SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK
Field Instructor Orientation
Revised By Sandra Murphy, Ph.D., LMSW
Field Instruction Purposes
Opportunities for students:
Engagement with clients,
agency staff, the
Gaining knowledge of
professional roles and
Being exposed to ethical
issues and learning how to
struggle with these in a
practice setting with
Field Education As A Process:
Students research agencies The agency interview gives
on field education website. students a chance to
practice in a professional
Students prepare their arena.
application and refine their
resume. If a „fit‟ between the
student and agency does
Field office assigns student not occur within the
to an agency for an interview, a second agency
interview, typically an will be identified.
agency that the student
requested on his/her field Agency interview process
application. mimics the job search
Undergraduate, 1st year Students must take
MSW, and 2nd Year responsibility for
Extended Study Students meeting all of the
prepare for their field requirements:
placement via orientation in
the field education labs. – Attendance/Time
Field instructors and – Seminars
students should review the – Assignments, etc.
Field Education Manual. It
contains all policies,
procedures, and forms that
will be needed for the field
SEE WEB SITE
The Typical Student
Incredible mix. Some are seeking a
Young but mature. degree and nothing
Some are very intense. else.
Some are seeking a 2nd Some are reluctant to
Many are experienced. Most are “product”
oriented and not
Some are demanding. “process” focused.
Some are inexperienced Some have very high
and untested. but unrealistic
Most are “now” oriented. expectations.
Courtesy of Dr. Ken Reid, School of Social Work
The Work-Study Student
Per C.S.W.E., credit cannot be granted for past or
current work experience.
Students who are employed by an agency where they want
to complete one of their field placements must submit a
Work-Study Proposal form.
The proposal must detail how their field placement will be
significantly different than their employment; i.e.,
different assignment and different field instructor
(cannot be present supervisor).
These are approved during the placement process.
Arrangements for wages received by the student are
strictly between the agency and the student.
Affiliation & Hold Harmless Agreements
W.M.U. will send these to agencies and they usually
take 4-6 weeks to process.
If the agency has their own agreement, it must be
reviewed by General Counsel and the Business Office.
If a student‟s placement will be extended beyond the
academic calendar, a memo must be submitted on
agency letter head signed by the field instructor
requesting an extension of the student‟s liability
insurance. THIS WILL BE GRANTED FOR
EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY!
Review the student agreement in the field
education application. Students pay a University
fee for professional liability insurance.
Students are NOT covered by workman‟s
Medical expenses are the responsibility of the
student. If immunizations are required, inform
the student right away. These are the
responsibility of the student unless the agency is
willing to cover them.
Student‟s receive basic information about safety
issues in the field labs prior to the start of
placement. Each agency is required to provide an
in-depth orientation to the agency‟s safety
philosophy, procedures, and protocols.
Student Vehicle Issues
It is the agency‟s responsibility to insure that the
student has met all legal requirements for use of their
vehicle for if the student will be expected to use their
car for agency business.
If students drive their personal vehicle for agency
business, they MUST have a valid driver‟s license and
carry the State of Michigan state mandated insurance.
If the student is from out of state, make sure they
are covered as Michigan is a no-fault state.
Student‟s personal vehicle insurance is the first level
for a claim. W.M.U. is the second only if conditions of
the contract are met. Physical damage coverage is not
You MUST make sure the student understands all the
expectations regarding the use of their vehicle during
their field placement.
Time & Attendance: Philosophy
Attendance is the benchmark of the developing professional
Agency expectations should be followed.
Absences should be rare and only for legitimate reasons. All
hours MUST be made up.
If a student is more than 10 hours short at the end of the
semester, they will get a grade of Incomplete and a plan needs
to be made that meets the approval of the field instructor and
the faculty liaison.
A sample time log is in the Appendix of the Field Education
Time & Attendance: Required Hours
The Council on Social Work Education (C.S.W.E.)
drives our policies much like J.A.C.H.O. and C.A.R.F. do
in an agency setting. The following placement hours
that are required by C.S.W.E. are as follows:
B.S.W. Students: 400 hours. The number of hours per
week depends on the semester/session:
Fall/Spring = 16 hours per week.
Spring/Summer I = 16 hrs. in Spring/29 hrs. in Summer I.
1st Year = 428 total hours Fall/Spring.
2nd Year = 472 total hours Fall/Spring.
Advanced standing = 596 total hours for Summer I, Fall,
School Social Work Candidates = 500 total hours
(State of Michigan requirement).
University Break Periods
Students are not required to be in placement
during official University holiday periods. These
are: Thanksgiving, winter break, spirit day, spring
break and other legal holidays. However, this does
not reduce the number of hours required.
If the agency is closed additional days due to
weather for example, the student is granted these
days as well, but the hours are not reduced.
M.S.W. students in school placements are required
to log 500 hours (State of Michigan rule) so may
have to work the University spring break due to
the public school calendar.
The agency needs to ensure that every student receives
an agency-based orientation during the first few weeks
Orientation should consist of the following:
* Acquainting the student with agency‟s services.
* Focus on the scope of possible assignments.
* Becoming familiar with policies and procedures.
* Agency safety training, release of information
and confidentiality provisions.
Each student should begin their learning contract during
this phase of the placement.
We encourage agencies to provide students with similar
benefits regarding reimbursement for expenses, i.e.,
mileage for agency business, telephone, etc.
Making a Determined Effort
Review child/elder abuse
Review of Client Eligibility reporting policies and
for Services procedures.
Review Informed Consent Continually review the
N.A.S.W. Code of Ethics.
Policies and Issues Teach the student how to
Review Duty to Warn
boundaries with clients and
Review Termination Incorporate diversity and
Getting Started: Agency “Shoulds”
Include as much The safety check list
variety as possible. must be reviewed and
completed within the
Include activities such first month of
as observation, placement.
community visits. Emphasis should be
placed on preparing
Include opportunities the student early on
to shadow and be for eventual direct
mentored. client service .
Faculty Liaison Responsibilities
Ongoing communication with
coordinator regarding areas
of concern or problems.
Maintains a positive
relationship with the agency
and is available for problem
solving with students and
Meetings with students to
process their field
experiences during required
seminars and/or individually.
Faculty Liaison & Student
Each student is assigned a faculty liaison who is
responsible for the following:
* Reviewing, approving, and signing the student‟s
* Monitoring student progress by meeting with the
field instructor and student during agency visits,
telephone contacts and/or e-mail contacts.
* Determining the grade in conjunction with the field
instructor. Grades are credit or no-credit.
* AVOID TRIANGULATION BETWEEN THE
STUDENT,THE FACULTY LIAISON AND YOU!
Field Seminars & Faculty Visits
Field seminars offer students and faculty an opportunity to
“process” the field placement, to share experiences and
initiate problem solving.
B.S.W. students participate in a field seminar every other week
M.S.W. 1st year and 2nd year extended study students
participate in 8 seminars at the beginning of the academic year
and 3 additional seminars during the Fall and Spring semesters.
M.S.W. 2nd year students participate in 3 seminars during the
Fall and Spring Semesters
The overall goal is frequent communication between the faculty
liaison and the field instructor via telephone and/or e-mail.
VISITS: There should be a minimum of three (3) face-to-face
visits between the faculty liaison, the student, and the field
instructor during the field placement held at the agency during
the year. Additional visits may be needed if there are issues to
The Learning Contract
Each student is required to develop a learning contract in
conjunction with their field instructor that is the placement
Each contract should include the learning objectives,
activities, and an outcome statement that address each
learning objective. All contracts must contain a section on
safety, ethics, diversity, advocacy for social and economic
justice, and professional and personal development.
Review the field education syllabi (in the Field Education
Manual) and use evaluation tools as a guide.
Each contract needs to be signed by:
* The student * The faculty liaison
* The field instructor(s); both primary and secondary
The Student: Your Role
Make an initial assessment of your student.
Do they DO what they SAY, and SAY what they
How capable are they in making “connections”?
How can you tell they are ready to go “solo”?
How can you keep them “process” focused?
Knowledge of agency mission, services,
structure and staff roles and responsibilities.
Learning about inter-agency and community
Initiation of introspection and awareness of
Learning how to apply the profession‟s values
and understanding ethical obligations based on
the N.A.S.W. Code of Ethics.
EACH STUDENT NEEDS TO TAKE
FOR THEIR LEARNING!
TAKE NOTHING FOR
Learning Styles & Values
Explore your learning style and that of your student.
What kind of teacher are you? Remember, you are
working with adult learners whose style may be
different than yours.
Strive for experiences that will allow your student to
gain proficiency and competency.
Provide multiple opportunities for your student to
practice critical thinking (role playing, case studies
Utilize your “knowing-in-action” and “reflection-in-
action” skills. Above all else, be flexible, challenging,
enthusiastic, conscientious and accessible.
Jump on “teachable”
Let your style shine
– Formal conference
– Group supervision
Supervision: The Commitment
Design a pattern of Identify and establish
instruction that is professional
consistent and boundaries early.
includes a minimum
amount of contact
time = usually one Teach the difference
hour/week---usually between a social and a
more in the beginning professional
of the placement. relationship.
have a direct
relationship to the
Supervision: The Imprint
Students should be an active participant in the
Students should prepare an agenda that includes
questions for discussion and copies of completed
Supervision should help the student to be
introspective and focus on issues of self-
Supervision is NOT therapy.
The Ultimate Question
What do you think you did well?
What was easy for you?
What was difficult for you?
What do you wish you had done differently?
What else could you have done?
And, what else could you have done?
The Evaluation: No Surprises!
Evaluation is an ongoing process and occurs during every
interchange. Consider developing an agency evaluation
mechanism so that your student can give you feedback as
Problems should be brought to the immediate attention of
the student and the faculty liaison. DON‟T WAIT UNTIL
THE END OF SEMESTER!
Broken placements are rare as we have spent time “matching”
and interviewing. Bring problems up RIGHT AWAY!
Your responsibility regarding “gate-keeping” for the
profession is a serious one and heightens the significance
of the evaluation process.
Field Instructors are required to complete two written
evaluations during the course of the placement. You will be
asked to download these forms from the website. Student
signature is required! You will also be asked to complete a
computer generated evaluation on the field education program
at the end of the academic year.
The evaluation should address events outlined in the learning
contract and reflect progress and areas that need
improvement. Evaluation is a two-way street. Have the student
fill out the form and then sit down together and compare them.
If there is a secondary field instructor involved, that person
should also sign the evaluation.
The faculty liaison will review and sign the evaluation and issue
Communication is the key! Alert faculty liaisons
immediately if there are problems. Suggest developing
a learning plan for problems. The longer a problem
goes on, the longer it will take to resolve.
Provide regular and frequent supervision.
Insure that the learning contract reflects
expectations. Students are to abide by the N.A.S.W.
Code of Ethics.
Broken placements are rare and not encouraged.
The Field Advisory Committee
This committee functions in an advisory role to
the coordinator of field education and is active in
the operation of field education activities.
Members meet quarterly and are appointed to
two-year terms by the Director of the School.
Members are from diverse practice areas with
various levels of experience and expertise.
Field work is a crucial, required element of social work education
and it is where the student spends the largest number of hours
Field education is a learning experience that takes on a work-like
appearance at times. Students should not be expected to
function as regular agency staff. WORK-STUDY STUDENTS
STRUGGLE WITH THIS!
The notion of EDUCATION allows that appropriate risk taking,
constructive criticism, and an open arena to grow as a
professional is highly encouraged. It is developed in a safe and
trusting environment that encourages two-way communication.
You all work in enormously accelerated, changing,
and highly stressful environments.
You have workload and pressure to do more
We want you to hopefully see your student as a
Look forward to their time with you and have fun
LET YOUR PASSION FOR YOUR
PROFESSION SHOW THROUGH!
THANK YOU !
We want to thank you for your willingness to
serve as a field instructor thus becoming a highly
visible, important, and integral component of the
overall educational experience with our students.
WE APPRECIATE YOUR EFFORTS AND