Rights and Responsibilities for Candidate Withdrawal, Consultation and/or Termination

Policy: Candidate withdrawal from the program

Department-Level Review and consultation Meeting

Appealing a Termination Decision Policy

All programs and departments offering required courses leading to recommendation for certification at Siena College prepare candidates to serve as professionals in roles of service to students who are minors or individuals of circumstances of significant vulnerability.  In the course of pursuing their academic programs, candidates come into direct contact with such vulnerable students as part of their field work experiences and student teaching placements.  Faculty of the Education Department have an obligation to protect those students and cannot tolerate candidate behavior that exploits, endangers, compromises or threatens the welfare, safety or rights of the students we serve.

The Education Professions Committee (EPC) at Siena College is responsible for granting admission into the Teacher Preparation Program.  Faculty, Staff, and Cooperating teachers employed or utilized by Siena College and the Education Department are responsible for overseeing the continuance of teacher candidates throughout all required coursework, field experiences, and student teaching placements for recommendation for teaching certification in the State of New York.  It is the responsibility of the candidate to adhere to the academic performance criteria throughout his/her enrollment in required coursework and experiences for teacher certification.

If a candidate does not continue to meet the academic and dispositional criteria or harms or threatens harm to self or others, the faculty may consult with the candidate, temporarily remove him or her from the experience or placement, and/or recommend termination from the teacher preparation program.  The Education Department reserves the right to engage the candidate in the consultation process as outlined below prior to making a decision regarding termination or the Education Department may make an immediate determination for termination.  Further, the Education Department reserves the right to immediately remove a candidate from a field work or student teaching placement as part of the consultation and/or termination procedure.  A candidate terminated from the Teacher Preparation Program has all the rights specified in the Student Teaching Handbook, the Field Experience Handbook, and/or other departmental documents, including the right to utilize other College avenues for appeal.

To be admitted to and continue through the teacher preparation program, the candidate is expected to:

Adhere to the policies and procedures of the Education Department as outlined in the Field Experience Handbook and the Student Teaching Handbook.

Demonstrate appropriate professional dispositions and competence as articulated in the Education Department’s Dispositions Framework.

Uphold the academic integrity standards of Siena College, including policies related to plagiarism, cheating and computer abuse.  See the College Catalogue for further information.

Achieve an overall GPA and major GPA as outlined in the College Catalogue and maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher in all education classes required for certification.

Fulfill obligations and requirements of field work experiences and sites.

Demonstrate behavior consistent with college policy and applicable laws at local, state, and national levels.

Demonstrate behavior that is diversity affirming and culturally sensitive.

Seek out support and effectively use help for personal, medical, substance abuse or mental health difficulties that interfere with scholastic or professional performance.

Demonstrate ability to engage in self-evaluation, to accept constructive and developmental feedback and to modify behavior based on feedback.

* “Faculty of the Education Department at Siena College” is defined as any individual instructing or supervising a candidate at the college or in field settings including but not limited to the candidate’s course instructor, supervising teacher, clinical supervisor, academic supervisor and/or the field experience supervisor.

Admission to Siena College’s Teacher Preparation Program does not constitute a guarantee that the candidate will be granted state certificate, extension, endorsement, or license.

Academic and professional decisions subject to review under this policy

An individual who is terminated from the teacher preparation program at Siena College under this policy may request a review of such a decision by the Dean of Liberal Arts following the procedures set out in the appeals process as described in the College Catalogue.

Academic and professional decisions not subject to review under this policy

An individual who is denied entrance to the teacher preparation program at Siena College cannot request a review of that decision beyond the level of the EPC.  In addition, an individual cannot request

  • a review under this policy of any of the following:
  • a decision not to transfer credits earned at another institution or in another department;
  • a decision denying a request to have a course requirement waived;
  • a decision denying a request for an exception to a course policy or procedure;
  • a decision that the candidate failed a comprehensive or other summative exam;
  • an evaluation by a field, school or program supervisor.
Candidate withdrawal from the program

If at any time a candidate chooses to withdraw from the teacher preparation program at Siena College the candidate should notify the department chairperson in a signed written statement that (a) the candidate has chosen to withdraw, and (B) if the department has already proposed action to terminate or made the decision to terminate, the candidate must also waive the right to request a review of the department’s proposed action or decision.

Procedures

The faculty of the Education Department at Siena College have an obligation to support the professional growth and development of candidates by providing constructive feedback on performance in academic and field settings; to promote realistic and reflective self-assessment or performance by candidates; and provide timely and candid formal evaluation(s) of candidate progress toward meeting professional performance standards. 

Review of teacher candidate progress and performance is ongoing with input by each candidate’s field work supervisor, academic advisor, content supervisor, clinical supervisor, cooperating teacher and education faculty; and is discussed by members of the Education Department on or before transition points and during departmental meetings and retreats.  Prior to student teaching, each candidate is reviewed by the Education Department Chair and the College Certification Officer to determine if the candidate has met the criteria necessary to advance into their student teaching placement.  At this time, the Department Chair and/or the College Certification Officer may solicit input from the appropriate college faculty.

Concerns regarding a candidate’s adherence to the performance criteria for admission and continuance in the program are regularly discussed by the members of the Education Department to determine if the concerns are best addressed through the use of the department’s File for Information Report and Candidate Consultation Process or if termination from the program is necessary.  Time limits are specified by the Education Department to ensure that matters are handled as expeditiously as possible.  Departmental termination procedures generally should not exceed 40 business days.

The faculty of the Education Department at Siena College systematically evaluate the performance of candidates based on the written policies and procedures specified in the Field Experience and Student Teaching Handbooks.  On occasion, faculty may determine that additional assistance is necessary beyond the normal feedback and assessment provided by courses and field experiences.  Under such circumstances:

Faculty member(s) may meet with a candidate to address an issue or concern without filing a File for Information Report with the College Certification Officer.

Faculty member(s) may file a File for Information Report with the College Certification Officer for review.

Faculty member(s) may meet with a candidate to address an issue or concern in order to reach agreement on strategies for improving performance in the area of concern.  Such an agreement must be summarized in a Candidate Consultation Process report and sent to the College Certification Officer for review.

On rare occasions a faculty member may recommend that a candidate be terminated from the teacher preparation program if his/her performance is unprofessional or unsatisfactory for other reasons, and additional time in the program will not result in significantly improved performance.

Notification of proposed action to terminate a candidate from the teacher preparation program 

It is normal practice for a department chairperson, the department chairperson’s designee, or other program decision maker to informally consult with a candidate about a proposed decision to terminate that candidate from the program.  At this point, the candidate may choose to withdraw from the program and the matter will then be considered concluded.

If a candidate chooses to continue in the program after informal notification, but before the department finalizes a decision to terminate a candidate, the department chairperson or designee will contact the candidate via letter or email indicating the following:

Notification of the proposed action, including the effective date of that action;

A statement of the reasons for the proposed action; and

Provisions for the candidate to respond in writing with a request to meet with the department chairperson and/or other appropriate decision-maker(s) within five class days after the hand-delivery, email delivery, or postmark date of the letter to discuss the decision.

Department-level review and consultation meeting

If the candidate does not request a meeting with the department chairperson or designee, and/or other decision-makers if appropriate, within the timeframe set out in the notification of proposed action, the department chair or designee will send a termination decision letter, which may be appealed through the Office of the Dean of the School of Liberal Arts as described in the appeals section of the College Catalogue.

If the candidate wishes to meet with the department chairperson or designee and/or other appropriate decision-maker(s), the candidate must make a written request for such a meeting within five class days after the notification of the proposed action.  This written request for a meeting should be addressed to the department chairperson and shall provide all of the information and explanations the candidate requests the Education Department take into consideration in making the decision.  This written request for a meeting must be signed and dated, and contain all the following information:

A statement identifying the decision that is being requested for review;

A statement explaining why the candidate believes that the decision should be changed;

Supporting documents or additional information;

The candidate’s current address, telephone number, and e-mail address; and

A signed statement giving the department chairperson or designee and/or other appropriate decision-maker(s) permission to talk to person(s) who may have relevant information.  If the candidate refuses to sign such a release, the review process is thereby concluded and the decision stands.

Within five class days of receiving a written request from the candidate, the department chairperson or designee will schedule a meeting between the candidate, the department chairperson or designee, and one or more of the decision-makers if appropriate.  Whenever possible, the meeting should be held within 10 class days of the date the candidate’s request for review was received by the department chairperson.

This meeting will be conducted by the department chairperson or designee.  The candidate will be given the opportunity to provide the decision-makers with information or explanations to provide a context for the candidate’s performance, and the decision-makers may ask questions.  

Since the teacher preparation program is a professional program, candidates are expected to be personally present at the meeting, to speak on their own behalf, and to appropriately participate in the process of the meeting.  The duration of this meeting is at the sole discretion of the department chairperson or designee.

Education department decision letter

Whether or not the candidate chooses to meet with representatives from the Education Department as described above, the program decision-makers will finalize the departmental decision.  The department chairperson or designee will then hand-deliver or mail to the candidate a decision letter notifying the candidate of the outcome.  If the decision is to terminate the candidate from the teacher education program, the program termination decision letter will notify the candidate of the opportunity to have the department’s decision reviewed by the Office of the Dean of the School of Liberal Arts as described in the appeals section of the College Catalogue.

Once the department chairperson or designee has hand-delivered or mailed a termination letter, the candidate will not be permitted to attend or register for classes or to participate in any Education Department sponsored clinical program, practicum, workshops, or student teaching experience, except at the discretion of the department chairperson or designee.

Standard for appealing a termination decision

The Education Department’s decision to terminate a candidate from the teacher preparation program, and thus not to recommend the candidate for state certification, will be overturned only if the Dean of the School of Liberal Arts or the Vice President of Academic Affairs determines that the department’s decision was based upon an unfair process.  The Dean and the VPAA will not reverse a department’s decision simply because the Dean or the VPAA might have reached a different decision given the performance of the candidate.