9.8 Practicum Policies
9.8.1 Variance of Practicum
[University Policy No. AC2030]
This policy addresses issues relating to student practicum placements and professional practice and reflects the significant public interest involved. The policy gives certain representatives of CUE the authority to protect the public interest by allowing them to vary, withdraw or deny the placement of a student in a practicum. This authority is balanced by the right of a student to appeal the decision to the relevant Dean and to the Concordia Practicum Appeals Committee. The policy recognizes the ideal that practicum issues are best resolved at the lowest possible level in the line of appeal. The policy also recognizes the need for transparency in the process and appropriate privacy legislation.
The policy also seeks to simplify decision making when students are not or may not be capable of safe, ethical and competent professional practice. It does so by locating in one committee those appeals where academic standing is affected by a variance in, withdrawal from, or denial of a practicum placement and/or appeals of disciplinary decisions related to a practicum placement. Appeals are heard by the Concordia Practicum Appeals Committee (CPAC). This is the case whether they involve unsafe, unethical or incompetent professional practice, or appeal any decisions of a Dean regarding placement, academic standing or discipline decisions.
- Academic Standing:
- includes such matters as the adequacy of a Student’s performance in, continuation in (including the requirement that the Student withdraw), and graduation from a program. Academic standing is further defined in Concordia’s Calendar.
- Concordia Practicum Appeals Committee (CPAC):
- The committee which is the last line of appeal in regard to decisions related to a variance in, withdrawal from, or denial of a practicum placement and/or disciplinary decisions related to a practicum placement
- means Concordia University of Edmonton
- means the Dean or his/her designate of the Faculty in which a student is enrolled or, in the case of a graduate student, the Dean of the Faculty where the student receives supervision.
- Field Placement Coordinator:
- The individual responsible for placing the students in their practicum sites. Sometimes the Field Placement Coordinator will also serve a supervisory role for CUE. The Field Placement Coordinator is responsible to the Practicum Director and in some instances may be the Practicum Director. The Field Placement Coordinator has the departmental responsibility to make decisions about withdrawal from or denial of practicum placements.
- On-site Practicum Supervisor:
- means the person at the practicum site responsible for the direct and ongoing supervision of the student at the practicum site.
- Patients, clients, parents, children, school staff and co-workers:
- refers to members of the public who come, or who may come, into contact with CUE students in practicum placements, and typically include those who receive care from or who are taught by such students, as well as employers and co-workers.
- Practicum Placement:
- refers to any placement which is a required part of a student’s academic program (whether it is a credited or non-credited experience), provides professional practice, and which places or may place the student in contact with the public. Practicum placements include, but are not limited to, community agencies, businesses, government, schools, churches, clinical settings, and cooperative work settings. Practicum placements do not include voluntary experiences that are outside of the academic program requirements.
- Practicum Director:
- is the faculty member designated by a department to coordinate and oversee the practicum and its relationship to the academic program.
- Professional Practice:
- means that a practicum student is governed by the code of ethics appropriate to his/her discipline.
- Public Interest:
- describes the responsibility of CUE to ensure that students in practicum placements have met all the academic and departmental requirements for practicum placement and have been informed of accepted standards of safe, ethical and competent professional practice in their work with children, parents, cooperating teachers, patients, clients and co-workers. This policy recognizes that the wide range of practicum experiences provided by CUE also exhibit a wide range of supervision responsibility between CUE and the practicum sites and that the primary right and responsibility for supervision at each practicum site belongs to that practicum site and the On-site Practicum Supervisor. Each department will determine the division of program supervisory responsibilities between On-site Practicum Supervisor, and Concordia’s Field Placement Coordinator and Practicum Director.
- Written Notification:
- is defined, and will be implemented, according to the following procedures.
- Material or decisions pertaining to the practicum placement appeal process may be hand- delivered, sent by courier, or sent by regular or registered mail. Alternatively, at the student’s request, the student may pick up the material, decision, or notice at an arranged place at Concordia.
- E-mail may be used provided that the recipient has a Concordia e-mail address or has provided Concordia with his or her personal e-mail address. An e-mail message which has not been acknowledged by the recipient within five (5) working days should be followed by written notice sent by regular or registered mail, as explained below.
- A Practicum Director, the Dean, or the chair of the CPAC, may ask the Registrar to contact a student by telephone (with a written letter following up on the conversation) or to mail a written notice.
- When sent by mail, the material, decision, or notice shall be sent to the last address provided by the student to Concordia.
- Delivery is deemed to have been effected on the date of pick-up, personal receipt of hand or courier delivery, or five (5) working days following registered or regular mailing.
JURISDICTION/SCOPE OF THE POLICY
This policy applies to all undergraduate and graduate students.
- These provisions govern situations related to practicum placements.
- Students whose academic standing is affected by a variance in, withdrawal from, or denial of their practicum placement are governed by these provisions. This means that such students will have a right of appeal to the CPAC.
- When there has been a denial of, variance in, or withdrawal from a practicum, students have the right to appeal that decision as follows:
- A student may appeal the decision of a Field Placement Coordinator to the Practicum Director (In some cases the Field Placement Coordinator and the Practicum Director may be the same individual in which case the appeal moves immediately to the Dean).
- A student may appeal the decision of the Practicum Director to the Dean.
- A student may initiate an appeal to the Dean’s decision to the CPAC
- Results of an appeal to the CPAC will become part of the student’s permanent academic record when they impact a student’s grade or result in a change in the student’s academic standing.
- The CUE Research Ethics Board (REB) is the supervisory body for all research involving human subjects conducted by Concordia faculty, staff, and students. When a practicum student is doing research involving human subjects at a field placement, the Practicum Director should obtain a CUE REB review of the project as mandated by CUE policy. (An expedited review might be appropriate). In cases where another professional ethics review panel has already given approval for such research, the department must still inform the CUE REB.
Roles and Responsibilities
The clauses in this policy assume that the Dean is directly in the line of a student appeal and therefore must remain in a position to arbitrate an appeal objectively.
This policy will reference the appeal procedures pursuant to those provided in the CUE Calendar. Appeal procedures should be consistent and appropriate for all courses and programs.
- The Field Placement Coordinator may immediately deny assignment of a student to, withdraw a student from, or vary terms, conditions or site of a practicum placement if the Field Placement Coordinator has reasonable grounds to believe the student’s performance is unprofessional, incompetent, or that this is necessary in order to protect the Public Interest. The Field Placement Coordinator may consult with third parties in making this decision.
- The circumstances under which the Field Placement Coordinator may seek to vary, withdraw, or deny a practicum placement may include, but are not limited to circumstances or behavior such as a failed security clearance, mental illness, other medical issues, and/or unprofessional, incompetent or unsafe practice. Possible varied terms and conditions may include additional training or skill development and improvement of language, study and/or interpersonal skills. In cases of academic misconduct the Field Placement Coordinator has the same power as instructors as those noted in the sections on “Educational Decorum” and “Academic Honesty” as printed in the current CUE Calendar.
- When there are situations of practicum student behavioral misconduct which may negatively impact the safety or reputation of CUE or the campus community the Dean of Student Life and Learning shall be contacted to help determine an appropriate response. The involvement of the Dean of Student Life and Learning may range from providing advice to direct participation in the case.
- The variance in, withdrawal from, or denial of a practicum shall take effect immediately upon verbal notification by the Field Placement Coordinator. Written notification of the decision shall, within five (5) working days of such verbal notification, be formally communicated by the Field Placement Coordinator to the Practicum Director and to the student together with the full reasons for the decision and conditions which must be met by the student before he or she will be permitted to take up, continue or return to a practicum placement. The written notification shall inform the student of the procedures for appeal as outlined in the CUE Calendar. Both the decision and any sanction specified are appealable.
- The Practicum Director is also required to notify without delay the following parties of the variance, withdrawal or denial decision: the Registrar (with a copy of the written notification), and the On-site Practicum Supervisor site (only with notice of the decision).
- In cases of withdrawal from, or denial of a practicum placement, the student’s transcript will not be released, nor will a student be permitted to advance in the academic program, until any appeal is completed.
- Any reflection on the student’s transcript of practicum placement decisions will be as follows:
- For medical issues concerning the student, the transcript will normally show that the student has been withdrawn from the practicum placement and a grade of “W” will be assigned;
- For unprofessional conduct, behavioural misconduct, incompetent or unsafe practice on the part of the student not directly related to medical issues, the transcript will normally show that the student has been withdrawn from the from practicum placement and has not earned the accompanying credit. A grade of “NC” (no credit) or “WF” (withdrew failing) or “F” (fail) will be assigned at the discretion of the Practicum Director.
- Students who have been assigned a grade of “NC” “WF” “W” or “F” in a practicum placement may be entitled to register for that practicum a second time after the concerns causing the termination of the practicum have been addressed to the satisfaction of the appropriate department. Students may enroll in a practicum course only two times. If a student receives a “NC” “WF” “W” or “F” in the second practicum placement they are not eligible for a third practicum and may be required to withdraw from the program.
- Nothing in these sections shall prevent CUE from referring an individual matter to the appropriate law enforcement agency should such action be considered necessary or required by law.
- These provisions do not affect the responsibility of the practicum placement sites to provide their own On-site Practicum Supervisor for students or the right of practicum placement sites to refuse to accept a student for, or require that a student be withdrawn from a practicum placement. Such decisions by a practicum placement site are not appealable to any CUE committee.
Appeal to the Dean
- A student may appeal the decision of the Practicum Director to the Dean.
- A student may initiate an appeal of the Practicum Director’s decision by submitting an appeal to the Registrar’s Office within ten (10) working days of deemed receipt of the Practicum Director’s decision. The appeal must be in writing, signed by the student, and must state the decision being appealed, the name of the Practicum Director who made the decision, the grounds for the appeal, and the relief requested.
- The Registrar shall forward the appeal to the Dean.
- Upon receipt of the appeal, the Dean shall obtain all the evidence so far available. The Dean may talk with all the parties involved and may request additional information as he/she sees fit, including advice from resource persons. The Dean shall consult with the Practicum Director regarding the relevant professional code of ethics. The Dean shall also consult with other deans if the Practicum Director believes a decision the Dean could reach may put the Practicum Director in conflict with his/her professional code of ethics.
- The Dean may deal with the appeal in one or more of the following ways:
- exercise discretion to refer the matter back to the level of the Practicum Director for resolution with clarified guidelines for issues or process.
- uphold the decision of the Practicum Director
- mitigate the decision of the Practicum Director by rescinding or modifying all or some components of the decision
- augment the decision of the Practicum Director by applying one or more of the following penalties:
- suspension from the program: The student is required to withdraw from the program for a specified period of time, ranging from one semester to three years. Upon completion of the period of suspension, the student will be eligible for reinstatement in the program. The Dean may prescribe conditions governing readmission to the program.
- permanent withdrawal from the program.
- suspension from Concordia: The student is required to withdraw from Concordia for a specified period of time, ranging from one semester to three years. Upon completion of the period of suspension, the student will be eligible for reinstatement to full academic status at Concordia. The Dean may prescribe conditions governing readmission to the program. The student’s academic program is subject to the Statute of Limitations in the CUE Academic Calendar.
- expulsion from Concordia: The student is required to withdraw from Concordia for more than three years or indefinitely. The Dean may prescribe conditions governing readmission to Concordia, if it is to be permitted at all.
- notation of Academic Dishonesty on the student’s transcript (in a case in which academic dishonesty is involved)
- such other penalty or order as appropriate in the circumstances
- The Dean will keep a written record of the process and the rationale for decisions.
- The Dean shall provide written notification of his/her decision to the student and copy it to the Field Placement Coordinator, the Practicum Director, and the Registrar, within five (5) working days of the decision having been reached. The Dean’s written notification shall include the reasons for the decision and if appropriate shall include information regarding the student’s right of appeal.
Concordia Practicum Appeals Committee (CPAC)
- Constitution and Composition
- The CPAC is established on an ad hoc basis by the Vice President Academic/Provost as needed to hear and determine appeals from students who appeal a decision of the Dean.
- The CPAC shall consist of three members as well as a non-voting chair.
- The role of the chair is to attend to the appeal process and to make sure the committee has access to appropriate advice.
- The voting members shall include two faculty members who have not previously been involved in the case and drawn from other departments that have a practicum requirement. The third member may be a staff officer with practicum experience or another faculty member. Ideally CPAC members should not have taught the student.
- All CPAC members must declare to the chair of the CPAC their interests, if any, in a particular case in order to ensure objectivity and a fair hearing.
- Terms of Reference and Powers
- As the final route of appeal regarding practicum placements, decisions made by the CPAC will be final and binding.
- The CPAC may uphold or overturn the Dean’s decision. In either case, the CPAC may establish conditions for entry, continuation or re-entry to the practicum placement; it may also vary any terms or conditions previously imposed by the Dean.
- In determining whether and what actions are necessary to protect the Public Interest in specific cases, the CPAC may seek and rely upon expert advice and third party assessment.
- Initiating an Appeal
- A student may initiate an appeal of the Dean’s decision to the CPAC by submitting an appeal in writing to the Vice President Academic/Provost. The appeal must be received by the Vice- President Academic and Provost no later than ten (10) working days after deemed receipt by the student of the written decision of the Dean. The appeal shall be based upon a challenge of the stated grounds for the Dean’s decision, and/or shall relate to the terms and conditions imposed by the Dean for assignment to, variance in, or withdrawal from a practicum placement.
- Conditions imposed in the Dean’s decision, and sanctions specified should those conditions not be met, must be appealed at the time they are imposed and within the time limits set out above. If the conditions are not met, no further appeal is available when the specified additional sanction is imposed.
- The appeal must be in writing, signed by the student, and must state the decision being appealed, the name of the Dean who made the decision, the grounds for the appeal, and the relief requested.
- The Vice-President Academic and Provost, upon receipt of an appeal of a Dean’s decision, shall convene the CPAC and shall provide them with all the evidence so far available.
- The CPAC shall meet to review the evidence and determine its procedures. It shall schedule a hearing or hearings.
- Written notification must be provided to all the parties involved regarding date, time, and place of hearing(s). If the student, the Field Placement Coordinator, the Practicum Director, and/or the Dean neglects or refuses to appear at the time of the hearing, the CPAC may, in its discretion, proceed with the hearing in their absence.
- As far as possible, the proceedings of the CPAC should be confidential.
- Normally, a hearing should be held within 30 days of receipt of an appeal.
- The CPAC may seek advice from expert witnesses and may have a resource person or persons attend any or all portions of its hearing and may request additional material as it sees fit.
- The CPAC shall hear the argument of both sides to the appeal and then, by majority vote, shall determine whether or not to uphold, quash, or vary the decision under appeal. Where a decision against a student is upheld, the CPAC may confirm, vary, or suspend the penalty imposed.
- The Chair of the CPAC shall, when practical, immediately communicate the decision to the student, the Field Placement Coordinator, the Practicum Director, the Dean, the Registrar, and the Vice-President Academic and Provost.
- Within five (5) working days of the decision having been reached, the Chair of the CPAC shall provide written notification of the decision to the student, the Field Placement Coordinator, the Practicum Director, the Dean, the Registrar, and the Vice-President Academic and Provost.
- If the CPAC wishes, it may also forward recommendations for changes in the policy or in procedures under the policy to the Educational Policies Committee.
[Approved by General Faculties Council on May 12th, 2017]