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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).

Only when students have terminated their practicum using the procedures outlined below can they begin to pursue other practicum opportunities.

  1. It is the responsibility of the student and Field Instructor to identify any problematic behavior pattern or major issue in the practicum. The student and Field Instructor are to document their attempts to address these difficulties in the learning/teaching experience. Where there is an Education Coordinator, their role is to become involved when the student and Field Instructor cannot resolve the issue. It is the role of the Education Coordinator and the FFL to assist in supporting the Field Instructor and student in dealing with problems in the practicum.
  2. The student or Field Instructor can initiate contact with the FFL when questions or problems arise in the practicum. 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, a Review Meeting is arranged.
  3. The FFL will set a Review Meeting with the Field Instructor, student, and other appropriate persons such as the Education Coordinator to review the situation and document the process and outcome.
  4. If the issue is student competency:
    1. In preparation for the Review Meeting:
      1. the FFL will review a sample of the student’s practice, selected by the Field Instructor and student. The FFL will assess the student’s practice and document this assessment. The student, Field Instructor, and Practicum Office representative will be given copies of this assessment. An Educational Review may also be recommended at this time.
      2. in direct service settings, it is the student’s responsibility to make available audio/video recordings, process recordings, or another method of observation of direct practice for the Field Instructor and/or FFL to review. In indirect settings, students must provide written process records and/or reflection logs to the Field Instructor.
    2. The participants will work toward a clear identification of problems in learning and teaching.
    3. The FFL will establish whether:
      1. there is sufficient evidence of the student’s practice (e.g., tapes, reports, records) to merit a remediation plan;
      2. 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.
    4. The participants will develop a remediation plan that addresses:
      1. Specific learning objectives to be achieved and behavior changes expected;
      2. Any necessary actions and procedures to be taken in field instruction;
      3. A time frame for a review meeting and for when a sample of the student’s practice (selected by student and Field Instructor) is to be reviewed by the Faculty-Field Liaison
    5. 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.
    6. 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 may invite a support person to the meeting, the identity of whom must be conveyed to the Assistant Dean before 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
  5. 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 days.
  6. FIFSW recognizes the right of the practice setting, ideally after consultation with the agency director/Education Coordinator and the Practicum Office, 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). In such circumstances, the Practicum Office must be advised in writing of the reasons for this decision and action.
  7. At the discretion of the Assistant Dean, Field Education and Associate Dean, Academic, 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.)
  8. 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.

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. The final date for submitting the form without academic penalty for students in “F” course (SWK 4701) is nine weeks after the practicum has begun, and for the “Y” course (SWK 4702), mid-February. See the School of Graduate Studies Manual of Grading Policies and Procedures for exact dates.