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Master's Program Handbook

500 - Regulations Governing Leave of Absence, Withdrawal, Probation & Dismissal

502.1 – Leave of Absence (Academic & Field Work)

a.

A student whose academic and field work is in good standing may apply to the associate dean for a leave of absence on an individual basis for any personal reason, including a medical reason, at any point in the educational continuum. During the field work session, such requests should be made for a specific reason, and after consultation by the student with the student's faculty field adviser and supervisor. In rare circumstances, a student may be allowed to continue in less-than-half-time status in order to complete thesis or community practice project requirements.

b.

The Academic and Field Work Performance Standing Committee may also mandate a leave of absence, and the committee must decide whether the transcript will read Mandatory Leave or Leave. If a student refuses the mandatory leave it is up to the committee to decide whether to dismiss the student or to allow them to withdraw. See 500.3D.g.2.

c.

No partial credit shall be given for incomplete field work. Normally a student granted a leave must meet the program requirements of the class to which she or he is reinstated. If a student is granted a leave of absence during the field internship, unless contraindicated by a decision by the Academic and Field Work Performance Standing Committe, they will be considered withdrawn from the field course (200 or 400) and a grade of W (withdrawn) will appear on the transcript. Decisions about completion of the community practice project or the thesis will be made independently. Fees may apply. An incomplete may be granted in the circumstance where the student is allowed to continue in a field internship in the next winter term after review by the Academic and Field Work Performance Standing Committee. An incomplete may also be granted in the circumstance where the student is allowed to continue work on the community practice project or the thesis, in which case an I will remain permanently on the record in the term in which th leave was granted. A final grade will be recorded in the term during which the work was completed.

d.

The field-related courses of a student who requests and is approved for a leave of absence in the first two weeks of field internship will be removed from the record; this includes courses 200, 220, 400 and 480.

e.

Students may petition for a leave not to exceed a total period of three years, with the understanding that the school will evaluate the situation on an individual basis. A student extending leave beyond the approved period will be considered to have withdrawn from the school.

f.

A written request for leave, detailing the reason, must be sent to the associate dean. The associate dean retains the right to request documentation supporting the need for a leave. If a student plans to return to the program following completion of the leave, a written request for reinstatement must be received by the associate dean by January 5 of the year of the leave in which the student wishes to return to the program. The associate dean retains the right to request documentation regarding the resolution of whatever issues led to the original request for a leave. Approval of the request for reinstatement is at the discretion of the associate dean.

502.2 – Mandatory Medical Leave

a.

The dean or associate dean may require a medical leave of absence of any student after mandating an in-person consultation with outside medical or clinical personnel of the school's choosing under the following circumstances:

  1. As a result of any of the performace issues delineated in 500.3A.a, which the school has reason to believe may have a medical basis;
  2. Concerns arising in the summer session, including inappropriate behavior, potential threat to self or others or erratic or unacceptable classroom attendance, which the school has reason to believe may have a medical basis.

b.

The Academic and Field Work Performance Standing Committee may, after a review, require a student to take a mandatory medical leave. Reasons for this decision, learning objectives to be achieved during the leave, and other remedies for problems defined for the leave shall be stated in writing by the chair and provided to the student. The committee shall also determine the minimum amount of time for the leave, which may not exceed three years. The committee shall determine and specify whether the dean, associate dean or the committee will decide whether or not the objectives have been met and the remedies have been achieved upon the student's petition to re-enter.

502.3 – Maternity/Paternity Leave (Applies to field internship period only)

a.

The faculty strongly affirms that there be a flexible policy at Smith that supports planning for continuation of education while allowing for a six-week maternity/paternity leave at the birth or adoption of a child. The parameters of such planning must include the hour requirements and performance expectations for the program including field learning and concern for clients while attempting to accommodate the student's needs.

b.

This policy applies to the field internship period only and students are expected to make up sufficient time to meet the program requirements.

c.

Procedures for arranging maternity/paternity leave are as follows:

  1. The student will send a letter to the director of field work requesting a maternity/paternity leave.
  2. The director or associate director of field work will then contact the student to acknowledge receipt of the memo and to discuss with the student their plans.
  3. The director or associate director of field work will take responsibility for discussing the request for maternity/paternity leave with the student's supervisor, the director of training of the agency and the faculty field adviser.
  4. The director or associate director of field work will consult with the student and agency personnel around the requested leave. If, for some reason, a plan cannot be worked out with the assigned agency, the field work department will, in consultation with the student, attempt to develop a plan with another agency. While every effort will be made, it is understood that such planning may not be feasible depending upon the timing of the delivery or adoption.

502.4 – Withdrawal

a.

If a student whose academic and field work is in good standing withdraws, the official record of the school will indicate "Withdrawn." If a student withdraws without the permission of the associate dean after a review has been called but before the review has been held, including a review called due to allegations of serious or substantial plagiarism, the official record of the school will indicate "Withdrawn Pending Review." If a student withdraws with the permission of the associate dean after a review has been called but before the review has been held, the official record of the school will indicate "Withdrawn." If a student withdraws while on probationary status relating to fieldwork, as detailed in 500.3F, the official record will indicate "Withdrawn on Probationary Status." There is no probationary period for academic work under the Pass/Marginal pass/fail system.

b.

No partial credit shall be given for incomplete field work. If a student withdraws for any reason during the field internship, unless contraindicated by a decision by the Academic and Field Work Performance Standing Committee, they will be considered withdrawn from the field course (200 or 400), from the research course (480) and/or from Community Practice Project (220), and a grade of W (withdrawn) will appear on the transcript.

c.

The field-related courses of a student who withdraws from the school in the first two weeks of field internship will be removed from the record; this includes courses 200, 220, 400 and 480.

d.

If a student voluntarily leaves the field for any reason, they must ask the associate dean for a withdrawal or a leave of absence immediately. If the school has not received a written request for a leave of absence within two weeks of their final day in the placement, the student will automatically be withdrawn from the school.

e.

A student who has withdrawn from the school and who seeks to return to the program must reapply to the school.

f.

A student who is readmitted to the school will be granted credit for successfully completed academic and field units taken previously in the program only if no more than three years have elapsed since the date of the original withdrawal. This three-year period would include a leave of absence if one has been granted. However, given the special need for continuity between the academic and practice components of the program, in specific cases where students have withdrawn having completed only the first academic summer session it shall be left to the discretion of the committee on admission whether a student readmitted to the program would be required to repeat the first academic summer or could re-enter the program at the beginning of the fall internship period.

502.5 – Probation and Dismissal

a.

The Smith College School for Social Work reserves the discretionary right to place on probation or dismiss any student from the school for failure to maintain satisfactory academic standing, personal conduct or professional standards.

b.

A student can be placed on probation only by a decision of the Academic and Field Work Performance Standing Committee (see 500.3D.g.3 and 500.3F).

c.

In cases of dismissal, fees will be refunded as stated in the section on refund policy. Student financial aid will be canceled. If a student withdraws from the school while on probationary status, the record will indicate "Withdrawn on Probationary Status," in the case of field work. There is no probationary period for academic work under the Pass/Marginal Pass/Fail system. If a student is dismissed from the school, the record will indicate "Dismissed."