People with mental illness are blamed for misuse of guns and mass shootings; people of color are targeted in countless and violent ways; and those who are poor face overwhelming inequities and lack of access at all turns. Sadly and outrageously, oppression and injustice surround us.
The Field Educator, an online journal produced by the Simmons School of Social Work, promotes knowledge exchange among the social work field education community.
Abstract: The importance of field education in preparing social work students for professional practice is globally acknowledged. At times considered less desirable than placements with internal supervision, current workplace and tertiary education contexts see an increase in field education with external supervision. This paper reports on qualitative research that explored the experiences of key stakeholders in social work field education with external supervision in Australia. Findings highlight that field education with external supervision, like other social work practice learning opportunities, is focused on learning about practicing social work. Potential and inherent challenges of placements with external supervision are discussed.
Abstract: The study is a content analysis of twenty undergraduate field education manuals from one northeast state using NVIVO, a qualitative data analysis software. The authors examined how the manuals’ content supports program transparency in gatekeeping into the profession and the roles of faculty field liaisons and agency field supervisors. In the transition to the 2015 Council on Social Work Education Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (CSWE EPAS), the authors also examined the incorporation of the EPAS competencies. The manuals showed some consistency but also variation of content and detail.
The development of competence in the professional practice of social work is a primary objective of all social work programs. Field education is the “signature pedagogy” of the profession (Council on Social Work Education, 2008). It offers students pivotal learning opportunities through which knowledge can be integrated and applied to practice, and competence in practice skills can be developed. Indeed, it has been identified as the most significant component of the social work curriculum in preparing competent, effective, and ethical social workers (Bogo, 2006). However, field education faces a significant challenge in finding supervisors and internships for students. This paper describes the efforts of the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto to encourage students to make a commitment to the training of future generations of social workers.
Changing Systems: Integrating Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) in Social Work Practice
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), among persons 17 and older, one in eleven or 8.6% of the population has been diagnosed with a substance use disorder (Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality [CBHSQ], 2013). Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is a comprehensive and integrated public health approach to the delivery of early intervention and treatment services for persons with, and at risk of developing, substance use disorders (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA], 2015). The use of screening and brief intervention for alcohol use, specifically SBIRT, has been well established in the literature as a primary means in helping individuals recognize and change unhealthy patterns of use (SAMHSA, 2015). This article will suggest ways that SBIRT training can be integrated into the curriculum of social work classroom and field education.
Field education for social work students is one of the most critical components of their training and educational experience. In fact, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) has identified field education as the “signature pedagogy” of social work (CSWE, 2008; Wayne, Bogo, & Raskin, 2010). Inherent in the training of students is the expectation that students will receive professional and appropriate supervision and guidance from field instructors (Knight, 2001). It is important for social work programs to provide support and training for all field instructors to ensure the success of the students, retain outstanding field instructors and continue to create high quality practicum experiences (Globerman & Bogo, 2003; Murdock, Ward, Ligon, & Jindani, 2006).
The Council on Social Work Education has referred to the field experience as the “signature pedagogy” of social work education (Wayne, Bogo, & Raskin, 2010). Traditionally, social work field placements have been located off-campus at community agencies and facilities. However, this traditional arrangement has been challenged on two fronts. Schools of social work have increasingly large enrollments of students, a number of whom have life demands that affect their education, and some who have disabilities. Agencies find it difficult to train interns because of fiscal constraints and concerns about productivity and liability. This article describes the ways in which the Rhode Island College (RIC) School of Social Work has taken a step back and, instead of identifying a “perfect fit” for social work students within various agencies, began to discover where social workers can be matched within existing structures in the college.
Integrating Research and Practice in Baccalaureate Field Education Through Collaborative Student/Faculty Research
Social work students are expected to learn to be both consumers and creators of research. This article will describe the efforts of the Shippensburg University Department of Social Work and Gerontology BSW program to integrate research and practice in field education. In 2004, a large number of students had their final semester internships at child welfare agencies in the counties surrounding Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. Four students also participated in the Child Welfare Education for Baccalaureates (CWEB) program, and collaborated with faculty to conduct qualitative and quantitative research at their placement sites. Benefits and dilemmas of the CWEB program are presented.
[Editor’s Note: In our Spring 2015 Issue, the Conversation featured an interview between Gary Bailey, Professor of Practice at the Simmons School of Social Work, and Cynthia Williams, Assistant Dean for Field Education and Community Partnerships at Washington University’s Brown School, about the events in Ferguson, MO in the Summer of 2014. More than a year has passed since Ferguson, and the issues of police brutality and the killing of unarmed people of color remain ever present. We’ve asked Gary Bailey back, to be interviewed by Field Educator Editor Kim Harriman. Kim is also the Field Director at the Simmons School of Social Work. In this interview, Gary looks back over a tumultuous year and also discusses his ideas about how field educators can leverage their unique perspectives to help their schools be more responsive to the community.]
What We're Reading
Staying current with scholarship enriches the work of field educators: it teaches us innovative ways to solve perennial field problems, suggests new readings for field seminars, keeps us abreast of current debates in social work education, and even inspires us in our own writing on theory and research. “What We’re Reading” presents our brief summaries of the findings of recent publications in field education. Our emphasis is on implications for practice. Readers are encouraged to suggest articles or books for future review.
News & Notes
We are pleased to share several organizational developments at the North American Network of Field Educators and Directors (NANFED). In August, we gained federal non-profit status as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization. We also expanded our board of directors.
Editor’s Note: In July 2015 Jo Ann McFall completed her term as Chair of the Council on Social Work Education’s Council on Field Education and simultaneously retired from 23 years at the School of Social Work at Michigan State University. Jo Ann is the 2015 recipient of NANFED’s Dean Schneck Memorial Award for Distinction in Social Work Field Education. Field Educator invited Lisa Richardson to pay tribute to Jo Ann’s contributions as a leader in field education.
I still remember the first time I was in a meeting with Jo Ann McFall. It was in Philadelphia, at the 2008 Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Annual Program Meeting, when I was just slightly over a year into my position as MSW Field Director. Like many social work field directors, I came from direct practice into the role. Probably also like many, I spent most of the first year discovering what I didn’t know about field education. The early morning meeting was for Consortium Chairs of the North American Network of Field Educators and Directors (NANFED). Like so many other occasions in that first year, it was accelerating my sense of what I did not know. But I was struck by Jo Ann’s contributions: insightful, direct, pragmatic, and credible. I was relieved to identify someone who I could reach out to as a mentor.
Field Educator is made possible by the Arnold & Irma Bloom '51SW Fund for SSW.