Field Directors

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  • 1.  When a student fails one competency

    Posted Mar 13, 2024 13:49

    I am hoping to get some advice from you all regarding a situation. I have a student who is supposed to graduate in 5 weeks and is being dismissed from their internship and will be failing competency #1. According to the site, the student is meeting competency in all other areas. This student has struggled in their practicums since their foundation year and was dismissed one other time for the same competency deficit. What are your policies regarding something like this? Do you fail the student from their seminar class? What other actions do you undertake when a situation like this happens? I appreciate any guidance you can provide. 

    Froylana Miller
    Director of MSW Field Education
    California Baptist University
    Riverside CA

  • 2.  RE: When a student fails one competency

    Posted Mar 14, 2024 14:58


    Hello! Your description appropriately lacks a lot of details, and that makes it hard to give advice. However, this sounds like a concerning pattern, especially because the student didn't just demonstrate underdeveloped professionalism, they were so out of line that it resulted in dismissal - twice. 

    Regarding policies/process: we have an advancement process that involves writing a "concern letter" outline specific concerns about student academic performance from the course instructor (which is me, not the site's practicum instructor). Then we have an "advancement meeting" with the student, the student's advisor, the instructor bringing the complaint (me) and the program director (MSW or BSW). We discuss the academic issue - in this case, professional behavior in practicum - allow the student to share the barriers and issues that led to the academic issue, and then create an advancement plan, which is a contract the student must fulfill. This includes an action plan for the student to develop and demonstrate growth in the area of concern before they will be allowed to re-enter practicum. I've learned from an experience this spring that moving forward, I plan to put in the contract that dismissal from a second practicum due to student behavior/competency concerns will result in consideration of dismissal from our program. 

    A student being dismissed from practicum doesn't automatically result in a failing grade, it depends on circumstances and the advancement plan, but if a student has to repeat practicum, they have to repeat seminar because they must be in seminar alongside practicum. If they exit practicum for the rest of term, they are instructed to also exit seminar. Other details depend on the specific circumstances.

    I hope that helps!


    Sarah Witry
    Clinical Asst Professor, Field Education Director
    University of Iowa
    Iowa City IA