structure, etc., and does not make effort to show
- Appears to have plagiarized the work of others.
- Written work is excessive and/or inadequate regarding the
purpose of the work; E.g. (case notes vs. term paper)
- Is able to clearly articulate ideas, thoughts, concepts,
- Has working proficiency of the English language even when
English is not the student’s primary language.
INDICATORS OF CONCERN:
- Difficulty communicating so that others can hear or
- Lacks working proficiency of the English language when
Technical Standards may
be met with, or without,
accommodations. The University complies with the requirements of
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with
Disabilities Act of 1990. Requests for accommodations should be
directed to the Office for Disability Accommodations (ODA) and follow
established university policies and procedures. For more information,
contact ODA at
University of Southern
College Drive # 8586
University of Southern
Mississippi on the Gulf Coast
East Beach Blvd
with hearing impairments can
contact ODA using the Mississippi Relay Service at 1.800.582.2233 (TTY)
or email ODA at odaFREEMississippi.
Observation: Students must be
- Accurately observe clients to effectively assess their
- Have the sensory and motor abilities to carry out
effectively the necessary assessment activities.
Communication: Students must
be able to:
- Communicate effectively with other students, faculty,
staff, clients and other professionals, and exemplify a willingness and
ability to listen to others.
- Demonstrate effective communication in presentations,
written assignments, small group settings, and through electronic means.
- Perceive and interpret nonverbal communication.
- Use spoken and written English to understand the content
presented in the program.
- Comprehend reading assignments and search and evaluate the
- Demonstrate competency in writing skills.
and Motor Functions:
Students must have sufficient sensory and motor abilities to:
- Attend class and complete the required number of hours
during their field practicum.
- To attend and perform safely and satisfactorily in the
classroom and in social work agency settings.
- Transportation to field placements if none is available on
Integrative and Quantitative Functions: Students must
have the ability to:
- Think critically, analyze and interpret objective and
subjective data, and apply effective problem solving skills. These
skills allow students to make proper assessments, use sound judgment,
appropriately prioritize therapeutic interventions, and measure and
report client outcomes.
- Demonstrate cognitive ability to effectively use and apply
Awareness: Students must
- Knowledge and openness to learning how one’s values,
attitudes, beliefs, emotions and past experiences affect thinking,
behavior and relationships.
- Willingness to examine and change their behavior when
appropriate and work effectively with others in subordinate
positions as well as with those in authority.
Emotional and Mental Stability:
Students must demonstrate the ability to:
- Deal with current life stressors through the use of
appropriate coping mechanisms effectively by using appropriate
self-care and developing supportive relationships with colleagues,
peers, and others.
- Effectively use help for medical or emotional problems that
interfere with academic and clinical performance.
I understand that
although I am admitted to the social work
program at The University of Southern Mississippi, if my professional
development is not deemed satisfactory by the social work faculty
Student Performance Committee, the program has the right and
responsibility to request re-evaluation of my suitability for the
social work program and make a decision regarding my progression in the
I hereby agree to abide
by the standards outlined in this
document. I have read, understand and acknowledge receipt of the Social
Work Professional and Technical Standards.