The Social Work Program views the advising process as an integral component of each student’s educational experience at Misericordia University. Entering students are assigned an advisor who continues in that position until the student graduates. The advisor aids the student in educational planning, facilitates the student’s use of college and program resources, and monitors the student’s progress through the program. University policy requires that all students meet with their academic adviser once each semester to plan course work for the following semester. Within the Social Work Program, the student is encouraged to meet with his/her adviser more frequently. The nature of Social Work Education is such that a close and open relationship between students and faculty enhances the student’s learning experience and aids in the student’s acculturation into the profession of Social Work. There is a sharing of responsibility in the advisory process as both the student and his/her adviser have a mutual interest in planning and monitoring the student’s progress through the program.
All Social Work Program faculty offices are located on the second floor McAuley-Walsh. Faculty office hours will be clearly posted on each faculty member’s office door. If students cannot meet with faculty during regularly scheduled office hours, other times can be arranged at the faculty member’s convenience.
Because of the relatively small size of the Social Work Program, informal channels of communication are usually effective in relaying messages from faculty to students and vice versa. Students, however, should make a habit of checking their emails for targeted information announcements and for e-communcations from their advisor. Regularly scheduled town meetings also provide a forum for faculty/student interaction.
Social Work Faculty, all of whom have advising responsibilities, take those responsibilities for student guidance very seriously. Sensitivity to students' special needs and issues are considered as the student prepares for study and eventual professional practice.
The advisor’s role varies according to the grade level and individual needs of each student. Student progress toward completion of the senior portfolio must also be documented. Finally, as students enter their senior year, most have completed the core social work courses and are now taking elective course work and seminars.
The program makes an ongoing attempt to assist students in assessing their aptitude and motivation for a career in social work. Newly admitted students selecting social work as a major are encouraged to meet with their academic advisor early in their initial semester of college to discuss social work as a career choice and share experiences motivating them to seek a human services occupation. Later in their academic program, students should remain in close contact with the advisor to determine gaps and or other issues for student professional development.
Students who are yet uncertain of any specific type of practice or practice areas are encouraged to take course work in a variety of areas and, if possible, do volunteer work in an agency or setting that they feel might be of interest to them. In recognition that all students with an interest in social work may not possess the necessary academic abilities, relationship skills, or responsibility and commitment needed for at least adequate performance in the profession, the advisement process also serves as the medium through which students are screened and, if necessary, “selected out” of the Social Work Program. Since each advisor monitors the progress and performance of his advisees throughout the academic year, he is aware of all students experiencing academic deficiencies and must provide the students with options to improve these deficiencies and likewise advise them of failure to improve, which may include dismissal from the program. Difficulties in communication skills or failure to demonstrate professional commitment as measured by participation in community service activities, attendance at seminars, active participation in Social Work Club activities, excessive class absence, etc., is also addressed by the student’s adviser. Students failing to meet the requirements for continuation in the Social Work Program are “screened out” during the sophomore year through the process previously mentioned. However, those students who continue in the program, but fail to demonstrate continued professional and academic growth, lack the necessary relationship skills and/or professional responsibility and commitment to the profession, may be screened out of the program at any time. Although the advisement process per se is not the determining factor in the student’s discontinuation in the Social Work Program, advisors are directly involved since they bring the student’s situation to the attention of the entire social work faculty during program meetings.