Student Behavioral Competencies

SPS Policies on Student Behavioral Competencies

As a community of people (students, staff, and faculty) who are committed to faithful service of Jesus Christ, all members of this community enter into an agreement concerning their behavior in the classroom and in relation to one another. These competencies are drawn from professional ethics in ministerial vocations. All students are expected to adhere to university policies, including the “Behavioral Expectations” outlined in the SPU Graduate Student Handbook. Violation of university policies may be considered evidence of unsatisfactory behaviors in one or more Student Behavioral Competencies. Consistent failure to demonstrate these competencies may result in a behavioral review with either the Seminary Dean, Associate Dean, or Director. Definitions of each of the six behavioral competency areas and examples of unsatisfactory performance likely to result in behavioral review include, but are not limited to, the following:


Area 1 - Conscientiousness & Commitment to academic and ministerial responsibilities

· Expected behaviors: Reliable attendance and timeliness; advance preparation for assignments and absences; effective management of appointments and schedule; follow-through on tasks; and adherence to appropriate self-presentation and conduct in class/work settings.

· Unsatisfactory behaviors: Frequently late or misses class without notification; poorly organized presentations or papers or research products; insufficient preparation for contextual education site responsibilities or classes; persistent unprofessional behaviors after receiving feedback from a faculty member or contextual education supervisor; refusal to meet with faculty, staff, or contextual education supervisor.


Area 2 - Interpersonal Skills

· Expected behaviors: Displays warmth, respect, positive affect, and empathy when interacting with peers, professors, and supervisors; contributes effectively to groups; supports the growth of others by providing feedback and encouragement; exercises good listening skills with both faculty and fellow students.

· Unsatisfactory behaviors: Interacts in an aloof, negative, or harsh manner; displays difficulty when collaborating on group projects or when discussing difficult topics; feedback to instructors/other students violates professional boundaries; frequently takes over class conversations or interrupts others.


Area 3 - Self-Care

· Expected behaviors: Maintains personal and professional wellness, energy and focus by practicing healthy habits, setting boundaries, managing health issues, and seeking professional help when needed.

· Unsatisfactory behaviors: Over-scheduling leads to mistakes, missed appointments, or decreased quality of work; repeatedly cannot stay awake in class; loses focus due to continuous multitasking; displays of stress and tension impede relationship building; does not seek medical or therapeutic support necessary to meet academic and professional expectations; does not exercise healthy personal/professional boundaries.


Area 4 - Self-Awareness & Flexibility

· Expected behaviors: Demonstrates the ability to identify strengths, biases, and areas of growth; responsive to feedback and uses the information to grow as a person and as a professional; open to new perspectives; demonstrates the ability to adapt to changing circumstances and unexpected events.

· Unsatisfactory behaviors: Difficulty identifying and acknowledging personal or professional strengths; defensive when given constructive criticism; unresponsive to peer or supervisor feedback; displays rigidity when discussing alternative ways of seeing, knowing, or behaving; demonstrates defensiveness for a subject that can become domineering, shutting down other opinions, and becoming argumentative rather than engaging in civil discourse.


Area 5 – Self-management and Emotional regulation

· Expected behaviors: Acts professionally when experiencing strong emotions; uses active listening skills and mutual problem solving to manage conflict situations; expresses feelings and uses humor that is appropriate to the setting.

· Unsatisfactory behaviors: Displays poor impulse control in interactions (such as verbal outbursts, sarcasm, swearing, physical aggression, or inappropriate humor); blames others rather than seeking to take responsibility in a conflict; actively avoids discussion of conflict; draws others into interpersonal conflicts inappropriately.


Area 6 – Ethical Behaviors

· Expected behaviors: Demonstrates honesty, fairness, integrity, and responsibility in interactions with peers, faculty, and supervisors; participates in structures of accountability to assist with ministerial development; avoids unprofessional conduct as a student and minister.

· Unsatisfactory behaviors: Acts in a dishonest or irresponsible manner; violates confidentiality; plagiarizes written work; displays poor boundaries with colleagues, faculty, or staff members; violates university or contextual education site policies.


We believe that professional behaviors, like skills and knowledge, can be strengthened when students are given regular feedback and support. Our goal is to have every student who is recommended for graduation demonstrate these behaviors on a consistent basis.