Department of Social Work

College of Business and Public Affairs

Contact Info:
114 W. Rosedale Avenue
(610) 436-2527




Standards of Professional Behavior

The BSW Program takes seriously the development of professional behavior in the students. Therefore, standards of professional have been developed and are integrated into the curriculum in a step-wise, developmental fashion. These standards are considered a percentage of the grade for each respective course. Students who do not satisfactorily meet these expectations will be discussed at faculty meetings. Any of the above actions (previous section) may be taken to assist the student in achieving satisfactory performance of the standards.

The standards are as follows:

SWO 200
  • Professional Behavior:
    Exhibits behaviors that are in compliance with program policies, institutional policies, professional ethical standards, and societal laws in classroom, field, and community. Appearance, dress, and general demeanor reflect a professional manner. Shows potential for 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. Works effectively with others, regardless of level of authority. Advocates for him/herself in an appropriate and responsible manner and uses proper channels for conflict resolution. Shows a willingness to receive and accept feedback and supervision in a positive manner, as well as use such feedback to enhance professional development.

  • Self Awareness: Exhibits knowledge of how one's values, attitudes, beliefs, emotions and past experiences affect thinking, behavior, and relationships. Accurately assesses one's own strengths, limitations, and suitability for professional practice. Shows awareness of self and how one is perceived by others. Reflects on one's own limitations as they relate to professional capacities. Is willing to examine and change behavior when it interferes in working with clients and other professionals.

SWO 225
  • Professional Behavior
  • Self Awareness
SWO 300
  • Professional Behavior
  • Self Awareness
  • Communication Skills:
    Demonstrates sufficient written and oral skills to comprehend information and communicate ideas and feelings. Written: Writes clearly, uses correct grammar and spelling, and applies appropriate writing style, including American Psychological Association (APA) referencing, appropriate source citation, and documentation. Demonstrates sufficient skills in written English to understand content presented in the program and to complete adequately all written assignments, as specified by faculty. Oral: Communicates effectively and sensitively with other students, faculty, staff, clients, and professionals. Expresses ideas and feelings clearly and demonstrates a willingness and an ability to listen to others. Demonstrates sufficient skills in spoken English to understand content presented in the program, to complete adequately all oral assignments, and to meet the objectives of field placement experiences, as specified by faculty.
SWO 220
  • Professional Behavior
  • Self Awareness
  • Communication Skills
  • Interpersonal Skills:
    Demonstrates the interpersonal skills needed to relate effectively to other students, faculty, staff, clients, and professionals and to fulfill the ethical obligations of the profession. These include compassion, empathy, altruism, integrity, and demonstration of respect for and consideration of others. Takes appropriate responsibility for own actions and considers the impact of these actions on others.
SWO 320, 321, 332, 350, 351
  • Professional Behavior
  • Self Awareness
  • Communication Skills
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Cognitive Skills
    Exhibits sufficient knowledge of social work and clarity of thinking to process information and apply it to appropriate situations in classroom and field. Demonstrates grounding in relevant social, behavioral, and biological science knowledge and research - including knowledge and skills in relationship building, data gathering, assessment, intervention, and evaluation of practice. Exhibits ability to conceptualize and integrate knowledge and apply that knowledge to professional practice.
  • Stress Management
    Demonstrates ability to deal with current life stressors through the use of appropriate coping mechanisms. Handles stress effectively by using appropriate self-care and developing supportive relationships with colleagues, peers, and others.
  • Emotional and Mental Capacities
    Uses sound judgment. Seeks and effectively uses help for medical or emotional problems that interfere with scholastic and professional performance. Engages in counseling or seeks out support and help if personal problems, psychosocial distress, substance abuse, or mental health difficulties do any of the following:
    • compromise scholastic and other performance
    • interfere with professional judgment and behavior,
    • or jeopardize the best interests of those to whom the social work student has a professional responsibility (as outlined in the current Codes of Ethics by the National Association of Social Workers and the PA State Board of Social Worker Examiners for Social Work Licensure).
SWO 375, 395, 431, 432, 450, 451, 495, & 496
  • Professional Behavior
  • Self Awareness
  • Communication Skills
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Cognitive Skills
  • Stress Management
  • Emotional and Mental Capacities
  • Professional Commitment:
    Exhibits a strong commitment to the goals of social work and to the ethical standards of the profession, as specified in the NASW Code of Ethics and the Code of Ethics for Social Work Licensure in Pennsylvania. Demonstrates commitment to the essential values of social work that includes the respect for the dignity and worth of every individual and his/her right to a just share of society's resources (social justice).
  • Ethical Obligations:
    Current behavior and classroom performance demonstrate adherence to the ethical expectations and obligations of professional practice, noted in the NASW Code of Ethics and the Code of Ethics for Social Work Licensure in Pennsylvania. Ethical behaviors include:
    • Adherence to the NASW Code of Ethics and the Code of Ethics for Social Work Licensure in PA.
    • Disclose history of charges and/or convictions of an offense that is contrary to professional practice.
    • Systematic evaluation of clients and their situations in an unbiased, factual way.
    • Suspension of personal biases during interactions with others.
    • Comprehension of another individual's way of life and values.
    • Empathic communication and support of the client as a basis for a productive professional relationship.
    • Appreciation of the value of diversity.
    • Effective and nonjudgmental relation to and work with others who are different from oneself.
    • Appropriate service to all persons in need of assistance, regardless of the person's age, class, race, religious beliefs, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and/or value system.
    • No imposition of personal, religious, sexual and/or cultural values on clients.
    • Demonstration of respect for the rights of others.
    • Commitment to client's rights to freedom of choice and self-determination.
    • Maintenance of confidentiality as it relates to human service, classroom activities, and field placement.
    • Demonstration of honesty and integrity by being truthful about background, experiences, and qualifications; doing one's own work; giving credit for the ideas of others; and providing proper citation of source materials.
    • Demonstration of clear, appropriate, and culturally sensitive boundaries. Does not sexually harass others; make verbal or physical threats; become involved in sexual relationships with clients, supervisors, or faculty; abuse others in physical, emotional, verbal, or sexual ways; or participate in dual relationships where conflicts of interest may exist.