The following technical standards are required for admission, retention, and graduation
from the Department of Social Work at Western Carolina University. These standards
describe the physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioral requirements of social
work students. They are designed to provide reasonable assurance that students can
participate fully in all aspects of coursework and the field practicum, with or without
accommodation, resulting in successful graduation from the program.
The Department of Social Work recognizes that preparation for professional practice
requires more than scholastic achievement. The program expects students to exhibit
behaviors that are consistent with professional performance. Such behavior is expected
not only in the classroom but throughout the University and the larger community.
Some specific examples of professional performance standards are outlined below.
Acknowledge/Sign Technical and Professional Standards Form
Students must be able to:
- Accurately observe clients to effectively assess their situations.
- Have functional use of the senses and sufficient motor capability to carry out the
necessary assessment activities.
Students must be able to:
- Communicate effectively with other students, faculty, staff, clients and other professionals,
and exemplify a willingness and ability to listen to others.
- Demonstrate effective communication in oral presentations, written assignments, small
group settings, and through electronic means.
- Perceive and interpret nonverbal communication.
- Use spoken and written English to understand the content presented in the program.
- Comprehend reading assignments and search and evaluate the literature.
- Demonstrate competency in writing skills.
Sensory and Motor Functions
Students must have sufficient sensory and motor abilities to:
- Attend class and complete the required number of hours during their field practicum.
- Maintain consciousness and equilibrium and have the physical strength and stamina
to perform satisfactorily in the classroom and in social work agency settings.
Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Functions
Students must have the ability to:
- Think critically, analyze and interpret objective and subjective data, and apply effective
problem solving skills. These skills allow students to make proper assessments, use
sound judgment, appropriately prioritize therapeutic interventions, and measure and
report client outcomes.
- Demonstrate skills of recall using long and short term memory, inferential reasoning,
application of knowledge, and evaluation of predicted outcomes at appropriate levels
in the program.
Students must exhibit:
- Knowledge and openness to learning how one’s values, attitudes, beliefs, emotions
and past experiences affect thinking, behavior and relationships.
- Willingness to examine and change their behavior when appropriate and work effectively
with others in subordinate positions as well as with those in authority.
Emotional and Mental Stability
Students must demonstrate the ability to:
- Deal with current life stressors through the use of appropriate coping mechanisms
effectively by using appropriate self-care and developing supportive relationships
with colleagues, peers, and others.
- Effectively use help for medical or emotional problems that interfere with academic
and clinical performance.
Students must demonstrate:
- A commitment to the goals of social work and to the ethical standards of the profession,
as specified in the NASW Code of Ethics.
- The essential values of social work including the respect for the dignity and worth
of every individual and his/her right to a just share of society’s resources (social
- Behaviors that are in compliance with program policies, institutional policies, professional
ethical standards, and societal laws in classroom, field, and community.
- Responsible and accountable behavior by knowing and practicing within the scope of
social work, respecting others, being punctual and dependable, prioritizing responsibilities,
attending class regularly, observing deadlines, completing assignments on time, keeping
appointments or making appropriate arrangements, and accepting supervision and criticism
in a positive manner.
- A commitment to serve in an appropriate manner all persons in need of assistance,
regardless of the person’s age, class, race, religious affiliation (or lack of), gender,
disability, sexual orientation and/or value system.