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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Field Education Manual

Page address: http://sbs.mnsu.edu/fieldeducation/manual.html

You can view the manual below or download it from this link: Field Education Manual.

Updated Field Policies: Background Check 9-6-2017

INTRODUCTION

Welcome Letter

Glossary of Terms

WELCOME TO FIELD EDUCATION

Welcome to one of the most anticipated and exciting components of your social work education, field practicum. Field is where student learning of theories, values, ethics, and skills connects to the real work practice of social work. The social work practicum and seminars are the capstone academic experience of BSSW and MSW program in the Department of Social Work at Minnesota State University, Mankato, leading to graduation with either a Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) degree or Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. BSSW and MSW degrees allow its graduates access to specific opportunities, rights, privileges, and obligations pertaining to the practice of social work in the State of Minnesota, nationally, and internationally.

Field education is not possible without the support of the communities, agencies and Field Instructors that open their doors for the students to be mentored. Without this support, students would not be able to participate in the most essential part of their educational journey. The journey begins when the students choose a degree in social work. This choice is usually built on the passion they possess to want to change and influence individuals, families and communities. Students bring their hearts to social work. They then develop their minds by studying social work practice theories and research. They become great problem solvers and scholars. Finally, students bring their hearts and their minds to the final step in the journey, engaging themselves if the practice of social work. Field practicum is the combination of their hearts, minds and hands. This unique journey is the foundation of field education that elevates it to be the signature pedagogy of social work education and continues to shape the next generation of professionals.

This manual contains information regarding Departmental policy, practice standards, and processes to which the student must comply for completion of the capstone requirement and ultimately, graduation. It also includes the Department’s definition of andthat underpins the Mission Statement and CSWE Competencies. Students and field agencies are strongly encouraged to read and focus on those sections relevant to their particular place in the BSSW or MSW program. The manual will help students understand the connection between field education and over all course of their social work education.

Congratulations on beginning your journey to becoming a social worker. Even though the destination may be the goal, the learning is in the journey.

Laura Benesch
BSSW Field Director
Jennifer Parker
MSW Field Director

GLOSSARY OF TERMS

The following terms, defined here, will appear throughout the manual:

Advanced standing – students who have a BSW/BSSW from an accredited social work program may be admitted to the MSW program and advance to the Specialization year.

CSWE – the Council on Social Work Education provides the accreditation standards to which all accredited social work programs must adhere.

Department – the Minnesota State University, Mankato, Department of Social Work.

Field Director – Department liaison that provides oversight, direction, and support to students and Field Instructors involved with the field education program. Field Director will have additional administrative duties for the field education programming.

Field Liaison – Refers to the representative of the Department that provides the link between the Department, agency and student. Most often Field Liaison are the Field Seminar Instructors assigned to work with a specific student and practicum site.

Field Instructor – staff person employed by the agency who serves as the lead contact person for a practicum student, typically holds the BSSW and/or MSW degree and serves as the on-site Field Instructor (CSWE preferred model).

Foundation year – the first year of the MSW program, student not holding a BSW/BSSW from an accredited program must complete this year before moving on to the specialization year. Used interchangeably with “first year.”

Off-site Field Instructor – an appropriately degreed social worker from the community who provides supervision and guidance to “reinforce the social work perspective” (CSWE, 2002) when a BSSW/MSW-trained Field Instructor is not available within the agency (model allowed by CSWE).

Practicum site – agency or organization that agrees to host a student for the field practicum.

Specialization year – the second year of the traditional 2-year MSW program, Specialization year is completed by all students admitted to the MSW program. Used interchangeably with “second year.”

SONIA – the field database system that can be accessed through the field web page.

Task Supervisor – a person employed by the agency who serves as the lead person for a practicum student for the entire practicum within a particular service area, provides direction, day-to-day supervision, and evaluates the student’s work.

Traditional program – 2-year (foundation and specialization) MSW program, students may be admitted with any undergraduate degree and must meet other admission criteria.

MISSION STATEMENTS AND PURPOSE OF FIELD EDUCATION

UNIVERSITY MISSION STATEMENT

COLLEGE OF SOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES MISSION STATEMENT

BSSW MISSION STATEMENT

MSW MISSION STATEMENT

GENERALIST PRACTICE DEFINITION

ADVANCED GENERALIST PRACTICE DEFINITION

GOALS OF BSSW PROGRAM

GOALS OF MSW PROGRAM

COUNCIL ON SOCIAL WORK EDUCATION CORE COMPETENCIES & PRACTICE BEHAVIORS

UNIVERSITY MISSION STATEMENT

Minnesota State University, Mankato promotes learning through effective undergraduate and graduate teaching, scholarship, and research in service to the state, the region and the global community.

COLLEGE OF SOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES MISSION STATEMENT

The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences is a community of diverse learners seeking to understand and transform the social world through inquire, inspiration, service and innovation

BSSW MISSION STATEMENT

The BSSW program at Minnesota State University, Mankato builds on a strong liberal arts foundation to prepare its graduates for professional generalist social work practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. The program commits to ethical and competent professional practice and service with compassion and integrity. The program empowers social work students to understand the experience, culture, and the diverse contexts of clients’ lives and to honor their voices. The program commits to professional practice that enhances human well-being and advocates for social, economic, and environmental justice for all members of our diverse and global society. The program’s graduates are resourceful problem-solvers who are prepared to make a difference through policy and practice in the ever-changing global society. The program also contributes to the work of the profession and social service agencies through consultation, scholarship, research, and leadership. (Adopted 12/05/2016)

MSW MISSION STATEMENT

The mission of the Master of Social (MSW) Program is to empower students to be ethical and culturally responsive advanced generalist social workers who are champions and advocates for social justice, economic justice, and the equality of human rights at all system levels.  Located in Mankato, a mid-size community that serves as a regional hub for surrounding small and rural communities, we build on strengths and address the social, economic, and cultural challenges confronting small and rural communities. We are also committed to developing social work leaders with an awareness of historical and contemporary social, economic, and cultural issues in a broader and global context. (Adopted 03/01/2017)

GENERALIST PRACTICE DEFINITION

Generalist practice is grounded in the liberal arts and the person-in-environment framework. To promote human and social well-being, generalist practitioners use a range of prevention and intervention methods in their practice with diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities based on scientific inquiry and best practices. The generalist practitioner identifies with the social work profession and applies ethical principles and critical thinking in practice at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels. Generalist practitioners engage diversity in their practice and advocate for human rights and social and economic justice. They recognize, support, and build on the strengths and resiliency of all human beings. They engage in research-informed practice and are proactive in responding to the impact of context on professional practice. (Adopted from CSWE EPAS 2015 Educational Policy 2.0 on 9.14.16.)

ADVANCED GENERALIST PRACTICE DEFINITION

Advanced generalist practice builds on mastery of the generalist foundation to increase the depth and breadth of practice. Advanced generalist practice integrates greater theoretical and methodological sophistication for differential application of advanced social work knowledge, theories, skills, values and ethics in the assessment of and intervention with individuals, couples, families, groups, organizations and communities. Advanced generalist practice emphasizes the unique characteristics of social work services in the small and rural community context. Advanced generalist practice enhances the profession through the application and integration of research and evaluation at all levels of practice.

The advanced generalist practitioner:

  • Integrates culturally responsive social work practice throughout all intervention levels.
  • Effectively addresses the complex environment of service provision through sophisticated application of an advanced skill set across varied social work roles with emphasis on the context of small and rural communities.
  • Engages in ethical, independent direct practice with individuals, families and groups and indirect practice in organizational administration and change, policy development, and community practice.
  • Demonstrates leadership in both direct and indirect practice at all system levels.
  • Encourages and engages in interdisciplinary collaboration and public-private partnerships.
  • Engages in advocacy, policy practice, and social change to advance social and economic justice.

Adopted: June 9, 2006; Revised and Adopted: January 7, 2008; Revised and Adopted: October 13, 2008; Revised and Adopted: March 21, 2012; Revised and Adopted: April 26, 2017

GOALS OF BSSW PROGRAM

Preamble: The baccalaureate Social Work major prepares students for generalist professional social work practice at all system levels with an emphasis on small communities and rural areas within the global context, and provides a foundation for graduate Social Work education.

  1. Prepares competent professional generalist social work practitioners for work with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. [Comps 1-9]
  2. Promotes identification with the social work profession and commitment to the profession’s values and ethics that guide practice.[Comp 1]
  3. Values human well-being and advocates for human rights through social, economic, and environmental justice. [Comps 2, 3, & 5]
  4. Develops critical thinkers as resourceful problem-solvers that analyze and respond to diverse global contexts. [Comps, 2, 3, 4, & 5]
  5. Prepares graduates for social work careers and life-long learning through a strong liberal arts foundation. [Comps 1-9]
  6. Supports the profession and communities at large through consultation, scholarship, research, and leadership. [Comps 1-9]

Adopted: 01/05/2017.

GOALS OF MSW PROGRAM

  1. Prepare advanced generalist social workers that understand and identify with the values and ethics that serve to guide culturally responsive social work practice [C 1].
  2. Prepare advanced generalist social workers that are able to critically and differentially apply the knowledge, theories, values, and skills required to engage in research-informed practice and planned change (i.e. engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation) at all system levels, emphasizing the small and rural community context [C 4, 6, 7, 8, 9].
  3. Prepare advanced generalist social workers who build upon strengths, are committed to affirming diversity and difference in practice, and are advocates for the advancement of human rights and social and economic justice at all system levels [C 2, 3].
  4. Prepare advanced generalist social workers as leaders who critically analyze, respond to, and shape the practice context, emphasizing rural and small communities [C 7].
  5. Prepare advanced generalist social workers who engage in policy practice to deliver effective social work services and advance social and economic well-being [C 5].
  6. Model and promote the core values of competency and service through life-long learning, scholarship, community involvement, and the promotion of the social work profession, spanning local to global communities [C 1].

Adopted: June 9, 2006; Revised and Adopted: January 7, 2008; Revised and adopted: March 2012; Revised and adopted: April 19, 2017
[The numbers in parentheses after Goals refer to sections of the "Educational Policies and Accreditation Standards" (EPAS) of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).]

COUNCIL ON SOCIAL WORK EDUCATION CORE COMPETENCIES & PRACTICE BEHAVIORS

Field education is grounded in all of the above definitions and goals. In addition, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) prescribes the following Core Competencies that apply throughout social work education and Behaviors that apply to BSSW and MSW foundation year students. The Department has added additional Specialized Behaviors that will be addressed by students in the specialization year of the MSW program. This table lists the different competencies and behaviors.

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ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

RESPONSIBILITIES OF BSSW/MSW FIELD DIRECTOR

RESPONSIBILITIES OF FIELD LIASON/SEMINAR FACULTY

RESPONSIBILITIES OF STUDENT

RESPONSIBILITIES OF FIELD INSTRUCTOR/TASK SUPERVISOR

RESPONSIBILITIES OF OFF-SITE FIELD INSTRUCTOR

RESPONSIBILITIES OF BSSW/MSW FIELD DIRECTOR

The Field Directors are University faculty member who serves as the department liaison and provides oversight, direction, and support to students and Field Instructors involved with the field education program. The Field Directors provide additional administrative duties for the delivery of the field education programs.

Responsibilities include:

  • Oversee all the aspects of placing students in appropriate settings with credentialed social workers.
  • Provide ongoing orientation and updates to Field Instructors regarding any additions or changes to the goals and objectives of the practicum.
  • Screen and monitor agencies and Field Instructors to assure their willingness to abide by field education goals and policies.
  • Provide orientation visits to all new sites to discuss the policies and procedures of the Department and provide information regarding online resources available (i.e. Field Education Manual, trainings).
  • Provide yearly and ongoing online field education training for Field Instructors, especially for all first time Field Instructors.
  • Provide guidelines for the development and evaluation of student performance through the Learning Contract and Evaluation.
  • Provide dates for the beginning and end of field practicum placement as well as deadlines for receipt of Learning Contracts and Evaluations.
  • Provide a general review of feedback from student evaluations to agencies and Field Instructors.
  • Provide long-term development of field education program, oversight of Memorandum of Agreements, field manual, overall program evaluation, field education training and field database.
  • Assigns final grades for field practicum and seminar as well as final decision on all field related inquiries.
  • Approval of all agreements between students and agencies when the practicum site is also the student’s employer, as guided by CSWE standards and relevant field policy.
  • Develop and maintain adequate field education sites within 150 mile radius of MSU, M through field education database.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF FIELD LIAISON/SEMINAR FACULTY

The Field Liaison is an important element in a student’s field practicum. They are the representative of the Department of Social Work that provides the link between the department, agency and student. The Field Liaison monitors, consults and intervenes when necessary to ensure a quality field experience for all students. Most often the Field Liaison is the Seminar Instructor assigned to work with a specific student and practicum site. Seminar focuses on facilitating student led problem-solving, providing support and integration of knowledge and application in field education.

Responsibilities include:

  • Monitor the placement through visits, and consultation with both students and Field Instructors.
  • Conduct ongoing dialogue regarding the process, procedures, and progress of the field practicum with students and Field Instructors.
  • Maintain understanding of CSWE core competencies and foundation/advanced behaviors, to assist Field Instructors and Task Supervisors in developing appropriate Learning Contracts that reflect an understanding of the generalist/advanced generalist curriculum.
  • Schedule, at minimum, two site visits during the practicum. Additional visits can be made at the discretion of the Field Liaison, student, or Field Instructor.
  • Final oversight of the Learning Contract to assure the student has the opportunity to develop and practice a range of knowledge, skills, and values.
  • Offer consultation, mediation and support regarding student or agency concerns or disputes to ensure maximum field experiences for students via the telephone, email, or by a visit.
  • Facilitates seminar discussion.
  • Read and respond/provide feedback to class assignments.
  • Provide a syllabus for content of seminar instruction.
  • Assist students with integration of coursework and practicum experiences.
  • Recommends assigned grade for Practicum and Seminar students.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF STUDENT

The social work student is the essential person in the field practicum education. They are expected to take an active role in their professional development. Therefore it is expected that the student participate in the planning and implementing their learning experience while in field practicum.

Responsibilities include:

  • Participate in practicum placement process by completing application and placement materials in a timely manner.
  • Obtain and maintain liability insurance during enrollment in field credits.
  • Conduct themselves as social work professionals by adhering to the NASW Code of Ethics.
  • Read, understand, and follow this manual as it is explicit regarding completing the required prerequisites for field practicum and field seminar.
  • Review agency policy and procedures, as directed by the Field Instructor.
  • Act within the requirements of that agency. This includes, but is not limited to, adhering to policies regarding safety, documentation, practice and procedures, confidentiality for both the agency and clients, the use of computer and telephone for personal reasons, and dress code.
  • Develop Learning Contract with the Field Instructors and Field Liaison and adhere to field placement timeframes for completion. The Learning Contract is negotiated between the student and the Field Instructor, drawing on the learning objectives of the student and the opportunities that the agency can provide.
  • Actively participate in evaluations at the evaluation periods identified by Field Liaison and adhere to field practicum timeframes for completion.
  • Communicate with the Field Instructor/Task Supervisor and the Field Liaison regarding progress of field placement especially regarding if difficulties arise that could disrupt field practicum.
  • Students who are in need of off-site field instruction, will make themselves available for meetings during the semester.
  • Respond to communication from Field Director/Liaison and placement sites in a timely manner.
  • Seek supervision when there is any doubt about actions they are taking or on behalf of the agency or clients.
  • Participate in evaluation of field agency, Field Instructor, and field program.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF FIELD INSTRUCTOR/TASK SUPERVISOR

Field Instructors are an integral part of the practicum experience by helping students to identify with and take responsibility for the profession, to value and affirm diversity and culturally sensitive practice, and to implement the goals of the profession through contributions of scholarship and service. In some instances, a social work degreed Field Instructor is not available in the practicum setting. In that situation, a Task Supervisor, preferred Master level for graduate students, will be assigned to provide field oversight with the Field Director seeking an appropriate off-site degreed social work Field Instructor to work with the student. This satisfies the Council on Social Work Education and adds richness of perspective to the student’s learning. Task Supervisors, included in this document as Field Instructors, are valued for the contributions they make and are encouraged to use the material in this manual to support their work with students.

Responsibilities include:

  • Use the first weeks of practicum to orient the student into the agency personnel, policies and procedures, including but not limited to, those related to safety, documentation, transporting clients, social media and confidentiality. This includes arranging for office space and facilitating any paperwork for the payment of all related expenses (i.e. mileage) as discussed and agreed upon.
  • Allow students to grow progressively into more responsible roles while providing client services, to ask questions a new employee might not feel free to ask, and allow time for reflection and the active application of knowledge and skills with clients, including assignments for practicum and seminar.
  • Provide opportunities for students to observe early on, with the expectation that the student will gradually take on more independent work and assignments (under supervision). The student should manage approximately 1/3 of the caseload of a regular worker.
  • If the student is concurrently employed in the agency, the Field Instructor should also assist the student in adhering to the guidelines in this manual that address that circumstance. If the student is to receive a stipend from the agency, the Field Instructor should also facilitate that process while maintaining the educational intent and focus of the field placement.
  • Consult with the student to develop a Learning Contract that outlines specific opportunities, responsibilities and tasks.
  • To make reading, writing, task, participation or training assignments as needed to benefit student learning and services provision. Field Instructors are asked to balance their need to make assignments with the assignments that are required for other courses. Seminar assignments may be read or discussed with the Field Instructor as part of the student’s Learning Contract.
  • Meet with the student, at a minimum of one hour per week, to monitor progress toward meeting the Learning Contract goals and assess the student’s contribution to client care in regularly scheduled, face-to-face supervisory meetings.
  • Notify the Field Liaison immediately of any serious concerns or problems related to student performance.
  • Assess student performance at the evaluation periods identified by Field Liaison. The input of other social workers and staff can be considered.
  • Meet with Field Liaison and student to monitor progress in Learning Contract.
  • Participate in orientation with Field Director prior to or at the beginning of the field practicum.
  • Complete one five-hour Field Instructor training through the Department. Trainings will be provided once a year on the MSU, M campus and available as an online training course. Field Instructors taking students for the first time or those who have not had a student in the last three years are strongly encouraged to take this training prior to supervising a field practicum student. This includes both Field Instructors and Task Supervisors.
  • Provide feedback and evaluation of field education program.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF OFF-SITE FIELD INSTRUCTOR

The Off-site Field Instructor is an appropriately degreed social worker from the community who provides supervision and guidance to “reinforce the social work perspective” (CSWE, 2002) when a degreed social worker is not available within the agency (model allowed by CSWE). Although the Off-site Field Instructor cannot maintain the same level of participation as an on-site supervisor, generally speaking they should strive to perform in a similar fashion.

Responsibilities include:

  • Provide field practicum instruction in individual and/or small group formats depending on the needs of the student(s) and the interests of the Off-site Field Instructor(s).
  • Provide instruction either on campus or in local community.
  • Instruction will focus on discussion of student experiences of applying social work principles, theory, and practice methodology.
  • May make reading assignments regarding specific populations, techniques, and or other social work information and resources.
  • Assist the student and on-site Field Instructor with the development of the Learning Contract
  • Assist in completing the student performance at the evaluation periods identified by Field Liaison.
  • Participate in continuing education hours available through the Department.
  • Provide consultation regarding student performance if circumstances arise that may require remediation or disciplinary actions.
  • Provide feedback and evaluation of field education program.

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DEPARTMENT POLICIES FOR FIELD PRACTICUM

ETHICAL BEHAVIOR POLICY

COMMUNICATION & CONFIDENTIALITY POLICY

CREDIT FOR LIFE EXPERIENCE OR PREVIOUS COURSEWORK EXPERIENCE POLICY

CREDIT-EARNING OUT-OF-REGION & INTERNATIONAL COURSEWORK

TRANSPORTATION OF SELF & CLIENTS POLICY

CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK POLICY

INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY

DISTRACTION & TECHNOLOGY USE POLICY

ACADEMIC HONESTY POLICY

NONDISCRIMINATION IN EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY

PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES POLICY

GRIEVANCE POLICY

Students are required to adhere to all the following department and program policies and practices as they develop, engage in, and complete their practicum planning and participation. As students of Minnesota State University Mankato, social work students are also required to follow policies of the Department of Social Work, BSSW or MSW Program, the University and MnSCU. Planning for field practicum begins at least the semester BEFORE the practicum actually starts. Failure to comply with the following policies can impact the development of a field practicum and can result in not concluding the program in a timely manner.

ETHICAL BEHAVIOR POLICY

All practicum students should be familiar with the National Association of Social Work Code of Ethics located at http://www.naswdc.org/pub/code/code.aps; and the Minnesota Licensure Board Practice Standards, accessible by searching the Board’s website at http://www.socialwork.state.mn.us/. Requirements regarding data privacy as outlined in the Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information (“Privacy Rule”) implemented in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act 1996 (“HIPPA”) are located at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/index.html. Students should adhere to these standards throughout their social work practicum.

Student conduct towards clients, co-workers, student colleagues, Field Instructor, Task Supervisors, off-site supervisor (if applicable) and/or Field Liaison will be evaluated based on NASW standards for ethical behavior. Student will be expected to comply with the Student Responsibilities Policy outlined in BSSW and MSW Student handbook.

Any complaints lodged by clients, agency personnel, student colleagues, faculty members, and/or the Field Liaison including, but not limited to, the following areas may result in corrective instruction, disciplinary action, suspension, and/or a grade of no credit in either or both of field practicum and seminar. If such complaints are made, students will be provided due process to respond to allegations. Additionally, reconsideration of the student being retained in the Field Practicum and/or dismissal from the BSSW/MSW program are possible.

  • Violation of professional relationship boundaries including, but not exclusively, inappropriate physical contact, any harassment, social/sexual involvement, or emotional abuse.
  • Violation of consumer and/or agency confidentiality.
  • Evidence of impairment that, in the judgment of the placement agency or Field Liaison, jeopardizes the primary consumer and/or agency interests.
  • Disciplinary action as a result of academic performance.
  • Criminal charges that reflect personal behaviors incompatible with the expected behaviors and/or ethics of professional social workers.
  • Any behavior that is incompatible with the Social Work Code of Ethics/Practice Standards/HIPPA (e.g., falsifying records, misrepresentation of work performed, misleading consumers, harassment of supervisors, clients, fellow students, and/or faculty).

Some types of disciplinary action taken against a student must, by law, be reported on the MN Board of Social Work Application for Licensure when an application is made for licensure. When a student already holds a license in social work, other licensed social workers and social work faculty are obligated to report ethical violations. Contact the Minnesota Board of Social Work for additional information. Other professionals with whom the student works in the practicum setting may have similar reporting obligations depending upon their professional codes or workplace policies.

Policies related to disciplinary action, dismissal, or suspensions are not meant to inhibit the student’s right to appeal. For additional information, see appeal process in either the BSSW Student Handbook or MSW Graduate Student Handbook.

COMMUNICATION & CONFIDENTIALITY POLICY

Communication between the Field Liaison, Field Instructor/Task Supervisor, Off-site Field Instructor (when applicable) and/or the student is a critical component to the success of all placements and should occur throughout the practicum. The Field Instructors, Field Liaison, or student may initiate such communication using any of a variety of formats (telephone, letters, in person, fax, email, etc.). The Field Directors and Field Liaisons may consult with the Department of Social Work faculty if the need arises.

As instantaneous communication such as email, text, blogs, and listservs has become more common, and traditional communication channels like the telephone and ground mail have not abated, students must be extremely cautious about breaching confidentiality. The impulse to respond instantaneously to requests for information, even to other professionals, must be resisted. The student’s responsibility is to seek supervision when there is any doubt about communicating information or taking action within or on behalf of the agency or a client. Additionally, information from the practicum site is prohibited from use in personal communication (verbally, online, or in print) without written permission of the Field Instructor and Field Liaison. This includes sharing information about field practicum sites, clients, other students, or staff on social media sites such as Facebook. While students will be discussing their work with clients in seminar and in the agency, strict adherence to confidentiality standards, redacting information from documents or reports, and disguising client data must occur. Breaches of client or agency confidentiality can have serious consequences for the student including dismissal from the program. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) standards should be reviewed and carefully followed. They are available on the Health and Human Services webpage at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/index.html for your review. Students should discuss how these are implemented in their respective agencies with the Field Instructor and/or Task Supervisor.

Students are cautioned against the use of personal cell phones for conducting agency business. The automatic appearance of personal numbers on a cell phone log allows the client to contact the student at any time regardless of when the student is actually “on the clock” in the practicum setting. Setting appropriate boundaries may be difficult with that level of access. Additionally, inadvertent release of client information through a client call or the observation of names/numbers (for others who might use the student’s cell phone) is also a breach of confidentiality. Password protections should be implemented on personal devices if they are used for professional business. Precautions should be taken to prevent theft or usage by unauthorized individuals.

CREDIT FOR LIFE EXPERIENCE OR PREVIOUS COURSEWORK EXPERIENCE POLICY

Although previous work experience will support and enhance participation in the practicum experience, under no circumstances will previous life or work experience substitute for practicum hours. SOWK 450/455, SOWK 615/SOWK 625 and SOWK 665/SOWK 675 are never waived for any reason, nor will transfer credits be substituted.

BSSW students are expected to read and comply with the Credit for Life Experience or Previous Work Experience Policy stipulated in the BSSW Program Student Handbook. MSW students are expected to read and comply with the Credit for Life Experience or Previous Work Experience Policy stipulated in the MSW Program Graduate Student Handbook.

CREDIT-EARNING OUT-OF-REGION & INTERNATIONAL COURSEWORK

BSSW students are expected to comply with the BSSW Credit-Earning Out-Of-Region & International Coursework policy stipulated in the BSSW Program Student Handbook. MSW Students are expected to comply with the MSW Credit-Earning Out-Of-Region & International Coursework policy stipulated in the MSW Program Graduate Student Handbook.

TRANSPORTATION OF SELF & CLIENTS POLICY

Students in the Department of Social Work field education placements (junior field internship, senior practicum, or graduate level practicum) are responsible for providing their own transportation to and from their field sites. In some very limited situations (e.g. international student without valid license, student with disability), students may request assistance from the Department to make other transportation arrangements.

Practicum students should not be expected to transport clients unless the Agency Field Instructor or Task Supervisor clearly communicates with the practicum student and Field Liaison that such requirement is an essential duty of the practicum/internship at the beginning of placement. It is the responsibility of the agency to state whether practicum students are required to drive, travel, or transport clients as part of their duties and to manage any such requirements. Agencies that require practicum students to drive for agency business should verify that the agency’s liability insurance policy covers interns driving and/or transporting clients either in an agency vehicle or the student’s private vehicle. Agencies are asked to reimburse students for mileage if they use their own vehicles.

Practicum students are advised that agencies requiring driving/transporting may also require submission to a Motor Vehicles Records check, notification of their own insurance carrier regarding use of the vehicle within the practicum, and compliance with all driving and client transportation policies of the agency. Clients should only be transported for specified agency business.

Minnesota State University, Mankato and the Department shall not be responsible for managing any requirements for transportation as part of practicum; do not maintain insurance for practicum student’s driving or transporting clients in association with their practicum; and do not vouch for the student’s driving record or valid driving license.

This policy is subject to change. If it changes during the course of a practicum placement, the students and agencies involved will be informed by the Field Liaison. Agencies that require interns to transport clients should also make this known to the Department’s Field Liaisons by signing and returning a copy of this signed policy form by third week of placement.

Adopted by Department Faculty: March 2, 2011

CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK POLICY

Professional social workers are increasingly required to undergo criminal background checks, minor and vulnerable adult maltreatment checks, and/or drug tests for field practicum placements and employment. The implications of having a criminal record of felonies, gross misdemeanors, misdemeanors and/or arrests may negatively impact future professional licensure and employment opportunities in the social work field. Additionally, substantiated complaints of maltreatment against minors and vulnerable adults could preclude field placement and/or employment in setting related to those populations. Therefore, students are required by the Department to complete a criminal background check prior to entering field education courses. In some instances, specific agencies may require students to complete additional background checks, which may also include drug testing. Supplementary costs associated with these additional requirements MAY be the responsibility of the student and ARE NOT covered by the department. Additionally, any accusation, arrest, or conviction of criminal behavior that occurs after the background check or during the program, must be reported immediately to the Field Director. Failure to report any accusation, arrest, or conviction of criminal behavior that occurs after the background check, or during the program, may result in delay or termination of a field practicum placement.

Since legal convictions may have implications for field placements, students are required to discuss past and current concerns with the Field Director during the placement process. This information will allow the Field Director to effectively provide the student with guidance on the impact on their field placement and future professional employment. Some legal accusations, arrests, or convictions may limit placement options or disqualify a student from being able to be placed. It is important to comply with the required timelines set for background checks and/or agency requests as failure may result in delay and/or denial into Field Practicum and Seminar courses.

Agencies and Field Instructors assume risk when hosting a student for their field placement. It is important for the agency to make informed decisions about students they are accepting to work under the social work license of their Field Instructor. Therefore, it is the Departments policy to disclose student criminal background information if it is returned with disqualifying evidence which includes felonies, gross misdemeanors and/or misdemeanors. The Field Director may request further documentation, request to meet with the student, ask the student to submit a written explanation of the information reported on their background check, and/or request any other information considered necessary by the program.

The student is expected to take the initiative to discuss background check results with the agency and Field Instructor. The Field Director will communicate with the agency and Field Instructor regarding background check results. In this case, the agency has final decision-making power based on any background information they receive, as to whether they will accept the student for placement.

Draft: August 23, 2007; Revised and Adopted: October 10, 2007; Revised and Adopted: March 1, 2012; Revised and Adopted: March 27, 2013; Revised and Adopted: September 6, 2017

Compliance

Failure to comply with this policy or agency request in the required timelines will result in delay and/or denial of permission to enter into Field Practicum and Seminar at the discretion of the Field Director. Failure to report any accusation, arrest or conviction for criminal behavior that occurs after the background check, or that occurs during practicum, may result in delay or termination of a field practicum placement. Additionally, failure to report may be a violation of the Student Responsibilities Policy and procedures as outlined in the aforementioned policy may be initiated.

Implications

The implications of having a criminal record of felonies, gross misdemeanors, misdemeanors and/or arrests are important to consider. Legal problems may limit field education and employment opportunities. Criminal convictions and other volunteer, internship or other employment issues requiring disciplinary action must be reported and are reviewed when application is made for social work licensure in Minnesota. A conviction of a felony, gross misdemeanor and some lesser misdemeanors may keep the student/graduate from being licensed and/or employed.

Confidentiality of a Background Check

All records are kept confidential and secured in locked offices in the sole possession of the Social Work Department. If a specific agency requires a different level of background check, that report may go directly to the agency.

Departmental Review

If the criminal background check is returned with felonies, gross misdemeanors and/or misdemeanors, the Department may request further court documentation, to meet with the student, and/or for the student to submit a written explanation and any other information considered necessary by the program. If a specific agency requires a different level of background check, that report may go directly to the agency for review and action at their discretion.

When a criminal background check reveals the conviction of a felony, gross misdemeanor, or misdemeanor, the Department will inform your placement agency in writing regarding the offenses and the outcome. The student will be given the opportunity to take the initiative to discuss these issues with the agency in advance of that information being shared. The agency has final decision-making power based on any background information they receive, as to whether they will accept the student for placement.

Draft: August 23, 2007; Revised and Adopted: October 10, 2007; Revised and Adopted: March 1, 2012; Revised and Adopted: March 27, 2013

Inclement Weather Policy

Most practicum sites are located in Southern and Central Minnesota and inclement weather should be expected. Students may use the following to gain information regarding travel to and/or from their home or practicum site:

  • The Statewide Road Conditions and Weather number 1-800-542-0220 or at http://www.511mn.org/about511.asp online.
  • Local radio stations for school closings and early dismissals.

If the student is at the practicum site and the weather conditions create unsafe road conditions, the Field Instructor/Task Supervisor at the agency should be consulted. If a student is delayed by weather from leaving home, they should immediately contact their Field Instructor and negotiate an arrival time. Once at the practicum site, the student is permitted to leave early, take advantage of the agency’s overnight hospitality, or make other accommodations to stay overnight should weather become problematic. The student and Field Instructor should always consider safety in making any travel plans during the course of the workday. Students traveling long distances for seminar attendance should always use the same consideration as used for travel to or from field practicum sites. All students are expected to read and comply with the [PDF] University Emergency Closing Policy (164 KiB)

Distraction & Technology Use Policy

The purpose of seminar and practicum is learning through educational interaction with the instructor and others. In order to fulfill that purpose and to help students develop professional behavior that extends beyond the classroom, the Department of Social Work has developed a policy on Distraction and Use of Personal Technology in the classroom. All students are expected to read and comply with the policy stipulated in the BSSW Program Student Handbook. MSW students are expected to read policy stipulated in the MSW Program Graduate Student Handbook.

Social media may allow and support many useful professional learning opportunities during field practicum, however it also presents many potential challenges. If a field agency already has a social media policy in place it should be shared with the student during the orientation period. If the field agency does not have a formal social media policy the student should follow the NASW Code of Ethics related to the use of social media located at https://www.socialworkers.org/practice/standards/NASWTechnologyStandards.pdf (broken link). It is expected that students will not access personal social media sites during field practicum hours.

Academic Honesty Policy

All students are expected to read and comply with the Academic Honesty Policy Academic Honesty Policy stipulated in the University Policy: [PDF] https://www.mnsu.edu/policies/approved/academichonesty.pdf (193 KiB)

Nondiscrimination in Educational Opportunity

Statement of non-discrimination policy

The University and Department of Social Work is committed to providing equal education and employment opportunities to all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, veteran’s status, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, physical and mental disabilities, creed status due to receipt of public assistance, or any other groups against which discrimination is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Minnesota Statue Chapter 363, and other applicable state or federal laws or State University System policy. Complaints of discrimination are field with the Office of Affirmative Action located at 112 Armstrong Hall.

Definitions

Minnesota State University, Mankato and the Department of Social Work have clear policies regarding nondiscrimination and the possible outcomes if it occurs. The following will assist students in determining if discrimination or harassment is occurring:

  • Discrimination is defined as conduct that is directed at an individual because of his or her protected class and that subjects the individual to different treatment by agents or employees so as to interfere with or limit the ability of the individual to participate in, or benefit from, the services, activities, or privileges provided by the system of colleges and universities or otherwise adversely affects the individual's employment or education. Discriminatory harassment is defined as verbal or physical conduct that is directed at an individual because of his or her protected class, and that is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent so as to have the purpose or effect of creating a hostile work or educational environment.
  • Harassment on the basis of race, sex, color, creed, religion, age, national origin, disability, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, or sexual orientation is prohibited. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by state and federal law.
  • Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexually motivated physical conduct, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
    1. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or education, evaluation of a student's academic performance, or term or condition of participation in student activities or in other events or activities sanctioned by the college or university; or
    2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions or other decisions about participation in student activities or other events or activities sanctioned by the college or university; or
    3. Such conduct has the purpose and effect of threatening an individual's employment; interfering with an individual's work or academic performance; or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or educational environment.
  • Harassment includes action beyond the mere expression of views, words, symbols or thoughts that another individual finds offensive. Not every act that may be offensive to an individual or group constitutes discrimination or harassment.
  • Discrimination or harassment can occur in a variety of relationships, including faculty and student, supervisor and employee, student and student, staff and student, employee and employee, and other relationships with other person having business at or visiting the educational environment. Sometimes comments or actions that constitute discrimination or harassment are intended to be humorous or to express familiarity. This doesn’t excuse the behavior or the need to address it.

Under certain circumstances, sexual harassment or violence may constitute sexual abuse according to Minnesota law. In such situations, the system office and colleges and universities shall comply with the reporting requirements in Minnesota Statutes Section 626.556 (reporting of maltreatment of minors) and Minnesota Statutes Section 626.557 (Vulnerable Adult Protection Act).

Reporting and documentation of harassment

If you are being harassed:

  1. The student should clearly, specifically, and firmly communicate to the alleged harasser that their behavior is offensive and unwelcome. If the student is not comfortable talking directly to the individual, the student can identify a third party whom the student and the other individual mutually respect and ask for their assistance in helping to talk through the behavior and why it was offensive.
  2. Notify the Field Liaison and the Field Instructor or Task Supervisor about the harassment immediately. If the harasser is the Field Instructor or Task Supervisor, notify that person’s supervisor. Do not delay.
  3. When the harassment begins, and if it continues, the student should keep a written record for the specific dates, times, places, witnesses, and the nature of every event of the harassment.
  4. The Field Liaison will act as the student’s advocate to see that the harassment ceases. The student will not be penalized if it becomes necessary to disrupt the placement.

Persons with Disabilities Policy

In accordance with University Policy, the Department of Social Work is committed to ensuring equal educational opportunity and full participation for qualified persons with disabilities as is legally required under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 including section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. All students with a disability may request accommodation for classroom and field practicum through the Office of Accessibility Resources. This request must be made prior to the beginning of field practicum. Visit the Office of Accessibility Resources at 132 Memorial Library or call 507-389-2825 (V/TTY). Student disability accommodations will be made by faculty based upon the advisement of the Office of Accessibility Resources. Please refer to the BSSW Program Student Handbook or MSW Program Graduate Student Handbook for entire “Access for Student with Disabilities” Policy.

Grievance Policy

Grievance procedures have been developed for the use of students and faculty. The procedures are designed to deal with disagreements that may develop. The students may grieve any decision made that will affect the student's outcome for practicum and seminar. BSSW students should follow the step-by-step procedure that is outlined in the Social Work Student Handbook. MSW students should follow the step-by step procedure that is outlined in the MSW Program Graduate Student Handbook.

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POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR SELECTION OF FIELD AGENCIES AND FIELD INSTRUCTORS

LOCATING PLACEMENT SITES

FIELD SITE SELECTION

CRITERIA FOR SELECTION OF FIELD PLACEMENT AGENCIES

CRITERIA FOR SELECTION OF FIELD INSTRUCTORS/TASK SUPERVISORS

FIELD PRACTICUM SUPERVISION REQUIREMENTS

LOCATING PLACEMENT SITES

The Field Directors will maintain a computerized database of sites within a 150-mile radius of Minnesota State University, Mankato. Possible new placement sites are explored and added to the database each semester. Agencies may come to the attention of the Field Directors and Department faculty through contacts in the community, student interest and contacts or by the agency contacting the Department of Social Work and expressing their interest in beginning a practicum site. Agencies are screened to assure their willingness to abide by Department goals and policies, to provide significant learning assignments, and to provide the appropriate level of field instruction. The database may be used to locate and explore sites that meet the student's learning objectives. Students are welcome to submit information about other sites for consideration inclusion in this database.

Placements outside the 150-mile radius may be made under special circumstances. There are cost, supervision, travel, and seminar issues that must be considered with out of state placements. BSSW students are encouraged to discuss any plan of that nature with the Field Director a year or two prior to admission into practicum. MSW students should request exceptions to the policy at the minimum three months in advance of placements. These placement requests will be considered due to unique opportunities for students that are not available in a more immediate setting. Students requesting such a placement should also understand there may be additional financial responsibilities for facilitating such a placement such as transportation for the Field Liaison to make site visits.

FIELD SITE SELECTION

While every effort will be made to meet the individual student placement wishes, agency availability, CSWE requirements for appropriate field instruction, and other administrative issues will influence the final placement decision. Field education settings will be selected to ensure that students achieve the goals of each Program, including CSWE Core Competencies. Field education will focus on providing students with the opportunity to intervene in “complex direct practice situations” which requires engaging in the “full spectrum of direct services” (Schatz et al., 1990, ¶ 50), as well as more “complex indirect practice situations at the bureaucratic, organizational, and community levels” (Schatz et al., ¶ 51) in order to prepare graduates for “autonomous practice, supervisory levels, and administrative roles in organizations” (Schatz et al., ¶ 48). In addition, field education settings in rural and small communities will be encouraged to afford students the opportunity to integrate and apply generalist or advanced generalist knowledge, values, and skills for rural social work practice.

Placements are negotiated between the student, the Field Directors, and the agency. The placement is based on the student's practice interests, educational goals, and the availability of agencies that are able to assist in meeting these goals. The agency has the authority to accept or deny a student for placement. This decision is based on agency availability and interest, the information provided by the student and the Field Director, and the interview between the student and Field Instructor(s) and/or other agency staff). The student also has the right to accept or decline any invitation for placement from an agency. The Field Director has the final authority for approval of all practicum placements.

Practicum sites are evaluated by the students at the end of the practicum. This information, along with the experience the Field Director has with the agency, is used to determine whether a site will be retained on the database. Agencies may also opt to remove themselves from the database or to ask that no students be placed for specified lengths of time. Periodically, feedback will be provided back to agencies as evaluations from students are aggregated to provide a general review of all practicum sites. Aggregated data is used to protect student anonymity.

CRITERIA FOR SELECTION OF FIELD PLACEMENT AGENCIES

Field education settings will be selected to ensure that students achieve the goals of the BSSW and MSW program, including Competencies and Behaviors.

  • Criteria for selection of field agencies include:
  • Established policies and procedures for service delivery.
  • Opportunity for students to practice generalist and advanced generalists social work roles.
  • Ability for students to achieve the goals of the BSSW and MSW Program, including Competencies and Behaviors/Specialized Behaviors.
  • Operates with the social work code of ethics and social work values.
  • Provides a Field Instructor who possesses appropriate credentials for the level of study. (See appropriate level in Criteria for Selection of Field Instructors). If the agency is unable to provide an appropriately degreed individual then an off-site supervisor will be provided by the Department, however, the agency will then provide an appropriate Task Supervisor.
  • Provision of services are well developed and maintained without the reliance of student interns.
  • Allow sufficient time for Field Instructor to provide effective supervision.
  • Allow time for Field Instructors to attend conferences or trainings on field instruction.
  • Provide appropriate accommodations for effective student learning (i.e., work space, computer access, etc.).
  • Complete and submit the “Memorandum of Agreement for Student Training Experience/Internship” every five years. Should an agency require a special contract please contact the Field Directors to start process prior to placement.

CRITERIA FOR SELECTION OF FIELD INSTRUCTORS/TASK SUPERVISORS

Preparing students to begin professional careers in Social work practice requires a combined effort of the practice community and social work educators. Field Instructors are a valuable component of the success of social work education. Therefore, the selection and preparation of Field Instructors is of paramount importance. Preparation for the role of Field Instructor may be necessary particularly if supervision is a new role. The field education program will provide free, ongoing Field Instructor training and resources.

Criteria for selection of Field Instructors/Task Supervisors include:

  • Appropriately degreed Field Instructor for BSSW student must have a BSSW or MSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program and a minimum of two years postgraduate social work practice.
  • Appropriately degreed Field Instructor for MSW student must have a MSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program. Additionally, it is preferred that the individual has a minimum of two years postgraduate professional social work experience.
  • Both BSSW and MSW preferred at least one year at the current agency.
  • Both BSSW and MSW must possess a MN social work license for non-county workers. However Field Instructors do not have to possess a supervisory license from the state.
  • Submit current curriculum vitae, resume or verification of licensure.
  • Ability to complete yearly Field Instructor training.
  • Demonstrate the desire to teach and demonstrate social work skills in practice.
  • Must be available and present to student when they are at the practicum site or provide appropriate replacement for guidance of students’ day to day tasks and responsibilities.
  • Have interest and time to provide effective weekly supervision for the students.
  • Adhere to social work values and social work ethics.
  • Ability to provide constructive feedback and written evaluations for students’ Learning Contract.

FIELD PRACTICUM SUPERVISION REQUIREMENTS

The Council on Social Work Education requires that students be supervised by an appropriately credentialed Field Instructor while in their practicum placements. Field Instructors are encouraged to provide approximately one (1) hour per week of formal field instruction. Field instruction can be delivered either by group or individual format. Additionally, informal conferences may be needed to assist students. Field instruction will provide administrative structure and supervision. This includes instruction and orientation to the agency, making assignments, regular consultation regarding the work the student does with client, and consistent oversight of any work the student is assigned in the agency. The Field Instructor may also make reading assignments regarding specific populations, techniques, and/or other social work information and resources.

In situations where no appropriately degreed Field Instructor exists in the agency, the Department will “assume responsibility for reinforcing a social work perspective” (CSWE, 2002, P. 37) in coordination with the practicum agency. The Field Liaison will identify an appropriately degreed social worker from the community or a faculty member (Off-site Field Instructor) to provide the required field instruction for approval by the agency. An agency based appropriately degreed Task Supervisor will provide day-to-day direction, oversight and evaluation of the student. The agreement to use an out of agency Off-site Field Instructor will be discussed with the agency administrator and/or the agency designee during the placement process.

When an off Off-site Field Instructor is assigned, they will be provided with a copy of the student’s name, resume, and agency placement. The Task Supervisor will be provided with the name of the Off-site Field Instructor and other information germane to the provision of field instruction. Both the Off-site Field Instructor and the Task Supervisor will assist with development of Learning Contract, sign the Learning Contract and provide input for evaluations. On-going contact, consultation, and discussion of the student’s work, while encouraged, is left at their discretion.

Case presentations by the student and consultation with the Off-site Field Instructor will provide the foundation for the field instruction. The nature of the off-site field instruction will focus on discussion of student experiences of applying social work principles, theory, practice methodology, and professional growth while providing direct and indirect social work services.

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POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR PRACTICUM PLACEMENT

CHILD WELFARE TITLE IVE PROGRAM

BSSW POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR PLACEMENT

MSW POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR PLACEMENT

CHILD WELFARE TITLE IVE PROGRAM

Participation in either the Undergraduate or Graduate Child Welfare Program (CWP) requires that scholars complete field practicum in a child welfare setting that meets the requirements for their respective program. The following field education guidelines are for consideration in the planning process for participants in the CWP but do not replace the policies and procedures published on the Department web page for both levels of participation. Should any questions arise, please speak with the appropriate undergraduate or graduate Child Welfare Coordinator.

  • Field placements are arranged through the Field Directors who may consult with the CWP Coordinators to clarify any questions related to placement.
  • Placements with specific counties, tribes, or state offices are not guaranteed although efforts will be made to satisfy scholar preferences.
  • Undergraduate scholars may meet with the undergraduate CWP Coordinator at their discretion or at the discretion of the Coordinator.
  • Undergraduate scholars will complete their Senior Placement in a county or tribal child welfare field placement.
  • Graduate scholars must meet with graduate CWP Coordinator prior to meeting with Field Director to discuss options for appropriate field placements.
  • Advanced Standing (1-year) scholars complete field placement in county, tribal, or state child welfare settings unless they have met the criteria for an alternate placement (see policy and procedures).
  • Traditional Standing (2-year) scholars may complete their first year placement in any child or family related setting and must complete their child welfare placement in the second year of their program.
  • All scholars are required to meet the time, effort, and attendance policies generated by the Field Directors.
  • When completing the Learning Contract and subsequent assignments, all scholars are responsible for relating their work to child welfare clients and programs in order to comply with program participation.
  • All scholars should include participation in Department of Human Services Foundation Training in their Learning Contract and advise their field practicum supervisor of that requirement. Undergraduate scholars complete Classroom One and the on-line modules that support it. Graduate scholars complete Classroom Two and Three and all on-line modules. The modules are considered homework while the Classroom training hours count toward field practicum completion.

BSSW POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR PLACEMENT

HOUR REQUIREMENTS

DROP/ADD POLICY

FIELD PLACEMENT AT EMPLOYMENT POLICY

ATTENDANCE POLICY

ABSENCES POLICY

ADMISSION POLICY

INTERVIEWING POLICY

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

RESUME AND COVER LETTER ASSISTANCE

APPLICATION REVIEW PROCESS

PRACTICUM PLACEMENT PROCEDURES

HOUR REQUIREMENTS

Students in practicum are required to complete 440 hours during one semester, either Fall or Spring. Students are typically at the practicum sites Monday through Thursday for 32 hours each week, for 15 weeks during the semester.

DROP/ADD POLICY

Any student has the right to drop SOWK 455, Social Work Practicum, and SOWK 450, Integrative Seminar, within University policy. Because of the requirement that these courses have to be taken together, a student may not elect to keep one and drop the other. This decision must be discussed with the Field Director, the student's academic advisor, and the Field Instructor. It is important to remember the student's withdrawal may affect academic opportunities related to financial aid, graduation, and continuation in the program. Other considerations include the impact, particularly after the semester has begun, on agency services, the consumers, and the BSSW Program relationship with the agency for future placements. Therefore a plan for withdrawal must be developed and implemented carefully in order to minimize the impact.

Students who apply to come into SOWK 450 and SOWK 455 after the semester begins may be allowed to do so within the University’s late registration period base on individual mitigating circumstances. However, students should be in communication with the Field Director regarding any ongoing or anticipated situations that may impede their progression into placement. Due to the difficulties in arranging last minute placements, waiting until the beginning of the semester to have these discussions is highly discouraged. The Department reserves the right to deny all students who delay the application or the agency placement process.

FIELD PLACEMENT AT EMPLOYMENT POLICY

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. The following conditions must be satisfied in order to have a successful placement.

  • The practicum assignment must be within a different unit/division/department than that of the employment.
  • The student must be assigned a Field Instructor who does not supervise their employment.
  • The agency must provide release time for the practicum.
  • All other practicum supervision requirements must be met.

ATTENDANCE POLICY

The students in practicum will be at their placement site 32 hours per week, Monday through Thursday, for 15 weeks. The Field Director/Liaison, Field Instructor, and student may approve alternate schedules (including Saturday or Sunday). The students will be at the agency the hours the agency operates or as agreed upon by the student and the Field Instructor. All students will be attending SOWK 450, Integrative Seminar, on Fridays during the semester. The students will not be at the placement site during exam week except by special arrangement between the student, the Field Instructor, and the Field Liaison. Students will notify the Field Instructor and the Field Liaison of any absences either prior to the absence or the same day of the absence. This contact is to be either by telephone or email.

  • To preserve the academic intent of the practicum, students and Field Instructors are asked to flex hours if the students are at the agencies for more than eight (8) hours in a day.
  • Time should be allocated for practicum reflection, necessary reading, planning within the regular workday, and during practicum supervision.
  • The students are required to maintain documentation of practicum hours.
  • Practicum is designed for continuity of services across a full semester. Students are expected to begin the first day of classes and conclude the last class day of the semester (exceptions for this must be approved by the Field Director).

In almost all instances, the MSU, M calendar governs the days the students are at the agency. A few students will find it necessary to negotiate the variance of MSU, M’s and the agency's calendars. An example of this variation is spring break for public/private schools and MSU, M.

ABSENCES POLICY

PRACTICUM SITE

If students are absent for reasons beyond their control (illness, family death, etc.) the student must notify the Field Instructor as soon as possible and provide the reasons for the absence or tardiness. The Field Liaison should be contacted only in situations where the student will be missing several days at their practicum site.

If a student fails to complete the required hours within the semester, a grade of NC (No Credit), or IC (Incomplete) will be entered. The Field Director, Field Liaison, and Field Instructor, along with the student, will develop a plan outlining how the field practicum will be completed.

SEMINAR

Practicum students are required to attend Integrated Seminar as part of their practicum experience. Seminar attendance is mandatory. Students should communicate directly with the Field Liaison about any seminar absences they may anticipate throughout the semester. SOWK 450, integrative seminar, must be taken concurrently with SOWK 455, Social Work Practicum; therefore any disruption of seminar attendance may impact the continuation of the practicum.

ADMISSION POLICY

Admitting students to practicum is the responsibility of the faculty of the BSSW Program. The faculty's responsibility is to assure that the social work student who graduates from Minnesota State University, Mankato has demonstrated the program competencies and behaviors as outlined by Council on Social Work Education, Minnesota State University, Mankato, The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and the BSSW Program. SOWK 450, Social Work Practicum, and SOWK 455, Integrative Seminar, are never waived for any reason.

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.

INTERVIEWING POLICY

The Department holds the right to deny the student entering into SOWK 450 and SOWK 455 if the student has three failed placement interviews. If the student has attended three interviews with potential Field Instructors and been denied a practicum at all three of the agencies, the Department will meet to discuss appropriate next steps to be taken with the student.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

The application for admission to SOWK 455, Social Work Practicum, is to be completed during the semester prior to enrollment. The BSSW Program will establish due dates for applications for fall and spring semesters. Notice of the due dates for the application will be posted on the social work bulletin boards, email listserv, and will be announced in SOWK 443. Student will be required to attend the field application meeting before applying for admission.

All application items will be submitted on the field database, SONIA. The application must include:

  • A completed and submitted copy of the practicum application form. Reviewed by the Field Director and will assist in determining field placement but will not be sent to your potential field placement.
  • A completed and submitted copy of the BSSW Professional Statements. Please keep in mind this form should be prepared thoughtfully as it will be reviewed by the Field Director and will be sent to your potential Field Instructor. Remember this is a critical step towards building your professional credibility in the practice world.
  • Signed and submitted copy of the Professional Commitment.
  • Uploaded copy of your resume and cover letter.
  • Upload academic record (transcript not DARS).
  • Upload a copy of your SOWK 3I5 (Jr. Field) final evaluation.

RESUME AND COVER LETTER ASSISTANCE

Students are encouraged to utilize the services offered by the Career Development Center (CDC). The CDC has staff that work with students to develop and review a professionally prepared resume, cover letters, and thank-you notes. More information can be located at http://www.mnsu.edu/cdc/.

APPLICATION REVIEW PROCESS

The Field Coordinators review all applications and make recommendations regarding all applications to the BSSW Program faculty. If a student has applied for practicum but has not met the BSSW program requirements to begin practicum, the Field Coordinators will meet with student to address the issues and develop a plan of action. The BSSW Faculty will be consulted regarding the plan of action developed for any student who is not prepared to begin practicum.

PRACTICUM PLACEMENT PROCEDURES

Students admitted to SOWK 455, Social Work Practicum, should note the following paragraphs are presented sequentially and include steps for the student and the Field Director. Compliance to this sequence of steps is critical. Students must adhere to this process if they intend to begin their practicum in a timely fashion.

  1. Initial Meeting - Students will be notified of the date and time of a mandatory practicum informational meeting. Missing this meeting will delay the placement process. If it is impossible to attend this meeting for any reasons, please notify the Field Director as soon as possible. The purpose of this meeting is to review the placement process and procedures in detail including the field database system, respond to any questions or concerns the students may have, and formally begin the placement process.
  2. Preference Possible Practicum Sites – Students are asked to think carefully about their learning goals as they begin to consider practicum opportunities. Applicants will preference possible practicum sites through the field database, SONIA after they attend the mandatory meeting. Once a student has submitted their agency preferencing in SONIA, the Field Director will begin the placement process. When students are considering placement options they should not contact any of the practicum placements without prior permission of the Field Director.
  3. Submitting Material to the Agency - The Field Director will notify the student when an agency is willing to be a practicum site. At that point the Field Director will instruct the student on how to proceed with the agency. This may include the student sending their documents and scheduling an interview with the potential agency.
  4. Communication with the Field Director - The student will report to the Field Director the date and time of the scheduled interview and apprise them of the outcome of the interview. Students may interview at more than one agency, however the competition for placements exists not only with one’s student colleagues from MSU, M but also from other colleges and universities.
  5. Finalization of the Practicum - Students will send a thank-you letter to the each interviewer regardless of the outcome of the interview. If the placement interview goes well and all parties (Field Director, student, placement site) believe this will be a mutually beneficial field placement, the student will be given instructions on necessary requirements to finalize the placement process.

You will not be able to start your field placement until a copy of criminal background check and professional liability insurance is submitted to the Field Director. If copies of the background check and professional liability insurance has not received prior to the beginning of placement, the Field Instructor will be notified that the student will not begin practicum until the necessary paperwork has been received by the Field Director.

MSW POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR PLACEMENT

HOUR REQUIREMENTS

OUT OF AREA POLICY

INTERVIEWING POLICY

ATTENDANCE POLICY

REGISTRATION & DROP/ADD POLICY

FIELD PLACEMENT AT EMPLOYMENT POLICY

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIP & LIABILITY INSURANCE

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

PRACTICUM PLACEMENT PROCEDURES

HOUR REQUIREMENTS

The field education program is conceptualized to accommodate students’ schedules by spreading the required hours across spring and summer semesters, in both the foundation and specialization years, concurrent with coursework. The Council on Social Work Education specifies that students must complete a minimum total of 900 hours of fieldwork. The following table indicates how students will be meeting that requirement:

Foundation Year
Concentration (Advanced Years)
Total

460 Hours
500 Hours
960 Hours

Active engagement and participation in field practicum is critical for successful completion. Students are expected to take initiative as appropriate, to practice prompt regular attendance, to exhibit attentive, professional nonverbal behavior, to provide and receive feedback, to offer support, and to prepare materials in advance. Students should expect to participate in a variety of activities.

Students accrue field education hours for SOWK 615-625 as follows:

Students accrue field education hours for SOWK 615-625 table

Students accrue field education hours for SOWK 665-675 as follows:

Students accrue field education hours for SOWK 665-675 table

Foundation field practicum is scheduled for 20 hours per week for 15 weeks in the spring semester and 16 hours per week for 10 weeks in the summer semester. Specialization field practicum is scheduled for 20 hours per week for 15 weeks in the spring semester and 20 hours per week for 10 weeks in the summer semester. A plan for accruing hours will be determined by the student and Field Instructor. Very few agencies offer paid practicums and rarely will weekend and night hours be offered due to the lack of supervision opportunities.

OUT OF AREA POLICY

Students should plan to complete Social Work Practicum, SOWK 615/625 and SOWK 665/675 within a 150 mile radius of Minnesota State University, Mankato. Students must request an exception to MSW Field Education policy regarding SOWK 615/625 or SOWK 665/675, if a plan for the field sequence is beyond the 150 mile radius. Requests for exceptions to this policy must be related to one or more of the following justifications:

  1. Significant change in personal and/or family responsibilities
  2. Significant economic/financial need
  3. Location of primary residence outside of the 150 miles
  4. Access to practice experiences that is significantly different from those available within the 150 mile radius.

This request for an exception must be presented in writing three months in advance, for review on a case-by-case basis, by the MSW faculty. The student making this request must also present a written plan which demonstrates that the concurrent courses and related activities and/or field instruction responsibilities for these courses can be met. In addition to their own increased travel expenses, students must be aware that additional expenses for site visits by the field faculty will be their responsibility (including mileage, airfare, and accommodations as necessary).

Adopted by MSW Faculty: January 30, 2008

INTERVIEWING POLICY

The Department holds the right to deny the student entering into SOWK 450 and SOWK 455 if the student has three failed placement interviews. If the student has attended three interviews with potential Field Instructors and been denied a practicum at all three of the agencies, the Department will meet to discuss appropriate next steps to be taken with the student.

ATTENDANCE POLICY

Both practicums are designed for continuity of experiences across both semesters. Students are expected to begin the first day of classes and conclude the last class day of each semester as determined by the University calendar unless approved by the Field Instructor and Field Director. Students will not be expected to be at the placement site during spring break, University holidays, exam week, or between semesters except by special arrangement between the student, the Field Director, and the Field Instructor. Practicum sites may observe holidays not recognized by the University. Students can use these opportunities, as available, to accrue additional hours, participate in different agency experiences, attend trainings, and to provide continuous services to clients by agreement with their Field Instructor.

If students are absent for reasons beyond their control (illness, family death, weather, etc.) the student must notify the Field Instructor as soon as possible (at a minimum, usual professional practice requires notification within a half-hour of the beginning of the day) and provide the reasons for the absence or tardiness. If possible, the student should speak with the Field Instructor. If not, the student should leave a message, with a telephone number for a return call. The hours absent will have to be made up at a later date. The student is responsible for initiating a plan for completion of hours with the Field Instructor. If a student has more than 2 days absent in one week (or an on-going pattern of absence) the Field Liaison must be notified by the Field Instructor. A pattern of absence, tardiness, or incomplete hours can result in a grade of No Credit for SOWK 615/625 or SOWK 665/675.

REGISTRATION & DROP/ADD POLICY

Students register in the fall and spring semesters for SOWK 615/625 and SOWK 665/675. Students will be given permission to register for field seminar class once they have submitted appropriate field paperwork and followed the field placement procedures. Practicum and Seminar (SOWK 615/625 & SOWK 665-675) occur in the spring and summer semesters. Any variation from the established field program must be discussed with the Field Director, the student's academic advisor, and the Field Instructor. Due to the time required to negotiate practicum placements, pre-planning is critical and begins the fall semester before the actual practicum begins. Delaying the planning process may result in a placement not being available. Missing field placement deadlines during placement process and/or waiting until the beginning of the spring semester to begin practicum placement discussions is not permitted. Withdrawal from a planned placement will affect continuation in the program. Other considerations include the impact, particularly after the semester has begun, on agency services, the consumers, and the Department of Social Work's relationship with the agency for future practicum placements. A plan for beginning late or withdrawing must be carefully considered, developed, and implemented.

FIELD PLACEMENT AT EMPLOYMENT POLICY

The Department is strongly committed to ensuring that students assume the role of learner in order for them to achieve their learning goals in field settings. The Department also recognizes that some students have personal economic situations that make it necessary for them to explore field opportunities that can provide final assistance including at their place of employment. Even though the Department does not encourage placement at employment, if a student desires to do one practicum at their place of employment, they will be allowed to pursue such an arrangement.

The student will need to apply for this field practicum through a separate process defined in procedures for practicum placement section of Field Manual. The purpose of using a separate process is to establish that specific criteria in policy have been established. For the student, it clearly indicates that there must be unique learning opportunities and that these must be separate and distinct from their current employment. For the agencies, the process designates that the student must assume the role of a learner and that the agency will need to create an environment for educational objectives to be fulfilled. Finally, the process provides clarity to the Field Director as to the specific generalist/advanced generalist assignments that will be accomplished. Requests will be assessed case-by-case and are not guaranteed for approval until the end of the placement process.

The following criteria must be satisfied:

  • Students are only allowed to do only one practicum at their place of employment.
  • The agency must meet the same criteria and expectations for a field practicum site as for all other sites to be able to achieve foundation or specialization practicum objectives as outlined in Criteria for Selection of Agency Settings.
  • Student must be assigned a Field Instructor, preferably an MSW, who does not currently supervise, or previously supervised, their employment. The Field Instructor must meet the same criteria as other Field Instructors outlined in Criteria for Selection of Field Instructor section.
  • If a MSW Field Instructor is not available, a Master’s level (preferred) Task Supervisor will be utilized. The agency must agree to the use of an ‘off-site’ MSW Field Instructor to “reinforce a social work perspective” (CSWE, 2020).
  • Student must have practicum assignments that are fundamentally different from their current or past job assignments and that expand their professional social work skills and knowledge. A fundamentally different learning environment could be established by two or more of the following:
    • change of unit/department within the agency;
    • change in client population served;
    • assignments are different social work interventions or special assignments.
  • Preferred that student has not completed a practicum at agency previously.
  • All documents and meetings related to field practicum at place of employment must be fully completed by required dates for placement.
  • Learning Contract will have clearly delineated practicum assignments, tasks and/or responsibilities that are imbedded in Social Work Core Competencies. Only practicum assignments will count toward the requisite number of practicum hours.

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIP & LIABILITY INSURANCE

As an opportunity for enhancing professional identity and development, NASW membership is strongly encouraged for SOWK 615/625 and SOWK 665/675. Membership information can be obtained online at https://www.socialworkers.org/online-join/join.aspx.

Liability insurance is required to be in place prior to beginning, and throughout, SOWK 615/625 and SOWK 665/675. Liability insurance purchased for work or provided by an employer may not substitute for student liability insurance. Student liability insurance will be purchased through the University by the Department. If student want a copy of the liability insurance they can request a copy from the MSW Field Director. If students want or require more liability insurance, they are responsible to purchase additional student liability insurance.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

INTENT TO REGISTER FOR PRACTICUM REVIEW

Notice of the dates of a mandatory meeting regarding field practicum placement will be announced via the listserv and email. At those meetings students will be given specific directions for the processes that will lead to a successful placement process.

Each student who intends to register for practicum must complete and turn in appropriate applications forms and schedule an interview through the field database, SONIA, to discuss practicum with the Field Director early in the fall semester.

Students SHOULD NOT contact agencies for practicum planning purposes prior to meeting with the Field Director but may explore potential placements through conversation with colleagues, websites, the Social Work Department database, or through collateral contacts.

The Field Director will review all applications. Documentation of successful completion of prior coursework may be required. If it is determined that a student has not successfully prepared for entry into field practicum, the student will be removed from the planning process. The student must initiate a re-entry into the practicum planning process.

Some agencies require a different paperwork process than those used by this Department. All efforts will be made to ensure smooth process with minimal duplication.

Note: Students should maintain their own file of forms submitted, correspondence with Field Director, potential practicum sites, and meeting notes.

RESUME AND COVER LETTER HELP FOR STUDENTS

Students are encouraged to utilize the services offered by the Career Development Center (CDC) prior to their first meeting with the Field Director. The CDC staff work with students to develop and review a professionally prepared vita, resume, cover letters, and thank-you notes. They are also available for other career development and job placement opportunities (e.g. interview preparation). More information can be located at http://www.mnsu.edu/cdc/.

PRACTICUM PLACEMENT PROCEDURES

Students admitted to social work practicum should note the following paragraphs are presented sequentially and include steps for the student and the Field Director. Compliance to this sequence of steps is critical. Students must adhere to this process if they intend to begin their practicum in a timely fashion. Additionally, students should review field policies that are related to field practicum placement prior to starting the procedure. Students may choose to confer with their academic advisor before applying for field practicum. Students should use this sequence as a checklist to gauge their placement progress.

There are two processes outlined in the following pages: The first process, which most students will follow, is the standard field practicum placement process. The second process is intended only for those students who are anticipating completing their practicum at their place of employment.

Standard Placement Procedure:

1. Orientation - Student attends orientation to field. After attendance to the orientation students will be given access to the field database system, SONIA, to start applying for field.

2. Application to Field - All materials must be completed and submitted to the Field Director through the field database, SONIA, prior to signing up for field practicum interview. Materials include:

  • Signed copy of the Professional Commitment (MSW Appendix 1) form. This will not be reviewed by potential Field Instructor or Task Supervisor.
  • A completed copy of the Intent to Register (MSW Appendix 2) form. This will not be reviewed by potential Field Instructor or Task Supervisor.
  • A copy of the student’s resume. You are encouraged to take advantage of the Career Development Center (located on the second floor in the Wigley Administration Building) for review of their resume prior to submission with this packet. This will be reviewed by potential Field Instructor or Task Supervisor.
  • Student must review and preference potential field practicum sites on SONIA.
  • If student is seeking placement at their place of employment must communicate that to the Field Director at this time. Additional documentation will be required.
  • If student is seeking placement outside of the 150-miles radius must request an exception to that policy at a minimum three months in advance. Additional documentation and financial responsibilities may be required.

3. Preparation for Field Interview - Student will then sign up for individual interview with the Field Director to discuss interests in practicum placements, desired learning objectives, career goals and prior experience, etc.

  • Prior to interview, student are asked to think carefully about their learning goals and program objectives as they begin to consider practicum opportunities. While it is anticipated that public and private agencies will be utilized as they meet the specific learning goals of student, student will be encouraged to consider agencies in small and rural communities for placements. Applicant need to review potential field practicum sites on SONIA, use their professional networks, or search the web for possible practicum sites before or after the mandatory meeting.
  • Student are encouraged to submit other options for field placement that they believe will meet their learning goals on SONIA prior to the interview. The Field Director may have additional suggestions or information that may impact the site selection.
  • Students are required to complete site preference on SONIA prior to field interview. See SONIA student guide on field website for instructions.

4. Field Interview - Student will then attend practicum interview with Field Director. Student is responsible for making sure that paperwork and interview are completed by established due date. If student fails to complete task by due date they will not be able to move forward in the matching process.

5. Initial Agency Contact - The Field Director will contact the agency and determine if they are interested in a practicum student, whether appropriate opportunities are available to meet the educational goals of the student, and whether appropriate field instruction is available within the agency.

  • Do not contact any of the practicum placements without prior permission of the Field Director. This is at the request of Field Instructors and Task Supervisors. The initial contact is the responsibilities of the Field Director.
  • If it is a previously unused agency or student’s place of employment, the Field Director will orient the agency personnel to the Department of Social Work’s requirements for student placements.
  • If the agency is interested and can provide the required field instruction or is amenable to off-site field instruction, and the student appropriate task and assignments are available, the student will be notified.

6. Cover Letter of Introduction - Student will prepare a letter of introduction to be emailed or downloaded onto SONIA for potential Field Instructor along with a copy of the student’s resume. A copy of this letter will be submitted to the Field Director. Cover letter should be professionally written and developed.

7. Placement Interview at Potential Agency - Once the resume and cover letter has been submitted to the potential agency, student will follow up with agency within three to five working days to set an appointment for an interview. It is the responsibility of the student to schedule the interview.

  • Agency personnel will be aware that you are sending materials or notified on how to access information on SONIA. Delays will impact their continued interest in hosting a practicum student
  • Student may interview at more than one agency, however the competition for placements exists not only with one’s student social work colleagues from MSU, M but also from other MSU, M departments and other colleges and universities. This can be particularly important to keep in mind in the urban areas. “Sitting” on potential placements is discouraged.
  • Agencies may also require that student complete agency volunteer applications, submit to an additional background check, or submit to required medical tests. Choosing not to honor those requests will impact placement.
  • The student must inform the Field Director of the interview outcome. In some cases agency personnel may also call the Field Director with feedback.
  • If an interview does not result in a field placement, the student will send a thank you letter to the agency for their time and interest. The Field Director will then assist the student to make other contacts for placements.

8. Finalization of the Practicum - If an interview does result in a field placement, the student will send a thank you letter of acceptance of the placement. Field Director should receive a copy of the acceptance letter.

  • For all practicum placements, the Field Director will confirm the placement with the agency and send, as needed, the Memorandum of Agreement and Student Training Experience/Internship form for review and necessary signatures.
  • Student will fill out and obtain appropriate signatures for Student Training Experience/Internship Contract (SOWK Appendix 4) and Off-site MSW Field Instruction Form (MSW Appendix 4) if applicable. Availability of MSW level field instruction at the placement agency will determine the necessity of the Off-site MSW Field Instruction Form.
  • Student will need to forward contact information for Field Instructor and/or Task Supervisor to Field Director. The Field Director will make plans for orientation/training and verification of credentials.

9. Begin field placement following the University calendar.

  • At least two-weeks prior to beginning placement, the student will re-contact the agency, reminding them of the start date and reaffirming their commitment.
  • The practicum agency may have additional paperwork or requirements for the student to complete.
  • Students will be provided a course syllabus and will follow the requirements stated on the syllabus.

This overview may not represent the needs of every agency in which a student may be placed. Flexibility with that possibility is appreciated.

Employment Placement Procedures:

Students are asked to think carefully about their learning goals and program objectives as they begin to consider practicum opportunities at their place of employment. While a placement at one’s place of employment may be convenient, it may not offer the opportunities for expanded learning and experience another site might offer. Please review field policies regarding to field practicum at employment.

1. Orientation - Student attends orientation to field.

2. Application to Field - All materials must be completed and submitted to the Field Director through the field database, SONIA, prior to signing up for field practicum interview. Materials include:

  • Signed copy of the Professional Commitment (MSW Appendix 1) form. This will not be reviewed by potential Field Instructor or Task Supervisor.
  • A completed copy of the Intent to Register (MSW Appendix 2) form. This will not be reviewed by potential Field Instructor or Task Supervisor.
  • A copy of the student’s resume. You are encouraged to take advantage of the Career Development Center (located on the second floor in the Wigley Administration Building) for review of their resume prior to submission with this packet. This will be reviewed by potential Field Instructor or Task Supervisor.
  • Student must review and preference potential field practicum sites on SONIA.
  • If student is seeking placement at their place of employment must communicate that to the Field Director at this time. Additional documentation will be required.
  • If student is seeking placement outside of the 150-miles radius must request an exception to that policy at a minimum three months in advance. Additional documentation and financial responsibilities may be required.

3. Preparation for Field Interview - Student will then sign up for individual interview with the Field Director to discuss interests in practicum at place of employment, desired learning objectives, career goals and prior experience, etc.

  • Prior to interview, student is asked to think carefully about their learning goals and program objectives as they begin to consider practicum opportunities. They should explore opportunities for field placement at place of employment that meet their learning goals and the program objectives.
  • If agency is not currently on the field database, the student will submit agency as a potential agency on SONIA. Additionally the student will complete site preference procedures in case employment agency is not approved.
  • Additional agency documents can be uploaded onto SONIA prior to field interview.

4. Field Interview - Student will then attend practicum interview with Field Director. Student is responsible for making sure that paperwork and interview are completed by established due date. If student fails to complete task by due date they will not be able to move forward in the matching process.

  • Permission to move forward or not will be discussed with student utilizing documents provided. Information provided needs to clearly define the student’s current employment duties, what the student is proposing to do differently for practicum, and information on potential MSW field instruction.
  • Once interviews and documents are completed and approved by Field Director, student can then move to the next step in process.

5. Placement Interview at Employment - Once approved, the student will schedule a time to meet to formally develop a plan with administrator or Field Instructor who has the authority to arrange and approve placements (sometimes there is more than one person involved). Meeting will discuss:

  • Proposed duties, task, activities, or opportunities that could be used for practicum.
  • How student and agency will support student as learner and how position duties and tasks are related to core competencies and advanced behaviors.
  • How the student will be compensated; are the practicum hours on top of the regular 40 hours per week or will they be part of your regular schedule, is flex time or vacation available, can the student commit to working post-graduation for time engaged in practicum.
  • Whether a potential MSW Field Instructor, preferably with 2 years post- MSW graduation experience, is available on-site. Has that person agreed to provide supervision? If that is not available or the student’s tenure with the agency falls under the four months policy, the student will need to know if the agency is willing to agree to off-site supervision with an Off-site Field Instructor. On-site, day-to-day task supervision (preferably by a master’s level-prepared professional) will need to be provided if a MSW is not available. The person to provide task supervision at the agency will need to be identified prior to final Field Director approval of the placement.
  • If the proposal is accepted by the employer, then the student will contact the MSW Field Director to set up the final approval meeting between student, agency administrators, current and proposed field supervisors, and Field Director.
  • If the proposal is not accepted by the employer, student will discuss next steps with Field Director.

6. Finalization of the Practicum – Once approved, the final approval meeting will occur during site visit with Field Director, Field Instructor, agency administrator and student to finalize proposal, answer any outstanding questions, and finalize the placement.

  • The student will submit Field Placement at Place of Employment Form (MSW Appendix 3) and obtain appropriate signatures.
  • Field Director will send, as needed Memorandum of Agreement for Student
  • Student will fill out and obtain appropriate signatures for Student Training Experience/Internship Contract (SOWK Appendix 4) and Off-site MSW Field Instruction Form (MSW Appendix 4) if applicable.

7. Begin placement following the University calendar

  • At least two-weeks prior to beginning placement, the student will work with agency to transition into new duties at the start date.
  • Students will be provided a course syllabus and will follow the requirements stated on the syllabus.

This overview may not represent the needs of every agency in which a student may be placed. Flexibility with that possibility is appreciated.

You will not be able to start your field placement until a copy of criminal background check is submitted to the Field Director. If copies of the background check has not received prior to the beginning of either placement, the Field Instructor will be notified that the student will not begin practicum until the necessary paperwork has been submitted to the Field Director.

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POLICIES AND INTEGRATION OF FIELD COURSES

BSSW POLICIES AND INTEGRATION OF PRACTICUM AND SEMINAR

INTEGRATION OF FIELD COURSES

PURPOSE OF COURSE

COURSE LEARNING OBJECTIVES

SOWK 450 AND SOWK 455 ASSIGNMENTS LEADING TO CAPSTONE COMPLETION

LEARNING CONTRACT

EVALUATION AND GRADES

MSW POLICIES AND INTEGRATION OF PRACTICUM AND SEMINAR

INTEGRATION OF FIELD COURSES

PLACE IN MSW CURRICULUM

COURSE OBJECTIVES

ADVANCED PRACTICUM & SEMINAR I/II: SOWK 665/675

PLACE IN MSW CURRICULUM

COURSE OBJECTIVES

SOWK 665 AND SOWK 675 ASSIGNMENTS LEADING TO CAPSTONE COMPLETION

LEARNING CONTRACT

EVALUATIONS AND GRADES

BSSW POLICIES AND INTEGRATION OF PRACTICUM AND SEMINAR

ATTENDANCE AND PARTICIPATION POLICIES

Participation is critical for both SOWK 450 and SOWK 455. It includes regular, on time attendance, attentive nonverbal behavior, participation in discussions, small group exercises, practice activities, and building on and responding to the comments of others. Participation also includes offering feedback and raising questions in seminar and within the agency

Agency standards for dress should be clarified and followed when at the practicum site and representing the agency within the community or at other agencies. Although jeans may be allowed, it is suggested that students substitute casual trousers or khakis as they develop professional stature. Casual attire is appropriate for seminar.

Each student will be expected to co-facilitate or facilitate at least one seminar during a specific week of the semester. Students will research additional information for handouts and/or for discussion on Departmental competencies and behaviors of their topic. Each seminar will be interactive with the facilitators actively engaging their peers in conversation and or debate regarding the topic.

INTEGRATION OF FIELD COURSES

BSSW SENIOR PRACTICUM PLACE IN THE BSSW CURRICULUM

SOWK 455, Social Work Practicum, is taken in the final semester of a student’s academic career with the MSU, M Department of Social Work. It is taken in conjunction with SOWK 450, Integrative Seminar. These courses provide the final links between students’ academic learning in their general education/liberal arts sequence and the social work curriculum

SOWK 455, Social Work Practicum, and SOWK 450, Integrative Seminar, must be taken in the same semester. SOWK 455 is designed to provide a chance to fully engage in the field of social work, practicing all the knowledge, skills, and values to which the student has learned and demonstrated competence throughout their courses in social work and from the liberal arts foundation. The primary purpose of SOWK 450 is to offer the student the opportunity for support and direction in practice. Second, it affords the student social worker a successful transition to that of generalist social work professional by the end of the semester.

PURPOSE OF COURSE

SOWK 455, Social Work Practicum:

The practicum experience is designed to give students agency exposure that permits them to build on coursework by integrating and utilizing knowledge, skills, theories, and values that are applied in generalist social work practice. One of the primary purposes is to allow students contact with individuals, families, groups, organizations or communities involved with social service delivery (as practitioners and clients) who are distinguished by race, ethnicity, culture, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, physical or mental disability, age, and national origin, in order to learn how to provide services adequately. Students will be able to acknowledge the impact of global social services that affect rural social service delivery.

SOWK 450, Integrative Seminar:

The purpose of seminar is to help students clarify and integrate practicum issues and experiences with theoretical knowledge and the values of the profession. Seminar is a place to discuss how and when it is appropriate to intervene at micro, mezzo, and macro levels. Seminar is a safe place for students to confront and learn to deal with the social injustices within the social service system. Seminar will explore the ethical considerations of an intervention and non-intervention. Seminar is designed to be collaborative; therefore students will be required to participate by sharing their experiences. It is only through this sharing that the value of practicum experiences is realized. Students will be expected to utilize Seminar as an environment to demonstrate the completion of the Departmental Competencies and Behaviors.

COURSE LEARNING OBJECTIVES

SOWK 455, Social Work Practicum and SOWK 450, Integrative Seminar:

The student will take a more self-directive role during the practicum experience. It is not expected that the student will have all the knowledge and skills to complete the practicum outcomes at the beginning of the semester, but that the student will seek out opportunities as appropriate to access and acquire knowledge and skills. The objectives of SOWK 455, Social Work Practicum are directly related to, and rely on, the successful completion of the field practicum in addition to materials and information presented in SOWK 450, Integrative Seminar.

The list below of knowledge, skills, and values are a more specific statement of the Department’s Competencies and Behaviors. The faculty believe that each student will have accomplished these by the end of their academic career at MSU, M. Students are expected, while in practicum, to learn or to draw on previous learning experiences, regarding the knowledge, skills, and values outlined here. Students will be asked to demonstrate through documentation in the Seminar assignments, as part of the Capstone expectation, and linkage to the Departmental Competencies and Behaviors.

Course Learning Outcomes:

The outcomes of this course are directly related to and rely on the successful completion of the field practicum in addition to materials and information presented in seminar. Below are the course outcomes followed by the CSWE Competencies and Behaviors that are covered in this course.

  1. Apply information, theory, and concepts from the liberal arts foundation and the social work specific coursework, relying on generalist social work methodology, in the practicum site with clients at the micro, mezzo, and/or macro level. (Competency 3, Behaviors A-B; Competency 6, Behaviors A-B; Competency 7, Behaviors A-D; Competency 8, Behaviors A-E; and Competency 9, Behaviors A-D)
  2. Develop culturally specific interventions based on evidenced-based research, training, and consultation and supervision regarding clients distinguished by race, ethnicity, culture, class, gender or sexual orientation, religion, physical or mental disability, age, and national origin encountered in the practicum site. (Competency 1, Behavior E; Competency 2, Behaviors A-C; Competency 4, Behavior C; Competency 7, Behaviors A-D; and Competency 8, Behaviors A-E)
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of social and economic justice issues at the micro, mezzo, and/or macro levels and advocating for change (Competency 3, Behaviors A-B; and Competency 5, Behaviors A-C)
  4. Recognize the different models of organizational structure and the models of service delivery systems of practicum agency (Competency 6, Behaviors A-B)
  5. Demonstrate an understanding and application of the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics and the Minnesota Board of Social Work Standards of Practice and Ethical Conduct. (Competency 1, Behaviors A-E)
  6. Apply research skills in practicum setting by identifying, researching, and presenting information on a specific issue or concept related to client or practice issues. (Competency 4, Behaviors A-C)
  7. Demonstrate the ability to assess the activities and dynamics of organizations (Competency 9, Behaviors A-D)
  8. Complete 440 hours of practicum experience, practicing generalist social work inclusive of bio-psycho-social assessment, planning strategies for social change, implementation, and evaluation that accurately describe and prioritize the needs of clients, particularly those from groups that are oppressed or are subject to discrimination. (Competency 6, Behaviors A-B; Competency 7, Behaviors A-D; Competency 8, Behaviors A-E; and Competency 9, Behaviors A-D)
  9. Demonstrate the ability to use self-assessment and make performance adjustments as necessary. Competency 1, Behavior B)
  10. Demonstrate the ability to use theoretically and ethically sound social work knowledge, skills, and values in working at the micro, mezzo, and/or macro level with populations at risk and with populations that are distinguished by race, ethnicity, culture, class, gender or sexual orientation, religion, physical or mental disability, age, and national origin. (Competency 1, Behavior A; Competency 2, Behaviors A-C; and Competency 3, Behaviors A-B)
  11. Understand the ethical requirement and rational for professional guidance (supervision) both in seminar and in the practicum site and the use of reflection to incorporate feedback into corrective action. (Competency 1, Behaviors B & E)

SOWK 450 AND SOWK 455 ASSIGNMENTS LEADING TO CAPSTONE COMPLETION

Social Work 450 and Social Work 455 provide the opportunity to demonstrate the accomplishment of the Departmental goals. Successful participation in both, along with the completion of the requisite assignments, is designed to function as the program Capstone as required by the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Practicum and seminar assignments will be given to the student by the Field Liaison, Field Instructor, or a designated agency person to achieve the aforementioned Departmental competencies and behaviors. These may include reading, observation, seminars, training sessions, and or other educational opportunities that arise. Students are required to complete all assignments in an organized, professional, and timely manner. Incomplete assignments may result in the delay of the completion of practicum and graduation.

LEARNING CONTRACT

Each student will complete a Learning Contract (LC), in consultation with the Field Instructor and Field Liaison, which establishes goals and individualized objectives to structure the practicum experience and to assess the student’s accomplishments. The LC (to be discussed in the first class meeting) will be completed during the first two to three weeks of practicum. This document should be specific to the student’s learning opportunities and objectives, be specific regarding the activities in which the student will engage, and provide for a range of experiences at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels. It should also demonstrate the opportunity for increasingly more responsible work with clients and within the agency. It may be amended during the semester upon agreement with the Field Instructor and Field Liaison. The original LC will be completed and submitted on SONIA to the Field Liaison for final approval, as will any amendments.

EVALUATION AND GRADES

SOWK 450, Integrative Seminar and SOWK 455, Social Work Practicum is a Pass or No Credit grade. Although the Field Director is responsible for determining the final grade of each student in practicum, communication with the Field Liaison and Field Instructor and/or other agency personnel is also an integral part of determining that grade

Grading is based on the following:

  • Completion of seminar assignments.
  • Completion of practicum assignments.
  • Attendance and participation at the practicum site and seminar.
  • Well-documented student journals, submitted to the Field Liaison as assigned.
  • Completion of agency project and literature review.
  • Mid-placement evaluation with acceptable ratings.
  • Final evaluation with acceptable ratings.
  • Completion of the Student Evaluation of the Agency.

MSW POLICIES AND INTEGRATION OF PRACTICUM AND SEMINAR

SEMINAR ATTENDANCE AND PARTICIPATION POLICY

Attendance and participation are mandatory for all seminar activities, either on campus or scheduled online. As it is at the field agency, your presence matters. The expectation is that you will be present, on time, and prepared to work in seminar. The only absences that are excused are for hazardous weather, medical, or legal reasons and documentation from a doctor, attorney, or judge must be provided for the latter two. An unexcused absence is defined as any reason for absence outside of those stated in the previous sentence. Students are expected to attend the entire seminar. A pattern of late attendance or leaving early will count toward missed classes. Excessive absence in field seminar is defined as more than one unexcused absence per semester. Excessive absence will result in a No Credit grade. Students should communicate directly with the Field Seminar Instructor about any absences.

INTEGRATION OF FIELD COURSES

FOUNDATION PRACTICUM & SEMINAR I/II: SOWK 615/625 PURPOSE OF COURSE

SOWK 615 Foundation Practicum & Seminar I will allow students the opportunity to integrate social work theory and practice knowledge, skills, ethics and values through generalist social work direct practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and/or communities. In addition, students will apply the social work theory and practice knowledge, skills, ethics and values learned at a foundation level to engage in culturally competent direct social work practice with people representing diversity of age, class, culture, disability, ethnicity, family structure, gender, marital status, national origin, race, religion, and sexual orientation. Each student will work with the Field Director to locate agencies with opportunities for master’s level practice and supervision corresponding with their learning goals.

Foundation Practicum & Seminar I is required for all students admitted with traditional standing to the MSW program. Students will be placed in agencies, for a total of 460 hours during the spring and summer semesters, that can provide appropriate practice experiences and supervision. Students are expected to apply the generalist practice perspective to their experiences with individual clients, families, groups, agencies, and/or communities while in their practicum setting. Seminar will provide additional hours for students to share their practicum experiences and challenges with their student colleagues for problem-solving, consultation, feedback, and support.

SOWK 625 Foundation Practicum & Seminar II is required for all students admitted with traditional standing to the MSW program who have successfully completed or received an “IP” grade for SOWK 615 Foundation Practicum & Seminar I. Students will continue their placement in the same agency as in SOWK 615 totaling 460 hours during spring and summer semesters. Students are expected to continue to apply the generalist social work practice perspective to their experiences with individual clients, families, groups, agencies, and/or communities while in their practicum setting. SOWK 625 will provide on-going problem-solving, consultation, feedback, and support for students as they complete their 460 hours in practicum. SOWK 625 expectations are similar to that of SOWK 615 and will require students to be active participants in field, in the classroom (both in person and online), and with assignments.

PLACE IN MSW CURRICULUM

SOWK 615 Foundation Practicum & Seminar I is taken in the spring semester (5 credits) followed by SOWK 625 Foundation Practicum & Seminar II in the summer semester (5 credits). Students must have completed the first semester foundation coursework SOWK 601 Foundation of Generalist Practice, SOWK 605 Social Welfare Policy and Services, and SOWK 609 Culturally Responsive Communication in Social Work Practice with a grade of B or above prior to enrollment. Foundation Practicum & Seminar I builds on first semester course work and draws on concurrent enrollment with SOWK 611 Macro Social Work Practice and Theory and SOWK 603 Human Behavior in the Social Environment for information and opportunities for application in the field practicum setting.

SOWK 625 Foundation Practicum & Seminar II is taken in the summer semester (5 credits). This course is a continuation of SOWK 615 and SOWK 629 Applied Social Work Research.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

Given consistent attendance, regular participation, and successful completion of assignments in seminar and practicum, students will be able to:

  1. Identify as a professional social worker which includes client advocacy skills, setting appropriate boundaries, appropriate use of supervision and consultation, engagement in life-long learning, and the ability to practice self-reflection [EPAS 2.1.1, PB 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6].
  2. Apply the National Association of Social Worker’s Code of Ethics and other ethical strategies or models to resolve ethical conflicts while recognizing and manage personal values in a professional manner [EPAS 2.1.2 PB 7, 8, 9, & 10].
  3. Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgment by utilizing a variety of sources of knowledge and practice wisdom, analyzing models of assessment, prevention, intervention, and evaluation, and by display of effective oral and written communication skills when engaging with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, and colleagues [EPAS 2.1.3, PB 11, 12, & 13].
  4. Engage and understand diversity and difference in practice by recognizing the impact of privilege or power on a cultural group and gain sufficient self-awareness to eliminate the influence of personal biases when working with diverse groups. Students will also be able to view themselves as learners and engage those with whom they work as informants to embrace the importance of difference in shaping life experiences [EPAS 2.1.4, PB 14, 15, 16, & 17].
  5. Advance human rights and social and economic justice by understanding forms of oppression and discrimination and advocating and engaging in practices for human rights and social and economic justice [EPAS 2.1.5, PB 18, 19, & 20].
  6. Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research by utilizing evidenced-based models and by informing practice experience to inform scientific inquiry [EPAS 2.1.6, PB 21 & 22].
  7. Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment by utilizing conceptual frameworks when participating in assessment, intervention, and evaluation processes and via critique and understanding of the central person in environment practice theory [EPAS 2.1.7, PB 23 & 24].
  8. Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services to client populations by analyzing, formulating, and advocating for policies related and collaborating with colleagues and clients for effective policy action [EPAS 2.1.8., PB 25 & 26]
  9. Respond to contexts that shape practice by continuing education to enhance the quality of social services to current population trends and taking a leadership role in the process of enhancing adequate services to client populations [EPAS 2.1.9, PB 27 & 28].
  10. Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate client systems by building trusting relationships with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities, while collecting, organizing, and interpreting client information using a strengths-based perspective, and setting mutually agreed-upon goals, objectives, intervention and strategies. Students will be able to negotiate, mediate, advocate, and appropriately transition client systems for follow-up services and future intervention strategies, and critically analyze, monitor, and evaluate services. [EPAS 10a-d, PB 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41].

ADVANCED PRACTICUM & SEMINAR I/II: SOWK 665/675

PURPOSE OF COURSE

SOWK 665/675 is designed to offer students the opportunity for direct and indirect evidence-based practice with increasingly more advanced practice situations, to emphasize advanced practice in the small and rural context as appropriate, and to recognize opportunities for leadership in both direct and indirect practice. In practicum settings students draw on all courses and take initiative to apply advanced knowledge, skills, and ethical principles in their contact with client populations, colleagues, and communities. This requires the use of critical thinking, increasing responsibility for application of advanced theories and methodology, and for assuming leadership as appropriate to create change opportunities in both direct and indirect practice. Practice occurs under the supervision of a MSW-prepared social worker that functions as a Field Instructor. One of the primary purposes of this practicum is to provide student contact with individuals, families, groups, organizations or communities who are involved with the social service delivery system and are distinguished by race, ethnicity, culture, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, physical or mental disability, age, and national origin. This will serve to sensitize students to the practice issues germane to these client groups, to learn how to provide services adequately, and to develop collegial relationships with a diverse group of practitioners.

Seminar is the integrative component of the course that promotes the open discussion of students' experiences with their student-colleagues from the perspective of various practice settings. The purpose of seminar is to help students reflect on their experiences within the field agency, and to clarify and integrate theoretical and practice curriculum content in practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Professional development, application of coursework, and issues related to populations at risk and clients distinguished by race, ethnicity, culture, class, gender or sexual orientation, religion, physical or mental disability, age and national origin, will be addressed through case presentation and discussion (face to face and/or on-line). Students will explore the ethical considerations of social justice, intervention and non-intervention in a supportive and collaborative setting.

PLACE IN MSW CURRICULUM

Students in SOWK 665/SOWK675, Advanced Practicum & Seminar I/II must have successfully completed their first year of the MSW program OR have been admitted as Advanced Standing. Successful completion of the first semester of the Specialization year is required for all students. Students take SOWK 665/SOWK 675 during the final two semesters of the Specialization year. Students complete concurrent coursework during the spring semester (SOWK 660 – Advanced Practice with Couples and Families) and summer semester (SOWK 661 – Social Work Program Planning and Administration).

COURSE OBJECTIVES

The focus of SOWK 665/675 is to develop advanced generalist social work skills through supervised practice in the practicum setting. Practicum is reinforced through weekly seminar sessions. SOWK 665/675 utilizes the CSWE Core Competencies and Advanced Behaviors as the learning objectives for the course. The sole learning objective of SOWK 665/ 675 is to ensure that all nine core competencies (Comps) and thirty-three advanced behaviors (ABs) are met through the practicum process. The duties and tasks that reflect the behaviors are introduced through the field practicum, and then reinforced through supervision with the Field Instructor, self-reflection through journal entries, and discussion and consultation in seminar. The attainment of the competencies and advanced behaviors are formally evaluated by:

  1. the Seminar Instructor through in-class discussions and by reviewing journals;
  2. the Field Instructor during supervision and through the evaluations;
  3. the Field Liaison during visits to the agency; and
  4. the student through self-reflection in journal entries, self-evaluation at evaluations, and discussion in class.

SOWK 665 AND SOWK 675 ASSIGNMENTS LEADING TO CAPSTONE COMPLETION

SOWK 665 and SOWK 675 provide the opportunity to demonstrate the accomplishment of the Departmental goals. Successful participation in both, along with the completion of the requisite assignments, is designed to function as the program Capstone as required by the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and College of Graduate Studies.

Practicum and seminar assignments will be given to the student by the Field Director, Field Instructor, or a designated agency person to achieve the aforementioned Departmental competencies and behaviors. These may include reading, observation, seminars, training sessions, and or other educational opportunities that arise. Students are required to complete all assignments in an organized, professional, and timely manner. Incomplete assignments may result in the delay of the completion of practicum and graduation.

LEARNING CONTRACT

By the 4th week of the Spring semester, a Learning Contract and Evaluation Matrix (LC&E) will be developed by the student, in collaboration with the Field Instructor/Task Supervisor, to provide specific educational tasks, activities, duties, and opportunities to demonstrate mastery of the Competencies and Behaviors/Advance Behaviors (C/Bs or C/ABs). The LC&E will document successful completion of the practicum experience through both Spring and Summer semesters. This document will be created electronically and moved from person to person for review, approval, and evaluation.

Tasks, activities, duties, and opportunities may be within the agency itself or within the agency network. Other items may be acceptable from the larger community (for example, Social Work Day at the Capitol or relevant training). The format for the Learning Contract will address micro, mezzo and macro practice. Social work is not a stagnant profession and opportunities may arise during the practicum for student involvement that has not been considered. The plan can be amended to document other significant tasks and projects the student is involved with during the practicum.

Once the student has delineated the tasks, activities, duties, and opportunities, and recorded them electronically on all the appropriate pages of the LC&E Matrix, the Field Instructor/Task Supervisor, they will sign and date the document and forward it to the Field Instructor/Task Supervisor who will approve the LC&E by signing off and dating the document. The LC&E will be returned to the student who will then forward, if applicable, to the Off-site MSW Field Instructor who will sign, date, and return to the student. That document will then be forwarded to the Field Liaison by the student for final approval. The fully approved document will then provide direction for the field practicum and will be used for all evaluations throughout the practicum experience.

EVALUATIONS AND GRADES

Students will be evaluated based on their LC&E when approximately 250 hours and final hours have been completed in practicum. The same LC&E Matrix will be used for each of those evaluations. This Matrix will provide opportunity for first self-evaluation by the student who will then email the Matrix to the Field Instructor/Task Supervisor for their evaluation and comments. The student and Field Instructor/Task Supervisor should meet to talk about their respective scores and comments. The Matrix will then be forwarded to the off-site MSW Field Instructor, if required, for evaluation and comments and returned to the student. The Field Liaison will receive the document once all others have reviewed and added their scores and comments. The Field Liaison will then add their scores and comments. Grades will be assigned by the Field Liaison and Seminar Faculty based on the completed form. This form will then be returned to the student.

At the final evaluation, the student will be responsible to make sure that the document is completed on SONIA, including signatures submitted by the Field Instructor/Task Supervisor [and the off-site MSW Field Instructor if applicable], to the Field Liaison by final due date.

Although a student may not have a requisite grade of ‘Pass’ at the SOWK 615 or SOWK 665 Practicum & Seminar 250 hour field evaluations, students may continue into SOWK 625 or SOWK 675 Practicum & Seminar II with an ‘In-Progress’ grade with successful completion of their concurrent courses. During the summer semester of SOWK 625 or SOWK 675, students will again be evaluated at the completion of final field hours with a final grade assigned by the Field Liaison based on the completed form. Students will not continue in the MSW program without resolving the ‘In-Progress’ grade from SOWK 615 or SOWK 665 (if applicable) by earning a ‘Pass’ grade in Practicum & Seminar and their concurrent courses. A grade of ‘No Credit’ at the end of SOWK 625 or SOWK 675 will result in the student not continuing in the MSW program. The student must initiate a meeting with the Field Liaison, the student’s advisor, and the MSW Program Director to determine steps to complete the MSW program.

The Department may also require a separate evaluation as part of its program evaluation.

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POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR COMPLETION AND TERMINATION

BSSW FIELD PROGRAM

MSW FIELD PROGRAM

PROCEDURES FOR ADDRESSING PROBLEMS IN FIELD

TRANSFER OF HOURS

TERMINATION FROM FIELD PRACTICUM

BSSW FIELD PROGRAM

PRACTICUM COMPLETION

Students who may have difficulty completing their practicum requirements in one semester should communicate this concern to the Field Director as soon as possible. The Field Director is able to work with the student in order to meet the student’s needs and the Department’s requirements. Under some circumstances, students may be able to start their practicum experience early, extend the practicum beyond the traditional 15-week semester, or establish a practicum schedule that will allow them to respond to their unique situations. Such adjustments are the exception and require prior approval from the Field Director and the Field Instructor. Communication and documentation of these arrangements may occur by telephone, letters, in person, fax, or email.

Situations may develop that require a placement change once the semester has started. Changes can be initiated at the request of the Field Instructor, Field Liaison or the student. Such changes are quite rare and will only be considered under unusual circumstances. It will be the Field Director’s decision whether the student is to receive credit for the time spent in the original placement.

MSW FIELD PROGRAM

PRACTICUM COMPLETION

Both foundation and Specialization field practicums and seminar are intended to be completed in practicum settings that provide opportunities for both the spring and summer semesters, with continuous MSW field instruction from one person. If a specific agency is not able to provide the requisite hours for both semesters (spring and summer), the student must initiate the discussion, IN ADVANCE, for concluding the placement in an alternative site and or with an alternate Field Instructor. For example, those seeking placement in a school setting where the school social work program is inactive in the summer MUST have a plan in place by the middle of the spring semester to address the summer requirement. A community education or summer youth employment program that has summer opportunities and is willing to participate, are examples of alternative site options.

Students who may have difficulty completing their practicum requirements in the planned time frame should communicate this to the Field Director as soon as possible, in writing. The Field Director may be able to work with the student to meet the student’s needs and the Department’s requirements. Any adjustments to the time frame are the exception and require prior approval of the program Director, the Field Director and the Field Instructor or Task Supervisor. Documentation of any adjustments will be placed in the student file.

PROCEDURES FOR ADDRESSING PROBLEMS IN FIELD

Situations occasionally develop that require a placement be changed once the semester has begun. At first these difficulties can appear to be insurmountable but can be resolved successfully if they are addressed early in the placement. 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. Disruptions to field placements are infrequent and changes in placement will only be considered under unusual or extenuating circumstances. Examples would include extreme life events, agency disruption, or serious impediments to completing the practicum as planned.

The review process can be initiated at the request of the Field Instructor, Field Liaison, or the student. 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 the issue cannot be addressed through initial contact, the Field Liaison will schedule a meeting involving all applicable individuals to discuss the difficulties. The outcome of this meeting will determine next step – continued field placement with monitoring or termination of placement. Removal from field placement should only take place after review process has been completed, except for placements where an extreme policy violation has occurred. No student can change or terminate field practicum placement without consultation with Field Liaison.

It is the Field Director’s responsibility to make the final decision to terminate student’s placement and, if appropriate, to find an alternative placement. Student will need to set up a time with Field Director to discuss field placement decisions.

TRANSFER OF HOURS

It is the Field Director’s decision as to whether or not the student is to receive credit for the time spent in the original placement. If it is determined that the student will be able to obtain a new placement, the transfer of hours/credits is not guaranteed. The Field Director will determine the hours that can be transferred by considering progress made on the Learning Contract and if learning objectives previously accomplished can be applied to new field practicum.

TERMINATION FROM FIELD PRACTICUM

Termination from field practicum is evaluated on an individual, case-by-case basis. Determination of termination examines the student’s actions and issues specific to the field situation. Immediate termination from field practicum will be considered when student has acted egregiously such as, but not limited to, professional misconduct, violation of NASW Code of Ethics, etc. Termination from field practicum will follow policies outlined in the BSSW Student Handbook or MSW Student Handbook.

APPENDICES