Professional advising is provided by social work program faculty, staff, or both.


All MSW students are assigned a department faculty adviser who serves as the principal contact person. Students are assigned a department academic advisor by the first letter of their last name. Each faculty member is responsible for advising an assigned student load correlating to the alphabet (i.e., A-E: Prof. Smith, F-K: Prof. Pressley, etc.). Students are required to meet with their department advisor each academic semester. The policy requires scheduled meetings and encourages informal contacts between students and the advisor throughout the student’s period of study in the department. It is the responsibility of the student to meet with his/her advisor to ensure that the proper courses are selected and that requirements of the program are properly met. Students who desire to change from their assigned advisor may make a written request to the MSW program director and a decision will be rendered on a case by case basis.

The following are the goals of the Advisement Program:

  • To facilitate the development of students into professional social workers by providing specified individual and group time for discussion of social work as a professional activity and of the preparation necessary for professional practice, including specified knowledge, skills, values, and ethics;
  • To provide continuous opportunities for assessment of personal suitability for professional social work practice;
  • Ensure that students take the proper courses in the proper sequence and that the courses;
  • Monitor the academic progress of students, update students’ curriculum records each semester, and periodically review program policies with students.

During the initial meeting, the student will receive a program of study and approval to take classes for the first period of enrollment. Students who apply for admission late - less than three weeks prior to the beginning of a semester - may be delayed in registering for classes resulting in the payment of late fees. Students should consult with the assigned advisor each semester to ensure that the proper classes have been selected and to keep abreast of current Graduate School and Alabama State Department of Education policies and procedures.

Students must check with The Graduate School regularly to verify all test dates, registration dates, etc.


The Student Grievance Procedure is designed to be used by student(s) following a specific complaint as a result of actions or policy decisions by the faculty or for a school-related conflict with another student. The intent of this procedure is to assure students’ fair and just consideration and to provide guidelines, which follow, for the resolution of student grievances.

  • The student must first attempt to resolve the matter with the faculty person or student.
  • If the matter is not resolved within 14 days from the date of the grievance meeting, the student should submit a written statement to the chair describing the nature of the grievance. The written statement to the Department Chairperson constitutes the opening of the procedure.

The Department Chair shall respond in this manner:

  • Acknowledge in writing receipt of written grievance statement from the student and forward a copy of the written grievance statement to the faculty person; and
  • Inform both parties of the findings and conclusion in writing; the Chairperson decides to bring the parties to a meeting to interpret the findings and conclusion.
  1. If both parties sign the statement of findings and conclusions, then the problem is resolved
  2. If either party does not sign the statement of findings and conclusions then the matter is not resolved, and the following procedure is automatically put into motion.
  3. If the Department Chair is directly involved in the decision or policy of concerns, then the senior faculty member shall perform the following role:

A chair from another department will forward the three written statements to the Student-Faculty Grievance Committee for adjudication. This committee shall include the following persons:

  1. A student member appointed by the president of one of the social work organizations;
  2. The student’s faculty advisor; and
  3. A faculty member chosen by the Department Chair.

Note: None of the above shall be selected if they have been directly involved in the decision leading to the grievance.

Each Student-Faculty Grievance Committee shall be an Ad Hoc Committee, serving is only in the instance of the particular grievance for which it has been established. The  committee should function as follows:

  1. At the first meeting the committee shall select a Chairperson.
  2. Records on the hearing shall be kept either in writing or by use of a tape recorder.
  3. The committee shall follow whatever procedures it considers appropriate to ensure thorough study, fair consideration, and equitable resolution of a particular grievance.
  4. When the grievance has been resolved, the Chairperson of the Ad Hoc Committee shall inform the Department Chairperson in a written statement, signed by both parties.
  5. If the student is dissatisfied with the decision of the panel/and Program, the student may initiate the procedure described on page 13 of the University’s Handbook of Students Rights and Responsibilities - The Pilot.

Consistent with the values of the Social Work profession, all parties in the grievance process must adhere to strict confidentiality.