Students in practicum are required to complete 440 hours during one semester, either Fall or Spring. Student are typically at the practicum sites Monday through Thursday for 32 hours each week, for 15 weeks during the semester.
Completion of all required general education courses and all required social work courses (with the grade of C- or better, or a Passing grade when applicable) is a prerequisite to SOWK 450 and SOWK 455. The Student must receive an ‘average’ or better in their SOWK 315, Junior Field Experience, evaluation and the narrative evaluation must reflect the student’s appropriateness for the social work profession. In order to enroll in SOWK 450 and SOWK 455, all incompletes, in progresses, or any other unmet social work curriculum requirements must be met. Permission to register is granted only by Departmental consent.
The BSSW Program follows the standards established by Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) that clearly state that the student’s practicum experience and supervision must be different than the student’s employment. The BSSW Program will make every attempt to work with the student and the agency if the student requests to complete the practicum requirement at their place of employment. Please read policy regarding field practicum and employment for BSSW students in the field manual.
Very few agencies pay practicum students. There are limited agencies that provide a small stipend for students, but this is not typically the case.
At first these difficulties can appear to be insurmountable but they can be resolved successfully if they are addressed early in the placement. Disruptions to field placements are infrequent and changes in placement will only be considered under unusual circumstances, such as extreme life events, agency disruption, or serious impediments to completing the practicum as planned.
It is important to remember that difficulties can often be a crucial part of the learning process and it is important to address the concerns, not ignore them. It is a key objective in social work to recognize difficulties that occur in relationship and to work towards conflict resolution. If you are experiencing a problem that cannot be resolved within the supervisory relationship either party can contact the field liaison to start the review process. The field liaison is responsible for determining the nature and extent of the unusual circumstances and assessing remediation possibilities within the agency. The field liaison will start with the individual that made the initial contact regarding difficulties. If issue cannot be address through initial contact, the field liaison will then schedule a meeting involving all applicable individuals to discuss the difficulties. The outcome of this meeting will determine the next steps, continued field placement with monitoring or termination of placement.
Students are required to interview for their practicum position with the agency. One main purpose of the field interview is to clarify expectations of the field experience that the student may have as well as the field instructor. Please refer to the interviewing tips for students document for additional information.