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Fieldwork Requirements & Procedures

The following Fieldwork Requirements and Procedures (“the Procedures”) are established by the Hunter College (“the College”) School of Education (“SOE”) to ensure productive and safe learning experiences for students enrolled in SOE fieldwork placement programs and effective service for the schools and community agencies participating in those programs. A SOE student’s conduct in these programs demonstrates to the College the student’s ability to earn the College’s recommendation for National and State-Wide professional licensure or certification.

Code of Conduct

In addition to following the standards outlined in the College’s Code of Conduct applicable to all students, a SOE student whose education includes any fieldwork component must:

  1. Meet any and all standards or competencies required in the student’s professional program of study or license/certification; and
  2. Comply with the Rules/Policies of the school or community agency in which the student is placed to conduct his or her fieldwork that do not conflict with College policy; and

Fieldwork Placement

Each SOE fieldwork placement program has established procedures for making those placements, which vary across programs. A SOE student enrolled within a program is responsible for learning and following the procedures applicable to his or her program. In addition, the student must ensure that he or she: completes the required placement forms, applications, site selection processes, prerequisite coursework, and/or contracts before the established due dates; and meets the standards for continued acceptance at the placement site. Moreover, a student who intends to participate in a fieldwork placement program must exhibit professional behavior throughout the fieldwork placement. Failure to behave in a professional manner may result in the denial of a fieldwork placement pursuant to the processes stated below.

Placement Security Clearance

A student applying for a fieldwork placement in a New York City (“NYC”) public school or other clinical setting is required to obtain security clearance by the NYC Department of Education (“DOE”) or other authority prior to placement. This process usually includes fingerprinting. A student may also be asked by his or her fieldwork placement program to complete a self-reported, background check. The purpose of these checks, which are subject to the policies of the partnering organization, is to ensure public safety and avoid unacceptable risk to vulnerable populations. A student who refuses to submit fingerprints, or is otherwise unable to obtain security clearance, cannot be placed and will be administratively withdrawn from the program.

Background checks for private institutions are typically conducted by the placement site. If a violation is discovered, authorized personnel at the placement organization will determine the suitability of a candidate for placement. The SOE Program Coordinator or staff member in the Office of Clinical Experience (“OCE”) may also determine the suitability of a candidate for field placement based on discovered or self-reported information. Unless otherwise provided by law, factors considered in determining suitability may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In case of a criminal conviction, the relevance of the crime to the practical experience;

  • The nature of the work to be performed;

  • The passage of time since the conviction;

  • The age of the candidate at the time of the offense;

  • The seriousness and specific circumstances of the offense;

  • The number of offenses;

  • The existence of pending charges; and

  • Any relevant evidence of rehabilitation.

A student may challenge a security clearance finding by appealing to the appropriate contact within the partnering organization as determined by that organization.

A SOE Student’s Inability to Qualify for a Placement

If a SOE student is unable to qualify for a fieldwork placement, based on the determination of a partnering organization, the student will be placed on academic probation for one (1) semester and the student will be given no more than one (1) opportunity at another placement (this would amount to a total of two placements including the initial unsuccessful fieldwork placement). A SOE student must be available to placement organization staff in their assessment of the student’s qualifications for placement. A student who is unable to qualify for placements with a partner fieldwork organization after two attempts at placement by the SOE will be deemed unable to continue in the SOE and will be terminated from the program.

Addressing Problems during the Fieldwork Placement

The Concerns of a SOE Student

If a SOE student in a fieldwork placement encounters problems related to the placement, the student must:

  1. Inform the On-site Fieldwork Placement Supervisor (i.e., the primary supervisor/teacher of record for the field placement, practicum, or internship) overseeing the placement of the problem within ten (10) business days not including any legal holidays;
  2. Work with the On-site Fieldwork Placement Supervisor on a plan to resolve the issue; and
  3. Follow the plan with the On-site Fieldwork Placement Supervisor to resolve the problem.

If the student’s problem concerns the On-site Fieldwork Placement Supervisor, the student must:

  1. Inform the Director of the student’s respective fieldwork placement program at the OCE of the problem within ten (10) business days not including any legal holidays;
  2. Work with the Director on a plan to resolve the issue; and
  3. Follow the plan formulated with the Director to resolve the problem.

The Concerns of Fieldwork Placement Organization

If an On-site Fieldwork Placement Supervisor or other placement faculty or staff member encounters a problem with a SOE student’s conduct in a fieldwork placement, and the partnering organization believes that the student may continue within the placement if the conduct is addressed, the fieldwork placement organization shall:

  1. Inform the SOE OCE placement specialist overseeing the student’s placement of the problem within ten (10) business days not including any legal holidays; and
  2. Work with said College staff member on a plan to address the problem with the SOE student, to the extent possible.

The SOE student must follow the plan to the satisfaction of the placement organization.

If the plan does not satisfactorily address the fieldwork placement organization’s concerns about the SOE student’s conduct:

  1. The organization will contact the assigned Clinical Placement Specialist in SOE’s OCE of the problem within ten (10) business days not including any legal holidays; and
  2. OCE will determine the appropriate method needed to satisfactorily conclude the concern, for example, by engaging with the placement site supervisor to formulate a mutually acceptable plan, to the extent possible.

If this process does not lead to a satisfactory conclusion and the organization does not permit the student to continue, the student will receive a failing grade in fieldwork and a failing grade in the course. In addition, the student will be placed on academic probation for one (1) semester and the student will be given no more than one (1) opportunity at another placement (this would amount to a total of two placements including the initial unsuccessful fieldwork placement).

Different Scenarios for Dismissal from the SOE and applicable Procedures

Scenario 1: A SOE Student’s Arrest or other Security Clearance Related Issue

If a SOE student is arrested and/or charged with a crime during fieldwork placement, he or she must follow the procedures listed below, in addition to following the procedures listed in the College’s Student Code of Conduct regarding the requirements upon a student charged with a crime during his or her enrollment at the College:

  1. Report the arrest to On-site Fieldwork Placement Supervisor and the SOE OCE placement specialist overseeing the student’s placement within forty-eight (48) hours of the arrest, not including weekends and legal holidays; and
  2. Notify the NYC DOE within forty-eight (48) hours of the arrest, not including weekends and legal holidays. If the student does not report the arrest to the On-site Fieldwork Placement Supervisor and the SOE’s OCE, the NYC DOE will send a staff member to remove the student from the fieldwork placement. It is highly recommended that the student avoid such a situation. Under such a circumstance, College faculty and staff cannot determine the student’s eligibility to remain at the assigned site.

    Only the NYC DOE can determine whether the student may return to the placement site. The reason for the arrest may determine the timeframe of when the student may return to the site. For example, a student charged with driving while intoxicated (“DWI”) may be required to present court documentation to the NYC DOE, and a DOE determination may take two to four weeks. On the other hand, where a student is charged with assault, the NYC DOE may require further investigation, which could take at least a year, before a student is cleared for a placement.

Scenario 2: The Student Jeopardizes the Safety and/or Well-being of a Minor

If a SOE student is dismissed by a fieldwork placement organization for having jeopardized the safety or well-being of a minor, the student will be removed from the course and receive a failing grade. The OCE cannot knowingly place a student who has compromised the safety or well-being of a minor, client, or patient in a clinical setting. If fieldwork placement is required for completion of a degree, license, or certificate, such a dismissal will result in the student’s termination from the program. If the student is terminated from the program, his or her action in coursework and clinical experience within the program will cease immediately.

Scenario 3: Removal by a Fieldwork Placement Organization

A SOE student should be aware that as a member of the College community, he or she must follow the procedures listed in this document as well as the other policies referenced herein. There is no requirement, however, that a fieldwork placement organization follow these procedures. As such, if a fieldwork placement organization removes a student from a placement due to unprofessional or egregious conduct or unsatisfactory performance, the College cannot mandate that the placement organization take the student back.

Removal of Student from Participant Organization

Where a student has been removed from a placement by the participant organization and alleged conduct does not involve behavior in which the SOE student jeopardized the safety and/or wellbeing of a minor, the OCE will refer the matter to the Department Chair and Associate Dean for appropriate action. In such a case, the Department Chair and Associate Dean will:

1. Review the SOE student’s alleged unprofessional or egregious conduct and determine whether re-placement within a second fieldwork placement organization would be appropriate given the conduct in question;

2. If re-placement is appropriate, student will be placed on academic probation for one (1) semester; and

3. Instruct the SOE to make no more than one (1) attempt to find that student another placement (this would amount to a total of two placements including the initial unsuccessful fieldwork placement). A SOE student must be available to placement organization staff in their assessment of the student’s qualifications for the re-placement.

4. If the Dean and Associate Chair determine that replacement is not appropriate, they will recommend this action be reviewed by the SOE’s Clinical Standards Committee, which shall be comprised of the SOE’s Dean and one or more SOE Department Chairs. The student will be placed on academic probation until the CSC issues a written decision. This decision shall serve as the final determination by the College’s SOE.


Failure to Meet the Terms of Academic Probation

A student who is on academic probation and who thereafter violates the code of conduct will be removed from the fieldwork placement program by the SOE’s OCE. If fieldwork placement is required for completion of a degree, license, or certificate, such a dismissal or removal will result in the student’s case being referred to the Clinical Standards Committee for review of the student’s termination from the program. If the CSC affirms the termination of the student from the program, his or her action in coursework and clinical experience within the program will cease immediately.


The Appeals Process

A student who wishes to appeal an adverse decision under these procedures, may submit a timely written appeal to the Provost of Hunter College, stating reasons for his/her appeal. The Provost will decide the appeal within a reasonable time period and this decision will be the final decision by the College.

 

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