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Title IV-E Simulation Lab


The Title IV-E Simulation Lab is located in 1609 Capital Hall on the campus of The University of Alabama. The state-of-the-art simulation lab includes areas that resemble actual home and community settings, along with audio-visual technology allowing sessions to be recorded and viewed by students and faculty.

Students engage in real-life scenarios in which they practice social work skills with standardized participants. Realistic scenarios give social work students the opportunity to participate in learning activities in a safe, controlled environment.

Students receive an introduction from Simulation Lab Coordinator discussing objectives and scenario details. The experience is followed by A debriefing session follows at the end of the class, if time allows. Otherwise, faculty members debrief with students during the next class meeting.

  • For More Information

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    For more information about the Title IV-E Simulation Lab, contact

    Donna Harrison
    Title IV-E Training & Simulation Program Coordinator
    (205) 348-5227

Standardized Participants

The term standardized participant (SP) refers to a person trained to portray a client in realistic and believable ways. SPs are part of the educational team, focused on fulfilling the learning objectives of a simulation. SPs also provide feedback on participant performance from the perspective of the person they portray.


What is a Standardized Participant?

A Standardized Participant, or SP, is a person trained to consistently portray an individual in a scenario for the purposes of instruction, practice, or evaluation.

Why do you need Standardized Participants?

Standardized participants help to provide a safe and controlled learning environment to prepare students to see real clients.

What types of people do you need?

We are looking for adults of all ages, physical types, ethnic groups, and backgrounds to portray the various types of clients represented in the cases. We need individuals who can remain focused on the task at hand, are strong communicators, can learn quickly, and accept direction and feedback.

How are Standardized Participants selected?

SPs will be trained to role-play given scenarios with students, requiring them to be comfortable working with a varied group of people. SPs will also be responsible for providing feedback to students, so strong verbal communication skills are required. Lastly, it is imperative that SPs are punctual, reliable, and flexible.  

How often would I work?

SPs are part-time employees of The University of Alabama. Training is held two weeks prior to the simulated event and can last up to four hours. SPs are scheduled to work based on the availability they provide, which is done by responding to a Doodle poll and/or an email from the Simulation Lab Coordinator.

How will I know what to say and do as a Standardized Participant?  

SPs receive the scenario prior to the simulation activity. The case materials will contain all the needed information about the case, including suggestions about what the SP may or may not say. However, scenarios are not scripted. SPs are encouraged to ad lib. Other information provided, when pertinent, includes family history, presenting situation, and any other information necessary to “be” the client.  

I’m still interested and think I meet your qualifications. What’s next?

If you are still interested, please complete the Standardized Participants Interest Survey, link included under Resources. This will be reviewed by the Simulation Lab Coordinator. Once we have reviewed your responses, we will contact you if we think you meet the needs of our program. You will have the opportunity to indicate your availability for the different event dates, and we will select SPs based upon our needs for each particular event.

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