Department of Human Services & Counseling
Master of Science in Clinical Behavioral Health, emphasis in Addictions Counseling Program Professional Standards and Code of Conduct
Students are required to know and abide by the established standards for ethical behavior, as well as the legal statutes applicable to the profession. Students are responsible for adhering to the ethical codes for NAADAC https://www.naadac.org/code-of-ethics, the American Counseling Association https://www.counseling.org/resources/aca-code-of-ethics.pdf, and legal issues as defined in the Colorado Mental Health Statutes, https://law.justia.com/codes/colorado/2016/title-12/health-care/article-43/
The program has established a Professional Review Policy to provide guidance and a process to support graduate student success in class and in the field.
Graduate Program Professional Review Policy
In order to achieve a Master of Science in Clinical Behavioral Health, emphasis in Addictions Counseling, students are required to meet academic, personal, professional, behavioral, and ethical standards that go above and beyond the ability to pass academic classes. The goal of the program is to support student academic success as well as success in the field and in graduate school. The following expectations and procedures are designed to provide guidance to support student success in the field of addiction counseling and mental health counseling
Academic Expectations: The student must maintain ethical behavior in their academic performance. Work must be original to the student. Appropriate use of citation is required for all papers. Students must achieve a B- or higher in all program classes (and maintain a 3.0 in the program overall). Written and oral skills must be clear, organized, grammatically correct, and set a professional tone. Academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Students.
Behavioral Expectations: The student must display professional conduct in class, the Human Service and Counseling Office, in practicum, field placement sites and during interactions with other students, staff, and faculty. Students are expected to attend and participate in class, and be punctual. Students are expected to be able to accept and work with constructive feedback, making any changes necessary if behavioral concerns are addressed by staff, a faculty member, or by the Professional Review Team.
Personal and Professional Expectations: Students must take responsibility for their actions, be able to work independently, show diplomacy, set appropriate boundaries, operate effectively under professional ethics and codes of conduct, and demonstrate personal characteristics conducive to working in the mental health and addiction counseling profession.
Given the rigorous nature of the standards in the field of mental health and addiction counseling, the department has developed the following procedure to support student success.
Department faculty will give feedback to students on an ongoing basis throughout their educational career at MSU Denver. Faculty members will be completing a Development Assessment Matrix on each student, measuring their proficiency in each of the Counselor Learning Objectives. If a faculty member has a concern about a student's behavior, academic performance, or professional demeanor, the faculty member will meet with the student to discuss his/her observations as well as strategies for positive change. Students are expected to meet with Human Service and Counseling faculty members upon request and to respond to the feedback in a professional manner. If the student is in violation of the Student Code of Conduct, the behavior will be reported to the Dean of Students.
If the issue is not resolved, the student refuses to meet with the faculty member, or faculty continue to note concerning behavior or issues, the Chair of the Professional Review Team and the Department Chair will be notified. The Chair of the Review Team will contact the student to set up a meeting between the student, the faculty member(s) who expressed a concern, and at least one other faculty member who will facilitate the meeting. The focus of this meeting is to discuss the concern in a supportive environment and to assist the student to strategize ways to improve performance in the area of concern. The review meeting is intended to be informative rather than punitive. Students are expected to participate in review meetings. However, if a student refuses to participate with department faculty in this process, the meeting will be held and the Review Team will develop recommendations relating to the concern expressed by faculty. In both cases, the student will receive a letter and/or email following the meeting that will summarize what was discussed at the meeting and will include departmental recommendations to support positive change.
If the recommendations are not followed and/or the behaviors seem to be ongoing, a follow-up review meeting will be convened. This meeting may include the student, a faculty member to chair the meeting, any faculty who have expressed concerns about the student's behavior. They will send a written recommendation to the Department Chair and Review Team Chair following the meeting about what next steps should occur in the process. These next steps may include, but are not limited to:
- Developing a Behavioral Contract with expected outcomes and consequences clearly outlined
- Requiring counseling or some other form of appropriate intervention
- Removing a student from a specific class
- Requiring the student to meet certain expectations prior to engaging in field work classes
- Dismissing the student from the program.
The Department Chair will review and implement the recommendations. The student will be informed via letter and/or email regarding the recommendations. Students are welcome to meet with the Chair for clarification on next steps in the process. Students who have concerns about the recommendations can write a letter of appeal to the Dean of the College of Professional Studies. The Dean's decision will be final.
Reliability: The student can be counted on. S/he is consistent in terms of attendance and punctuality and follows through on tasks and assignments.
Demonstrates a positive attitude: The student is enthusiastic about the field of counseling and, in particular, field work and class activities, and is able and willing to cooperate with faculty, field supervisors, co-workers, other interns, other students, and the public.
Demonstrates self-awareness: The student is willing to examine his/her own feelings, values, and behaviors and is aware of his/her own strengths and challenges as well as the potential impact of his/her personal style on others.
Accepts and uses feedback for improvement: The student is responsive to feedback and responds in a professional manner (without defensiveness). S/he incorporates the feedback into future performance.
Demonstrates ethical awareness and behavior: The student demonstrates an understanding of ethical issues and a knowledge of the ACA. The student does not engage in activities that are contrary to the ethical standards and is able to use critical thinking skills and ethical decision making when situations are not clear-cut.
Demonstrates cultural sensitivity: The student is aware of the impact of cultural diversity (in the broadest sense of the term) and is able to act in a meaningful manner that demonstrates an understanding of the importance of cultural competence.
Demonstrates professionalism: The student presents him/herself in a professional manner verbally, in writing, and on a nonverbal level. S/he is groomed and wears clothes that are appropriate to the context.
Demonstrates an ability to effectively handle conflict and problem solve: The student utilizes communication to effectively manage conflict, is able to access appropriate resources for assistance with conflict or life issues, and uses critical thinking skills to solve problems.
Demonstrates emotional/mental stability: The student demonstrates emotional and mental stability. If the student has a mental health issue, is in recovery, or has an unstable life situation, s/he is aware of his/her issues and is taking appropriate steps to manage the impact of the issues on his/her behavior and performance.