Pathway Manual

PATHWAY (SCWK 6000) is a mandatory non-credit course designed to provide students an opportunity to pursue a specific, concentrated, specialized or expert area of practice, research, scholarly interests, or career related path. The student chooses the topic area. PATHWAY is completed under the guidance and supervision of an academic mentor, a faculty member of Memorial University School of Social Work chosen by the student. When possible, the student’s interests may be integrated into the curriculum-based assignments. The work culminates in a tangible, innovative and creative scholarly product designed to fulfil the credit course requirements for Pathway Scholarship (SCWK 6417). Practically speaking, Pathway consists of 60 hours of work; Pathway Scholarship comprises 90 hours of work.

PATHWAY involves a mentoring relationship in which a faculty member facilitates student learning in a specific area of interest. It is a collaborative partnership between a student and faculty member, and provides students an enriched educational experience.

PATHWAY is designed to be flexible and to encourage latitude with respect to area of interest, manner of learning, and learning objectives. When a student decides an area of interest, they should begin to speak with faculty members. Ideally, the student’s area of interest will coincide with the ongoing research of a faculty member. This is will often not be possible; therefore, the student should consider which faculty member would make the best match for mentoring. Students may wish to consider the faculty member’s ability to establish a comfortable working relationship; their knowledge of research; and their flexibility in hearing your interests and learning needs.

Ultimately, the student assumes the leadership role in choosing their mentor, in completing their learning goals and objectives, and in coming up with their Pathway Scholarship product. The mentor helps the student determine if a project is feasible. More globally, the mentor provides support, guidance, and encouragement to assist the student to realize their learning goals and objectives.

Finding A Mentor

  • Students are responsible for selecting their faculty mentor.
  • To assist in selecting a mentor, students should consult the School’s website for information concerning faculty members’ areas of interest in social work practice and research.
  • Students may contact faculty directly by email, telephone or in-person to discuss establishing a mentoring relationship.
  • The mentor relationship is established when the student/faculty have reached an agreement in principle regarding the scholarship product and expectations. NOTE: Full-time students should begin a search for their mentor prior to registration for Fall semester in early August. Part time students completing the program in six semesters should begin a search for their mentor prior to registration for Fall semester or in the early Fall. Part-time students completing the program in nine semesters begin a search for their mentor prior to registration for their fourth semester, which is normally the Fall semester of their second year.
  • Potential mentors are not to permitted to solicit students.
  • During meetings with students, potential mentors may suggest possible projects or alternatives to the student’s ideas.
  • During or shortly after the meeting, the student and the potential mentor should communicate to one another whether or not a mentoring relationship is possible.
  • Students may wish to meet with more than one potential mentor. Schedule your meetings as close together as possible.
  • A student who is unable to establish a mentoring relationship should contact the PATHWAY/Pathway Scholarship Coordinator who will assist in the process
  • Students should report any difficulties to the PATHWAY/ Pathway Scholarship /Coordinator.

Student-Mentor Relationship and Expectations

  • It is expected that the students and mentors will have 10-12 hours of contact during PATHWAY.
  • On average full time students will meet with their mentors for four hours per semester. Part time students should meet with their mentors on average of two hours each semester.
  • Meetings may be in person, by telephone, teleconferencing or e-conferencing. E-mail correspondence should not take the place of face-to- face, telephone or virtual meetings. Efforts should be made to schedule face to face meetings between students and mentors during the institutes when students are on campus.
  • Mentors may plan meetings with multiple students if deemed to be of benefit to the students and the mentor.
  • Prior to formalizing mentor-student relationships, there should be a preliminary understanding as to the scholarship product, expectations of one another, and timeline.
  • Mentors and students are mutually responsible for ensuring that a student and mentor have a constructive working relationship and for fostering an environment conducive to scholarly discussion.
  • In determining the scholarship product, students and mentors may wish to discuss work that might best fit with the students’ career objectives, aspirations, and interests.

When there is Conflict – the Resolution Process

Students who have concerns or experience problems with a mentor, community advisor or the PATHWAY/Pathway Scholarship process should:

1. Discuss their concerns with the mentor or community advisor in an effort to resolve the matter.

2. If the discussion with the mentor or community advisor does not result in a resolution, consult with the Student Services Coordinator or the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies.

3. If there concerns are not resolved, the student may submit their concerns in writing to the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies who may:

  • meet with the faculty member to discuss the student concerns, and/or,
  • mediate a discussion between the student and mentor or community advisor to seek a resolution, and/or,
  • refer the student’s written complaint to the Dean of the School of Social Work.

Requesting a Change of Mentor

A request for a change of mentor must be submitted to the PATHWAY/ Pathway Scholarship Coordinator in the form of an email outlining the reasons for change. If the student wishes to proceed following consultation with the Coordinator, the student should discuss with their mentor that they will be requesting a change. The students will work with the Coordinator to seek out an alternative mentor.

The student should expect that the new mentor may want to speak with the previous mentor regarding transfer of the learning contract. When a mentor has been found the student will re-negotiate the learning contract with the new mentor. The student must notify the Graduate Secretary of the change in mentor.

Developing a Program of Scholarship

The student and the mentor shall discuss and finalize the learning goals for

PATHWAY and identify the activities/tasks involved. The activities should be:

  • reflective of a scholarly focus;
  • cumulative in nature.
  • reasonable given the time expectations for PATHWAY. Full time students should dedicate a minimum of 20 hours per semester (part time students 10 hours a semester) to PATHWAY. Students complete 60 hours of work for PATHWAY; 90 hours for 6417, Pathway Scholarship.
  • ultimately build toward a completed Pathway Scholarship product that reflects the student’s learning and/or career goals.

PATHWAY Learning Goals

It is expected that PATHWAY will permit the student to:

  • explore a particular area of research and or/practice interest with evidence of scope and depth.
  • produce written and oral evidence of comprehension in their selected area of interest.
  • contextualize their area of interest, demonstrating critical thinking and advanced understanding of philosophical orientations, theoretical underpinnings, and/or practice implications.
  • effectively engage in scholarly discussions and debate with peers and faculty.

Completion of PATHWAY Learning Contract

Students are required to submit a PATHWAY learning contract to their mentor by the end of the final week of the first semester in which they are enrolled in PATHWAY using the MSW Learning Contract and Progress Report (FORM: PW1). This includes both course route and thesis route students.

The learning contract includes:

  • the student’s area of interest for PATHWAY (what the student hopes to accomplish in this program);
  • statement of the student’s current knowledge and skills;
  • description of anticipated PATHWAY Scholarship product;
  • articulation of learning goals, an action plan for each goal, and proposed list of readings.

The Learning Contract also has the mentor and the student state their expectations of one another. The completed Learning Contract is signed by the student and mentor and submitted to the Associate Dean, Graduate Studies and Research. The Learning Contract is a living document. There is space to record dates and times of PATHWAY activities each semester.

Completion of PATHWAY Progress Report

Full time and part time course route students are required to submit an end of semester progress report to the mentor on the last day of classes of each semester in which they are registered for SCWK 6000. The MSW Learning Contract and Progress Report is designed to be used to complete both the learning contract and the progress report at the end of each semester. As a progress report it should provide a summary of progress to date, and include new or revised goals. The faculty mentor will review the reports.

In the final progress report, the student must demonstrate that they have completed 150 hours of work, the sum of 60 hours for PATHWAY and 90 hours for Pathway Scholarship.

Thesis route students are required to complete the Graduate Student Annual

Progress and Supervisory Report found at:

Thesis route students should consult the university calendar for thesis guidelines at:

MSW PATHWAY Credit Hours

The student will not receive any credit hours for completion of PATHWAY (SCWK 6000). It is a mandatory non-credit course.

Grading for PATHWAY (SCWK 6000)

A grade of NC (No grade expected) will be awarded in all semesters of the course prior to the final semester. A final grade of Pass or Fail will be awarded in the final semester of the course reflecting the entire PATHWAY trajectory (1 year for full time students and 2 years for part-time students). A passing grade reflects depth of scholarship, integration of learning; critical thinking, and evidence of comprehension of the topic. A grade of Pass indicates that performance meets


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