Student Policies, Rights & Responsibilities

Student Code of Conduct

The mission of the Garland School of Social Work focuses on the education and preparation of students for professional social work practice. Students are expected to practice upholding the major themes of the School: community building, strengths perspective, and the ethical and anti-oppressive consideration of religion, spirituality, philosophy, and world-view. In addition to Baylor University's student code of conduct policies, students are expected to uphold the social work profession's core values and ethical standards. These values and ethical principles are identified and discussed in the Council on Social Work Education standards, the NASW Code of Ethics, and the Texas State licensing standards (or comparable licensing standards in other states). As a part of the requirement for graduate entry into the program and for all practice in the community, students are asked to read and sign the following Student Code of Conduct derived from the NASW Code of Ethics and the Texas State Licensing Board regulations. (Numbers at the end of each item refer to the applicable section of the NASW Code of Ethics.)

  1. Social work students are expected to uphold the profession's values, ethics, and standards. (5.01)
  2. Social work students are expected to treat their peers, faculty, and staff with dignity and respect (2.01A) and avoid unwarranted negative criticism and demeaning comments of these colleagues (2.01B).
  3. Social work students should strive to enhance their competence and recognize the need for continuous professional growth (4.01).
  4. Social work students should not practice, condone, facilitate, or collaborate with any form of discrimination against persons (4.02).
  5. Social work students should not participate in, condone, or facilitate any type of dishonesty, fraud, or deception (4.04).
  6. Social work students whose personal problems, psychosocial distress, legal problems, substance abuse, or mental health difficulties interfere with their abilities to meet classroom and field practice requirements are expected to take appropriate remedial action and show documented evidence of the success of that action (4.05).
  7. Social work students should not let their private conduct interfere with their classroom or field practice responsibilities (4.03).
  8. Social work students engaged in research are expected to protect the confidentiality of human subjects, obtain voluntary informed consent, and inform participants of their right to withdraw from the study (5.02).
  9. Social work students should take responsibility and credit, including authorship credit, only for work they have actually performed and to which they have contributed (4.08).

Standards of Practice

Students are asked to review the entire NASW Code of Ethics and the applicable state code before any academic work in the community that involves using social work knowledge, values, and skills. The following are excerpts or summarized points from some of the major community practice standards as delineated in the NASW Code of Ethics.

Please note: If at any time during your classroom or internship experiences, you find yourself in a situation in which you have questions about a potential ethical concern, please contact your MSW Program Director, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, internship instructor, faculty liaison, or the Director of Practicum Education in your program.

  • Commitment to Clients (1.01)
    • A social worker’s primary responsibility is to promote the well-being of clients.
  • Self-Determination (1.02)
    • Social workers respect and promote the right of clients to self-determination and assist clients in their efforts to identify and clarify their goals.
  • Competence (1.04)
    • Social workers should provide services and represent themselves as competent only within the boundaries of their education. It is important to inform your clients that you are a student.
  • Cultural Competence (1.05)
    • Social workers should obtain education about and seek to understand the nature of social diversity and oppression with respect to race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, and mental or physical ability.
  • Conflicts of Interest (1.06)
    • (a) Social workers should be alert to and avoid conflicts of interest that interfere with the exercise of professional discretion and impartial judgment.
    • (b) Social workers should not take unfair advantage of any professional relationship.
    • (c) Social workers should not engage in dual or multiple relationships with clients or former clients in which there are risks of exploitation or potential harm to the client.
  • Privacy and Confidentiality (1.07)
    • Social workers should protect the confidentiality of all information obtained in the course of professional service, except for compelling professional reasons.
  • Sexual Relationships (1.09)
    • Social workers should under no circumstances engage in sexual activities, inappropriate sexual communication, or sexual conduct with current or former clients, whether such conduct is consensual or forced.
  • Physical Contact (1.10)
    • Social workers should not engage in physical contact with clients when there is a possibility of psychological harm to the clients as a result of the contact (such as cradling or caressing clients).
  • Derogatory Language (1.12)
    • Social workers should use accurate and respectful language in all communications to and about clients.
  • Ethical Responsibility to Colleagues (2.01& 2.07)
    • Social workers should treat colleagues with respect and should represent accurately and fairly the qualifications, views and obligations of colleagues.
  • Social workers should cooperate with social work colleagues and with colleagues of other professions when such cooperation serves the well-being of clients. (2.03 & 2.05)
  • Social workers should avoid engaging in sexual relationships with colleagues when there is a potential conflict of interest. (2.06)

Social Media Policy

Technology and social media use is an ever-growing and ever-changing platform for connection, information, and communication. The National Association of Social Workers released an updated Code of Ethics in 2021 that addressed important ethical considerations in using technology in social work practice. The Garland School of Social Work's Practicum Education office recognizes the benefits of individuals and organizations maintaining an active online presence. However, as a professional-in-training, your online persona should be managed as carefully as you would mind your actions, speech, and dress in the workplace.

Professional social workers must be mindful of social media use because the information shared on social media platforms can be used by clients, other professionals, and the general public to shape opinions about you and social workers as a whole. Maintaining primary social work values like client privacy and confidentiality is of utmost importance, and upholding one’s reputation is critical to competent, successful practice.

Social workers’ professional behavior is guided by the NASW Code of Ethics, the State Code of Conduct, and the policies and practices of their employing organizations. Students in the Garland School of Social Work are expected to model ethical and professional standards of behavior as they conduct themselves in any public forum, whether online or off. Students are also expected to abide by all policies of Baylor University, the Garland School of Social Work, the Practicum Education Manual, and the social work profession's legal and ethical responsibilities.

Student Rights and Responsibilities

The rights of social work students include, but are not limited to:

  • Right to participate in shaping the development of plans, programs, and policies that affect the quality of the curriculum of the Garland School of Social Work.
  • Right to learn in an environment that promotes individual and career development.
  • Right to learn in a diverse community that provides exposure to a wide range of viewpoints.

The responsibilities of social work students include, but are not limited to:

  • Accountability for their own learning.
  • Expectation to perform as a social work professional according to the NASW Code of Ethics guidelines.
  • Expectation to be an active agent in the process of continuously improving the Garland School of Social Work’s academic program.

The student is responsible for becoming informed and observing all regulations and procedures concerning degree completion required by the graduate program to which they are admitted. This includes attention to all internal deadlines (degree completion, registration, graduation, etc.), and satisfying registration throughout degree completion and financial settlement procedures.

The school policy conforms to the Student Right to Due Process Policy and Procedures outlined in Baylor University Student Policies and Procedures.

Attendance Policy

Students are expected to attend all scheduled course meetings (both asynchronous and synchronous) and complete all assigned work. Attendance and completion of your asynchronous modules and assignments are essential to your success in the program. Any incomplete work reduces your learning opportunities, negatively impacting your grade and negatively affecting the interactive process with other students. Please see your individual course syllabi for more detailed information.

If extraordinary circumstances prevent attendance or the timely completion of assignments (including asynchronous material), the student should consult the course faculty to inquire about options that may exist. The decision to allow alternatives is at the full discretion of the faculty member. Please consult the syllabus for each course to determine the specific attendance expectations for synchronous and asynchronous sessions.

Office of Access and Learning Accommodation (OALA)

Any student with a documented disability needing accommodations should contact the Office of Access and Learning Accommodation. Any student who needs learning accommodation should inform the professor immediately at the beginning of the term. The student is responsible for obtaining appropriate documentation and information regarding needed accommodations from the Baylor University Office of Access and Learning Accommodation (OALA) and providing it to the professor early in the term. You can visit their website at To contact the OALA office directly, email or phone (254) 710-3605.

Health Insurance

Upon admission, all domestic graduate students, including Waco and Online MSW students enrolled in 3 credit hours or more, will need to provide proof of active insurance and/or enroll in Baylor’s health insurance plan. All students will be charged for the student health insurance plan through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas upon registering for classes or at the beginning of the annual open enrollment period (whichever is later).  Enrollment in the insurance plan will be pending further action from the student. Failure to opt out of Baylor’s plan and failure to provide proof of private insurance will result in an automatic enrollment and charge for Baylor’s health insurance plan through Academic Health Partners. Students will then receive an email from Academic Health Plans (AHP) with instructions on activating or waiving Baylor’s insurance. Domestic students who wish to purchase Baylor’s plan should complete enrollment as soon as possible.  Students are not covered by the plan until the enrollment process is complete. Domestic students with alternative health insurance may waive Baylor’s plan during the open enrollment period.  The waiver process must be completed before the close of the open enrollment period. Students who do not waive by the deadline will be automatically enrolled at the close of the enrollment period and will be responsible for the cost of the premiumContinuing students will need to re-enroll or waive the insurance each year. Per federal policy, international students will be automatically enrolled through Health Services at Baylor. Details about the plan, open enrollment period, and resources for help can be found on the AHP website.

For additional questions, contact the Baylor Health Service Insurance Claims Coordinator:

Lisa Bland: 254-710-1493 or Email: Lisa Bland

Change of Address and Telephone Number

It is frequently a matter of great importance to students for University officials to be able to locate them quickly. For this reason, students are asked to file a notice of change of student local or student home address and telephone number with the University promptly and not later than ten days thereafter in any case. Address changes may be made through BearWeb. For assistance, contact the Office of the Registrar at or (254) 710-1181. Failure to receive University notices because of an incorrect address provided by the student will not relieve the student of responsibility for responding to the notice.

Student/Program Communication and Notification

The student must keep a current address, Baylor University email address, and phone number on file with the Garland School of Social Work office and through Bear Web. The School will record the postal address, phone number, and email address at the time of initial admission. Any changes in contact information from that point forward must be initiated by the student. All students are required to obtain and monitor a Baylor email account. This contact information will be used to inform students of upcoming events and any unforeseen circumstances such as the emergency cancellation of classes. Additionally, faculty manage courses through Canvas or 2BU, Baylor’s learning management systems, which can send notifications to student emails.

The Garland School of Social Work faculty and staff communicate with students through a variety of methods:

  • Email - Faculty use email to communicate with students concerning class assignments, activities, and appointments. All students are required to obtain, monitor and use a Baylor email address.
  • Canvas or 2BU – Canvas and 2BU are Baylor University's learning management systems. It is the electronic source for course-related information such as syllabi and course schedules. Please check your course listings to make sure each course you are taking is listed and check each course for details, announcements, and information from your faculty relevant to that course. In addition, the MSW program hosts an orientation course for the online and residential campuses. 
  • Website/Electronic Bulletin Boards - The School maintains a webpage within the main Baylor University website, which provides information to current and prospective students, including job announcements for current and graduating students. Electronic bulletin boards (Canvas & 2BU) also may be utilized by faculty to post classroom and other important information. Students should check these information sources frequently.
  • Other methods of communicating school information to students include updates at student organization meetings, graduate brown bag lunch meetings, baccalaureate meetings of the majors, announcements in classes, standard mail, and email. “The Voice” is a school newsletter that is emailed weekly to students.

Students should check their Baylor e-mail daily. This method of communication, along with the “The Voice” serve as the primary channels of information for the baccalaureate and graduate programs about program updates and changes.

Campus Safety

Baylor considers personal safety on campus a top priority. Access to the Garland School of Social Work is limited to normal working hours and not available to students on the evenings and weekends in order to protect their safety. Doors are to remain locked at all times and are accessible to students with an ID card. Under no circumstances should locked doors be propped open, or should students stay in the building after normal working hours. The campus library is available for studying and small group meetings after hours and on weekends.

The Baylor Department of Public Safety provides additional 24-hour security and works in close alliance with the Waco Police Department to create a safe environment for the university community.

In the event of an emergency in the Garland School of Social Work, contact the Waco Police Department by calling 911.

Baylor's Crime Prevention and Security Report is provided annually to all students and is available at

Social Work Student Safety in Practicum Sites

Students in the Garland School of Social Work engage in educationally-directed practice in the community. Your program's Practicum Education Manual may include policies and guidelines to ensure student social work safety. Students are responsible for reading and following the social worker safety guidelines when engaged in educational placement activities and for assessing agency safety using tools provided by the program.