Now You See It, Now You Don't: Faculty and Student Perceptions of Classroom Incivility in a Social Work Program


  • Angela R. Ausbrooks Texas State University-San Marcos
  • Sally Hill Jones Texas State University-San Marcos
  • Mary S. Tijerina Texas State University-San Marcos



Incivility, classroom management, social work, higher education, social work ethics


Classroom incivility is identified as a concern in the higher education literature; however, the extent to which these concerns apply to social work education has not been empirically addressed. This initial, exploratory study examined the perceptions of classroom behaviors in a small convenience sample of faculty and students in one social work program. Quantitative results indicated that faculty tended to perceive incivility as generally less serious and frequent than did student participants. Qualitative findings suggested that while faculty believed they were addressing incivility, students did not. Students expressed the desires for instructors to be more aware of behaviors, especially distracting use of electronic devices, and to take stronger actions to enforce guidelines. Social work programs may need to consider developing uniform policies for addressing incivility as well as helping faculty to find more effective ways to address the problem. Future research is needed with larger, more representative samples.