Resolution of Problems
Early recognition and feedback regarding barriers to learning are important. Students, Field Instructors, and Faculty-Field Liaisons (FFL) should communicate their observations and concerns to each other as soon as they are identified. Students, as well as clients, are better served by early recognition of significant performance difficulties. It is important that any personal information be treated confidentially by the practicum participants (student, Field Instructor, relevant agency staff, FFL, and Practicum Office). In recognition of the power dynamics in the field instructor – student relationship, the student or field instructor may wish to utilize other disclosure pathways listed on “How Can I Give Feedback on My Practicum?”
Only when students have terminated their practicum using the procedures outlined below can they begin to pursue other practicum opportunities.
- It is the responsibility of the student and Field Instructor to identify any problematic behavior pattern or major issue in the practicum and document their attempts to address these difficulties in the learning/teaching experience. The Faculty-Field Liaison (FFL) and the Education Coordinator (when there is one) must be contacted when the student and Field Instructor cannot resolve the issue. Appropriate referral to campus and community resources can occur. Most concerns can be dealt with through identification and discussion of the issues. However, should the issues not be resolved through this process, the FFL arranges a Review Meeting with appropriate stakeholders.
- If the issue is student competency:
- In preparation for the Review Meeting:
- the FFL reviews a sample of the student’s practice, selected by the Field Instructor and student as well as feedback provided by the Field Instructor and student’s responses.
- it is the student’s responsibility to make available audio/video recordings, process recordings, or another method of observation of direct and/or indirect practice for the Field Instructor and/or FFL to review. The Field Instructor provides evidence of constructive feedback.
- The participants will work toward a clear identification of problems in learning and teaching.
- The FFL will establish whether:
- there is sufficient evidence of the student’s practice (e.g., tapes, reports, records) and responses to feedback to merit a plan for success (remediation plan);
- regular procedures have been followed in field instruction as specified in the Learning Contract (e.g., number and nature of assignments; field instruction sessions; specific feedback given to the student.)
- The participants will develop a plan for success that addresses:
- Specific learning objectives and behavior changes expected;
- Any necessary actions and procedures to be taken in field instruction;
- A date for submitting samples of the student’s practice (selected by student and Field Instructor) to the FFL as well as a date for a subsequent meeting. Field instructor availability to supervise and evaluate will impact the dates.
- The FFL will document the process and outcome of the Review Meeting. A copy will be given to the student, Field Instructor, and Assistant Dean, Field Education. An Educational Review may also be recommended at this time.
- Should the practicum concerns not be resolved through the above procedures, the FFL will notify the Assistant Dean, Field Education that termination of the practicum may be necessary. The Assistant Dean will notify the Dean and/or Associate Dean Academic and convene a meeting with the student and appropriate field and faculty personnel to assess relevant issues. The student will inform the Assistant Dean whether they will invite a support person to the meeting. The FFL will document the process and outcome of the meeting. A copy will be given to the student, Field Instructor, and Assistant Dean, Field Education.
- Should the student not meet the competency expectations, a No Credit (NCR) will be assigned. The Faculty’s Assessment Committee has the authority to review the grade. No Credit (NCR) is the equivalent of a failure (FZ) grade in an academic course and is subject to the same regulations.
- The FFL and Assistant Dean will establish conditions to be met before the student can renegotiate a practicum. Students who terminate the practicum will normally defer their next practicum until the next semester. The Practicum Office cannot guarantee when a replacement practicum will be secured. The replacement practicum must comply with SGS registration timelines to commence in September, January, or May and cannot begin outside of those timelines. This may result in additional registration fees.
- In preparation for the Review Meeting:
- To complete the practicum course requirement and receive a credit for the practicum, the student must demonstrate social work competencies as per the practicum evaluation tool and complete the negotiated number of practicum hours.
- FIFSW recognizes the right of the practice setting, ideally after consultation with the agency director/Education Coordinator and the Practicum Office and in writing, to terminate the practicum if the student’s behavior is unacceptable and/or client service/patient care is compromised. (See the University of Toronto Standards of Professional Practice Behaviour for all Health Professional Students).
- At the discretion of the Assistant Dean, Field Education and Associate Dean, Academic, as well as the subsequent Field Instructor, with demonstration of competencies achieved, some of the student’s time in the terminated practicum may be credited to the student’s next practicum. (See section on “Grading” for further clarification.)
- In exceptional circumstances, the Practicum Office may pre-empt some of these stages. In keeping with the University of Toronto policy on Human Rights and the Mission Statement of the FIFSW, all students are expected to be treated equally. This applies to the interview and selection process as well as the practicum. Agency personnel and students are instructed to read and respect the Human Rights Codes, and students who believe they may be subject to harassment or oppression are encouraged to discuss arising concerns with their FFL immediately.
Procedures for Dropping the Practicum Course
As with other courses, students have the option to drop the practicum courses SWK 4701 or SWK 4702. When a Course Add/Drop form is submitted to drop a practicum course, no course credit from the terminated practicum will be applied to future practicums.
The student must complete the School of Graduate Studies Course Add/Drop form and submit it to the Practicum Office. Students must confirm the final date for submitting the form without academic penalty as per the outlined Dates & Deadlines. See the School of Graduate Studies Manual of Grading Policies and Procedures for exact dates.