Master of Science in Community Counseling Academic Policies
Procedures for Reviewing Student Competency
Counselor educators and counselors-in-training are required to abide by all ethical standards set forth by the American Counseling Association www.counseling.org/Resources/CodeOfEthics/TP/Home/CT2.aspx. Specifically, Standards F.8 Student Responsibilities and F.9 Evaluation and Remediation of Students. There are two ways in which counselor educators assess student effectiveness which include academic performance (grades) and professional and personal aptitude and behavior. Procedures for reviewing student competency in these two areas are outlined below under the headings, Academic Standing Policy and Professional and Personal Aptitude and Behavior.
Academic Standing Policy
Graduate Community Counseling students whose academic performance or professional and personal aptitude and behavior is unsatisfactory will be subject to the following:
- Probation A student will be placed on probation for any of the following reasons:
- Student's cumulative grade point average falls below 3.0.
- Student earns a C, D, or U in any required course. Grades of C in elective courses are permitted.
- Student has displayed professional and personal aptitude and behavior that is identified as problematic by faculty members.
No student may be a candidate for the degree or sit for the comprehensive examination while on probation. Probation will be removed when the student's GPA reaches 3.0 or higher. In cases where the student is placed on probation due to grade(s), probation will be removed when the course(s) is/are repeated and the grade is S or B or greater, and the overall GPA is 3.0 or greater. Students who earn a grade of C, D, or U in a required course must repeat the course and receive a grade of B or better (including S) on the second attempt or be suspended from the program. For non-academic circumstances, probation will be removed when students successfully complete remediation. Students who are on probation should not register until advised.
- Suspension A student will be placed on suspension for any of the following reasons:
- Student earns two grades of C, D, or U in a required course(s).
- Student earns one grade of F in any course in the program (including electives).
- Student has already served three consecutive terms on academic probation.
- The student has displayed professional and personal aptitude and behavior that is identified as "impaired" by faculty members.
No student may enroll in graduate courses at North Georgia while on suspension. Courses taken at another institution during the period of suspension will not be recognized for transfer credit. Students seeking to reapply who have been suspended for academic reasons must submit a new application and a letter written to the Dean of the School of Arts and Letters, after a period of one year from the date the student was removed, laying out a rationale for their readmission. They will be readmitted only upon approval of the Dean and the Community Counseling Admissions Committee. Students seeking to reapply who have been suspended for professional and personal aptitude and behavior should follow the procedures outlined below under the heading, Professional and Personal Aptitude and Behavior.
- Dismissal A student will be dismissed from the program for the following reason:
a. Student is unlikely to eliminate impairment based on cognition, affectivity, interpersonal functioning and/or impulse control.
Procedures for appeal are outlined below under the heading, Professional and Personal Aptitude and Behavior.
Professional and Personal Aptitude and Behavior
Potential counseling effectiveness cannot be assessed in the same manner as academic performance in typical college classes. Students must communicate effectively, be open-minded, tolerate ambiguity, exhibit a high degree of patience, acceptance of diversity, and demonstrate emotional stability and self-acceptance. When student competency concerns arise, faculty are obligated to assist students in every way possible to be successful in the program.
It is the objective of the North Georgia Community Counseling faculty to identify concerns regarding student competency as early as possible and to initiate remediation. Students with competency concerns can be identified both in and out of the classroom at any time during participation in the Community Counseling Program. Students are assessed on counseling competencies at the end of the fall and spring semesters by the entire faculty. Students also complete a self-assessment each semester. The focus will include the ten core competencies identified in the counseling profession.
It is not uncommon for students to experience discomfort and struggle with awareness of issues during matriculation in the program. However, faculty members are ethically required to bring attention to any concerns we deem inappropriate (e.g., substance abuse, violent behavior, verbally abusive language, intolerance) that compromise the safety (emotional and physical) of classmates, clients, and future clients. The following procedures were developed in order to address such issues:
- When a concern arises, the faculty member will informally bring that concern to the student's attention either in a face-to-face conversation or via e-mail or phone contact.
- The professor will report the informal conversation at the next available faculty meeting under "Student Issues" on the agenda as documentation of the incident. The professor will seek consultation with other members of the Community Counseling faculty for suggestions or recommendations to address the issue. At this point, remediation may be considered or the student may be given time to address and rectify the issue on his/her own. Follow-up documentation will consist of end-of-semester evaluations.
- When an instructor believes a student is not making adequate progress after an informal intervention, the faculty member(s) and coordinator will consult and formally meet with the student to discuss lack of progress in the program. At this time, the student will be placed on probation and recommendations or requirements for remediation presented. Faculty will complete the Student Remediation Form, which will include expectations and the specified time period the student has to meet expectations. If the student feels remediation is unjust or unfair, the student can appeal the faculty decision by following the procedures listed below.
- All documentation will include signatures of faculty and students and kept in the student files located in a locked cabinet in the Community Counseling building.
- Faculty members will monitor students who are participating in remediation during weekly faculty meetings and will collectively determine whether students are making progress. Faculty will meet with students periodically to review progress of remediation. Minutes of these meetings will be kept on file.
- Unsatisfactory progress occurs when either the student does not meet the expectations of the faculty or behaviors worsen during the specified time period of remediation. A meeting will be called with the student, all counseling faculty, the department head and one representative chosen by the student for support. The student will be suspended from the program and conditions for re-admittance presented.
- If the student believes the evaluation is inequitable, the student is allowed to appeal the decision of the faculty for suspension or dismissal. Procedures for Student Appeal of Remediation.
- Deadline to appeal (date and time), which must include three full working days, will be given in writing to the student during the meeting.
- Student must complete the Intent to Appeal Form and submit the form in person to the Dean of the School of Arts and Letters prior to the deadline.
- If three days pass without notifying the Dean, the student forfeits the right to an appeal, and the program requirements/decision will stand.
- Student will be withdrawn and a hold will be placed on registration.
- In cases of appeal, the Dean will appoint an ad hoc Student Competency Review Committee of three faculty members, within three working days of receipt of the student's appeal.
- Committee will consist of one faculty member designated by the instructor initiating the competency report, one faculty member designated by the student, and one faculty member designated by the Dean who will serve as chair of the ad hoc committee.
- Ad hoc Student Competency Review Committee will require a written statement and any accompanying documentation from the instructor and student and then will hold an oral hearing where the views of the instructor and the student will be heard. Oral arguments will be audio taped.
- Student will be allowed to go first followed by the faculty member.
- Faculty member will be allowed in the room while the student is presenting oral arguments.
- Both the student and faculty member are allowed to have one advisor of his/her choosing present; however, the advisor is not allowed to speak on behalf of the student or faculty member to the committee.
- Both the student and the faculty member are allowed not more than 15 minutes to present their respective cases and time will be kept by the chair of the ad hoc committee.
- Following the oral presentations, the student and faculty member will be asked to leave and the committee will meet to discuss their recommendations. Only qualified counseling faculty/mental health professionals may determine whether or not a student is considered "impaired." Therefore, the ad hoc Student Competency Review Committee may only identify whether or not a student has received adequate notice of professional and personal aptitude and behavior, remediation and an appropriate amount of time to meet expectations. Recommendations can address the method of notification of impairment, the reasonable nature of remediation with regards to the impairment or the amount of time the student has in which to show improvement.
- Ad hoc Student Competency Review Committee will then make recommendations to the Dean of the School of Arts & Letters within ten days of its appointment. The Dean will then send a letter to the student with copies to the student's file, Community Counseling Coordinator, and the Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs.
Transfer Residency Requirement
To be awarded a Master of Science in Community Counseling, students must earn a minimum of 42 hours of graduate degree requirements in residence. In addition, no more than six hours of transfer credit may be applied toward meeting North Georgia's Master of Science in Community Counseling degree requirements. The Community Counseling program coordinator and the Dean of the School of Arts and Letters must approve all transfer credit. Transfer credit will not be given for any course in which a grade of less than a B was earned. The rationale for this requirement is to maintain program integrity and ensure that students receive the quality training in counseling that the degree entails.