The School of Social Work believes that experiential learning is a central component of the educational preparation of students for entry into professional practice. The core of such learning is the social work field practicum. The practicum provides students with generalist opportunities to apply academic knowledge, skills, and values gained in the classroom to authentic human service experiences. The success of field education is centered on the collaborative efforts of students, practicum settings, Field instructors, Faculty Liaisons, the Field Education Program Coordinator, the BSW program coordinators, curriculum committees, other faculty, and the school's director. Practicum settings offer guidance and supervision in preparing graduate for entry level professional practice. The time and commitment that the field setting and the Field Instructor provide are of critical importance to the School. The School encourages frequent and open communication among all participants in this cooperative educational venture.
The School of Social work affiliates with field settings whose policies and services are consistent with its mission and educational services. "Field setting" is a broad term that is used to describe a learning environment that offers students generalist practice opportunities. Field settings interested in becoming a practicum site must complete three documents:
Once completed, the forms should be submitted to the Field Coordinator. Upon receipt of the forms, the Field Coordinator will schedule a visit with the agency to review the materials, discuss the field education program, and to assess the overall readiness for the field setting to serve as a practicum site.
All students participating in the field education program must have an assigned Field Instructor. The Field Instructor is a social worker that is in a key position to provide the student with practical, reality-based education in the field that cannot be provided in the classroom, which is the cornerstone of quality social work education. The role of the Field Instructor is to model and guide the student through experiential learning activities that provide opportunities to practice and demonstrate the required competencies and practice behaviors. Although each student will vary in their needs, the practicum requires the following responsibilities of the Field Instructor: