BSW Handbook

The BSW Student Handbook has been created to provide students with information regarding our programs, policies and practices. Students should use this in conjunction with the School of Social Welfare website and Academic Catalog to orient themselves to our programs, curriculum and resources. It is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a contract.

Accreditation and Certification

The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program has been continuously accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) since 1974 and the Master of Social Work (MSW) program since 1947. CSWE sets guidelines and policies which all accredited BSW and MSW programs must follow in order to attain their status as accredited institutions.

Vision Statement

All individuals, families, & communities utilize their power to achieve justice, equity, & well-being.

Mission Statement

The University of Kansas School of Social Welfare, rooted in the Strengths Perspective, aims to transform lives and social contexts and promote social, economic, and environmental justice in Kansas, the nation and the world.  We do so by educating students to practice with integrity and competence; advancing the science and knowledge base of social work through scholarship and research; and participating in community-engaged service.

Guiding Principles and Values

Relationship Building: We engage in relationship building that fosters creativity, collaboration, and mutual learning. Relationship building is essential across practice, scholarship, education and service.  We take a strengths approach as we serve our local, state, national, and global communities.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: We embrace the inherent worth of all people. By taking the position of cultural humility and applying the lens of intersectionality, we seek to develop and promote modes of anti-oppressive social work and dismantle structures of exclusion.

Practice with Integrity: We demonstrate our integrity and trustworthiness as scholars, educators, practitioners, and community members by promoting social work values, ethical practice, and the process of critical reflection.

Multisystem Competency: We recognize that social, economic, and environmental injustices are the root causes of inequities and multiple strategies are necessary to address these. Our work integrates micro/macro social work and builds collaboration across systems and disciplines to create multi-level change.

Critical Perspective: We engage in deliberate and continuing examination of social conditions and solutions. We use critical inquiry to analyze and challenge existing structures and systems in order to advance the field and promote social, economic, and environmental justice.

Empirically Informed Social Work: We rigorously advance empirical research that impacts the social work knowledge base. By translating and applying evidence, we continually transform practice and policy across multiple systems.


  1. To prepare B.S.W., M.S.W. and Ph.D. students to practice with integrity and attain multi-level competency while working to promote well-being and build community.
  2. To conduct, disseminate, and translate theoretical and empirically informed scholarship and research that impacts the social work knowledge base and transforms practice and policy. 
  3. To promote social, economic, and environmental justice through service at local, state, national, and international levels.

BSW Mission Statement

The BSW Program, rooted in the Strengths Perspective, aims to transform lives and social contexts, and promote social, economic, and environmental justice. We prepare students for generalist practice, while adhering to the School’s guiding values and principles​

BSW Program Objectives

OBJECTIVE 1: Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly

  • Advocate for client access to the services of social work.
  • Practice personal reflection and self-correction to assure continual professional development.
  • Attend to professional roles & boundaries.
  • Demonstrate professional demeanor in behavior, appearance, and communication.
  • Engage in career-long learning.
  • Use supervision and consultation.

OBJECTIVE 2:  Apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice.

  • Recognize and manage personal values in a way that allows professional values to guide practice.
  • Make ethical decisions by applying standards of the NASW Code of Ethics and, as applicable, of the IFSW/IASSW Ethics in Social Work, Statement of Principles.
  • Tolerate ambiguity in resolving ethical conflicts.
  • Apply strategies of ethical reasoning to arrive at principled decisions.

OBJECTIVE 3:  Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments

  • Distinguish, appraise, and integrate multiple sources of knowledge, including research-based knowledge, and practice wisdom.
  • Analyze models of assessment, prevention, intervention, and evaluation. Demonstrate effective oral and written communication in working with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, and colleagues.

OBJECTIVE 4:  Engage in diversity and difference in practice

  • Recognize the extent to which a culture’s structures and values may oppress, marginalize, alienate, or create or enhance privilege and power.
  • Gain sufficient self-awareness to eliminate the influence of personal biases and values in working with diverse groups.
  • Recognize and communicate their understanding of the importance of difference in shaping life experiences.
  • View themselves as learners and engage those with whom they work as informants.

OBJECTIVE 5:  Advance human rights and social and economic justice

  • Understand the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination.
  • Advocate for human rights and social and economic justice.
  • Engage in practices that advance social and economic justice.

OBJECTIVE 6: Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research

  • Use practice experience to inform scientific inquiry.
  • Use research evidence to inform practice.

OBJECTIVE 7:  Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment

  • Utilize conceptual frameworks to guide the processes of assessment, intervention, and evaluation.
  • Critique and apply knowledge to understand person and environment.

OBJECTIVE 8:  Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services

  • Analyze, formulate, and advocate for policies that advance social well-being.
  • Collaborate with colleagues and clients for effective policy action.

OBJECTIVE 9:  Respond to contexts that shape practice

  • Continuously discover, appraise, and attend to changing locales, populations, scientific and technological developments, and emerging societal trends to provide relevant services.
  • Provide leadership in promoting sustainable changes in service delivery and practice to improve the quality of social services.

OBJECTIVE 10a: ENGAGE:  Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities

  • Substantively and effectively prepare for action with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
  • Use empathy and other interpersonal skills. Develop a mutually agreed-on focus of work and desired outcomes.

OBJECTIVE 10b: ASSESS:  Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities

  • Collect, organize, and interpret client data.
  • Assess client strengths and limitations.
  • Develop mutually agreed-upon goal & objectives.
  • Select appropriate intervention strategies.

OBJECTIVE 10c: INTERVENTION:  Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities

  • Initiate actions to achieve organizational goals.
  • Implement prevention interventions that enhance client capacities.
  • Help clients resolve problems.
  • Negotiate, mediate, and advocate for clients.
  • Facilitate transitions and endings.

OBJECTIVE 10d: EVALUATE:  Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities

  • Critically analyze, monitor and evaluate interventions.
  • Understand the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination.
  • Advocate for human rights and social and economic justice.
  • Engage in practices that advance social and economic justice.

The undergraduate program of the KU School of Social Welfare prepares graduates for beginning level generalist social work practice. The program defines generalist practice as maintaining focus on the interface between systems (i.e., individual, families, groups, organizations, and communities), with particular emphasis on:

  • The strengths inherent in these systems.
  • The need to understand the role of gender, culture, sexual orientation, disability, race, and class in all phases of the social work process.
  • The promotion of social and economic justice for those disenfranchised on the basis of the attributes listed above.
  • The assumption of a critical perspective regarding different ways of knowing.

Beginning generalist practice uses multilevel methodology depending on the needs of the client system, and incorporates a knowledge, value, and skill base that is transferable between and among diverse contexts and locations.

Students are admitted to the School of Social Welfare as new freshman or transfer students. They advance to 500 level course work after meeting all advancement requirements. During 500 level course work, the student establishes a foundation of knowledge and skills in human behavior and the social environment, social work research, diversity, and an introduction to the fundamentals of social work practice. During the 600 level course work students take social work practice, social policy and program analysis, a seminar in professional issues, and two practice mini-courses. Students also take field practicum – a year-long course in which students acquire competence as beginning social work practitioners.

It is possible for students to complete these courses taking a part-time schedule. If you want to pursue this option, please talk to your adviser before scheduling your courses.

It is the student’s responsibility to become thoroughly acquainted with the degree requirements. Ultimately, the student is responsible for understanding and completing requirements for the degree.


BSW Required Course Work 

The curriculum listed below is for students admitted based on admit term of fall 2021 or later. For students admitted prior to these terms, please refer to the current student curriculum listing

  • SW 220 Social Work, Social Welfare and U.S

500 level course work


  • SW 530 Introduction to Theory for Multi-level Social Work (3 credit hours)
  • SW 540 Introduction to Social Work Research (3 credit hours)
  • SW 555 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Social Work Practice (3 credit hours)


  • SW 510 Introduction to Social Work Practice:  Interviewing Skills (1.5 credit hours)
  • SW 512 Skills-based Policy/Advocacy (1.5 credit hours)
  • SW 534 Introduction to Social Policy & Advocacy (3 credit hours)

Topics: Choose any (2) Mini Courses:

  • SW 570 Centering on Decolonization in Social Work (1.5 credit hours)  
  • SW 571 Responding to Suicide & Self Harm (1.5 credit hours)
  • SW 572 Substance Use (1.5 credit hours)
  • SW 573 Intergenerational & Historical Trauma (1.5 credit hours)

600 level course work


  • SW 600  Field Preparation & Seminar (1 credit hour)
  • SW 601 Field Practicum (5 credit hours)
  • SW 610 Social Work Practice: Engaging and Assessing Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations & Communities (3 credit hours)
  • SW 622 Human Rights and Social, Economic & Environmental Justice (3 credit hours)

Choose two courses:

  • SW 630 Antisocial, Aggressive Behavior in Childhood and Early Adolescence (1.5 credit hours)
  • SW 631 Intimate Partner Violence (1.5 credit hours)
  • SW 632 Substance Abuse and Social Work Practice (1.5 credit hours)
  • SW 633 Crisis Intervention (1.5 credit hours)


  • SW 600 Field Preparation & Seminar (1 credit hour)
  • SW 601 Field Practicum (5 credit hours)
  • SW 612 Social Work Practice: Intervening and Evaluating Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations & Communities (3 credit hours)
  • SW 623 Professional Issues: Capstone Course (3 credit hours)


Transfer of Credit

Transfer of credit allows specific course work from other accredited colleges or universities to count toward the BSW degree. Decisions to accept prior transcript credits are made by the university’s transcript evaluator during the admission process. Exceptions must be petitioned through the BSW director. Petitions must be accompanied by a catalog description and a syllabus of the course and submitted at the time of application to the school.

Transfer credit will not be awarded in which a grade of D+ or below was earned. If the course is transferable, grades of D+, D, D- and F are used to calculate the cumulative transfer GPA.

Community college equivalents to KU courses are available from the School of Social Welfare, through community college counselors or at the KU Credit Transfer webpage. A maximum of 64 credit hours from a community college may be transferred to count toward the BSW degree.

Prior Work Experience 

In accordance with CSWE curriculum policy, prior employment and life experience may not be credited toward classroom course work or practicum requirements.


The BSW program prides itself on the thoroughness of its advising system. Early advising is recommended for students interested in social work. Undergraduate academic advising is a developmental decision-making process during which students identify and realize their educational potential through communication with an academic advisor. Advising is an ongoing, multifaceted process, a responsibility shared by the student, advisor, and KU. Advising concerns students’ intellectual goals including career planning, enrollment, and course and major selection, and establishes and maintains a relationship between faculty members and students.

Students are encouraged to check their Degree Progress Report anytime at myKU. Students are ultimately responsible for enrollment and for taking courses necessary to meet degree requirements. It is important to check your schedule for accuracy, including the practicum section. Corrections should be made as quickly as possible.

Advising is separated into two categories – academic and professional/career.

Academic Advisors

Academic advisors assist with enrollment and course selection. Enrollment happens twice each year – in the fall semester for spring, and in the spring for summer and fall. Students receive emails from the Office of the University Registrar announcing enrollment periods. Students are required to meet with their academic advisor to discuss academic issues, major requirements, course selection and basic policies.


Academic advisors also serve in another capacity: they are responsible for communicating with the student when the student is in academic trouble. If an instructor has a concern, a notification is sent to the academic advisors and BSW program director. The student will be contacted to discuss the basis of the academic warning and to formulate a plan for improving performance in class.

Students will also be notified if their social work GPA or overall GPA has fallen below 2.5. They will be encouraged to meet with their academic advisor to make a plan for improving their academic performance.

If students are having trouble with a course, students can take the initiative and approach their academic advisors. Academic advisors can help problem-solve with students, suggest university resources that might be appropriate, and inform students of their options for further redress.

What Academic Advisors Cannot Do

Academic advisors cannot do any of the following:

  • Change your grade in a course (this requires a grievance)
  • Allow you to enroll in a course that is full
  • Allow one of the classes you have taken to fulfill one of the general education requirements, if it is not on the list (this requires approval from the BSW program director)
  • Therapy (while faculty and staff members are certainly available to help students problem-solve and talk through a specific crisis, Counseling and Psychological Services provides longer-term counseling for students)
  • Tell a instructor to let you take an incomplete, turn an assignment in late, or not penalize you for lateness or absences

Faculty Advisors

In the fall semester students are assigned a member of the faculty who serves as their professional/career advisor. Students are encouraged to meet with their assigned faculty member to discuss academic issues, research developments in the field of social work, fields of practice, as well as possible career options.

Students who develop a good relationship with their advisors, or with other faculty members, can find this to be an important part of their academic career. It is recommended that students get to know their advisors and develop a rapport early on.


Class Size

The faculty has determined optimal class sizes for all courses, which may vary according to the course. The faculty has also determined that when multiple sections of a course are offered, enrollment in those sections is to be distributed as evenly as possible. Students should anticipate that they might not get into their first choice of courses or sections. Students are encouraged to consider options before going through the enrollment process.

Adding/Dropping/Changing Sections

Students wishing to add or drop a course must first consult with an advisor to review the impact of the action.

Before adding or dropping, students should consider that:

  • Required courses are only offered once each year
  • Enrollment in practicum is concurrent with enrollment in the appropriate practice class - dropping one requires dropping the other
  • Changes of section are only considered for scheduling reasons and only if space is available as determined by administrative staff (students should not ask an individual instructor for permission)
  • Students are expected to remain with the same instructor for both semesters of sequence courses
  • Refunds for dropped credit hours follow a set calendar - please see the academic calendar on the Office of the University Registrar for more information.

Withdrawal From Degree Status

Students considering withdrawing from the program are strongly encouraged to meet with their academic advisor. If the student and advisor conclude that withdrawal is the best option, students can complete forms online. Students have five years to complete the degree upon beginning 500 level coursework. After that time, students must apply to be readmitted to KU and the School and will be required to repeat courses as needed.


For specific information regarding tuition and fees including a breakdown of campus fees, go to the KU Financial Aid webpage.  

Fee Assessment Petition Process

If a student wants to request that an assessment charge be reconsidered, visit the Fee Petition webpage on the Office of the University Registrar and print a copy of the fee appeal form.

BSW Advancement Policies and Procedures, and Student Standards


Advancement is a process intended to assure that each student maintains adequate progress in gaining the values, knowledge, skills, competencies, and behaviors required for successful professional practice. For BSW students, advancement has two different meanings. First, all students complete the advancement review prior to beginning 500 level course work. Student advancement at this level allows students to begin taking courses which count toward the major and begin preparing for their BSW practice and practicum courses. This procedure is outlined in the BSW Advancement Review found on the BSW Apply webpage

However, advancement also holds a second meaning, as BSW also have to continually remain in good academic standing as they matriculate through the program. This requires them to remain in good standing in terms of grades, professional conduct, and ethics throughout their time in the school, and to meet our criteria for technical abilities to engage in practice and learning, Students are automatically advanced if they meet or exceed all our expectations and should consider themselves to be making adequate progress unless they are otherwise informed.

Because of the nature of professional social work practice, the School of Social Welfare has some expectations of students that are different from those typically found in other academic but non-professional programs. The standards are linked to students’ abilities to become effective social work professionals and are provided so that students and faculty can be clear about expectations and procedures to address academic performance or behavioral concerns. The goal of the Standards is to help students to successfully graduate and provide effective social work services in a range of settings over the course of one’s career.

Upon admission to the school, all students will be provided with and are expected to read the BSW Student Advancement Policy (this chapter), the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), and the KU Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Students will then be asked to electronically sign an acknowledgment that they: (1) have read these documents, (2) are aware of their contents, and (3) will abide by the standards elaborated in the documents. The form will be kept in students’ files.

BSW Student Standards

Within the School of Social Welfare, we expect students to meet or exceed certain basic minimum standards to demonstrate their ability to advance to degree completion. These standards are categorized as technical standards, scholastic performance, ethical behavior and professional conduct.

Technical Standards

First, students must attest that they possess the physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioral attributes necessary to fulfill the requirements of social work education. To adequately prepare for, and engage in, social work practice, students must be able to demonstrate the following abilities in order to fully participate in all aspects of coursework and the field practicum. 

  1. Communication- A student must be able to communicate effectively, sensitively, and professionally with other students, faculty, staff, clients, field instructor, and practicum agency staff in accordance with the NASW Code of Ethics.  Communication includes not only speech but also reading and writing.  The student must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form.  
  2. Motor and Sensory- A student must have sufficient motor and sensory function to be able to attend class and complete a practicum placement, with or without accommodation, by executing motor movements reasonably required to function in an academic environment and provide services to clients.  Where indicated by a letter of accommodation from the Academic Achievement and Access Center, they shall make reasonable accommodation in order to allow the student to meet these standards.
  3. Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities- A student must possess reasoning, analysis, and synthesis abilities.  Problem solving, a critical skill required of a social worker, requires all of these intellectual abilities.  These skills are necessary in order for students to make proper assessments, prioritize interventions, and measure/report client and community outcomes.
  4. Behavioral and Social Attributes- A student must possess the behavioral and social skills required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of sound judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities as specified in the BSW & MSW handbook, and the development of sensitive and effective professional relationships with clients and community members, in accordance with the NASW Code of Ethics.  A student must be able to function effectively under stress.  A student must be able to adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent to social work practice.  Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skill, interest, and motivation are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admissions and education process.  A student must be willing to effectively use help and supports for medical or emotional issues that interfere with performance.
  5. Self-awareness-A student must know how his/her values, beliefs, past experiences, and attitudes impact their own thought processes and behaviors.  The student must be prepared to engage in self-reflection and change behaviors that obstruct his/her work with clients and community members, agency staff, field instructors, other students, faculty, and staff.  A student must be able to tolerate ambiguity.  
  6. Appreciation of diversity- In accordance with the NASW Code of Ethics, a student must be able to work with a variety of diverse groups, and progress towards cultural competence regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, and mental or physical ability. 

Scholastic Performance Standards

BSW students are expected to maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.5 in order to be awarded the BSW degree. BSW students must also earn a grade of S in Field Practicum courses; a Grade of U assigned in Field Practicum indicates unsatisfactory progress. Note: No credit is awarded in any social work course in which a student earns below a C-.

Academic Probation

GPA below 2.50 cumulative and/or in required social work courses. Student shall be notified in writing of academic probation status. Student is required to meet with academic advisor to develop plan to meet academic standard by the end of the next sequential semester (summer is not considered sequential). If by the end of the next sequential semester the GPA has not been raised to meet academic standard the student will be dismissed from the program.

Ethical Behavior Standards

The School has a professional values commitment that requires the highest standards of conduct in human interactions. Students must agree to abide by the ethical requirements of the NASW Code of Ethics. Student behaviors in classroom, field, university and the wider community should demonstrate adherence to the ethical expectations and obligations of professional practice, noted in the NASW Code of Ethics and the KU Student Code of Conduct. This includes, though may not be limited to:

  • Adherence to the NASW Code of Ethics and the KU Student Code of Conduct.
  • No involvement with the criminal justice system that is so recent, consistent and/or serious that it may prevent one’s ability to engage in effective professional practice.
  • Systematic evaluation of clients, communities and larger environmental systems and their situations in an unbiased, factual way. Suspension of personal biases during interactions with others.
  • Comprehension of a variety of ways of life and values. Empathic communication and support of the client and community systems as a basis for a productive professional relationship.
  • Appreciation of the value of diversity. Effective and nonjudgmental relation to and work with others who are different from oneself. Appropriate service to all persons in need of assistance, regardless of the person’s race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, and mental or physical ability. No imposition of personal, religious, sexual, and/or cultural values on clients or communities.
  • Demonstration of respect for the rights of others. Commitment to clients’ and communities’ rights to freedom of choice and self-determination.
  • Maintenance of confidentiality as it relates to human services, classroom activities, and field placements.
  • Demonstration of honesty and integrity by being truthful about background, experiences, and qualifications; doing one’s own work; giving credit for the ideas of
  • others; and providing proper citation of source materials. Behavior should be consistent with the rules on Academic Misconduct found in the University Senate Rules and Regulations and the School of Social Welfare statements on avoiding Academic Misconduct found elsewhere in the BSW Student Handbook.
  • Demonstration of clear, appropriate, and culturally sensitive boundaries. Does not sexually harass others; make verbal or physical threats; commit acts of violence; become involved in sexual relationships with clients, supervisors, or faculty; abuse others in physical, emotional, verbal, or sexual ways; or participate in dual relationships where conflicts of interest may exist.

View the NASW Code of Ethics on the NASW website.

Professional Conduct 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 the behaviors one would commonly encounter when engaging with professional social work practitioners. These are norms of decorum, presentation of self, respectful professional interaction, and qualities such as consistency, reliability, and self-reflection. Such behavior is expected not only in the classroom but throughout the University and the larger community. Thus, we expect that to remain in good standing with the School of Social Welfare BSW program, students must continuously demonstrate:

Professional Commitment. Exhibits a strong commitment to the goals of social work and to the ethical standards of the profession, as specified in the NASW Code of Ethics. Demonstrates commitment to the essential values of social work that include the respect for the dignity and worth of every individual and a commitment to social justice.

Professional Conduct. Students are preparing for professional practice while they are students in the School of Social Welfare. Thus, we expect them to exhibit behaviors that:

  • Comply with program policies, institutional policies, and professional ethical standards.
  • Are consistent with societal laws that are relevant to social work ethics and values and to the ability to practice professional social work effectively.
  • Are professional in terms of appearance, dress, and general demeanor, including the use of appropriately professional language and tone of voice in interactions with clients, faculty, administration, staff, and other students.
  • Show potential for 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 constructive criticism in a positive manner.
  • Demonstrate a prioritization of educational goals and the ability to balance competing life priorities.
  • Demonstrate the ability to effectively make and implement a plan of study in cooperation with the faculty and staff.
  • Work effectively with others, regardless of level of authority.
  • Advocate for themselves in an appropriate and responsible manner and use proper channels for conflict resolution.
  • Show a willingness to receive and accept feedback and supervision in a positive manner, as well as use such feedback to enhance professional development.

Failure to Meet the BSW Student Standards and the Process of Student Review

When students fail, or are in danger of failing, to meet performance standards in any of the four areas necessary for student advancement, the BSW program responds to attempt to promote student success while simultaneously maintaining standards that protect the clients and communities we serve, the profession, the reputation of the school, and the safety of our students, staff, and faculty.

Building upon a time-honored tradition within the School of Social Welfare and our stated commitment to the central importance of human relationships, we always hope to begin by resolving concerns through the least intrusive and most empowering ways that we can. The relationships with instructors (field and classroom) are often the most important to students due to their frequency of contact and relevance for future career goals. Thus, we encourage those most proximate to the students to identify concerns early and address them through less formal means in the hopes of preventing future problems and in reducing the defensiveness that can occur when more formal mechanisms of oversight must come into play. Our three-tiered system begins with the assumption that, working together in good faith, instructors and students can resolve issues proactively and preserve those relationships in accordance with our School of Social Welfare Mission and Principles.

However, it is important to note that there are times when student performance issues are so pervasive, severe or egregious that they immediately necessitate a Tier 3 response. For example, a student who is simultaneously demonstrating academic, ethical and professional difficulties may move directly to a third-tier review, which includes the convening of a meeting with the Student Review Committee (SRC). The three-tiered approach is presented in the table below, and we will describe this in more detail in the section that follows. In addition, the Field Director or Program Director may be involved at any point in the process, including a Tier 1 or 2 response.

Three-Tiered Response to Student Performance Difficulties in the BSW Program


Scholastic Expectations

Ethical Expectations



Tier One



Classroom or Field Instructor/Field Staff problem solves with student, and notifies administration

Classroom or Field Instructor/Field Staff problem solves with student, and notifies administration

Classroom or Field Instructor/Field Staff problem solves with student, and notifies administration

Not Applicable

Tier Two



In consultation with administration, an Academic Advisor or Field Liaison/Field Staff develops a Student Success Plan

In consultation with administration, an Academic Advisor or Field Liaison/Field Staff develops a Student Success Plan

In consultation with administration, Academic Advisor/Field Liaison/Field Staff develops Student Success Plan

Not Applicable

Tier Three



Formal meeting of the SRC is convened by BSW Program Director

Formal meeting of the SRC is convened by BSW Program Director

Formal meeting of the SRC is convened by BSW Program Director

Formal meeting of the SRC is convened by BSW Program Director

Technical Standards

In most cases, concerns with students’ abilities to meet the technical standards are addressed during the advancement process, and students lacking these foundational capabilities will not be allowed to continue in the program. In cases where students are admitted but demonstrate through performance in the classroom or in field that they are unable to perform basic tasks necessary to engage in the social work educational process, a Tier 3 SRC is promptly held.

Scholastic performance

Tier 1 Review. The signs of academic difficulty often begin quite early in the semester, and most lapses in scholastic performance are dealt with at the level of the classroom instructor (Tier 1). Typically, the instructor will attempt to make arrangements and provide supports for students to succeed. Similarly, performance in field coursework is also addressed by the Field Instructors in collaboration with the student. At times, however, this does not resolve the issue, and students then move toward a second-tier intervention.

Tier 2 Review: At the Tier 2 level, when students earn below a 2.5 cumulative GPA, they are placed on academic probation. For a GPA between 2.31 and 2.49, the Academic Advisor notifies the student in writing, indicating grades needed to bring up the GPA to the required level. The student and appropriate professional staff person develop a plan to meet grade requirements, which is then placed in the student’s file for reference.

Tier 3 Review: At the Tier 3 level, when a student earns below a 2.5 cumulative GPA, they are placed on academic probation. With a GPA of 2.3 and below, the BSW Program Director promptly notifies the student and the student’s academic advisor in writing and schedules a SRC. The SRC meeting is convened to determine the student’s continued status in the program. A description of the SRC and its processes are below.

In both Tier 2 and Tier 3 Reviews, a student has until the end of the next sequential semester to raise the GPA to the minimum academic standard of a 2.5. If the student GPA does not meet the 2.5 requirement, the program director will recommend the student’s dismissal to the dean.

In field course work, when a Grade of U is assigned in field practicum, indicating unsatisfactory progress, the field instructor immediately notifies the student and the field liaison. The liaison notifies the Director of Field Education, who sends written notice to the student that an SRC meeting will be held to review the student’s status.

Ethical Behaviors

Violations of the Ethical Behavior Standards may occur in any setting -- including practicum, on campus, or elsewhere in the community, including social media. Ethical violations may be reported by instructors (such as in the case of academic misconduct) or by clients, peers, administrators, staff or practicum agency employees.

Tier 1 responses typically occur when unethical behavior occurs in the classroom or field and is addressed by the classroom or field instructor during supervision or through other corrective interactions. These are common occurrences that are part and parcel of the social work educational and socialization processes.

Tier 2 reviews occur when an unethical behavior continues to occur, and a classroom or field instructor feels compelled to report the

with administration, program coordinators or field liaisons develops a Student Success Plan designed to correct the ethical misconduct.

Tier 3 reviews occur when lower level responses fail or when an unethical behavior is so egregious that a SRC meeting must be convened.

Professional Conduct

Violations of the Professional Conduct Standards may occur in any setting -- including practicum, on campus, or elsewhere in the community, including social media. Professional misconduct may be reported by instructors or by peers, administrators, staff or practicum agency employees. Sometimes professional conduct issues can be reported to the university from the larger university community, for example by campus police, student groups, or other academic units or departments.

Tier 1 responses typically occur when professional misconduct occurs in the classroom or field and is addressed by the classroom or field instructor during supervision or through other corrective interactions. These are typically common occurrences that are part and parcel of the social work educational and socialization processes.

Tier 2 reviews occur when professional misconduct continues to occur, and a classroom or field instructor feels compelled to report the behavior to administration. In consultation with administration, academic advisors or field liaisons develops a Student Success Plan designed to correct the professional misconduct.

Tier 3 reviews occur when lower level responses fail or when professional misconduct is so egregious that a SRC meeting must be convened.

Student Review Committee Meetings

General Information

When a Tier 1 or 2 effort at problem resolution is unsuccessful or a problem is so egregious or concerning that a lower level response is not indicated, an SRC meeting can be requested by a classroom instructor, faculty advisor, or the Field Education Director. The BSW Program Director then determines whether an SRC is indicated. The SRC hearing process is used for difficulty in performance with any of the standards, although the composition of the committee may vary slightly depending on the focus of the concern.

The BSW Director invites participants to the SRC including the student, the Director of Field Education, and the student’s faculty advisor. At times, academic advisors, classroom instructors, field instructors, or field liaisons (at the BSW Director’s discretion) are invited, although generally their written report regarding the classroom concerns is used as their input for the meeting, a copy of which is provided to all attendees. Students may not invite additional participants to an SRC Meeting. If a student does not attend a scheduled SRC

meeting, the SRC meeting will proceed in the student's absence and the student will be provided with a written report of the meeting and its outcome. At a minimum, the SRC requires the attendance of the BSW Program Director, and the Director of Field Education or their designated proxy representatives. Any faculty or staff person with a conflict of interest with a particular student for whom an SRC is convened should notify the Associate Dean for Academic Programs that they are recusing themselves from service.

During this meeting, relevant information provided by all participants will be reviewed. SRC recommendations generally should be based on clear documentation of the problem areas as well as evidence that these concerns have been discussed with the student and attempted to be ameliorated, where appropriate. In a case where resolution of the problem performance or behavior does not seem to be possible, the SRC may recommend to the Dean that the student be dismissed from the BSW program. Students must be notified of the decision in writing within five business days of the review.

SRC Meeting Findings and Outcomes

The SRC may make the following types of decisions and recommendations after review of the student’s particular facts and circumstances:

1. Continue the student in the program with no conditions. In these situations, the student concern has been addressed and a formal warning from the SRC is issued. However, no further action by the student or program is required.

2. Recommend the issuance of a formal censure or admonition from the Dean of the School of Social Welfare. The committee may decide that the student can continue, but the behavior in question should be admonished, censured, or permanently noted on the student’s formal transcript by the Dean.

3. Establish formal conditions for the student’s continuance in the program. In these situations, specific conditions must be met in order for the student to remain in the program. Actions may include, but are not limited to, establishing academic or behavioral goals, a plan, a timeline, and appropriate monitoring; requiring the completion of a particular assignment or additional coursework; providing mentoring and support; placing the student on probation and monitoring the student during the probationary period; referring the student to counseling and/or advising services; suspending a student’s participation in practicum until the academic issue, ethical behavior or professional conduct issue is resolved; allowing the student to follow a reduced course load or delay entry to the field practicum; repeating part or all of a field practicum; or requiring the student to withdraw from the program with the option of reapplying.

4. Recommend dismissal of the student from the program. It may be recommended that the student be formally dismissed from the BSW program. The student is notified of the recommendation and the recommendation is made to the Dean of the School of Social Welfare.

In all cases in which an SRC is convened, the Program Director completes documentation of the meeting by completing an SRC meeting form (See Appendix A) and sends the document to all who attended. The SRC form includes a section in which the student may respond to the meeting and to the director’s documentation of it, and that is included in the permanent record of the incident or issue. Upon completion of the student response, the document is forwarded to the Dean and others who require a permanent record of the committee proceedings.

Decision by the Dean

Once notified, students have five business days to respond to the content of the SRC Meeting Form. It is the responsibility of the Program Director to communicate the outcome with the student, unless it is an action (such as a dismissal or formal censure) that must be carried out by the Dean of the School of Social Welfare. The Dean has five (5) business days to determine whether they concur with the decision to issue a censure, suspend, or dismiss the student from the program.

After receiving the SRC Meeting Form with the student’s response, if any, the Dean will review the matter and determine whether to accept the recommendations. The Dean may accept, reject or modify the recommendations of the SRC or send the matter back to the SRC for further consideration. The decision of the Dean is effective immediately unless otherwise specified in the notification. The Dean’s decisions on these matters may not be appealed within the School of Social Welfare.

SRC Summary Form

Online SRC Summary Form.

BSW Advancement Review

School of Social Welfare Advancement Review Form

For BSW students to advance in the Program and into 500 level coursework they must complete the following:

  • 54 hours of General Education requirements including:
    • Math 101 or LA&S 108
    • English 101
    • English 102
  • Cumulative GPA of 2.5
  • Earned grade of B or higher in SW 220 (a B- is not accepted) · Documented (20) hours of volunteer or paid work experience in a social service setting
  • Three letters of reference:
    • One from a faculty member or instructor
    • One from a work or volunteer supervisor
    • One from any one of the previously mentioned
    • Personal or character references are not accepted
  • Submitted electronic copy of the BSW Student Standards and Advancement Policies & Procedures, NASW Code of Ethics, and the KU Code of Student Rights & Responsibilities.

If all of the above criteria are met, students are successfully advanced into 500 level coursework.

Should a student not meet all of the above criteria, they have until one week prior to classes beginning in the fall semester to complete required courses and/or documented service hours.

Should a student’s cumulative GPA be below a 2.5 and between 2.25 and 2.49, the student may advance and will be on probation for the fall semester. If at the end of the fall semester the cumulative GPA is not at or above a 2.5, the student will be dismissed from the BSW Program.

In cases of a felony record or reference letters noting Recommend with Reservations or Do Not Recommend, students may not advance to 500 level coursework until a review is conducted and approved by the BSW Program Director, Director of Field Education, and Associate Dean for Academic Programs

Academic Misconduct and Plagiarism

Academic misconduct and plagiarism. The University Senate Rules and Regulations define academic misconduct in Article II, Section 6, stating:

Academic misconduct by a student shall include, but not be limited to, disruption of classes; threatening an instructor or fellow student in an academic setting; giving or receiving of unauthorized aid on examinations or in the preparation of notebooks, themes, reports or other assignments; knowingly misrepresenting the source of any academic work; unauthorized changing of grades; unauthorized use of University approvals or forging of signatures; falsification of research results; plagiarizing of another’s work; violation of regulations or ethical codes for the treatment of human and animal subjects; or otherwise acting dishonestly in research.

One form of academic misconduct is plagiarism or taking credit for work produced by someone else. This is a serious ethical violation. You should review the section on Academic Misconduct in the KU Student Code of Conduct to familiarize yourself with what constitutes plagiarism. You must also review this section to help you to understand the efforts you can make to avoid engaging in plagiarism. Remember that faithfully using the citation and reference guidelines outlined in the APA style guide will serve as an excellent way to avoid plagiarism. Additionally, KU subscribes to a digital plagiarism detection program called “Safe Assign” which may be used to check papers submitted in this course. You may be asked to submit your papers in a digital format so that your paper can be checked against web pages and databases of existing papers.

If a student commits plagiarism, with or without intention, the instructor for a course can, after consultation with the academic program director, assign a failing grade for the academic activity in question. If the plagiarism is severe or repeated, the instructor can, after consultation with the academic program director, assign a failing grade for the course in which the behavior occurred. The program director also may convene a Student Review Committee meeting, which could result in a recommendation to the Dean of the School of Social Welfare for formal admonition, censure, suspension, or expulsion of the student.


Undergraduate courses are graded by A, B, C, D, F grades. A = work of marked excellence indicating high honor, B = work of higher than average quality, C = work of average quality, D = work of lowest quality that would allow a student to pursue the next dependent course, F = unsatisfactory work).

Plus/minus grades may be given and calculated in the overall grade point average.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

The grade point average is determined by dividing the number of grade points earned by the number of credit hours.

A = 4 points
B = 3
C = 2

A- = 3.7
B- = 2.7
C- = 1.7

B+ = 3.3
C+ = 2.3
F = 0

No required social work course in which a student receives a grade below a C- will be counted towards the major.  A student must retake the course and earn a grade of C- or better to fulfill the requirement for the major. Any student who receives a grade lower than a C- in a required social work course will be required to attend a Student Review Committee meeting to discuss plans for continuing in the major. Degree completion may be delayed a year due to sequential course offerings.


Incomplete grades are given only for circumstances beyond a student’s control.  If the course is part of a sequence (e.g., 540-541, 610-612, 620-621), you cannot begin the second course until the incomplete has been completed. In all other cases, incomplete grades must be completed by the end of the following year or they will be changed to Fs. It is the student’s responsibility to request an incomplete from the course instructor and work with the instructor to get the form completed.

University Grade Appeal Policy

A change of grade may be made only if:

  • The original grade resulted from error (Ref. University Senate Rules and Regulations 2.3.1)
  • The original grade was “I” or “P” (Ref. University Senate Rules and Regulations 2.3.1)
  • Due to sanctions imposed in the case of academic misconduct (Ref. University Senate Rules and Regulations 2.3.1)
  • In certain exceptional cases (sexual harassment, misconduct, incapacitation), a faculty committee may assign the course grade (Ref. University Senate Rules and Regulation 2.3.2.)

School of Social Welfare Grade Appeal Procedures can be found in the University Policy Library. 

As students, you have certain rights and responsibilities, most of which are outlined either in the University Registrar’s website at or in the KU Policy Library. It is strongly recommended that students familiarize themselves with the contents of these documents.


    The University of Kansas supports nondiscrimination and you can read the full policy through the KU Policy Library.

    This value commitment is also part of the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities. This Code “protects the rights of every student and describes responsibilities or expectations for student conduct. As such, it forms a significant part of the rules of the campus community. Students are expected to familiarize themselves with the policies that govern student conduct. This information may be found on the Student Affairs Policies webpage.

    If a student believes that their rights have been violated they are encouraged to seek consultation from the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX (formally Institutional Opportunity and Access, IOA). As with any member of the University community the student has the right to contact Human Resource Management to discuss their concerns and options.

    The same rights afforded to students are afforded to all members of the University community and violation of these rights by a student may be grounds for dismissal.

    Students' Rights to Confidentiality 

    The curriculum prepares professional social workers to be effective in helping clients and in collaborating with others on clients’ behalf. In the context of the School’s curriculum as contrasted with personal therapy, personal growth and self-awareness are not ends in themselves; they are means toward the ends of effective practice skills. Contrary to a contract for personal therapy, the educational contract may not require students to reveal personal information either to fellow students or instructors. Therefore, any course which requires self-disclosure as a teaching/learning methodology must be optional for students to elect, make explicit at the outset any requirements for expectations of self-disclosure, and provide a rationale acceptable to Curriculum Committee that the nature of self-disclosure required can reasonably be expected to improve practice and that application of such experiences to practice will be made explicit for students. Self-disclosure, for the purpose of this document, is defined as disclosure of personal or family relationships or history.

    The following specific guidelines must be followed with respect to students’ rights to confidentiality.

    1. A student’s reactions to or feelings about clients and fellow workers are a legitimate concern of social work education. Students may be asked to examine these matters either in written assignments, practicum supervision, advisement, or liaison conferences.
    2. Students may not be required involuntarily as a part of class or practicum to reveal information about their personal or family relationships or histories with the exception indicated in item 3 below. An assignment asking for personal or family information may, however, be utilized if an alternative assignment is available and given equal credit. For example, describe family relationships in literature instead of one’s own family or describe a person’s problem rather than one’s own problem.
    3. A practice course may be offered which requires students to describe personal or family matters either in class or other assignments. Such a course may be offered under the following conditions:
      1. Methodology and content of the kind described in (3) must be approved by Curriculum Committee as necessary for achieving course objectives.
      2. Written course materials defining expectations of students regarding sharing of personal information must be made available at the outset of the course. The nature of the self-disclosure to be required and the context in which the self-disclosure will occur (e.g., assertiveness training, sharing of sexual experiences) must be made explicit in the course materials. The course materials must also contain a rationale for the types of self-disclosure expected indicating the specific ways in which such disclosure is expected to enhance practice skills.
    4. Any information about him/herself which the student does choose to divulge must be treated by faculty and by fellow students with the same respect for confidentiality as that accorded to clients. That is, no mention of such confidences may be made unless directly connected with the education or practice of that student.
    5. A breach of policy regarding student’s rights to confidentiality by either faculty or students shall be considered a violation of professional ethics and academic misconduct.

    Confidentiality of Clients' Information 

    1. In any instance in which a client is mentioned in a classroom or class assignment, whether in a brief vignette, oral or written case presentation, or any other manner, the following assurances of confidentiality must be observed:

      1. The names of persons who are clients, clients’ family members, agency personnel, and any other persons in their environments must be disguised so that they will not be recognizable.
      2. If the configuration of personal or family characteristics is such that it could render person(s) identifiable (age, family size or composition, race, occupation, handicap, etc.), some aspects of the configuration must be altered. Aspects least detrimental to understanding of the situation should be altered, but when there is doubt, the principle of confidentiality must take precedence over completeness in every detail.
      3. The specific place of work or schooling of clients should not be mentioned unless it is essential to the case and the entity is so large and the person’s other characteristics are sufficiently nonspecific that he/she cannot be identified.
    2. Any discussion about clients in the classroom takes place in the context of professional learning and teaching. As such, it is protected by the social work profession’s ethics regarding confidentiality. Such content should never be discussed outside the classroom except with professional colleagues and then only for learning purposes.
    3. Any written materials or tapes regarding clients must be prepared, used, and stored so as to ensure clients’ privacy. For tapes to be used in the classroom, clients’ permission must be gained in writing before taping may take place. Procedures used must be in conformity with University rules and regulations as well as with those of the student’s practicum agency. Responsibility to see to it that no one has access to such materials, except for legitimate professional purposes, rests with each student and faculty member.
    4. A breach of the policy regarding confidentiality shall be considered a violation of professional ethics and academic misconduct.

    Process for Student Complaints Regarding Instructors and Faculty for the School of Social Welfare 

    For all other Schools and Departments, please refer to their respective pages for their process details.

    Step 1:
    Address the issue with your instructor either through direct communication (in writing, email, or face-to-face discussion) or your mid-semester feedback form.

    Exception: If you feel you are experiencing discrimination on the basis of race (including racial harassment), religion, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual harassment, and sexual violence), disability, national origin, ancestry, age, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity and gender expression, you should contact:

    Office of Civil Rights and Title IX (formally Institutional Opportunity and Access, IOA)
    Carruth-O’Leary Room 153
    1246 W Campus Road
    Lawrence, KS 66045
    Phone: 785-864-6414
    Fax: 785-864-8069
    TTY: 711
    Office of Civil Rights and Title IX website

    Step 2:
    If the issue is not resolved, the next step is to contact the KU School of Social Welfare Academic Programs Coordinator

    (NOTE: You are on the KU School of Social Welfare Instructor Complaint webpage. For all other Schools and Departments, please refer to their respective pages for their process details.)

    Dana Shafer Academic Programs Coordinator
    School of Social Welfare
    Twente Hall Room 204
    1545 Lilac Lane
    Lawrence, KS 66045-3129
    Phone: 785-864-2292

    Step 3:
    If the issue is not resolved, contact the University Ombudsman at:

    Ombuds Office
    Carruth O'Leary Room 36
    1246 W Campus Road
    Lawrence, KS 66045
    Phone: 785-864-7261
    Ombuds Office website

    Step 4:
    If the issue is not resolved, a grievance can be filed in accordance with the School of Social Welfare grievance procedure that follows.

    Grievance Procedures

    Find the Grievance Policy in the School of Social Welfare Policy Library.