Thank you for your interest in becoming a field placement site for our students! The school utilizes community agencies for students in both the undergraduate (B.S.W.) and graduate (M.S.W.) programs. Below you will find information on the selection process as well as resources for requesting student interns.
The School of Social Work seeks to develop and maintain affiliations with community sites that provide quality field education for all social work students. The School has a commitment to provide relevant and appropriate practice experiences. The first year placements represent those settings that offer a generalist practice focus for foundation students. The second year placements represent agencies, organizations, and corporations that offer opportunities to engage in community partnerships. The Director of Field Education, social work faculty, or an agency representative may initiate the process for agency selection as a field placement site. The field director has the responsibility to evaluate the potential of each setting as an available and appropriate field education site. Students do not negotiate their own field placement sites.
Each active field agency must have a current signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) on file. This memorandum outlines both the field agency and the university’s responsibilities regarding internships. The signed MOU covers a three-year period and may be renewed at three-year intervals throughout the course of the ongoing internship arrangement between the agency and the university.
The following criteria are used in the selection of field education sites:
- The field site must be committed to upholding social work values and ethics as outlined in the profession’s Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers and be committed to culturally competent practice in addressing diversity as set forth NASW’s Standards for Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice. The Code of Ethics and Standards for Cultural Competence should be demonstrated through agency policies and procedures that support program design, service delivery, and professional training.
- The field site must be able to provide diversified learning experiences for students that are consistent with the School’s field education objectives as appropriate to the foundation and/or the concentration field placement.
- The field site should be committed to providing a work climate that supports creative experiential learning.
- The field site must be able to provide qualified field supervisors.
- The field site must be able to allocate time for field supervisors to prepare and implement educational supervision for students.
- The field site should allow time for field supervisors to participate in meetings, training seminars and/or workshops offered by the School of Social Work.
- The field site should provide educational opportunities for students to participate in regular activities such as staff meetings, case presentations, conferences, and in-service training.
- The field site must be able to provide appropriate physical space and logistical arrangements for students such as office/desk space, supplies, telephone, support staff, etc., in order to carry out assigned tasks/responsibilities.
- The field site must treat all information about students in a confidential manner.
- The field site must be an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution and uphold the civil rights and liberties of all individuals in all aspects of the organization and the delivery of services.
If the field site fails to maintain an environment that supports a competent level of social work practice supported by social work values and ethics, it will no longer be used as a field education site for M.S.W. students. Any other selection criterion not maintained in providing a quality educational experience for students may result in the removal of the site as an approved field placement setting. To apply for reinstatement requires an evaluation by the Director of Field Education.
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 training in the field site. The selection of the field supervisor is a responsibility of both the field site and the field director. When the site identifies a potential field supervisor, it is the responsibility of the field director or his/her representative to ensure that this person meets the selection criteria.
Prior to the start of field placement, field supervisors are invited to attend a field supervisors’ training. There are separate training sessions for generalist practice field supervisors and concentration field supervisors. Generalist Practice field supervisors’ training emphasizes the generalist curriculum and educational objectives of the first year while the specialization field supervisors’ training emphasizes the community partnerships curriculum and educational objectives of the second year. Both training sessions provide tools and information to aid and support all field supervisors in their teaching role. The orientation sessions are the first of five training modules leading to a certification for field supervisors. The Schools of Social Work in the Atlanta and Athens areas collaborate on this training certificate 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. At the end of the academic year, feedback is solicited from field supervisors about the M.S.W. program and the field component. Feedback and suggestions are presented routinely by the field director to both faculty and the field advisory board to inform field education, M.S.W. curriculum, and the overall M.S.W. program.
The following criteria are used in selecting field supervisors in approved field placement sites:
- The field supervisor must be a graduate of an accredited school of social work. A master’s or bachelor’s level social work should have a least post-degree practice experience. In exceptional cases, particularly in second-year community partnerships field placements, there may be an agency/organization that affords a valuable educational opportunity but no on-site social work supervision. The available field supervisor may have another combination of training, work, and supervisory experience coupled with personal/professional standards and values consistent with those of social work. These situations shall be evaluated on a case by case basis by the field director.
- The field supervisor must have a professional philosophy consistent with the values and ethics of the social work profession.
- The field supervisor must have been employed by the field site for at least six months.
- The field supervisor must demonstrate a commitment and ability to teach M.S.W. students and act in a supervisory role.
- The field supervisor must be committed to his/her own professional growth.
- The field supervisor must be willing to devote the time to:
- attend training seminars/meetings for field supervisors sponsored by the School of Social Work;
- provide field site orientation to the student, including an overview of agency policies and regulations that govern practice;
- assist the student in developing the individualized partnership plan that outlines the student’s learning outcomes to be achieved during the field placement by selecting appropriate student tasks and identifying methods for evaluating the student’s performance;
- provide regularly scheduled weekly supervision with the student (a minimum of one hour per week);
- schedule a field site visit with the faculty liaison each semester to discuss student progress, agency needs/concerns, and any revisions to the partnership plan;
- confer as needed (in addition to the scheduled site visits) with the faculty liaison; and
- evaluate the student’s performance through written evaluations and provide verbal feedback to the student on his/her professional performance in the field agency.
The field supervisor must be on-site and on-duty when a student is in field placement. During those periods when a 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 immediate supervisor must arrange alternative supervisory plans for the student and inform the faculty liaison of the 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.
Two-way communication is critical to the overall success of field education. At the end of the academic year, feedback is solicited from field supervisors about the BSW or MSW program and field component as appropriate. Such feedback and suggestions are presented routinely to both faculty and the field advisory board by the field director to inform field education, the curriculum, and other program areas.
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.
The individualized partnership plan (IPP) is a learning contract that provides a framework for the student’s time and professional contributions at the field placement site as well as for the student/field supervisor relationship. The student’s field placement tasks are outlined in this document. The IPP is completed during the initial weeks of field placement and is subject to approval by the faculty liaison to ensure compliance with educational objectives. The learning outcomes are broad enough to encompass learning opportunities in diverse settings.
The individualized partnership plan has multiple purposes. It creates:
- a linkage between social work practice and learning outcomes
- opportunities for observation and retrieval of practice behavior
- a linkage between social work practice and professional knowledge/skills
- a linkage between social work practice and current research
- opportunities for evaluation of behaviors
- opportunities to identify learning tasks/activities specific to a field site’s needs/interests
- opportunities to identify future planning needs for the student and the field site
- structure for the student’s time in field placement
INSTRUCTIONS FOR CREATING THE IPP
- The IPP should be developed jointly by the field supervisor and the student. It is the student’s responsibility to submit the completed IPP to the faculty liaison by the due date. Once the faculty liaison has approved the IPP, the student should maintain a copy of this document and provide a signed copy to the field supervisor.
- In developing tasks to meet educational objectives/learning outcomes choose “active” not passive verbs (e.g., create, develop, facilitate, conduct, prepare, assess, plan). The learning objectives address application and demonstration of knowledge, values, and skills. “Reading” or “reviewing” material may be required by the student in preparation for a task, not as end results.
- One task may involve multiple steps and, therefore, address more than one learning objective.
- When considering student tasks, think about the possibilities – not just the realities of a daily routine. For a field supervisor, think about what tasks or projects are on your “wish list” if you just had more time. For example, following-up with clients, facilitating a group, developing a new partnership, expanding a program, recruiting and training volunteers.
- Use the IPP as a working document as part of supervision to ensure tasks are being met. Both the student and the field supervisor should use the IPP to address issues and challenges in the process of completing a task.
Field Education Collaborative
Clark Atlanta University
Georgia State University
University of Georgia
Training Modules for New Field Supervisors
In 2000, the field directors from the Schools of Social Work at Clark Atlanta University, Georgia State University, and the University of Georgia formed the Field Education Collaborative. The purpose of this affiliation is to identify and engage in collaborative activities in order to strengthen the relationships between the schools and the field sites. The goal is to combine the three Schools’ resources in providing effective and efficient field education services and training opportunities to meet the needs of field supervisors and field sites within the metro Atlanta area and in North Georgia.
The Collaborative offers a joint Social Work Field Supervisors’ Training Program that is open to current field supervisors of social work students. Due to space limitations and arrangements among the schools, this program is by invitation only and is not open to other professionals in your agency or the general social work community.
Field supervisors are encouraged to complete the five-module training during this academic year. There is no fee for this 18-hour training program and CEUs will be given. Field supervisors will receive a certificate of attendance and will be considered a certified field supervisor for social work students upon completion of all five modules. All three schools require that field supervisors complete the modules. If you are unable to complete the training this year, you will remain eligible to complete the training during the following academic year. Field supervisors who have completed the training state that it has been extremely helpful in their role as supervisors/educators.
All attendees must pre-register for each module. There is no registration at the door for any module. Module information will be emailed approximately four weeks prior to the respective module date. You only need to attend each module one time and modules cannot be repeated for CEU credit. Although each school will host the Module I orientation session, you only need to attend one orientation session (even if you are supervising social work students from multiple schools).