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MU Home » Academics » School of Public Affairs » Department of Social Work

Field Practicum

Introduction

The field practicum is one of the identified sequences in the Program's curriculum. The field placement is a clearly designed educational experience. The student investigates the field-agency policies, service-delivery system, and organizational structure upon first entering the agency. The first field assignment is the completion of a field-agency agreement that is built upon an understanding of the agency and a definition of the educational goals to be accomplished while in the practicum. Students actually carry a case load within the agency under direct supervision of the field instructors. In addition, students assess client systems from micro, mezzo, and macro perspectives. They work with client systems of varying sizes, and are expected to use interventions that include individual, family, group, organizational, and community systems. It is with these client systems that students implement models of practice-theories and skills and utilize the generalist problem-solving approach. Sensitivity to human diversity is encouraged by requiring students to work with clients who are from backgrounds unlike their own.

Self-awareness is promoted by the active use of supervision and by the use of weekly logs and process recordings in which students record, not only their activities, but also their feelings, insights and concerns.

During the field practicum the student also completes a research project. The Field Instructor assists the student in designing a research project that is congruent with the practicum and the agency. Students are required to participate in relevant in-service training and workshops while in the field practicum. Also, the students are required to visit and familiarize themselves with other human service agencies.

Field Practicum Schedule

Students are required to complete a minimum of 400 hours of field work under the supervision of a field instructor and attend a weekly seminar class. Students are required to work in their field placement agencies the entire semester and participate in weekly seminar classes even if they complete the 400 hours before the end of the semester. Students are reminded that their internship is a course requirement that lasts the entire semester. The field practicum course is taken in the students' senior year. Time sheets are used for recording hours completed in the agency. Students' total grades are based on performance in the field, evaluation, written assignments, and preparation for field seminar classes.

Field Seminar Class

The field seminar class meets on a weekly basis. The field seminar class is designed so that students can discuss their involvement with cases in their assigned agencies. Students are encouraged to process issues, concerns and problems encountered in the agency. Also, students are expected to complete classroom and homework assignments. Lectures are designed to enhance students' understanding of generalist social work practice.

 

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