Student Conduct and Disposition Policy and Procedures (Retention, Remediation and Dismissal)

Adler Graduate School (AGS) faculty, staff, and students are obligated to hold our students to the highest professional, personal, and ethical standards and to respond when those standards are compromised. As prospective counselors, students are expected to represent the school as professionals and adhere to the ethics and standards of the mental health, human services and  counseling profession. Faculty and advisors assess student performance and progress based on coursework, evaluations of student work in simulated practice situations, supervisor evaluations of clinical skills and adherence to professional Codes of Ethics.The following Professional Dispositions apply to all students during their tenure at Adler Graduate School. Professional attitudes, values, and beliefs must always be demonstrated through both verbal and non-verbal behaviors as students interact with faculty, staff, peers, and the community. These positive behaviors support student learning and development. The dispositions identified are embedded in program curricula, as well as modeled and encouraged by AGS faculty and staff.

  1. Professional Ethics: Adheres to the ethical guidelines of the ACA, NAADAC, AAMFT, AATA, ASCA, IAMFC, & NBCC; including practices within competencies.
  2. Professional Behavior: Behaves in a professional manner towards supervisors, peers, faculty, staff and clients (includes appropriate dress & attitudes). Including professional behavior in meeting all classroom expectations; ability to collaborate with others.
  3. Professional & Personal Boundaries: Maintains appropriate boundaries with supervisors, peers, and clients.
  4. Knowledge & Adherence to Site Policies: Demonstrates an understanding and appreciation for all field experience counseling site policies and procedures.
  5. Professional Communication: Uses written, oral, and visual communication in a clear and effective manner in both formal and informal settings.
  6. Multicultural Competencies: Demonstrates awareness, appreciation, and respect of cultural differences (e.g., race, ethnicity, spirituality, sexual orientation, disability, SES, etc.).
  7. Emotional Stability & Self-control: Demonstrates emotional stability (i.e., congruence between mood and affect) and self-control (i.e., impulse control) in relationships with supervisor, peers, and clients.
  8. Motivated to Learn & Grow/Initiative: Demonstrates engagement in learning and development of his or her counseling competencies.
  9. Openness to Feedback: Responds non-defensively and adjusts behavior in accordance with peer, supervisory, and faculty feedback.
  10. Flexibility & Adaptability: Demonstrates the ability to be flexible in the face of changing circumstance, unexpected events, and new situations.

New Student Pre-Assessment

  • Students will be introduced to professional dispositions, as well as the procedures for assessment of dispositions, within the entry point of New Student Orientation.

Student Files

  • Advising Files: all predetermined developmental disposition documents are placed into the student’s advising file. Program planning documents and email correspondence may also be placed in the student’s advising file which is maintained by the student's academic advisor.
  • Education Record: should a student need an ongoing remediation plan during their program, this remediation plan, following a meeting and signatures by the advisor, student, and program chair, will then move from the student’s advising file to the student’s education record.
  • Faculty and staff may assess, coach, and remediate student professional dispositions at any point in the program. If necessary, faculty and staff members may complete the Student Dispositions Evaluation form when a dispositional concern has not been resolved through informal and formal meetings.

Formative Assessments/Dispositional Decision Point Assessment Checkpoints

Faculty will, at predetermined points in the program, complete a disposition evaluation form for each student. The Program Chair and faculty meet as needed to address identified dispositional concerns. Quarterly, faculty will formally review all student dispositions and make decisions for advancement to the next phase of the program. Formal disposition evaluations will be done:

  • Beginning of the program: (Student Self-Assessment) During the first assessment stage (during the foundational courses), students will complete the first disposition self-assessment and indicate their commitment to displaying professional dispositions
  • Early/middle of the program: (formal professional disposition evaluation) During advising checkpoint 2 based on the specific program course sequencing, the faculty will assess dispositions for each student. The faculty sends all evaluations to the Program Chair.
  • Middle of the program: (formal professional disposition evaluation) during Practicum or early Internship - advising checkpoint 3 or 4 based on the specific program course sequencing). Professional disposition will be assessed and reviewed during field experience. The faculty will assess professional dispositions for each student. The faculty sends all evaluations to the Program Chair.
  • At the end of the program: (Student Self - Assessment) As students exit, they will complete the self-assessment at the end of internship and beginning of 604 Portfolio Defense.

School Counseling Formative Assessments

Faculty will conduct a formal evaluation of student’s disposition at predetermined points in the program. The faculty will complete the dispositions evaluation form for each student. This will be done:

  • Beginning of the program: Students will complete a self-assessment during 503
  • Middle of the program: Students will be formally evaluated by faculty at the end of practicum.
  • End of the program: Students will be formally evaluated by faculty during last term of internship OR in 523 Multicultural Counseling

Identified Disposition Issue/When a Student Needs Improvement

These procedures outline the process for tracking student dispositions. In any dispositional area, students may receive a 1 rubric rating indicating improvement is needed:

  1. From a course instructor, academic advisor or program chair. When it is indicated that a student needs improvement during a dispositional decision point, the student will receive an email from the Program Chair stating that this has occurred. If the nature of the area for improvement is such that further intervention is warranted, the student’s academic advisor may request a conference with the student to directly discuss the issue, initiate a Professional Disposition Plan of Action, or both. Once a Remediation Plan of Action is in place this plan with signatures and all documentation supporting the decision for a remediation plan will be moved to the student’s education record.
  2. From a faculty member or school/agency on-site supervisor, outside of a Dispositional Decision Point Assessment. When it is indicated that a student needs improvement in any area from an assessment by a faculty member (outside of a Dispositional Decision Point Assessment), they will confer with the student to discuss the concern and provide guidance for improvement. In consultation, the faculty member or student may request assistance from the program chair, advisor, or other faculty. If the faculty member concludes that the concern requires formal documentation, the faculty member will complete a dispositional evaluation form, enter a notation of the meeting in the student's Sonis record, as well as inform the student’s advisor and provide a copy of the completed evaluation.

If a school/agency on-site supervisor indicates a dispositional issue, that school/on-site agency supervisor may be asked to provide additional details to allow all parties to understand the articulated concern fully. The faculty member may complete the documentation for the dispositional concern expressed by the on-site supervisor. Students will receive a copy of all completed dispositional assessment forms. A copy of all documentation should be shared with the program chair and filed in the individual’s student advising file.

Professional Impairment
Although rare, faculty members may express concerns about a students suitability for entry into the counseling profession, in spite of exhibiting satisfactory academic performance. For example, a students personal characteristics demonstrated in their interactions with others may be rated as an area of concern in the student disposition evaluation.  Additional examples of behaviors that demonstrate professional impairment may include the following:

  • Violation of professional ethical code standards
  • Inability or unwillingness to acquire or exhibit professional skills at an acceptable level of competency
  • Behaviors that can be reasonably predictive of poor future professionalism such as poor client record keeping or non-compliance with supervisor requirements
  • Inability to exercise sound, clinical judgement, poor interpersonal skills and pervasive interpersonal problems

Professional Disposition Remediation Plan

In many cases, bringing the dispositional concern to the student is all the remediation needed to correct the behavior. In other, more serious cases, the dispositional remediation process may include additional activities/strategies as appropriate. In such cases, a Disposition Remediation Plan of Action should be developed. The faculty member should use the Professional Disposition Remediation Plan of Action to outline any long-term strategies or activities that may be required of the student in addressing the disposition concern. This includes any disposition issue that is ongoing and does not appear to be resolved with a single student conference. The Professional Disposition Remediation Plan will include the student’s expected behavioral changes and responsibilities and outline any additional faculty provided support. The Plan of Action may require the faculty member to periodically follow-up with the student throughout the remediation process. All parties will sign to indicate an understanding of and adherence to the coaching and remediation activities indicated in the plan. Students will receive a copy of all completed dispositional assessment forms. A copy of all documentation should be shared with the program chair and advisor which is then filed in the student's advising file. The faculty member or student may request assistance from the program chair, advisor, or other faculty member for consultation. The Professional Dispositions Remediation Plan form can be found on the SharePoint site.

When Multiple Disposition Evaluations Indicate an Ongoing Problem

Periodically, student dispositions will be reviewed by faculty, the Program Chair and academic advisor. If two or more negative assessment incidents are recorded for a student, the program faculty will convene to review the seriousness of the dispositional infractions and make decisions regarding the student’s advancement in the program. Notice of the review will be provided to the student and the student will be given an opportunity to speak on his/her behalf. The options for action will be considered:

  1. Allow the student to progress in the program without conditions; 
  2. Allow the student to progress in the program with conditions (this may include a new or more intensive remediation plan);
  3. Recommend that the student is denied advancement in the program.

Options 1 and 2 will result in oversight of the student’s dispositional progress at the program level. The Program Chair, academic advisor, and appropriate program faculty will monitor student progress. Additional dispositional reports may result in a re-convening of program faculty. The Program Chair will send written notification of the program faculty decision to the student outlining any additional steps for action as appropriate. A copy of this letter will be entered into the student’s education record. Examples indicating a students need for improvement are:

  • Recommendation for student to seek academic support
  • Recommendation for student to seek personal counseling
  • Require additional coursework, practicum or internship
  • Increase supervision - require more frequent supervision meetings, add an additional supervisor, use of video or audiotapes of those meetings
  • A required leave of absence from school

Option 3 will result in a recommendation for denial of program advancement to the President. The Program Chair and President will jointly send written notification of the decision to the student and include information regarding the student’s option to appeal. A student denied progression in the program or recommended for removal from the program may file an appeal with the President as indicated in this policy.

Student Disposition Appeals

A student has the option to appeal the decision to deny advancement in their program of study. This disposition appeal must be made in writing to the President within ten (10) business days of the date of the letter detailing the program decision. The appeal must be submitted according to the Academic Appeals, Complaints and Grievance Policy and Procedures found in this catalog.