Field Placements in Agencies of Employment
The agency must be approved by the Director of Field Work Education. Agency approval is based on the following criteria:
1. The agency provides an educational setting fitting the student’s needs.
2. There is a qualified “SIFI” MSW supervisor who has received training and will be available to engage in weekly supervisory sessions with the student.
3. The agency can provide service assignments that serve the educational needs of the student when he/she is able to fulfill the time requirements for field work hours. The practicum is different from the student’s regular job assignments.
Field Placement Planning Form
Each student is provided with a field placement planning form used to plan the field placement experience. The form includes space for the student to indicate a range of special interests re: age groups, nature of problems, clients, types of agencies etc.
Students are also asked to indicate any special factors relevant to field placement (e.g. geography, time, physical condition, religious observance, family commitments). The form also asks for a listing of all previous experience (paid or volunteer) in social welfare agencies.
Please note: Students are expected to be flexible regarding field placements. Although every effort is made to accommodate student agency preferences, one's first choice may not be available. Students may also need to adjust their schedules to meet the needs of the agency. Unfortunately, evening and weekend placements are not available.
*Note: Current students may consult the Fieldwork Manual for more details.
Field Instruction in the Field Agency
In the placement, the student works under the supervision of a field instructor who is selected by the agency and approved by the school. Students meet with the field instructor on a weekly basis for one-and-one-half hours. The agency and the school work toward agreement on educational goals. The agency invests its professional resources and staff in the training of social work practitioners. In addition to structured field instruction, it is anticipated that students will be able to take advantage of other learning opportunities at the agency, such as staff meetings, in-service programs, student group supervision, and seminars.
The field instructor’s role is to guide the student’s development of practice skills, to assist in the development of the professional’s self-understanding necessary for effective practice. Field instructors receive training from the program to assist them in their dual roles of teaching and supervising students in their field work. Touro offers the “SIFI”course for instructors needing this certification.
Interaction between Faculty Advisors and Field Instructors
In order to provide students with a stimulating and relevant field work experience, faculty advisors from the program serve as liaisons to the students’ field work agencies and as consultants to students and the field instructors. The faculty advisor and field instructor work collaboratively to guide the student through the program. Contacts are scheduled on a regular basis with the field instructor, the faculty advisor and the student to discuss the student’s assignments, to assess any educational problems, and to set clear goals for the student’s growth and development.
Faculty conduct on-site visits.
Role of Faculty Advisors
Each student is assigned a faculty advisor whose role is to guide the student through the program. Advisors are responsible for orienting students to:
• the process of academic advisement
• the student’s responsibilities to course instructors, advisor and field agencies
• the nature of student/faculty committees and the educational program
• the process of socialization to the profession
• the use of resources to promote the process of professional development (use of instructors, agency experts, peers, professional literature)
Students are encouraged to contact their advisors if issues/difficulties arise in the field or in class. The faculty advisor prepares first-year and final summaries of the student’s learning opportunities and competencies for field placement planning and official school references. Summaries are based on field evaluations and may be supplemented by student, field instructor, or faculty input. Student grades for field work are determined by the Director of Field Work Education.
Integrative Practice Field Seminar
includes a weekly Integrative Practice Field Seminar for students who are in
field placement. This seminar focuses on orienting
students to field education and reinforces the connection
between the Foundations of Practice course and Field Education.
The first-semester Integrative Practice Field Seminar is a three-credit course.
Field Work Evaluation
Professional judgments about the student’s abilities and potential are conveyed through written evaluations by the field instructor after an evaluation conference between the field instructor and the student. The conference provides the opportunity for student and field instructor to mutually develop an assessment of the student’s performance. The meeting is used to address significant learning issues and themes for their future work together. An evaluation conference is held at the mid-point and again at the end of each academic year and is followed by a formal evaluation written by the field instructor. The formal evaluation describes:
• the student’s practice
• the student’s involvement in the field instruction process and his/her involvement in the agency
• the student’s process recordings as they indicate strengths and weaknesses in his/her learning style; and the ability to record significant data critically and with self-reflection; the ability to use theory to inform practice
• issues of self-awareness and use of self
• the student’s relationships with other staff members
• the student’s comprehension of the ethics and values of the
profession of social work