Thursday, June 16, 2011

Handling Student Conduct Issues

Handling Student Conduct Issues During Co-operative Education - Best Practices

(Betka...Moderator; Barton, Stockman-Baer, and Gambescia)

The intent of this presentation is to offer means to address student conduct issues.

The First Response Philosophy says that the student should first exhaust the immediate means of resolution between the parties involved. Good organizational practice holds that those closest to, most invested in, and most familiar with a problem are in the best position to solve the problem. Fundamental precepts include: students must have an avenue for communicating a concern, they must receive due process, fair treatment (without bias), be reviewed with care in a timely way, and then be communicated to, explaining the rationale for any decision made by the employer and the Co-op office, and the office and the employers must be open to suggestions for quality improvements of any policy, procedure or practice.

The student should expect that policies and procedures are developed from well thought out rationale, are clearly stated, accessible (including for review), and promulgated with support to gain understanding. And of course, fairly enforced. A given student may be subject to policies from any of the following authorities: government, university, college, degree program, profession, and the employer. The university should have procedures to identify, review, adjudicate, and remediate any transgression.

Assessment of the student's performance is one of the most important responsibilities we have (as Faculty Advisor, as Co-op Coordinator, as employer's supervisor). Is there a mechanism to assess a student's understanding of the expectations they are held to? We should ask ourselves the following questions. Where are these expectations presented? Are they accessibe? How are they presented? How are they reinforced?

Supervisors should consider the following questions. What did you observe? How do you characterize this performance? What are the risks if this continues? How can the student remediate, if at all?

In the U.S., the number one reason for students being dismissed from a workplace is that they...(drumroll)...don't show up!!

In a formal review, determine the following. What were the defined expectations? Who is making the assessment of the student? Were appropriate assessment procedures followed? What was documented? Are there extenuating circumstances? Note that there are a gradation of concerns that a student may hold, from seeking clarification, to making a complaint, to a formal grievance, and potentially an appeal of a grievance settlement.

A helpful adage to consider is that, if you have seen one student have seen one, discrete student issue. No two are the same.

And it would be very beneficial to encourage students to seek out their employer's codes of conduct and policies with regard to performance.

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