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Department Policies

Department Policies


Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is an essential component of an academic community. Every student is responsible for fostering and maintaining a culture of academic honesty by committing to the academic values of honesty, integrity, responsibility, trust, respect for self and others, fairness, and justice. In addition, students are expected to abide by the code of ethics for their profession and the student code of conduct for the university. Violations of academic integrity include cheating, plagiarism, or lying about academic matters. Plagiarism is defined as any use of another writer's words, concepts, or sequence of ideas without acknowledging that writer properly. This includes not only direct quotations of another writer's words, but also paraphrases or summaries of another writer's concepts or ideas without acknowledging the writer properly (i.e., citing them). Cheating includes behaviors such as giving or receiving data or information under any circumstances not permitted by the instructor. Lying about academic matters includes falsification of data or information as part of an academic exercise, or knowingly providing false information to a faculty member.

Students who have plagiarized an assignment or otherwise cheated in their academic work or examination may expect an "F" for the assignment in question or"F" for the course, at the instructor's discretion. All incidents of cheating or plagiarism, reported by the instructor, will follow the Student Remediation Process as described in the departmental Graduate Student Handbook. Please note: The University uses web-based products to detect plagiarism.

Self-plagiarism

Self-plagiarism is defined by the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.) as an author presenting their "previously published work as new scholarship (p. 16)." It is thus unethical for students to use work previously submitted to meet a course requirement (e.g., a course paper) to meet a course requirement in another course. Doing so will result in remediation procedures. Students are advised that self-plagiarism will be treated as plagiarism and that the same disciplinary procedures will be used as those implemented for plagiarism.

Student Academic Offenses

According to the WKU Graduate Catalog, there are four categories of academic offenses, listed below. 

  1. Academic Dishonesty. Students who commit any act of academic dishonesty may receive from the instructor a failing grade in that portion of the course work in which the act is detected or a failing grade in a course without possibility of withdrawal. The faculty member may also present the case to the Office of Judicial Affairs for disciplinary sanctions. A student who believes a faculty member has dealt unfairly with him/her in a course involving academic dishonesty may seek relief through the Student Complaint Procedure.
  2. Plagiarism. To represent written work taken from another source as one's own is plagiarism. Plagiarism is a serious offense. The academic work of a student must be his/her own. One must give any author credit for source material borrowed from him/her. To lift content directly from a source without giving credit is a flagrant act. To present a borrowed passage without reference to the source after having changed a few words is also plagiarism.
  3. Cheating. No student shall receive or give assistance not authorized by the instructor in taking an examination or in the preparation of an essay, laboratory report, problem assignment or other project which is submitted for purposes of grade determination.
  4. Other Types of Academic Dishonesty. Other types of academic offenses, such as the theft or sale of tests, should be reported to the Office of Judicial Affairs for disciplinary sanction.

Attendance is required during all scheduled class meetings. Exceptions will be determined in consultation with the department head. Consequences for unexcused absences include receiving an "F" or "Incomplete" in the course; and will be determined in consultation with department head.

Course Prerequisites

Persons who are not currently enrolled in a Department of Counseling and Student Affairs program and want to complete academic courses must document completion of departmental course prerequisites or their equivalent from a CACREP-accredited program. All substitutions for prerequisite courses from other CACREP programs will be accepted only with department head approval. Students enrolled in a Department of Counseling and Student Affairs program are expected to meet course prerequisites. Waiver of course prerequisites will require department head approval.

Second Masters

The Department of Counseling and Student Affairs conforms to the Western Kentucky University's Graduate Studies policy regarding the admission of applicants who previously have obtained a master's degree. The student who wishes to earn a second master's degree from Western Kentucky University must apply for and gain admission to the new program and satisfy all requirements (specific course work, research tool, thesis, etc.) for the new degree. No more than 12 hours of previous course work, whether transferred from another university, from the previous master's degree at Western (or a combination of the two) or as a non-degree seeking student at WKU may be used to fulfill program and research tool requirements. Any course work used must be earned within the six years allowed for the second master's degree program (see Graduate Catalog).

School Counseling Master's Degree Graduates Requesting Enrollment for LPCC or LMFT Licensure

School counseling degree graduates, regardless of institution, who want to fulfill course requirements in order to secure licensure as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) or Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) must get approval through the CMHC/MCFC Clinical Coordinator and/or Department Head. The Kentucky LPC or LMFT Boards are the ultimate authority on approval of the licensure; therefore, it is encouraged to visit their websites and download the respective application to ensure the requirements are met. However, graduates may work with the CMHC/MCFC Clinical Coordinator for guidance enrolling in additional coursework to meet the 60 hours of counseling courses (e.g., Diagnosis & Treatment, Family Systems Counseling) and/or approval enrolling in 600 hours of internship. Note: Kentucky requires a CACREP accredited counseling degree for licensure if an individual graduated from a counseling program after January 1, 2015. The KY LPCA is now online but a Sample LPCA Application which includes WKU counseling courses may serve as a helpful guide.

Enrollment in Academic or Clinical Courses as a Non-Degree Seeking Student

Students who have not been admitted to a program or who are not currently pursuing a program in the Department of Counseling and Student Affairs are not eligible to enroll in any of the department's clinical courses (CNS 590, 591, 595, or 596) without prior approval from the Clinical Coordinator. 

To enroll in practicum and internship, all students must fulfill the requirements defined in the Practicum and Internship Manual for the program area specific to their placement. Master's degree students completing their degree program in the Department of Counseling and Student Affairs, must complete the practice preparation courses* associated with their program areas with a grade of B or better in each course to establish eligibility for entry into Practicum (CNS 591). These courses are: CNS 554 Group Counseling; CNS 555 Social and Cultural Diversity; CNS 558 Counseling Theories; CNS 559 Techniques of Counseling; CNS 560 Professional Studies in Clinical, Family and School Counseling.

Students must complete practice preparation courses associated with their program area with grades of B or better in each course AND a Practicum (CNS 591) with a grade of B or better to be eligible to enroll in their first Internship. Students must complete their first Internship with a grade of B or better to be eligible to enroll in their second Internship (CNS 596). Finally, to enroll in a practicum or internship, students must have secured a placement site and have completed the forms identified in the practicum and internship manual specific to their program. When the forms and placement site are approved by the Clinical Coordinator for their program, the Clinical Coordinator will then authorize enrollment in the appropriate practicum or internship section.

Practice preparation courses are those courses that provide skill, attitudinal, and ethical preparation necessary for placement in a mental health or marriage and family site.

Graduates Requesting Enrollment for LPCC or LMFT Licensure-only

School counseling degree graduates, or others with a completed counseling degree, regardless of institution, who want to fulfill course requirements in order to secure licensure as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) or Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) must get approval through the CMHC/MCFC Clinical Coordinator and/or Department Head. The Kentucky LPC or LMFT Boards are the ultimate authority on approval of the licensure; therefore, it is encouraged to visit their websites and download the respective application to ensure the requirements are met. However, graduates may work with the CMHC/MCFC Clinical Coordinator for guidance enrolling in additional coursework to meet the 60 hours of counseling courses (e.g., Diagnosis & Treatment, Family Systems Counseling) and/or approval enrolling in 600 hours of internship. Note: Kentucky requires a CACREP-accredited counseling degree for licensure if an individual graduated from a counseling program after January 1, 2015. Counseling graduates are not eligible to enroll in any of the department's clinical courses (CNS 590, 591, 595, or 596) without prior approval from the Clinical Coordinator.

All students enrolled in CNS courses are responsible for understanding and adhering to the following:

Video Media Format

Students must submit video assignments in the preferred format of the instructor.

Students are responsible to ensure that all videos they bring to class and to supervision, as well as ones submitted meet course requirements that are compatible with the video playback equipment and software available to their course instructors or supervisors. No deadline or grade consequence will be waived for inability to provide an assignment in an appropriate format. Students should be certain that the videos they submit or bring to supervision are acceptable to their course instructors or supervisors in advance of course due dates and supervisory meetings.

Audio

If course instructors allow audio recordings for supervision or course requirements, students are responsible to ensure that the audio media they submit or bring to supervision can be played using equipment available to the instructor or supervisor.

Video and Audio Security

Videos or audio recordings of one’s work with clients or other individuals, must, at all times, be double locked. For example, if a video is on a USB, access to the file should be locked with a password (lock 1) and it should be kept in a secure location such as a lock box or locked file cabinet (lock 2). Transporting a video to and from practicum, internship or other classroom sites represents a potentially challenging situation. For example, a video in a locked car (lock 1) does not constitute double lock security. Ways of creating a double lock security situation include storing the USB in a locked portable file cabinet or brief case within the car (lock 2).

Video Lifetime and Destroying Procedures

At the conclusion of each semester, all video and audio recordings should be erased.

Student Complaint Procedure

At WKU, student concerns are addressed following a four-step process which include:

  1. Discussing the complaint with the faculty member involved;
  2. If the student and the faculty member are unable to resolve the complaint, the student can take the complaint to the faculty member’s Department Head;
  3. If the student is unable to reach a satisfactory resolution at the departmental level, the complaint can be taken to the college level;
  4. Should the student want to appeal the decision made at the college level, a formal written notice of appeal can be submitted.

Specific guidelines and directions for this process are located in the WKU Graduate School Handbook under Academic Complaint.

Student Grievance Procedure

Western Kentucky University (WKU) is committed to equal opportunity in its educational programs and employment. The University is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, marital status, age, uniform service, veteran status, or physical or mental disability. On request, WKU will provide reasonable accommodations, including auxiliary aids and services, necessary to afford an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to participate in all services, programs, activities, and employment.

The University has published policies and procedures for investigating and/or addressing discrimination or harassment in its educational programs and/or employment. Students who believe they have experienced discrimination or harassment in such programs, activities, or employment, can consult any of these sources: WKU Policies, WKU Student Handbook, and the Graduate School.

Graduate students enrolled in any of the CSA graduate programs are expected to learn and act in accordance with WKU, the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences (CEBS) and department policies and procedures; as well as with their respective professional associations or organizations. Additionally, students are responsible for:  

  • Asking questions and seeking clarification from faculty in order to promote their understanding of the academic requirements and financial particulars of their specific graduate program.
  • Accepting primary responsibility of being knowledgeable of the rules and regulations for the College of Education & Behavioral Sciences, the Department, and their degree program.
  • Taking responsibility for keeping informed of and completing all required paperwork and other degree obligations in a timely fashion.
  • Demonstrating professional behavior in and outside of the classroom by
    • Behaving in a professional and mature nature in all interactions with faculty, staff, and fellow students, including electronic communication.
    • Always using their WKU email address upon receiving it at the undergraduate or graduate level.
    • Putting away all cell phones during class sessions, as well as using personal laptops only if approved by the instructor. Most classes are experiential and application-based and do not necessitate personal access to technology.
    • Acting in accordance with their affiliate professional Code of Ethics (i.e., American Counseling Association Ethical Standards)
    • Exercising the utmost integrity in all facets of the graduate program.
    • Maintaining the appropriate standards to continue graduate studies.

Recommendations for Student Credentialing and Employment.

Students often seek reference letters or recommendations for credentialing and employment from their professors. Since professors are not obligated to provide such, students are responsible for building relationships with professors throughout their academic career in the Department. Professors are more likely to provide reference and support for student credentialing and employment if they are familiar with the student beyond the classroom.

Online Course Evaluations

Students are expected to become involved in their academic experience. One opportunity for this is by providing feedback about their courses and instructors through confidential, Online Course Evaluations (SITE). The feedback can provide helpful information about the course, the program, as well as faculty instruction. Faculty receive the course SITE report, a summary of the feedback, after final grades are due. The Department Head also has access to every faculty member’s SITE results

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistants (GAs) are expected to fulfill the responsibilities and requirements of their appointments as stated in their contractual agreements with the University and the Department. Graduate Assistants must maintain a GPA of 3.0. If their GPA falls short of this at any time, their contract will be suspended. GAs are not assured a second renewal of their yearly contract. This is dependent on need, budgetary allowances, as well informal and formal evaluations of their previous work. GAs employed in the Department of CSA are responsible for understanding the content covered in the Department’s Graduate Assistant Orientation held at the beginning of each year.

According to the WKU Graduate School Catalog, a maximum of 12 transfer credits may be used in any master’s program. All regulations presented in the Graduate School Catalog apply; and the following Departmental requirements must be met:

  1. The credit(s) must have been earned at an accredited graduate institution. The course work to be transferred must be properly designated as having been taken for graduate credit.
  2. Students must supply an official transcript showing a grade of B or better in the course before a course substitution form is filed by their advisor. The courses to be transferred must carry a grade of 3.0 (4.0 scale) or better. A copy of the syllabus, as well as the curriculum vita of the instructor teaching the transfer course is required.
  3. Transfer or course substitutions into CMHC and MCFC programs must be from a CACREP-accredited program, with the exception of elective courses. All course substitutions for required courses must address the applicable CACREP standards within the course to count as a transferred course substitute.
  4. Clinical courses (i.e., group, techniques, practicum, and internship) are not considered for transfer credit.
  5. Students must ensure that the course they intend to use for transfer of credit has at least 3 semester credit hours. In programs that offer quarter hour courses, courses must be at least 5 quarter hours of credit to satisfy transfer of credit conditions for one 3-credit semester course.
  6. Credits earned during a given term must not exceed the number of weeks of instruction and must have been earned within the six-year time limit for degree completion.
  7. Any course(s) to be transferred must be appropriate for degree completion.
  8. At least 12 hours in the major area and at least 6 hours in the minor area must be taken at WKU.

The “Transfer Credit Practices” report published by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers is the reference used in evaluating credits. Transfer credits taken during the final semester of a program will delay program completion until official transcripts have been received in the Graduate School. In cooperative or joint programs with other universities, credits earned in the program at these institutions are not considered transfer credits. A majority of credits applied toward certificate requirements must be earned at WKU.

When faculty members have identified a student as having concerning and/or problematic behaviors (i.e., academic performance, social interactions with peers or professors, supervision), the department will implement a support, remediation and dismissal process. Such behaviors may have been already noted in the student’s Professional Performance Review. The support, remediation and dismissal process consists of three levels.

Level One

The student will meet with the Department Head, his or her advisor and/or faculty who have observed the student as needing support. During this meeting, concerns will be discussed and the student will have the opportunity to share how s/he may need support. The student will be presented with a Level One Support Plan which will include expectations, as well as prescribed steps that will help the student address the identified concerns. Support Plans may include any of, although not limited to, the following:

  • Additional clinical work, such as an additional practicum or internship
  • Personal mental health counseling
  • Additional academic course work
  • Additional supervision
  • Additional practice of and assessment in certain skills

The student will implement the Plan, with departmental support as needed. A copy of the plan will be placed in the student’s file.

Level Two

When the identified concerns are substantial, or when the student does not meet the expectations and steps outlined in the Level One Plan, the student will meet with the Department Head and faculty to discuss the identified concerns and necessity of remediation. The student will be notified that failure to meet the expectations outlined in this Level Two can result in dismissal from the program. Remediation plans may include any of the steps noted in Level One, such as but not limited to:

  • Additional clinical work, such as an additional practicum or internship
  • Personal mental health counseling
  • Oral examination
  • Additional academic course work
  • Additional supervision
  • Additional practice of and assessment in certain skills

A copy of the plan will be placed in the student’s file.

Level Three

Level Three is dismissal from the student’s program and the Department. Level Three is implemented when student progress toward remediation goals is minimal or when concerned faculty and the Department Head believe achieving remediation goals is unlikely. A student may be dismissed (without having been placed on Level One or Level Two) due to certain behaviors that are deemed as unacceptable by Departmental faculty. That is, these behaviors can result in the student’s immediate dismissal without any remediation rights. Appeals of dismissal from the program and Department can be submitted to the Dean’s Office in the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences. School Counseling students’ dismissals are also reviewed by the college’s Professional Education Council.


 

 

 


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 Last Modified 2/7/19