SOAR Graduate Program Student Handbook 3. Policies & Procedures

3,1 Fingerprinting Procedure


For specific instructions please see Practicum/Internship Handbook


SOAR graduate students must be fingerprinted by Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) at the DCPS School Board before they can work in any Duval County public school.  If already employed by DCPS it is not necessary to be re-fingerprinted. Read below for fingerprinting procedures.

  1. The fingerprinting fee is $78.50 (as of July 2012)
  2. The SOAR Program Coordinator will email instructions to students. We receive our instructions from the Office of Field Experience.
  3. Students employed by DCPS must inform the Program Coordinator that they have been fingerprinted and the date so that this information can be verified.
  4. Following fingerprinting procedures in a timely manner is considered part of our students' professional demeanor.


3.2 Incomplete Grades


Students who have extenuating circumstances that preclude their completing all course requirements by the end of the term may, at the instructor's discretion, receive a grade of "incomplete."  The student must have completed a majority of the coursework with a passing grade and must complete the course within the time limit set by the instructor, not to exceed one calendar year or graduation, whichever comes first.  To extend an incomplete beyond one year, the student must petition for a Student Petition of Academic Policy.  An "I" will be changed to a final evaluative grade (one that is used in calculating GPAs) at the time the student completes the required work.  Students may not register for courses in which incompletes have been received.  Any "I" grade not removed by the end of the time limit will be changed to a final grade to be determined by the instructor.  This grade will be used to calculate the student's cumulative GPA.  If no final grade is issued, the "I" will change to an "F" and will be calculated in the grade point average. Please note: students may not register for courses if they have over three incompletes.


A grade of Incomplete will be available only under the following circumstances:


  • extraordinary circumstances for you or your family or by previous agreement with the instructor before enrolling in the course;
  • with completion of over 50% of the course requirements; and
  • with permission of the instructor, or
  • at the discretion of the instructor when less than 50% of work is not completed.


Note: Completion of all assignments is required to pass each course. Each assignment in the syllabi holds a purpose in preparing graduates for the school counseling profession.  It is not an option to take a grade of 0 for an assignment that a student does not wish to complete.



3.3 Time Limits


Students must complete their degrees within five years from the time they take their first course in the program, whether or not they have been accepted into the program at that point.  When coursework completed at UNF or elsewhere exceeds five years, the credit hours become invalid, and in order to be accepted, the courses must be validated by the program director according to the procedures found in the Graduate Catalog.  If a course is not validated, additional coursework will be required and added to the program of study.  Students should make every effort to complete their degree within the time limits established.



3.4 Continuous Enrollment


Students who do not take classes for three consecutive semesters are dropped from the program and must reapply for admission.  If program requirements are changed after the student is dropped, the student will be obligated to meet new program requirements upon re-admission.



3.5 Professional Behavior


Students are expected to exhibit professional, legal, and responsible behaviors while functioning as a SOAR student, both in class and during field work. Failure to comply responsibly and professionally may be cause for dismissal from the program.


Field experiences occur throughout this program. When representing the SOAR Program in the field, professional behaviors are expected. Professionalism in this regard includes observable actions such as dress, attendance/punctuality, and interactions with others. Dress is defined as business dress attire; for males - at a minimum - dress shoes, pants and shirt (or the SOAR shirt); for females - at a minimum - dress shoes, slacks or skirt and dress top (or the SOAR shirt), or a dress. What are NOT considered professional attire are sneakers, flip-flops, thronged sandals, shorts, jeans, short skirts/dress, and revealing tops.


Ethical Guidelines

It is the obligation of the student to become familiar and adhere to the established ethical codes.  Students are taught the ethical guidelines of the profession throughout the program. However, MHS 6780: Legal, Ethical, and Professional Issues in School Counseling is the primary course in which students become familiar with the professional behaviors expected of counselors and counselors in preparation.  In advance of this course, students are strongly encouraged to read the ethical codes from the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) ( and the American Counseling Association (ACA) ( In keeping with ethical practice, ALL TAPINGS WITH CLIENTS (STUDENTS) will be destroyed at the conclusion of the semester's work. Tapings will be returned to your faculty instructor from the course for destroying.


Liability Insurance and Security Clearance (refer to Practicum/Internship Handbook)

All students are required to obtain liability insurance prior to beginning practicum and to maintain it through completion of internship.  Faculty highly recommends maintaining liability insurance throughout one's career as a professional school counselor. Individual professional liability insurance comes with your membership in the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) and you can get liability through the American Counseling Association (ACA).  If students choose not to join a professional organization, liability insurance must be obtained on their own.  A copy of the insurance policy must be presented to the UNF and site supervisors in order to begin practicum and internship client/student contact. Security clearance is also required for work in schools.  As described in the "Program Policy section, Fingerprinting Procedures", students are required to have clearance. 


Course and Field Work Attendance and Punctuality

Attendance at all class sessions/field experiences is expected. Class sessions will be comprehensive in the topics and materials discussed. Because the modes of instruction will vary, learning acquired in class will be difficult to duplicate by another method. For some classes, attendance to all class meetings is mandatory, without exception. Instructors will note mandatory attendance per the syllabus. For other courses, if you do miss a class, you are responsible for obtaining class notes, handouts, class activities, and any other pertinent information. Chronic absences (2 or more missed classes) raise serious concerns. Two missed classes (or equivalent of 5 ½ hours of class) will reduce your grade by a full letter. Three or more absences, students will be asked to step out of the class and repeat it during another semester. Courses that meet less than 15 weeks will adjust the attendance policy according to the number of class sessions.


Part of professional behavior is punctuality. Chronic tardiness is unacceptable professional behavior and will impact your grade.  Should you be tardy two or more times, two points will be

subtracted from your grade for each tardy; therefore, chronic tardiness runs the risk of possibly losing credit for the course.


Field experiences: if you find you find you cannot attend a field experience, you need to notify the instructor in charge immediately about your absence. If you are running late for a field experience, you need to contact your instructor or the site based person you are reporting to, and notify of a late arrival. Field experiences are often time sensitive so notification of arriving late is essential to the success of the event as well as respectful practice.



3.6 Mandated Reporting Law


In October 2012, Florida passed what is being described as the most stringent mandatory reporting law in the nation. The new law states everyone is a mandated reporter, "Any person who knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect, that a child is abused, abandoned, or neglected . . . shall report such knowledge or suspicion to the department."  The new law also makes reporting of child-on-child abuse mandatory for the first time. Children 12 and under who are deemed perpetrators will be referred for treatment and therapy, but those 13 and up will be referred to law enforcement (Fla. Stat. § 39.201- 1a (2012).



During supervision related to your field experiences and/or consulting with faculty about suspicion of a child being abused, abandoned, or neglected, the faculty member to whom you related this information will need to report this information to the UNF police and the UNF faculty member is required to call in a report to Child Protective Services, even if you have or intend to call in the report.

Even though the faculty member may not have ever met the student and are in a consulting role to you and receiving this information second hand or third hand, we are required to report - no exceptions. This message is NOT INTENDED TO keep you from reaching out to us to discuss these cases rather, it is simply to let you know the university is now under new laws and it is our mandated duty. 



3.7 Advising


Upon admission to the School Counseling Degree program, students will be assigned an advisor from among one of the faculty members within the department. This faculty member will be their advisor for the duration of the degree unless the student requests a change of advisor in writing.


Personal counseling is not considered the role of faculty in the advisor position, and is considered by faculty to be a conflict of interest to provide such counseling. The UNF Counseling Center offers mental health counseling for students seeking personal assistance. The Counseling Center is located in Founders Hall, Building 2, room 2300. (904-620-2602)



3.8 Disability


Students with disabilities who seek reasonable accommodations in the classroom or other aspects of performing their coursework must first register with the UNF Disability Resource Center (DRC) located in Bldg 57, Room 1500. RC staff members work with students to obtain required documentation of disability and to identify appropriate accommodations as required by applicable disability laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). After receiving all necessary documentation, the DRC staff determines whether a student qualifies for services with the DRC and, if so, the accommodations will be provided to the student. DRC staff then prepares a letter for the student to provide faculty advising them of approved accommodations. For further information, contact the DRC by phone at 904-620-2769, by email, or  visit DRC website at



3.9 Student Progress Assessment


The Student Progress Assessment form is completed for every student the second semester.  Although most problems are identified prior to the completion of these courses, instructors use the Student Progress Assessment form to evaluate students in several critical areas prior to the first internship.  These forms are reviewed and discussed in faculty meetings as a means of ensuring that all students with problems are identified and remediated or counseled out of the program.  All faculty members, including adjuncts, complete this Second Semester Evaluation (Appendix B) on all students.


In cases where student problems arise, various steps will be implemented.



3.10 Procedure for Remediation


The following guidelines were developed to assist students and faculty in situations where conflicts arise:

  1. The student will meet with concerned faculty to discuss the issue;
  2. If the issue is not resolved, the student will meet with the entire School Counseling faculty;
  3. The student and faculty will devise a plan to resolve the issue and a subsequent contract will be signed by all concerned parties;
  4. When the contract is fulfilled, the student will report back to the School Counseling Program Director for faculty review;
  5. The student will be reinstated, a new plan will be developed, or the student will be dismissed;
  6. The student has a right to appeal.


3.11 Student Retention Policy


Students are required to sign a "Statement of Understanding" (Appendix A) when they are initially admitted into the program.  As of Fall 2010, the minimum grade any graduate student is allowed to receive in any class being used in his/her program of study is a B-. Students must maintain a grade point average above a 3.0. Students who receive a grade less than a B- requires a petition that the Department Chair and the Dean must approve, otherwise at the conclusion of the program, any student with less than a B- grade will not clear for graduation.  


Completion of the program is dependent not only upon academic performance, but the demonstration of appropriate interpersonal skills, professional demeanor, and social and ethical judgment. Grades are only part of what is needed for a student to be successful in the SOAR Program. If concerns arise, students will be directed to do one of the following: participate in a writing and/or speech course, drop temporarily from the program, perform voluntary or paid work in a school, repeat a course, seek personal counseling, or withdraw from the program permanently. As a student, you have the right to appeal any grade or decision about your standing in the program.



3.12 Program Dismissal

  1. Students may be dismissed from the program for academic reasons (for example, grades of B- or below; plagiarism; verbal, non-verbal, or written communication problems).
  2. Students may be dismissed for overt violations of current professional codes of ethics (e.g., ACA & ASCA).
  3. Students may be dismissed for "personal unsuitability for the profession" as determined by standards and ethics consistent with ACA and ASCA ethical codes, CACREP Standards, and arrest and/or conviction of a felony. Examples of behavior which would lead the faculty to professionally judge a student as such are:

    a. consistent inability to assess problem situations in an educational setting and determine how to negotiate/compromise or otherwise resolve the situation;

    b. consistent inability to recognize personal boundary/power issues which inhibit or prevent the student from learning appropriate professional behavior/counseling skills;

    c. consistent inability to work as a team member; or

    d. consistent inability or refusal to participate, without advisor consultation, in learning activities designed to promote and improve the student's self-understanding, self-analysis skills and interpersonal skills.


3.13 Appeals


Appeals Process of UNF Policies

All members of the University community are entitled to fair and equitable procedures. Any member who believes that actions of other members are not equitable has the right of appeal. A student who believes that a University policy imposes an undue hardship may petition through the One-Stop Student Services office to waive that policy. One-Stop Student Services will inform the student through e-mail of the results of the appeal.


Appeals Concerning Courses

Students who wish to appeal a course grade (except for the grade of "Incomplete") must do so within 90 days of completing the course in question. Students can pick up the guidelines for grade appeals at One-Stop Student Services.


Appeals Concerning Civil Rights

Members of the community who believe they have not been accorded rights under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972 should contact the Director of Equal Opportunity Programs.