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Field Supervisor Responsibilities
The field supervisor’s role is critical in facilitating a student’s learning and providing a positive educational experience for the student. The field supervisor serves as a role model for professional social work practice and carries final responsibility for the student’s professional training at the field site. The professional relationship between the field supervisor and the student provides the foundation for the student’s performance in field in supporting the mission and work of the field agency/organization. The partnerships forged between the School and the community agencies/organizations are operationalized through defined roles and responsibilities of these two individuals in the context of field education. It is expected that both the student and the field supervisor will engage in achieving the educational needs of the student in tandem with meeting the needs of the agency/organization.
Prior to the start of field placement, new field supervisors are required to attend a field supervisors’ orientation. This orientation session provides tools and information to aid and support all field supervisors in their teaching role. The orientation session is the first of five training modules leading to a certification for field supervisors. The Schools of Social Work at Georgia State University, Clark Atlanta University, and University of Georgia collaborate on this training certification program and require that all field supervisors complete the five training modules. The four additional modules are offered during the course of the academic year.
In the role of the student’s on-site supervisor, teacher, and mentor, the field supervisor agrees to fulfill the following responsibilities:
- Attend field supervisors’ orientation and training programs;
- Become familiar with, and adhere to, both the Agency and School policies and procedures guiding the field placement experience;
- Provide agency/organization orientation to student;
- Assist the student in the preparation of a learning contract that requires the selection of appropriate task assignments and methods of evaluating the student;
- Provide a minimum of 1 hour/week of formal supervision with the student;
- Participate in agency-based meetings with the faculty liaison on a routine basis and as needed;
- Evaluate the student’s performance through written evaluations and verbal feedback provided to the student, and assign a field placement grade;
- Maintain the integrity of the field placement experience; and
- Notify the faculty liaison of any concerns or problems related to student performance and/or agency policies related to field responsibilities as soon as they become evident.
The field supervisor must be on-site and on-duty when a student is in field placement. During those periods when the field supervisor is not available, another qualified staff member must be available on-site to the student. In case of a temporary absence or vacation, the field supervisor or his/her agency supervisor must arrange alternative supervisory plans for the student. The faculty liaison must be informed of the alternative arrangements. If a field supervisor leaves the agency or is given another assignment, he/she must contact the faculty liaison to discuss alternative plans for the student.
Guidelines for use of Task Supervision
There may be learning opportunities for a student at a field site that are beyond the scope of the field supervisor’s responsibilities and/or expertise. A task or project, related to the learning outcomes as set forth in the individualized partnership plan, may be assigned to the student by the field supervisor. Another staff person may provide supervision for this task/project. This task supervisor must provide written and/or oral feedback on the student’s performance to the field supervisor, who is the responsible party for providing weekly supervision and completing the written evaluations. Task supervision is provided to the student in addition to the weekly supervision by the primary field supervisor. The field supervisor remains responsible for overall supervision and administration of the student’s field placement experience.