Behavioral Standards

Academic Honesty

Papers and presentations in the School of Social Work must meet standards of academic honesty and integrity, avoiding any possibility of plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct. For specific information about the BUSSW policy regarding academic misconduct, see Student Handbook: Ways & Means.

Classroom Civilities

As developing professional colleagues, the following is expected of BUSSW students: attend all class sessions; complete all assigned readings before coming to class; and participate actively and in a manner that is respectful of each other’s contributions, of clients, and of the instructor and the shared learning process. Out of respect for others, it is important that only one conversation occurs at a time and that cell phones and pagers be turned off. Please maintain the confidentiality of all students, coworkers, and family members during class discussions, activities, and in-class assignments. This will involve eliminating any identifying information from written documents and monitoring conversations in class and between students about an individual learner, family member, or coworker. Due to liability issues, children are not allowed in classes.

Active participation in class discussion: Talking in groups is a professional skill; now is the time to consolidate this skill because the classroom is your laboratory to practice for the field. On rare occasion, talkative students may become over-contributors. Consequently, they end up taking up more than their fair share of “air time.” Talkers: please try to monitor yourselves gently for this by assessing how much talking you do relative to others. Please view listening and attempting to truly hear others’ points of view as equally important as talking in class. When you are really listening and tuning in, it shows, because the feedback and contributions you make have a depth to them that is substantive. And when people are listening, the whole group process feels different and better.

Reading and discussion of all assigned materials and participation in small group activities: Attend class prepared to participate fully in classroom exercises that promote self-reflection, awareness, and the capacity to share one’s personal and professional experiences in order to deepen understanding. If you have not done the reading and used the exercises to think ahead, it will be impossible to benefit from them.

Academic honesty, integrity, and professional behavior in the classroom: Please review BUSSW’s policies on academic misconduct, which can be found on the BUSSW website. All concerns related to plagiarism, recycling of papers, or apparent failure to do one’s own work will be adjudicated according to the guidelines listed in that document. As a graduate student, you are expected to comport yourself with utmost integrity, honesty, and professionalism. Be scrupulously careful to credit all sources appropriately and to utilize APA-style formatting for your assignments.

Professional comportment in the classroom: Please turn off all cell phones and refrain from taking any calls unless you are “on call” and have cleared that with the instructor prior to class. Under those circumstances, please sit close to a door, exit before you answer the phone, and conduct your phone call as quickly and quietly as possible. At absolutely no time is it appropriate to be “texting” or “IM-ing” in the classroom during class. This is disrespectful and unprofessional, regardless of how it is viewed in the larger culture. It is also destructive to the group learning environment, promoting intimacy with some, and excluding others. Finally, the use of the computer to “surf,” check email, or engage in anything other than note-taking is inappropriate in a graduate classroom. When it’s time to be present in class, invite and encourage yourself and others to be fully present.

Taking responsibility: As adult graduate students, with enormous responsibility for the most intimate details of others’ lives, you will bear witness to and support each and every other person you encounter in the class at all times. Using “I-messages,” speaking to the best in one another, taking responsibility for what you feel, and assuming the burden of your own learning, wherever you may be, will help all of us talk together in a productive way. That is our goal: to be able to speak humanely, honestly, and with utmost compassion about a painful and difficult issue to be dealt with in our society.


Federal health regulations of 2003 mandate the protection of client confidentiality by changing the name of the client, significant others, agency, conditions, other descriptors, and geographic locations that could lead to client identification.