All field coordinator articles

Complex and Competing Demands in Field Education

Published October 2012

by Page Walker Buck, MSS, PhD
Assistant Professor & Chair of Field Education Curriculum, Graduate Social Work Department, West Chester University

Janet Bradley, MSS, MLSP
Director of Field Education, Undergraduate Social Work Program, West Chester University

Lydia Robb
Director of Field Practicum, Graduate Social Work Program, West Chester University

Rachel Shapiro Kirzner
Director of Social Services, Specialized Health Services, Public Health Management Corporation
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The changing demographic, economic, academic, societal, and political contexts of field education in social work have been topics of much discussion and scholarship since the mid-1990s. Recent additions to this changing context include the elevation of field education to the “signature pedagogy” of social work education and the pervasiveness of commercialization within higher education. This study explores the realities of these contexts through the lens of the Field Director. Findings from fifteen in-depth, qualitative interviews suggest that Field Directors experience a complex set of competing demands at a time when needs, requests, and requirements from students, university administrators, and accreditors are on the rise, while resources in the field are diminishing.

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