Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is Field Education?
Field Education is a core requirement of the BASW and MSW programs (SWRK 195A/B & SWRK 295A-D). It is an integrated course involving human service organizations (the Agency), professional Social Work practitioners who are "teachers" in the field (the Field Instructor), and the faculty of the Division of Social Work (the Faculty Field Liaison). Field Education provides the social work student with an opportunity to apply classroom learning in an agency-based supervised field experience.
Q. How many hours will I be in placement?
BASW and MSW I students (foundation placement) are in placement 16 hours per week. MSW II students (advanced placement) are in placement 24 hours per week. Placements begin the 2nd week of the fall semester and continue until mid-May over the course of 32 weeks. You will take a 3-week break from field in December and return the 1st week of January. For a list of specific dates, please see the Field Calendar. Students may not accumulate hours in an effort to complete the requisite hours before the specified ending date for field.
Q. What days will I be in placement?
BASW students are in placement Monday and Wednesday OR Wednesday and Friday. MSW I students are in placement Thursday and Friday. MSW II students are in placement Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. These days are based on the students' class schedules but can be changed if mutually acceptable to the student and agency. There may be certain days/times when the agency will require you to be there outside the usual days/times (e.g. meetings, trainings, special events). You should clarify these days/times during the placement interview. During the interview, if you learn that the agency requires you to be there outside the usual days/times and you cannot be there, please notify the Director of Field Education immediately to obtain a new referral.
Q. I work and need flexible hours. Can I do my placement on evenings and/or weekends?
Most agencies require students to be in placement from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays. Some agencies may offer (or require) early evening or weekend hours to provide services to clients. In general, you should be available for placement during the usual days/times. If you cannot be available during these days/times, you are likely to not get a placement.
Q. Can I use my employment site as a field placement site (called a job conversion or job-related placement)?
The use of an employment site as a field placement site must be approved by the Director of Field Education. Approval is granted ONLY if certain conditions are met AND the situation is educationally sound and appropriate for the particular student. For a list of criteria, please see Job Conversion Application or Job-Related Placement Application.
Q. Are there any placements where a stipend is provided?
There are a few agencies that offer a stipend, but it varies year to year. However, because of the limited number of stipends available, students should plan to finance their education through other sources. The Division of Social Work does offer a stipend through the Title IV-E Child Welfare Program. For more information, please visit the Title IV-E Child Welfare Program website.
Q. How important is it to have a car?
Some agencies require students to have a car to perform field assignments that involve outreach, home visits and community work. Not having a car may limit your placement options. Please indicate on your field application and/or notify the Director of Field Education if you do not have a car.
Q. If I have a criminal record, will that affect me being placed at an agency?
The Division of Social Work expects students with prior convictions (misdemeanor or felony) to inform the Director of Field Education of such convictions prior to placement. Agency policies have become restrictive regarding criminal backgrounds of field students. Therefore, persons with convictions may not be allowed to work or be placed in certain agencies or situations, and in some cases, may not be able to be covered by professional liability insurance. Thus, students who fail to inform the Director of Field Education of a prior conviction and the conviction becomes known to the Division, the student in question will be administratively dropped from the field course and will not be allowed to enroll in the future. If a student's criminal background prevents him or her from obtaining an educationally sound placement and/or professional liability insurance, the student will not be able to enter field.
Q. How are field placements chosen?
The Director of Field Education, in consultation with the Field Education Faculty, assigns placements to BASW and MSW I students based on the pool of agencies that have requested an intern and take into account the student's specific learning needs, past experiences and career plans. MSW II students will have the opportunity to select 3 agencies in which they would like to intern. MSW II students will only interview with the field site to which they are assigned by the Director of Field Education or Graduate Field Coordinator (in most instances students are assigned to one of their 3 choices). Students should not contact an agency directly without approval from the Field Education Faculty.
Q. What is the difference between a faculty advisor, faculty field liaison, field instructor and task supervisor?
Faculty Advisor - A member of the Division of Social Work faculty who advises students on academic matters, which typically include course planning and registration.
Faculty Field Liaison - A member of the Division of Social Work faculty who monitors the student's field experience and recommends the student's grade for the field course.
Field Instructor - A student's "teacher in the field." A person with an MSW degree who is employed by the field agency (or who contracts with the agency), who is willing and able to provide instruction to a particular student, and who has participated in the Division's field instructor training.
Task Supervisor - A Task Supervisor is a agency staff member who is responsible for the day-to-day assignments of the student and the observation and assessment of the SKILLS portion of student learning. A Task Supervisor is required for students who are being supervised by an off-site Field Instructor.
Q. Who is my faculty field liaison?
In most cases, your faculty field liaison is your practice professor (SWRK 140B/C, 204A-D), with the exception of Title IV-E students. You will be notified in your practice class if your practice professor is not your liaison. The Title IV-E Administrative Assistant will email Title IV-E students with the name of their liaison. You should check with the Field Administrative Assistant if you have any questions about your liaison assignments.
Q. What are the procedures to make up missed field work days?
All absences from field work must be made up. The plan to make up time should be developed with the field instructor and approved by the faculty field liaison. Students may not make up time during days when the University is closed, i.e. University holidays.
Q. I was turned down by my field placement, or I found out that my field placement is no longer available. What should I do?
If you have already contacted the Director of Field Education or Graduate Field Coordinator (for MSW students) or the Undergraduate Field Coordinator (for BASW students), you can assume they are working on a referral. If you do not hear from them within 5 days, please make a follow-up phone call or send an email. If you have not notified them, please do so immediately.
Q. I called for an interview at a field placement but have not heard back. Or, I had an interview but have not heard whether I was accepted. What should I do?
Call the agency contact person to follow-up. If you have called two times and have not heard back, please contact the Field Administrative Assistant.
Q. I am a BASW or MSW I student, and I am not happy with my field placement referral. What should I do?
If there are compelling reasons for you to request another referral (e.g. you have a conflict of interest with the agency; the placement is very similar to professional experience you already have; you have insurmountable transportation problems; etc.), then you should speak to the Director of Field Education or Graduate Field Coordinator (for MSW I students) or the Undergraduate Field Coordinator (for BASW students). However, keep an open mind about the placement. Consider this as your opportunity to stretch and explore the field. Foundation level students should not expect to choose their placement.
Q. What do I do if I have a problem with my field placement?
First, you should speak to your field instructor. If the problem cannot be resolved, you should then contact your faculty field liaison. The liaison will advise you and/or contact your field instructor to discuss the problem. Also, refer to the Field Manual for appropriate protocol for dealing with field problems.
Q. I have questions about the field course assignments (e.g. learning agreement, journals, process recordings, macro project, field evaluations, etc.)? Who should I ask about them?
You should speak to your faculty field liaison. He/she will also specify due dates for those assignments not specified on the field calendar.
Q. Do I receive a grade for field?
Field Education is a yearlong course graded on a Satisfactory Progress / Credit - No Credit basis. The grade is assigned by the Director of Field Education based on the recommendation of the faculty field liaison.