Field education agencies and field instructors
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 Coordinators, the BSW/MSW 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:
- Field Instructor application
- Agency Setting Application
- University of Nevada, Reno Organizational Agreement
A request for these forms can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. Once the forms are completed, submit the forms to the field office. 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.
Current and prospective field instructors
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:
- Interview the students prior to placement, and approve the student placement for that agency by completing the student acceptance form and returning it to the Field Coordinator
- Construct a learning agreement with the student that will clearly identify the learning and practice opportunities for the student in the agency, what they can and cannot do, how to report daily activities, how to report case contacts, etc.
- Provide or arrange for an orientation to the agency that explains policies, procedures, administrative structure, and responsibilities of the social work student
- Provide a minimum of one hour per week of professional social work supervision
- Address and document performance issues as they arise and to contact the Faculty Liaison if those problems are not resolved
- Work with the Faculty Liaison and student to ensure that students are able to access learning opportunities consistent with the required competencies and practice behaviors
- Participate in conferences and meetings designed to meet the informational and educational needs of Field Instructors
- Notify, as soon as possible, the Faculty Liaison and the Field Coordinator if significant changes occur in the nature of the field placement that will affect the opportunities and quality of learning for students
- Provide feedback concerning the student's performance over the course of the placement and complete a written evaluation of the student at the end of each semester by the designated date
- Participate, as appropriate, in the curriculum development, assessment, and feedback process for the school
For more information, training materials, policies and forms, current and prospective field instructors can use our field instructor portal below.