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Info for Students

The Field Education Program works to design a practicum placement around the specific educational needs and professional interests of each student.  The practicum placement process involves the student, the student’s academic advisor, and the Field Director working together to identify potential placements that will challenge the student’s knowledge and skill development while maintaining ethical and professional expectations.
 

Placement Process for Senior Practicum: Senior Social Work Practicum (SWK 497)

Prior to the final semester, the students should have successfully completed all general education requirements, prerequisite degree requirements, and Social Work Program requirements, including all other required and supportive social work courses. The student’s academic advisor will meet with the student to ensure all academic requirements have been met and clear the student for placement.  Once the student has been academically cleared, the student will complete the Practicum Application and interview with the Field Education Director to discuss practicum options.  The student will identify an acceptable practicum site based on recommendations from the meeting with the Field Education Director and interview with the potential supervisor.  The student will complete, in conjunction with agency staff, a Practicum Contract which should include the initial goals the student and potential supervisor have agreed upon for the practicum semester. The Practicum Contract is submitted to the Field Education Director for approval.  Final approval for the student’s placement must be in writing (via email) from the Field Education Director.
 

Placement Process for Junior Practicum: Generalist Practice Lab (SWK 326)

Students must successfully complete (grade of C or higher) SWK 325 prior to being placed in an agency for the junior field experience. The student will meet with the University Instructor to discuss potential placement options.  The student will identify an acceptable placement based on recommendations from the University Instructor and interview with the potential supervisor.  The student will complete, in conjunction with agency staff, a Junior Field Experience Contract which should include the initial goals the student and potential supervisor have agreed upon for the practicum semester. The Junior Field Experience Contract is submitted to the University Instructor for approval. Final approval for the student’s placement must be in writing (via email) from the University Instructor.

Timeframe for completing Hours

All placement start and end dates are determined by the Director of Field Education. Occasionally, students and/or Agency Supervisors request that the student be allowed to accrue practicum hours outside of the designated calendar within which field placement is scheduled to occur. Students have the option of completing a formal request to begin placement early.  This request is made to the Director of Field by completing the Request for Early Start form. The Director of Field Education reviews requests on a case-by-case basis only for extenuating circumstances.  Written approval from the Field Education Director will be provided. Students who begin their placements early are required to provide additional timesheets, critical analyses, and are not allowed to end their placements early (once the required number of hours has been reached).

Students must complete all required placement hours by the end of the semester in order to successfully complete the placement and the course requirements.  Failure to complete the required number of placement hours will result in failure of the course. In rare situations where valid constraints (i.e. serious illness, excessive bad weather) prevented the student from completing hours, the University Instructor and Agency Supervisor may allow the student an extension.  This must be approved by the Field Education Director.

Policies

Student Liability Insurance

All students must be covered by malpractice insurance during their practicum. The university provides this insurance through an outside carrier and issues certificates of coverage at the beginning of each semester.  Students are assessed a Liability Insurance fee as part of their tuition. Students should provide the Agency Supervisor a copy of the certificate and keep a copy of the coverage certificate with them at all times while in the placement agency.

 

No Credit for Previous Work or Life Experiences

Per CSWE Accreditation Standard 3.2.5, no credit is given for life experiences, nor for previous work experience.

Employment-Based Placements

A placement in a student's place of employment will be considered only when the agency and student are able to create and support an educationally-based field learning experience as defined below: 
  1. The agency meets the regular criteria for affiliated field instruction agencies
  2. The Agency Supervisor must not have previously (or currently) supervised the student as an employee. A potential field supervisor must be designated, subject to the approval of the Social Work Program.
  3. The student's Integrated Learning Plan must differ significantly in content from the tasks and roles performed as an employee. Every effort should be made to assign new learning tasks to be performed within a different program or site in the agency.
  4. The hours designated for the field practicum must be clearly differentiated from the student's regular work hours.