The social work field education is in many ways the culmination of undergraduate social work education. It provides students the opportunity, under expert supervision, to apply the knowledge, practice the skills, and examine the values learned in the classroom. The community and agency context challenges the student to continue to expand the knowledge base and refine their practice skills as interaction takes place with clients of human service agencies.
The overall goals of the field education include the preparation of entry level social work generalist practitioners who are trained in the planned change process, capable of the different application of skills and methods, who ascribe to the values and ethics of the social work profession, and who believe in the overall general philosophies and purposes of social work.
The field education takes place during the senior year after successful completion of the general education and required academic coursework. A student may enter SWK 432, Field Education, after admission to the social work program and completion of all required social work foundation courses with at least a 2.50 social work grade point average. This includes SWK 200, 255, 256, 330, 331, 335, 340, 426, and 427. Students must also have completed SOC 278, Research methods, or PSY 242, Research Methods in Psychology, and PSY 241, Introduction to Statistics, prior to entering the field. Students must have earned an overall grade point average of 2.00.
Field education consists of 450 clock hours of supervised experience over one semester, typically 32 hours per week for 15 weeks. Known as block placement, this arrangement does not allow for enrollment in any other classes other than the required concurrent seminars, SWK 433, Field Seminar, SWK 434, Field Research, and SWK 491, Senior Seminar. Students who by necessity will be employed during the time they are enrolled in field experience should discuss their work schedule with the Field Coordinator to determine if individual accommodations are necessary.
A formal application and admissions process is used in final selection and placement of students. In the spring of each year, students who anticipate enrollment in field education during the next academic year complete an “Intent to Apply for Field Education Form” (See Appendix C). This allows the Field Coordinator to begin appropriate planning well in advance of placement. In the semester immediately prior to the field education, students are required to attend four pre-placement sessions, and to complete the “Field Experience Application” (See Appendix D), and submits it to his or her advisor for review.
The application includes a narrative section on biographical information and field education expectations, which should be reviewed in final draft form by the advisor prior to submission for signature. The completed and signed application along with an official transcript is submitted to the Field Coordinator for review by the Field Education Committee. The Field Education Committee interviews each student. The Committee may recommend enrollment in field experience, enrollment with conditions, or not to enroll in field experience. The student may appeal the decision of the Committee through the Social Work Program.
All Committee activities are strictly confidential.
Placement procedures and screening are individualized based on student needs and learning opportunities in the agency. Extensive coordination and planning is necessary as students prepare to enter their field education and is a major task in the advisement process. The majority of field placements are located in Minot; however, agencies elsewhere in the state and at several locations in Canada are also considered. Students considering an out of Minot placement are responsible for housing and transportation expenses and are required to return to campus for weekly seminars.
The preplacement process begins in the semester prior to the field experience. Four mandatory preplacement meetings are held to orient students to the application process, and the requirements and expectations of the student in field placement.
All students are required to carry professional liability insurance while enrolled in the field experience. Insurance is available through the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) for students. In order to be covered by the insurance by NASW, students must join NASW early in the semester, prior to which they begin placement and apply for liability insurance as soon as they receive membership. Students also have the option to apply for liability insurance with a private carrier if they so desire.
Evidence of enrollment of liability insurance is required and must be presented prior to beginning of the field experience.
Additional information regarding the field placement experience is found in the current Field Education Manual, available through the Program.