All articles

Using Field Assignments to Enhance Student Contributions and Program-Setting Relationships

Published May 2020

by Corrisa M. Malat, BSW
James Madison University

Cynthia A. Hunter, MSW
James Madison University

Becky A. Shaw, BSW
Western State Hospital

Introduction

Field directors are challenged to accommodate competing demands from students, administration, and placement agencies (Buck, Bradley, Robb, & Kirzner, 2012). Logistics of commuting, cost, caregiving needs, and needs for flexible scheduling are all common limitations that field directors consider (Bradley & Buck, 2014). As the broker and main point of contact for placements, field directors are also responsible for developing and maintaining strong relationships with agencies in their community (Bradley & Buck, 2014). With an increase of students entering field and competition from other local colleges, options can be scarce.

Additionally, it is a time-consuming process for field directors to develop new placements, recruit and orient field instructors, and negotiate affiliation agreements (Buck et al., 2012). Maintaining relationships long term reduces field director workload in searching for new placements. The positive effect of student contributions through well-structured field assignments on these working relationships can be easily overlooked.

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Recent Articles of Note

Published May 2020

by Ashley Roberge, MSW Candidate
Simmons University

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.
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A Tribute to Trudy Zimmerman

Published May 2020

by Compiled by Field Educator Staff
Trudy Zimmerman, EdM

Over the past 40 years, Trudy Zimmerman has offered her educational and administrative knowledge to Boston University’s School of Social Work. From the start of her career at Boston University in 1980, Trudy made her mark in the School of Social Work. She was known by colleagues as someone with “exquisitely good judgement” who shared her wisdom and kindness to all. Trudy was viewed as an “invaluable source of help” and a “beacon of light” for many students. Her devotion to social work was so palpable that one colleague shared, “Trudy’s insights, experiences, and commitment to the signature pedagogy of social work education is an extraordinary strength and great light in BUSSW.”

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How Many Hours is Enough? The Effects of Changes in Field Practicum Hours on Student Preparedness for Social Work

Published May 2020

by Megan M. Petra, PhD
The University of Toledo

Sherry Tripepi, MSW
The University of Toledo

Louis Guardiola, MSW
The University of Toledo

Abstract

The field practicum is social work’s signature pedagogy, but no empirical research has established how many hours students need to develop professional competence. Extensive hours pose hardships for working students, so research should determine minimum and optimal numbers of practicum hours. This quasi-experimental study evaluated changes to field hours for BSW, Foundation MSW, and Advanced MSW students. Reduced hours did not harm BSW and Advanced MSW students’ preparedness. However, increased hours may have aided Foundation MSW students’ skill development. Social work programs should consider students’ professional development and their school, work, and family obligations when setting field practicum hours requirements.

Keywords:  field practicum; field hours; practice readiness; social work internship; evaluation

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Graduating Seniors Prepare Classmates for Practicum

Published May 2020

by Pam Clary, PhD
Missouri Western State University

Jana Frye, MSW
Missouri Western State University

Teresa Flaugher, BSW
Missouri Western State University

Abstract

This qualitative study explored the advice of graduating BSW students (N=180) to upper-level students about to embark on their practicum field experience. Using a content analysis methodology, students’ field experience reflections on preparing for the practicum centered on three major themes:  practical tips for picking a practicum, being teachable, and finding value in the practicum experience. The desired goal for this inquiry was to provide information that would prove useful to students entering their practicum experience, the field instructors providing on-site supervision, and the BSW field directors conducting orientation to both of these groups.

Keywords:  practicum; BSW students; content analysis; field experiences

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Integrated Field and Collaborative Opportunities for MSW Students at Campus Health

Published May 2020

by Lisa de Saxe Zerden, PhD
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Meryl Kanfer, MSW
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Amy S. Levine, MSW
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

 [Authors’ Note: This paper was supported by grants from the Health Resources and Services Administration: G02HP279900201 and M01HP31370.]

Introduction

A 2018 Annual Report from the Center for Collegiate Mental Health on college and university campuses reported a steady increase in the number of college students seeking mental health services (Center for Collegiate Mental Health, 2019). Yet, nationally and locally, universities are grappling with how to provide needed services despite limited resources (Blake, 2019; Xiao et al., 2017). Given this, an innovative pilot was created for the dual benefit of expanding integrated behavioral health field placements at one School of Social Work (SSW) while also providing more comprehensive integrated services at Campus Health (CH), the health care center for the student population at the flagship campus of a public university located in the southeastern United States. 

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Generational Learning in Social Work: Is it Them or Us?

Published May 2020

by Andrew Mantulak, PhD
King’s University College at Western University

Alenka Bullen, MSc
The Brain and Mind Institute at Western University

Mary Kay Arundel, MSW
King’s University College at Western University

Abstract

Field education is the signature pedagogy of social work programs, serving to develop the skills and competencies required for this professional designation. This qualitative study explores the experiences of social workers supervising students in the current millennial and Z generations in their social work field placements. Field supervisors indicated challenges particular to the current generation of social work students as coming in the form of a lack of confidence, initiative, and work ethic, and difficulty accepting feedback and engaging in critical self-reflection. The findings highlight the need for social work educators to revisit traditional approaches to teaching and evaluation. 

Keywords: social work; field education; generation; qualitative 

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Trauma-Informed Interview Coaching: An Innovative Approach to Achieve Equal Opportunity and Social Justice in Field Education

Published May 2020

by Danielle E. Brown, MSW
University of Southern California

Susan L. Hess, MSW
University of Southern California

Melissa Indera Singh, EdD
University of Southern California

“Poor people, people of color especially, are much more likely to be found in prison than in institutions of higher education.” – Angela Davis*

*From Now on The News with Maria Hinijosa interview with Angela Davis on February 23, 2007. Full interview text available at http://www.pbs.org/now/news/308-transcript.html

Introduction

In 2018, field faculty at the University of Southern California Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work launched a pilot project called Trauma-Informed Interview Coaching (TIIC). The project’s goals were to support justice-involved MSW students during the field placement process, to decrease failed agency interviews, and to reduce agency replacements. This project is ongoing and data on its outcomes are being collected and evaluated.

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A New Partnership: Transforming the Field Education Landscape – Intersections of Research and Practice in Canadian Social Work Field Education

Published May 2020

by Julie Drolet, PhD
University of Calgary

Introduction

Practicum, also known as field education, is the signature pedagogy for a wide range of professional education programs, especially social work (Ralph, Walker, & Wimmer, 2007; Wayne, Bogo, & Raskin, 2010). Social work is a profession concerned with helping individuals, families, groups, and communities to enhance their individual and collective well-being (Canadian Association of Social Workers, n.d.). With approximately 50,000 social workers in Canada, the profession plays a critical role in the delivery of social services in the labor market (Stephenson, Rondeau, Michaud, & Fiddler, 2001). The social work profession and the accrediting and regulatory bodies for social work education recognize the critical importance of practicum in preparing the future social service workforce (Bogo, 2015). Field placements provide real-world practice experience in which knowledge, skills, and values that students learn in the classroom are applied within practice settings under the supervision of a qualified professional (Ralph et al., 2007). Many schools of social work offer a traditional agency-based model of field education in which unpaid, voluntary, one-on-one “tutoring” is provided by professional social workers, or field instructors (Bogo, 2006). Field instructors serve as mentors, teachers, and role models for practicum students by demonstrating the necessary knowledge, skills, attitudes, values, and ethics required to be a practicing professional through supervised application of practice in the field (Ayala et al., 2018; Barretti, 2007; Bogo, 2006).

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A Conversation on a New Canadian Social Work Field Education and Research Collaboration Initiative

Published May 2020

by Julie Drolet, PhD
University of Calgary

Kim Harriman, MSW
Field Educator Editor-in-Chief

[Editor’s Note: This issue’s Conversation features an interview by Kim Harriman, MSW, Editor-in-Chief of the Field Educator with Julie Drolet, PhD, Professor in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary and Project Director of the Transforming the Field Education Landscape partnership. Her research in the field of international social work focuses on disaster social work, immigrant settlement and integration, social protection, social development, and social work field education. She is a registered social worker with the Alberta College of Social Workers (ACSW). She collaborates with several interdisciplinary teams of scholars on various research initiatives, and employs numerous students as research assistants. We invite readers to learn more by reading Dr. Drolet’s article in the Practice Digest section of this issue, entitled “A New Partnership:  Transforming the Field Education Landscape – Intersections of Research and Practice in Canadian Social Work Field Education.”]

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Guest Editorial: Advancing Field Education as a Key Area of Focus in the 2022 EPAS

Published May 2020

by Estella C. Williamson, DSW
Seattle University

[Editor’s Note:  Estella C. Williamson is the Social Work Field Director at Seattle University. Dr. Williamson also teaches advanced practice and human behavior coursework in the MSW program. She currently serves as chair of the CSWE Council on Field Education. Dr. Williamson earned her DSW from the University of Pennsylvania and her MSW from the University at Albany, State University of New York. Her research interests are in field education, mental health, and HIV prevention among Black women. Dr. Williamson has professional social work practice experience in child welfare, outpatient mental health and addictions, prenatal services, and HIV clinical and preventive care. She has instructional and curriculum development experience. Dr. Williamson has also maintained a private clinical practice in New York State for many years.]

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Multi-Layered Supervision: The Role of Team-Based Approaches in Field Education

Published May 2020

by Mary E. Hylton, PhD
Salisbury University

Jill Manit, PhD
Sacred Heart University

Introduction

According to Noble and Irwin (2009), social work supervision balances ethically-informed, competent, and accountable practice with a focus on a learner-centered partnership. As a distinct form of supervision, field instruction focuses on the educational outcomes for students. This focus distinguishes field instruction from staff supervision. While staff supervision focuses heavily on managerial responsibilities such as task coverage, equitable caseloads, and client outcomes, field supervisors are also educators who must balance agency needs with student learning needs. Bogo and McKnight (2006) identify three essential functions of field supervision: 1) the educational function, 2) the supportive function, and 3) the administrative function. The administrative function of field supervision focuses on task assignments and monitoring student performance according to the agency’s practices and policies. By contrast, the educational function emphasizes professional growth, including skill development, and awareness. Finally, the supportive function ensures that the supervisor assists the supervisee in handling stress while gaining appropriate autonomy through encouragement and reassurance. Quality field supervision involves the incorporation of all three functions.

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Letter from the Editor: Field Education and COVID-19

Published May 2020

by Kim Kelly Harriman, MSW
Field Educator Editor-in-Chief

We would be hard-pressed to release an issue of this journal without acknowledging the global pandemic that has all but stopped the world in its tracks, and taken thousands of lives along the way. One day we were all going about our business, and the next (or so it seemed), our work worlds became virtual, our personal stories complicated and pained, and the future uncertain.

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The Dean Schneck Memorial Award for Distinction in Social Work Field Education Winner: Ronnie Glassman

Published May 2020

by Compiled by Field Educator Staff
Ronnie Glassman was presented her award by members of the NANFED Board of Directors Pictured from left to right: Angela Savage, Michele Sienkiewicz, Ronnie Glassman, Theresia Johnson-Ratliff, Julie Kates, Froylana Heredia-Miller, and Kimberly Gibson

Dr. Ronnie Glassman was honored with the Dean Schneck Memorial Award for Distinction in Social Work Field Education at NANFED’s annual reception at the 2019 CSWE APM in Denver. At the presentation of the award, Dr. Glassman was acknowledged as, “one of the early leaders of field education as we know it today; an advocate, organizer, and role model for hundreds of field directors over her long career.”

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Selection of Field Education Management Software in Social Work

Published May 2020

by Kristen Samuels, MSW
University of Phoenix

Laurel Iverson Hitchcock, PhD
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Melanie Sage, PhD
University at Buffalo

Abstract

As the signature pedagogy of social work education, field education is a critical and complicated aspect of program development. Effectively managing this complex process is a priority and requires a significant amount of administrative activity to maintain compliance and manage experiences for all stakeholders. While countless field placement software platforms are available to streamline processes and improve efficiencies, little guidance is available to support programs to strategically evaluate, select, and implement a software platform. In this article, the authors provide a model for vetting field placement software using a case study. The article concludes with implications for other universities considering adopting software to manage placements within their social work field education departments.

Keywords: social work; field education; placement software; technology; case study

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Recent Articles of Note

Published October 2019

by Ashley Roberge, MSW Candidate
Simmons University

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.
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Letter From the Editor: “The Wisdom to Know the Difference”

Published October 2019

by Kim Kelly Harriman, MSW
Field Educator Editor-in-Chief

Show me a social work field department that is not engaged daily in huddles: making complicated decisions, brokering tailored plans, toiling over ethical quandaries, or determining the readiness of students for placement (a humbling responsibility), and I will assure you that the academic year has not yet begun.

Such is the life and the energy of field education: preparing diverse groups of students to bring their own humanity to the table – all in the name of impacting the humanity of others. I think we call that the “professional use of self.” We know that the process goes better sometimes than it does others.

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Extending a Field Program to a Satellite Campus

Published October 2019

by Anita R. Gooding, MSW
Portland State University

Michele Belliveau, PhD
West Chester University
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Introduction

According to data from the National Association of Social Workers (2015), the social work profession is still predominantly female and white, though recent data from the Council on Social Work Education (2018) suggest the social work student body is more racially and ethnically diverse, particularly among part-time students. Part-time students in both BSW and MSW programs are also older—ages 25 to 34—than their full-time counterparts (Council on Social Work Education [CSWE], 2018). As urban, suburban, and rural communities around the U.S. continue to become more diverse, social work programs aim to graduate students competent to practice in a variety of contexts.

Over the past decade, the social work literature has increasingly acknowledged that the field requires not only effective practice with diverse populations, but a social work student body and workforce reflective of this diversity as well (Doyle & George, 2008; McCormack, 2008). According to the George Washington University Health Workforce Institute (2018) the field is on its way. Researchers found that recent graduates from social work programs were diverse in age, race/ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Most also entered the field with previous work experience.

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Self-Care Among Field Practicum Supervisors: Assessing The Self-Care Wellshop™

Published October 2019

by J. Jay Miller, PhD
University of Kentucky

Erlene Grise-Owens, EdD
The Wellness Group, ETC

Theresia M. Pachner, MSSW
University of Kentucky
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Abstract

Few studies have empirically examined training approaches aimed at improving self-care among field supervisors. This brief documents the assessment of The Self-Care Wellshop™, a training that was delivered to field supervisors (N=40) in one southeastern state. Evaluators employed a retrospective pre-post design to examine variables of interest. Overall, findings indicate that participants were satisfied with the training. As well, analyses reveal significant increases in self-care knowledge and value associated with self-care. Data from this study suggest that specific attention to proffering self-care trainings to field supervisors can be beneficial and may have implications for socializing students matriculating into the profession.

Keywords: Self-Care; Training Model; Field Supervisors
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A Conversation on the Experience of Field Education for Students with Disabilities

Published October 2019

by Sharyn DeZelar, PhD
St. Catherine University

Lisa R. Kiesel, PhD
St. Catherine University

Elizabeth Whitney, MSW
Simmons University
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[Editor’s Note: This issue’s Conversation features an interview by Elizabeth Whitney, MSW, Assistant Director of Field Education-Curriculum and Training for Simmons University’s online program [email protected], with Sharyn DeZelar, PhD, MSW, Assistant Professor and Lisa R. Kiesel, PhD, MSW, Associate Professor, both at St. Catherine University. They explore themes from their recent article (written with Elizabeth Lightfoot, Professor at University of Minnesota School of Social Work) Challenges, Barriers, and Opportunities: Social Workers With Disabilities and Experiences in Field Education published in the Journal of Social Work Education in 2018 available at https://doi.org/10.1080/10437797.2018.1507365]

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Riva Zeff: On Directing Field, Mentoring, and Lessons Learned

Published October 2019

by Janet Bradley, MSS, MLSP
West Chester University

Cindy Hunter, MSW
James Madison University

Julia Moen, MSW
Meta Associates
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[Editor’s Note: Riva Zeff, MSW is retiring after 50 years in foster care, adoptions, and social work field education. To celebrate her contributions during 11 years (3 as co-chair) on the Baccalaureate Program Directors Field Education Committee, three current and former field directors recently interviewed her. Our Kudos for this issue are compiled excerpts from that interview. The full interview is available through StoryCorps at https://archive.storycorps.org/interviews/reflections-of-a-social-work-field-educator.]

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Reflections on Teaching and Learning in Field Education: A Teacher-Scholar Model

Published October 2019

by Kelly Jay Poole, PhD
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Fran Pearson, MSW
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Tyreasa Washington, PhD
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Yarneccia D. Dyson, PhD
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Michael Thull, MSW
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

John Rife, PhD
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Wayne Moore, PhD
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
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Introduction

Field education has long been an important part of professional social work education (Abbott, 1942). The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) 2015 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards states that social work field education is the signature pedagogy of BSW and MSW programs (CSWE, 2015).

Developing high quality field education programs must be a high priority for social work educational programs. However, internal and external barriers often exist to achieving this goal. Externally there is often competition between schools in close proximity to one another for quality field placements and field instructors. Internally, increased emphasis on research and publication placed on faculty members can limit time available for full and active investment in the field supervision process (Bogo, 2010; Dalton, Stevens, & Maas-Brady, 2009).

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Voting is Social Work: What Field Educators Need to Know

Published October 2019

by Andrea Munn, MSW Candidate
University of Mississippi

Amy Fisher, JD
University of Mississippi

Beth M. Lewis, DSW
Bryn Mawr College

Kanako Okuda, DSW
Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, City University of New York

Rebecca L. Sander, PhD
Immediate Past Chair, ACOSA
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Introduction

Voting is social work. Voting is a fundamental right of citizenship, hard-won by people of color, women, and immigrants over the course of United States history. The extent to which voting is woven into our individual and collective identities as U.S. citizens is shown by the many benefits voting provides. Voting can improve personal wellbeing by lessening mental health consequences related to marginalization and oppression (Sanders, 2001), and by providing a personal sense of empowerment (Davis, 2010). Increased voting can benefit communities by resulting in increased community resources (Martin, 2003; Martin & Claibourn, 2013). Voting is one of the most direct levers affecting social work policy. Simply put, social welfare policy reflects the views of those who vote. For example, an increase in participation by low-income voters leads to policies that reduce income inequality (Avery, 2015), and result in greater spending on healthcare for low-income children, higher minimum wages, and more regulations of predatory lending (Franko, 2013). Addressing these issues, at the personal, community, and national levels, lies at the heart of social work as a profession.
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“How to Connect the Two”: Social Media in Field Education

Published October 2019

by Lin Fang, PhD
University of Toronto

Maria Al-Raes, MA
University of Toronto

Vivian F. Zhang, MSW
University of Toronto
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Abstract

Social media use is growing rapidly among the general public. This study examined social media use patterns among field instructors and explored the benefits and barriers of using social media in field education. Data were collected through a cross-sectional survey with close- and open-ended questions. A total of 153 field instructors participated. The results showed that the majority of field instructors have not used social media in field education. They also identified advantages and challenges of social media use in field education. Future research should further explore how social media can be used to strengthen the field education effort.

Keywords: social media; social networking; field education; social work education; student supervision
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Challenges and Recommendations for Rural Field Education: A Review of the Social Work Literature

Published October 2019

by Rachel L. Wright, PhD
Appalachian State University

Kristin W. Harmon, MSW
Appalachian State University
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Abstract

Individuals in rural communities are in need of social workers who are prepared to address their needs. Field education helps prepare students for professional practice, and should be structured to address the needs of rural communities. This literature review examines the social work literature for best practices in rural field education and provides recommendations to improve field education in rural settings.

Keywords: rural; literature review; field education
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Trauma-Informed Field Instruction and Models of Practice

Published October 2019

by Katharine Dill, PhD
Marist College
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Introduction

This review examines the application of a trauma-informed perspective to field education programs and models of supervision. There are many dimensions to this topic. While there is emerging literature on trauma-informed social work supervision and field instruction (Berger & Quiros, 2016; Knight, 2018) there remains minimal exploration of how a trauma-informed model of care can be applied to a social work field education model.

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An Anti-Oppressive Model for International Practicums

Published May 2019

by Elizabeth Patterson Roe, PhD
Malone University
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Abstract

This qualitative study explores the lived experiences of social workers who completed international practicums and how their experiences have impacted their practice after their placement. Based on the results, a model is presented to support the trifecta of stakeholders: the student, the administration, and the community served. The model includes the organization of: meaningful orientation and debriefing, an anti-oppressive practicum learning environment that aligns with the community’s needs, communication between the sending institution and host program, and professional supervision for students that provides organized oasis experiences that encourage immersion and cultural growth and learning.

Keywords: international social work practicums; cross-cultural social work; cultural competency; anti-oppressive practice; international social work education
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Recent Articles of Note

Published May 2019

by Ashley Roberge, MSW Candidate
Simmons University

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.
Read more »


Comprehensive Training for Field Liaisons: A Necessity for Evaluating Student Performance

Published May 2019

by Stevara Haley Clark, MSW
Virginia Commonwealth University

Christina Remmers, MSW
Virginia Commonwealth University
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Introduction

Field education provides students the opportunity to learn at their own pace and to focus on practitioner skill development, with the liaison being the lynchpin in the student’s learning (Patrick & Sturgis, 2011). The 2015 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) does not explicitly provide expectations for training field liaisons. EPAS 2.2.7 should be expanded to provide guidance on the minimum level of training that should be provided to field liaisons to “evaluat[e] student learning and field setting effectiveness congruent with the social work competencies” (Council on Social Work Education, 2015, p. 13). A standard level of training establishes collective expectations for achievement and addresses equity in preparedness for social work practice.

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Advancing Social Justice in Field Settings: What Social Work Can Learn from Allied Health Professions

Published May 2019

by Andrea Murray-Lichtman, MSW
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Amy S. Levine, MSW
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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Overview

The American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (2019) has described the Grand Challenges for Social Work as representing “a dynamic social agenda, focused on improving individual and family well-being, strengthening the social fabric, and helping create a more just society” (para. 1). To meet the Grand Challenges, the social work profession must critically analyze field education programs to ensure that students are receiving training that meets the core values of promoting social justice and social change. Critics of the current model of agency-based field placements encourage social work educators to foster students’ commitment to promoting social justice by thinking outside the existing structure of field education programs (Dominelli, 1996; George, Silver, & Preston, 2013; Preston, George, & Silver, 2014). Moreover, prodding field education programs to evolve has become essential given the numerous service delivery models that are shifting to an interdisciplinary team approach. Therefore, hastening changes in field education models is critical to ensuring social work students are well prepared to apply a team approach to addressing the problems faced by clients.

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Field Instructor Perspectives on Challenging Behaviors in Social Work Practicum

Published May 2019

by Lisa A. Street, EdD
Evangel University
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Abstract

Students sometimes struggle in practicum, failing to demonstrate acceptable application of social work values and skills learned in the classroom. When students are unprepared and unskilled in field, responsibility for professional gatekeeping often falls to field instructors. In this exploratory qualitative study, 13 field instructors identified student characteristics that were most challenging during field supervision: little openness to feedback, direction, or supervision; poor personal and professional boundaries; incongruence with social work values; and disengagement from practicum and the social work profession. In addition, field instructors shared their views for improving student screening and gatekeeping throughout the social work curriculum.

Keywords: field education, social work practicum, social work education, student supervision, poorly performing students, qualitative research
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Engaging Field Instructors as Standardized Patients in Social Work Education

Published May 2019

by Maureen Rubin, PhD
University of Nevada, Reno

Gillian Francis, MSW
Carson Tahoe Behavioral Health Services
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Abstract

Health science programs have engaged in simulation and have involved standardized patients (SPs) to create learning opportunities. This paper is centered on a class activity that involved social work clinicians/field instructors from the community as SPs to engage in simulated situations. The activity was incorporated in courses to create opportunities for students to apply knowledge gained in classrooms to enhance skills through simulated situations with an SP. Findings suggest that students agreed or strongly agreed that the activity helped them with active listening skills. This paper highlights the educational strengths of engaging field instructors as SPs to strengthen practice skills.

Keywords: standardized patient; field educator; simulation

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The Contribution of Clinical Supervision to Wellness in the Workplace: Implications for Social Work Field Education

Published May 2019

by Patricia Samson, PhD
University of Calgary

Sherri Tanchak, MSW
University of Calgary

Julie L. Drolet, PhD
University of Calgary

Amy Fulton, PhD
University of Calgary

Linda Kreitzer, PhD
University of Calgary
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Abstract

Field education in social work is intricately connected to the state of the social service sector, with implications for the quality of workplace practices to support wellness for practitioners within the organizational context. This context shapes the supervisory process; therefore, institutional wellness policies and practices are an essential consideration when supervising social work practitioners and field practicum students. This article presents a review of the clinical supervision literature, particularly in relation to organizational wellness, followed by a discussion on the implications of the interrelationship between organizational wellness and clinical supervision for social work field education.

Keywords: supervision, wellness, field supervision, organizational wellness, field education

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Achieving Field Education Competence through an Integrative Syllabus: Bringing the Field to Class

Published May 2019

by Stevara Haley Clark, MSW
Virginia Commonwealth University

Mary Secret, PhD
Virginia Commonwealth University

Linda A. Gupta, PhD
Virginia Commonwealth University

Frank R. Baskind, PhD
Virginia Commonwealth University
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Introduction

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), in its Educational Policies and Accreditation Standards for Baccalaureate and Master’s Social Work Programs, has designated field education as the signature pedagogy of social work education. As the signature pedagogy, field education provides the environment and platform in which students integrate the concepts and frameworks learned in the classroom in a practice setting (CSWE, 2015). This paper will outline the current models for integrating the field education practicum experience with course work. The authors will then propose and outline an aspirational model with an integrative common syllabus as the core connection between the core curriculum areas of policy, research, practice, social justice, and theory.

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Deliberate Practice: A Framework for Enhancing Competence in Field Education

Published May 2019

by Katharine Dill, PhD
Marist College
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Introduction

This literature review explores the concept of deliberate practice and its intersection with social work field education. The concept of deliberate practice is an emerging framework that shows promise in understanding the complexity of learning within field placement settings. Leveraging the tenets of deliberate practice, the field supervisor encourages and amplifies student learning through intentional, goal-oriented supervision and learning. This focused learning is achieved through the provision of balanced feedback that seeks to shape and improve an individual’s mastery of complex skills over time (Ericsson, 2004, 2006; Ericsson, Krampe, & Tesch-Römer, 1993; Ericsson, Roring, & Nandagopal, 2007). While not exhaustive in nature, this brief review underscores the emerging tenets of deliberate practice and links these ideas to the complexity of social work field education.

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In Memoriam: Judith Perlstein

Published May 2019

by Trudy Zimmerman, MSW
Boston University
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[Editor’s Note: Judith Perlstein, MSW served as the Assistant Director of Field Education at Boston University School of Social Work from 1993–2018. Prior to working at BUSSW, she was the director of training at the Somerville Mental Health Clinic for many years. She was a 1974 alumna of the Smith College School for Social Work. This Kudos tribute is written by Trudy Zimmerman, Assistant Dean of Field Education at Boston University School of Social Work. Trudy’s testimony is a reflection on the power of relationships and how they are sustained in the complexity of the work we do as field educators.]

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A Conversation on Creating Trans-Affirming Social Work Field Placements

Published May 2019

by Rebecca Brigham, MSW
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Robin Sansing, MSW
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Raye Dooley, MPH, MSW Candidate
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Diane Zipoli, MSW
Simmons University
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[Editor’s Note: This issue’s Conversation features an interview by Diane Zipoli, MSW, Assistant Director of Field Education at Simmons University School of Social Work, with two colleagues and a current student from the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: Rebecca Brigham, MSW, Assistant Dean of Field Education; Robin Sansing, MSW, Field Faculty; and Raye Dooley, MPH, MSW Candidate (2019). The exchange is about an online training they developed on Trans-Affirming Field Placements that can be accessed at https://ssw.unc.edu/sswevents/online. In order to take the course, individuals must be registered on this site and create a username and password. Once registered, click on the Field Education tab to view the course. After each module, participants will be asked to complete a short evaluation. Once all evaluations are completed, the participant will receive a certificate of completion documenting contact hours.]

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Guest Editorial: Engaging in Policy Practice, the Heart of Our Profession

Published May 2019

by Suzanne Hecker, MSW
Simmons University

[Editor’s Note: This issue’s editorial is from Assistant Director of Field Education at Simmons University School of Social Work and Field Educator editorial staff member Suzanne Hecker, MSW, LICSW.]

We entered into 2019 with a partial and lengthy government shutdown that forced significant consequences on those furloughed and unpaid federal workers, as well as on the services our communities utilize that are impacted by federal funding, such as housing, food support, legal matters, and health care.

What we learn about in the news or from those clients and agencies we interact with is a daily reminder of the fragility of policy. Working within these precarious spaces between policy and people is at the heart of social work. The interconnectedness of federal, state, and local policy can create ripple effects that are immediate and, at times, catastrophic to our agencies, our profession, and those we serve.

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Simmons University’s Kim Kelly Harriman Announces Transition

Published October 2018

by Field Educator Journal Staff

After years of service to the Simmons University social work community, Kim Kelly Harriman announced her departure from the school in September 2018. Kim performed extraordinarily well in many roles over the past 12 years, including: Adjunct Instructor, Field Liaison, Associate Professor of Practice, Coordinator of the Academic Services Center, and most recently as the Director of Field Education and Student Affairs. Since 2014, Kim has been Editor-in-Chief of the Field Educator, and we are delighted that she will continue in that position as she transitions from academia to direct clinical practice at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Kim’s thoughtful editorials will continue to provide us opportunities to reflect on the current, complex issues happening within our communities, and their impact on all of us, particularly in the work of our students in the field.

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Developing an MSW Field Practicum Model in a Forensic Setting

Published October 2018

by Jennifer Frimpong, MSW
California Health Care Facility-Psychiatric Inpatient Program, Stockton

Sevaughn Banks, PhD
California State University-Stanislaus

Kilolo Brodie, PhD
California State University-Stanislaus
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Introduction

This article describes the Graduated Forensic Learning Model (GFLM), a systematized structured process for onboarding advanced Master of Social Work (MSW) students who serve as interns in a forensic inpatient psychiatric program located on a California state prison campus. The California Healthcare Facilities-Psychiatric Inpatient Program (CHCF-PIP) located in Stockton, formerly the Department of State Hospitals-Stockton, is an adult male correctional institution. CHCF-PIP and the MSW program at California State University-Stanislaus partnered to provide enriching educational experiences to MSW students desiring clinical training. The GFLM uses a gradual or progressive learning approach where students are expected to demonstrate an increase in knowledge, skills, and values during their field practicum. The GFLM relates specifically to CHCF-PIP, however, its utility and applicability is transferable to other social work contexts particularly since literature about onboarding students in field placement agencies is so scant.

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From Good to Great: An Innovative Bridge Program Developing Professionalism and Self-Reflection in Social Work Students Entering the Field

Published October 2018

by Darrin E. Wright, PhD
Clark Atlanta University
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Introduction

Professional education lies at the heart of social work and serves as the basis for the field’s commitment to developing professional social workers. A vital part of that commitment is field education. According to the 2008 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), field education is the signature pedagogy of social work education. Signature pedagogy is a central form of instruction and learning to socialize students to perform the role of the practitioner (CSWE, 2008, p. 8). Field education serves this specific purpose of linking classroom theory to practice. One of the most pressing challenges in recent years for many undergraduate and graduate programs is the shift in student demographics as it relates to student populations who seek degrees in social work. An increasing number of social work students in recent decades are first-generation college students, who often may lack some of the expected social awareness skills needed to be successful in the field (Toutkoushian, Stollberg, & Slaton, 2018).

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Bridging the Divide Between Practice and Academia: An Integrated Model of Field Education

Published October 2018

by Michael R. Lynch, MSW
The State University of New York at Buffalo

Katie McClain-Meeder, MSW
The State University of New York at Buffalo
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Introduction

Field education is often seen as the vehicle by which theory is integrated with practice. Through field education, students are able to link the traditional classroom curriculum with real-life practice. If field is the place where curriculum meets practice, why do the worlds of practice and academia seem so far apart? Why do field instructors feel disconnected from social work faculty? In this brief article, we will argue that field departments have a unique and exciting opportunity to bridge the worlds of practice and academia and make unique and meaningful connections between these two worlds. Specifically, we will look at the role of field in facilitating student, agency, and faculty participation in field placements with an enhanced curricular focus (ECF).

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Developing Community Among Social Work Field Seminar Students: Lessons Learned from the Online Classroom

Published October 2018

by Jara L. Dillingham, MSW
University of Southern Indiana
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Introduction

As social work programs respond to the needs of today’s students, pedagogical strategies must be examined. Transitioning to online course delivery or online programs can help meet students’ needs; however, it is important to ensure this shift addresses student anxieties and does not overlook the need to develop a sense of community and connection between students in an online classroom. Students express apprehension regarding the internship in general, along with uncertainty related to navigating necessary technology, and the ability to develop relationships with faculty and peers online. The BSW program at the University of Southern Indiana responded to their students’ needs by developing an online synchronous field seminar course. This paper will share information on how the course was developed and structured, as well as tools for managing student apprehension and creating high levels of student engagement and connectivity.

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Readiness for Practice in Social Work Through a Constructionist Lens

Published October 2018

by Karene-Anne Nathaniel, PhD
The University of the West Indies at St. Augustine
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Abstract

This conceptual article applies social constructionist thinking to an analysis of the term readiness for social work practice and its uses. “Readiness,” “ready,” and “not ready” are frequently used colloquially in casual conversations and formally in evaluating student/practitioner aptitude for professional practice; multiple understandings of readiness and how it develops are apparent. Multiple understandings of readiness seem to feed practice assessment and for this reason the apparent multiplicity in sense-making about what it means to be ready (or not) becomes potentially problematic. Social work educators are encouraged to be vigilant to how practice interactions are socially constructed and how this informs conclusions about readiness.

Keywords: social constructionism; readiness; field instruction; practice assessment
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Recruiting, Maintaining, and Sustaining Integrated Behavioral Health Sites for Field Education

Published October 2018

by Lisa de Saxe Zerden, PhD
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Meryl Kanfer, MSW
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

M. Theresa Palmer, MSW
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Anne Jones, PhD
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Rebecca B. Brigham, MSW
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Abstract

Models of integrated behavioral health care are expanding nationwide wherein physical and behavioral health are met concurrently. Social workers, with their clinical and communication skills and strengths-based person-in-environment approach, are well-suited for these settings. In response, social work field placement settings need to keep pace with health care system demands. This paper discusses key components to successfully recruit and sustain integrated behavioral health field placement sites. Challenges encountered as well as helpful strategies to overcome barriers will be addressed to help ensure quality learning experiences for social work students, optimum support for field instructors, and sustained community partnerships.

Keywords: integrated primary care, integrated care, field education, social work field placement
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Exploring the Self-Care Practice of Practicum Supervisors: Implications for Field Education

Published October 2018

by J. Jay Miller, PhD
University of Kentucky

Jessica Donohue-Dioh, MSW
Campbellsville University

Shelagh Larkin, MSW
Xavier University

Chunling Niu, EdD
University of Kentucky

Rachel Womack, BS
University of Kentucky

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Abstract

Despite the increasing attention to self-care within the broader social work profession, research on the topic is nominal, particularly within the context of social work education. This cross-sectional, exploratory study surveyed social work field practicum supervisors (N=127) in one Southeastern state regarding their personal and professional self-care practices. Results indicate a significant relationship between two key variables and personal and professional self-care scores, respectively. Specifically, social work field practicum supervisors from for profit entities reported higher self-care practices than those employed at non-profit entities. As well, those with a social work license indicated higher self-care. Both of these variables (e.g., employer type and licensing status) significantly explained self-care. After a review of relevant literature, this paper reports findings, presents pertinent discussion points, and explicates apposite areas for future research.

Keywords: self-care; field practicum supervisors; social work education
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Innovations in Field Education to Improve Integrated Care for Young People and their Families

Published October 2018

by Carrie W. Rishel, PhD
West Virginia University

Helen P. Hartnett, PhD
West Virginia University
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Abstract

Health care services are rapidly changing, shifting away from traditional models toward integrated approaches relying on team-based care. To meet evolving workforce needs, social workers must be prepared for interprofessional team practice in integrated health settings. Much of students’ practical training occurs in field placements. Agencies may not be prepared for integrated and interprofessional practice, presenting a challenge for students in preparing for work in integrated health settings. This article describes how implementation of a student-training model informed the need to more purposefully include the field in training. Specific innovations in field education to improve student and agency preparation to provide integrated care for youth and families are discussed.

Keywords: social work education; field education; interprofessional education (IPE); integrated health; behavioral health
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Observations of Practice in Field Education: A Literature Review

Published October 2018

by Katharine Dill, PhD
Marist College
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Introduction

The Council on Social Work Education’s Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards state that assessment of students’ competence must involve observation in real or simulated practice situations (Council on Social Work Education, 2015). Observation in “real time” or, as termed in this paper, “observations of practice” can present challenges for both field education coordinators and field supervisors alike. While observing students in field placements seems to be essential, strategies for making this an everyday reality in social work field education can appear elusive. This literature review explores the various dimensions of observation. The review culminates with an analysis of the role of the field supervisor in creating, supporting, and planning for observations.

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Recent Articles of Note

Published October 2018

by Ari Pehkonen, MSW Candidate
Simmons University

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.
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A Conversation with Tory Cox

Published October 2018

by Tory Cox, EdD
University of Southern California

Elizabeth Whitney, MSW
Simmons University
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[Editor’s Note: This issue’s conversation features an interview about virtual field practicums with Elizabeth Whitney, MSW, Assistant Director of Field Education-Curriculum and Training for Simmons University’s online program [email protected] and Editorial Staff Member of the Field Educator, and Tory Cox, EdD, Assistant Dean of Field Education and Director of the Virtual Academic Center’s Field Education program for the University of Southern California’s Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work.]

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Seven-Year Pitch!

Published October 2018

by Kim Kelly Harriman, MSW
Field Educator Editor-in-Chief

The Field Educator is seven years old! Once a pipedream shared between field educators, it is now a peer-reviewed academic journal where social work field scholars come together to share ideas, research, and concerns – across the globe. And with the growth the journal has experienced, this is an opportunity to make a seven year “pitch.”

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A Conversation with Leila Wood

Published May 2018

by Leila Wood, PhD
University of Texas at Austin

Suzanne Sankar, MSW
Simmons College
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[Editor’s Note: This issue’s conversation features an interview with Suzanne Sankar, MSW Executive Editor of Field Educator, and Leila Wood, PhD, LMSW, Research Assistant Professor at the Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (IDVSA) at the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work. Dr. Wood discusses her research with Dr. Carrie Moylan on sexual harassment experienced by social work students in field placement. A summary of their article on this topic is in this issue’s What We’re Reading section.]

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Integrating Social Justice in Field Education

Published May 2018

by Amy S. Levine, MSW
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Andrea Murray-Lichtman, MSW
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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Overview

Historically, social work practice has occurred within the confines of what can be described as a bidirectional flow of social justice. Along with great strides forward, setbacks occur. Nevertheless, the unrelenting call for social workers to fight for social justice and to educate others for this fight remains the same. A deeply rooted commitment within the Grand Challenges of Social Work stems directly from the profession’s fundamental principle of promoting social justice and equal opportunity for all (Uehara et al., 2013). Schools of social work strive to not only educate students to understand the ways in which privilege, oppression, marginalization, and powerlessness contribute to systematic inequalities, but also to fulfill the profession’s mission by equipping students with the knowledge and skills needed to promote social justice (Finn, 2016; Reisch & Garvin, 2016). Whereas classroom instruction can successfully teach the concepts of social justice, translating this theoretical knowledge to practice in real-world settings is an essential component of social work field education (Battle & Hill, 2016). Given the experiential, hands-on nature of the field practicum, field education programs are uniquely positioned to shape students’ self-identities as social work professionals and enhance students’ understanding of social justice work in action. During the field practicum, students gain firsthand experience in applying a social justice lens to their practice of social work through direct interactions with field instructors, client systems, field advisors, and other social work students.
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Assessing for Racial Equity Capacity in Field Placements

Published May 2018

by Courtney McDermott, MSW
University of Missouri-St. Louis

Kira Hudson Banks, PhD
Saint Louis University

Patricia A. Rosenthal, MSW
University of Missouri-St. Louis

Courtney D. Jones, MSW Candidate
University of Missouri-St. Louis
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Introduction

In the last few years, there is increasing awareness that race and racial disparity continue to persist in significant ways in many, if not all, areas of society. This awareness was heightened, in large part, due to police shootings of unarmed African-Americans as well as current political rhetoric. Social workers can be leaders in bridging the racial equity gap in our field and in the larger society. The profession has a history of addressing macro-level issues and understands how systems impact individuals. This manuscript explores one project that has been developed and implemented over the past two academic years in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area and that can be used as a model for other programs interested in addressing issues of racial inequity.
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Laying the Foundation for a Competency Based Remediation Process: Lessons Learned

Published May 2018

by Christine Escobar-Sawicki, MSW
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Mary Maurer, MSW
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Hellen McDonald, MSW
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Carol Wilson-Smith, MSW
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
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Introduction

In 2008, the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) identified field education as the signature pedagogy of social work education. As social work educators, we are charged with providing students the opportunity to learn and to be successful in the field, while also acting as gatekeepers of the social work profession. Currer (2009) suggests that it is critical to find a balance between “allegiance to individual learners” and protecting the profession of social work and its future clients. However, current literature provides little guidance as how to best assist students who are not successfully demonstrating the competencies in their field placements. This paper will discuss how the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) School of Social Work Field Education Office developed a remediation process for addressing (and preventing) placement issues and assists students in connecting the competencies with their performance in field.
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Admission of Master’s Degree Students with Criminal Backgrounds: Implications for Field Directors

Published May 2018

by Chavon D. Dottin, EdD, MEd, MSW
Delaware State University
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Abstract

This study was designed to explore Master of Social Work programs’ policies when admitting students with criminal backgrounds and the implications of this practice for field directors. The issue of students with criminal records is a challenging one for social work programs and the responsibility is often left solely to the field director. In this study, field directors participated in an online survey related to perceived challenges, gate-keeping practices, and policy development. Findings and recommendations are discussed.

Keywords: criminal background checks, field director, social work field education
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Spiraling Organizational Change: A Campus Conversion to Online Programming

Published May 2018

by Ruth Supranovich, MSW
University of Southern California

Ruth Cislowski, MSW
University of Southern California

Jennifer Parga, MSW
University of Southern California
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Introduction

Educational institutions face many social, political, and environmental influences that affect their operations. For example, higher education programs have remained competitive by launching online educational opportunities. As a result, institutions are now able to reach a maximum audience, increasing both accessibility for students and profitability for education providers. Social work has embraced online education in part to respond to the increasing demand for master’s level social workers (Council on Social Work Education [CSWE], 2017) and as a way to increase the number of social work professionals in previously underserved rural and remote communities (Cummings, Chaffin & Cockerham, 2015; Reinsmith-Jones, Kibbe, Crayton & Campbell, 2015). As with most businesses, schools of social work must be aware of the external environment and act nimbly if they wish to maximize quality and minimize barriers for students. As social work education relies heavily on the goodwill of community-based agencies to host students for their 900-hour internship requirement (CSWE, 2015), social work administrators need to pay attention to the impact of their own internal organizational changes on external agency partners. Additionally, change in the structure of external agency partners necessitates change in the social work program (Rothwell, Sullivan, Kim, Park, & Donahue, 2015).
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Assessing BSW Student Documentation Skills: An Exploratory Study

Published May 2018

by Tiffany Welch, DSW
Mansfield University

Lisa Kunzmann, MSW
Mansfield University
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Abstract

Using a modified version of an existing documentation review worksheet, researchers conducted an exploratory study that examined the quality of documentation among senior BSW social work majors in their last semester, in which they complete a 500-hour field practicum. Results showed that one percent of students documented a client strength and 45.9 percent of students did not sign the document. Additionally, 96 percent of the documents were legible, and 81 percent of students included service provision in their documentation. Recommendations for further research and suggestions for replication are included.

Keywords: documentation, BSW students, writing skills standards
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Heart of Social Work Award Winner: Theresa Kelly McPartlin

Published May 2018

by Carey A. Winkler, MSW
St. Catherine University
University of St. Thomas
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[Editor’s Note: Theresa Kelly McPartlin was named winner of the 2017 Heart of Social Work Award at the Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting in Dallas, TX on October 21st, 2017. The award is presented annually by the North American Network of Field Educators and Directors in recognition of a field instructor that has made exemplary contributions to field education and the social work profession. What follows is taken from the remarks made by Carey Winkler, Director of BSW Field Education for the School of Social Work at St. Catherine University & the University of St. Thomas, at the award presentation and in her nomination submission in support of Ms. McPartlin as an excellent candidate for the award.]

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Vignette-Based Skills Assessment in Social Work Field Education: Evaluating Students’ Achievement of Professional Competency

Published May 2018

by Catherine Fisher, MSW
Azusa Pacific University

Kimberly Setterlund, MSW
Azusa Pacific University
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Abstract

This study describes the development and implementation of a Vignette-Based Skills Assessment (VBSA) tool to provide a holistic evaluation of social work student skill development and demonstration of competency in field education. Study participants consisted of 58 foundation-year students from the full-time and part-time cohorts. Students were administered the VBSA at the onset of the academic year in the beginning phase of their field practicum and at the end of the year in the late phase of the field practicum. Results demonstrated statistically significant increases in students’ mastery of seven of the nine social work competencies. Score were also compared to field instructor annual evaluation of student progress but showed inconsistent correlation. Vignette-based assessment methods have demonstrated merit to effectively measure student practice skill progression over time, augmenting field instructor ratings on student practice behaviors. Secondary benefits include early detection and intervention with students who are not meeting minimum standards of practice. Challenges and limitations of the study include the length of time involved in scoring VBSAs and the need for additional research to establish validity and inter-rater reliability of the tool. Implications and opportunities for VBSA use in field evaluation and social work program outcomes evaluation are discussed.

Keywords: field education, social work, competency, student assessment, evaluation

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Hope in Movements

Published May 2018

by Kim Kelly Harriman, MSW
Field Educator Editor-in-Chief

We are living in a time of political tumult and moral disgrace. Political leanings aside, there is no way to reconcile our social work values with the behavior of those who lead us. Integrity has yielded to moral brokenness; truth is elusive; and our basic sense of safety is challenged. We ask our students to raise their voices for social justice, and we aspire to be their role models in so doing. In this recent chapter in our history, the task at hand is the proverbial boulder to be pushed up a mountain.

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Recent Articles of Note

Published May 2018

by Ari Pehkonen, MSW Candidate Simmons College

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.
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Emotional Triggers to Field Experiences: Preparing Students and Field Instructors

Published October 2017

by Katharine Dill, PhD
Marist College
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Introduction

This literature review is the second in a series that will be published in each issue of the Field Educator on topics related to field instruction. The reviews will highlight key components of practice, including reflective models of supervision and creating safe learning opportunities for students. Each review will contain three discussion questions. Our hope is that field instructors will use these questions to enhance their professional development, incorporate these brief reviews in their daily practice, and begin to develop a library of resources.

The topic of this literature review—how students navigate the emotional terrain of their emerging engagement with the realities of social work practice—emerged from discussions with field educators, student interns, and academic field liaison staff. The review begins by discussing emerging evidence in this area, and then integrates the specific roles of field supervisors and social work educators in supporting social work interns in navigating the complexities of social work practice. The review begins with discussion questions and concludes with best practice considerations that can be used when training field educators.
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Betsy Voshel: Reflections on an Influential Career

Published October 2017

by Elizabeth McKee Williams, MA
University of Michigan
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[Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the Winter 2017 edition of the University of Michigan School of Social Work’s newsletter Field Notes and is reprinted here with permission.]

Betsy Voshel retired in January 2017 after a long and distinguished career which includes 22 years at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in Battle Creek, MI, 4 years leading Field Education at Western Michigan University, and 13 years leading the University of Michigan School of Social Work (U-M SSW) Office of Field Instruction (OFI). Betsy recently reflected on her career and her contributions to this school.
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Guest Editorial: Social Work Students as Activists in the Opioid Epidemic

Published October 2017

by Allison Scobie-Carroll, MSW, MBA
NASW-MA President

[Editor’s Note: This issue’s editorial is from special guest Allison-Scobie Carroll, President of NASW-MA chapter. A version of this editorial was previously published in the July 2017 edition of NASW-MA’s Focus magazine. Archives of Focus articles can be accessed (by NASW members only) here.]

In recent years the disease of opioid addiction has claimed thousands of lives throughout the Commonwealth, with a staggering four-fold increase in opioid overdose deaths since the year 2000. The loss is so brutal and heartbreaking, and the suffering so profound, that we defend ourselves against its truth. The statistics alone provide a distancing mechanism. The numbers of the afflicted, their ages and geographic locations may serve to help us feel safe; to feel that those who suffer are “other” and that “we” can remain insulated from the grave realities of those we keep at arm’s length.

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The Summer Summit Model: Maximizing Community Partnerships to Cultivate Policy Practice Field Placements

Published October 2017

by Jill Manit, MSW
University of Nevada, Reno

Mary E. Hylton, PhD
University of Nevada, Reno
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Introduction

While competence in policy practice is a necessary element of generalist social work (Council on Social Work Education, 2015), developing field placements in which students have the opportunity to engage in applied policy practice can be challenging. Nonprofit and public agencies, frequently the sites for student field practicums, are limited in the types of political activities in which they may engage (U.S. Office of Special Counsel, 2005). Furthermore, many of these agencies are not informed as to the nonpartisan policy practice activities in which they can be engaged. Additionally, social work education programs may find it difficult to find qualified field instructors at organizations that do engage in policy practice activities. Therefore, students completing social work practicums frequently miss out on opportunities to engage in policy practice as part of their applied social work education.
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Innovating to Keep Pace: A Ten-Year Model for Group Interprofessional Field Placements

Published October 2017

by Jay Poole, PhD
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Fran Pearson, MSW
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

John Rife, PhD
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Wayne Moore, PhD
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
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Introduction and Background

Recently, social work field educators were reminded that “the number of students is growing, but the number of quality placements is not keeping pace” (Harriman, 2016, p. 1). With changes in the practice community and the continued growth in social work program enrollment, field education faces pressure to provide high quality placement experiences which meet the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) nine core competencies and prepare students for the real world of contemporary interprofessional social work practice (CSWE, 2008; 2015). CSWE (2008) and Wayne, Bogo, and Raskin (2010) have specified that field education is the “signature pedagogy” of our profession. Bogo (2010; 2015) has noted that field education is the most significant component of the social work curriculum in preparing competent and effective social workers. CSWE (2015) has recognized the need for innovative field instruction programming to meet community needs.
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Volunteering Enhances the Social Work Student Experience

Published October 2017

by Angela Curl, PhD
Miami University (Ohio)

Kalea Benner, PhD
University of Kentucky
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Abstract

While field education has been designated the signature pedagogy of the social work curriculum, students often have exposure to social welfare agencies long before practicum semester(s). Despite the number of social work programs that utilize volunteering to help students better understand the social work profession, little is known about the effects of volunteering on academic measures as well as the student. This study (N=67) found that volunteering has considerable positive benefits for the implicit curriculum through socializing the student, providing a real world context, and embodying the professional value of service.

Keywords: volunteering, service learning, implicit curriculum
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The Meaning and Value of Supervision in Social Work Field Education

Published October 2017

by Melissa Ketner, MSW
Indiana State University

Dianna Cooper-Bolinskey, MSW
Indiana State University

Diane VanCleave, PhD
Indiana State University
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Abstract

Supervision has played an important role in social work field education for many years. This evaluative qualitative study considers perspectives of field instructors and students regarding the meaning and value of supervision. Findings align with the limited information available through literature review. Field instructors value teaching and giving feedback to students that shapes their professional practice in the field setting. Field instructors also value the opportunity to develop their own leadership and management skills. Students value learning from experienced professionals in the field, feedback on skill development, and the opportunity to process what is happening in field experience.

Keywords: field education, field instructor perspective, meaning and value, social work education, student perspective, supervision, qualitative

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Expanding Field Placement Possibilities: Considering Public Safety/Service Agencies as Placement Options

Published October 2017

by Rebecca Dickinson, MSW
Doctoral Student
University of Iowa
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Introduction and Background

The profession of social work has a long history of providing services in agencies that do not have a primary social work focus (Dane & Simon, 1991). This is related to the field of social work being so vast that social workers can ultimately be involved in all stages and situations of life. Social work at times has an image problem of sorts due to this vastness, where the general public may not understand what social workers do. At minimum, they may have a very limited view of social workers, such as equating “social work” with “child protection.” The field of social work is as diverse as the interests of social workers, which means that social workers appear in a wide variety of settings involving direct or indirect work with people. Social workers are often the silent soldiers working in the background anywhere that needs, injustices, or crises exist.
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A Conversation with Jennifer Harrison

Published October 2017

by Jennifer Harrison, PhD
Western Michigan University

Suzanne Sankar, MSW
Simmons College
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[Editor’s note: This issue’s Conversation features an interview by Suzanne Sankar, MSW, Executive Editor of the Field Educator, with Jennifer Harrison, PhD, LMSW, Field Director at Western Michigan University School of Social Work. Dr. Harrison discusses her school’s new and timely training on opioid dependence and pain management for their field instructors. She also talks about the Michigan state social work licensing law that requires such trainings and about her commitment to strong and reciprocal relationships between schools and training sites.]

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A Case Study of Photovoice as a Critical Reflection Strategy in a Field Seminar

Published October 2017

by Pamela H. Bowers, PhD
Humboldt State University
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Introduction

While Photovoice has been gaining momentum in social work practice, and specifically participatory research methods, it has not been explored as a teaching strategy for critical reflection in the social work discipline. This manuscript seeks to open that discussion by describing the use of Photovoice as a teaching strategy to support student professional identity development and encourage creative critical reflection in a graduate field seminar. A case study of a campus-based MSW field seminar discusses the planning, application, and reflections of implementing this participatory method as a teaching strategy.
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Recent Articles of Note

Published October 2017

by Field Educator Journal Editorial Staff

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.
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A Tribute to Carolyn du Bois

Published May 2017

by Susan Donner, PhD
Smith College School for Social Work

Katelin Lewis-Kulin, MSW
Smith College School for Social Work
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Field education trailblazer Carolyn du Bois retired from her role as Director of Field Work at Smith College School for Social Work (SCSSW) this past January. Carolyn’s tenure at SCSSW lasted over 30 years, most of which was spent as the Director. She was indeed one of the longest serving Field Directors in New England, a leader in NECON, and was known for her tenacious belief in the centrality of field education in professional clinical social work training. Over the span of three decades, Carolyn expanded Smith’s national field program and oversaw many significant changes in response to a growing program, changing times, and feedback. She trained and supervised a cadre of faculty field advisors and worked diligently with agency directors of training and supervisors to create high quality internships so students would receive outstanding professional training that reflected the needs of clients across the country. Carolyn was instrumental in creating the very successful Supervision Certificate Program due to her commitment to supervision training and concern that social work graduates were not getting sufficient clinical supervision post-graduation.
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Book Review – The A-to-Z Self-Care Handbook for Social Workers and Other Helping Professionals

Published May 2017

by Katie Novick Nolan, MSW
Simmons School of Social Work
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Grise-Owens, E., Miller, J., & Eaves, M. (2016). The A-to-Z self-care handbook for social workers and other helping professionals. Harrisburg, PA: The New Social Worker Press.

The A-to-Z Self-Care Handbook for Social Workers and Other Helping Professionals is a practical and easy-to-read guide for incorporating self-care techniques into your daily life. The book starts by making the argument that self-care is both a personal imperative as well as an ethical imperative as helping professionals.
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Field Education Literature Review: Volume 1

Published May 2017

by Katharine Dill, PhD
Marist College
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Introduction

This literature review is the first in a series that will be published in each issue of the Field Educator Journal on topics related to field instruction. The reviews will highlight key components of practice, including reflective models of supervision and creating safe learning opportunities for students. This first review provides a brief overview of field education. Future special-interest topics will include: Indigenous issues, anti-oppressive practice, reflective practice, critical thinking, evidence-informed practice, and the professional development needs of field instructors.
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Faith and Field: The Ethical Inclusion of Spirituality within the Pedagogy of Social Work

Published May 2017

by Linda Darrell, PhD
Morgan State University

Thelma Rich, LCSW
Morgan State University
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This article discusses the ethical inclusion of spirituality within the pedagogy of social work education. Field internships become the opportunity for social work students to put into practice the theories and knowledge they have obtained within the classroom. The inclusion of spirituality as a concept according to the Council on Social Work Education is not only a demonstration of one’s cultural competence, but a part of one’s ethical responsibility. Teaching students to complete a thorough bio-psychosocial-spiritual assessment then becomes an integral component of the social work educational experience, which would enhance the student’s ability to fully engage their clients.
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An Uninvited Guest: Addressing Students’ Death Anxiety in Oncology Social Work Field Placements

Published May 2017

by Glenn Meuche, MSW
CancerCare
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Social work student internships are an indispensable ingredient in the formation of students’ professional identity. Field placements present a wide breadth of challenges that afford students fertile ground to refine their clinical skills of active listening, engagement, and relationship. The issues that are addressed by students specializing in psychosocial oncology and end-of-life care are unique. Students in these field placements are not only confronted by their clients’ dying and death, but forced simultaneously to reconcile themselves to their own mortality as well.
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Social Work Simulation Education in the Field

Published May 2017

by Nadine Sunarich, MSW
Holland Bloorview Kid’s Rehabilitation Hospital

Shai Rowan, MSW
Holland Bloorview Kid’s Rehabilitation
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Introduction

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital’s (Holland Bloorview’s) innovative Social Work Simulation Education Program uses trained actors in simulated scenarios to enhance the acquisition of social work skills and competencies and engage students in higher level learning. Simulation is described as “a pedagogy using a real world problem in a realistic environment to promote critical thinking, problem solving, and learning” (Nimmagadda & Murphy, 2014, p. 540). Social work simulations enable students to learn how to integrate social work theory, knowledge, skills and values into practice. Use of this pedagogy in the field provides students with opportunities to practice clinical skills and actively engage in reflective practice activities so that they feel more confident and competent as they begin to provide services to clients. It also promotes learning about the organization’s programs and services as well as professional practice standards and ethics.
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Enhancing Partnerships with Field Instructors: Identifying Effective Retention Strategies

Published May 2017

by Ronni L. Zuckerman, MSW
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Amy S. Levine, MSW
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Joseph J. Frey, MSSW
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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Abstract

Fostering long-term partnerships with field instructors is a priority for all social work field education programs. Therefore, schools of social work implement numerous strategies to enhance field instructor loyalty. This article presents results from a university survey of social work field instructors intended to identify instructors’ most-valued incentives and the most influential factors and strategies that promote field instructor retention.

Keywords: field education program, field instructor retention, incentives
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A Conversation with Trudy Zimmerman

Published May 2017

by Trudy Zimmerman, MSW
Boston University School of Social Work

Suzanne Sankar, MSW
Simmons School of Social Work
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[Editor’s note: This issue’s Conversation features an interview by Suzanne Sankar, MSW, Field Educator’s Executive Editor, with Trudy Zimmerman, MSW, the Assistant Dean for Field Education at Boston University School of Social Work. Trudy discusses BUSSW’s innovative Policy Practice in Field Education Initiative, which is one of many initiatives funded in 2016-2017 by the Council on Social Work Education through support from the Fund for Social Policy Education and the Casey Family Programs. The aim of the funding is to enhance student engagement and learning outcomes in policy practice in field education on a national level.]

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Recent Articles of Note

Published May 2017

by Sarah Friend, MSW Candidate
Simmons College

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.
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The Emperor’s New Clothes: Tale or Prophecy?

Published May 2017

by Kim Kelly Harriman, MSW
Field Educator Editor-in-Chief

The Emperor’s New Clothes1 by Hans Christian Andersen is a favorite childhood tale that now bears an uncanny resemblance to the world we inhabit. Its wisdom provides a compass for all social workers in these turbulent times, guiding us back to the core values of our profession. It is a parable that transcends politics and gets to the heart of a value (and virtue) that must be central to all we do and all we teach: the truth.
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Field Practicum Supervisor Perspectives About Social Work Licensing: An Exploratory Study

Published May 2017

by J. Jay Miller, PhD
University of Kentucky

Stacy Deck, PhD
Spalding University

Cynthia Conley, PhD
Spalding University

Molly Bode, MSSW Candidate
Spalding University
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Abstract

This exploratory study examined field practicum supervisors’ perceptions about social work licensing. Researchers utilized a convenience sample of field practicum supervisors (N = 158) at CSWE-accredited schools in one southeastern state. An online survey was administered to collect primary data related to variables of interest. This included general knowledge about licensing, value, and impact on the profession. After a brief background discussion, this paper elucidates findings from the study; discusses implications for social work education, in general and field education specifically; and identifies appropriate areas for future research.

Keywords: Social Work Licensing; Professional Regulation; Social Work Education
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The Value of Adjuncts: A Study of the Intrinsic Factors Impacting Field Seminar Instruction

Published May 2017

by Telvis M. Rich, EdD
Capella University
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Abstract

A phenomenological research study was conducted to explore the intrinsic factors that influenced the job satisfaction of twelve adjuncts teaching field education seminar courses. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the participants to explore their lived experiences. The study’s results indicate three emergent themes which influenced the adjuncts’ job satisfaction: 1. Professional Development, 2. Enhance the Social Work Profession, and 3. Work with Emerging Social Workers. In this article, the rich and thick descriptions of the results, implications for social work education, and recommendations for field education directors are presented.

Keywords: adjuncts, field education, job satisfaction

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A Preliminary Evaluation of a Method for Teaching Documentation to Prospective Child Welfare Interns

Published May 2017

by Michael J. Lyman, PhD
Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania

Wendy A. Unger
University of Pittsburgh
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Abstract

Documentation of social work services is an important aspect of most field experiences. Specifically, in a child welfare setting, documentation forms the basis for life-changing court decisions. Both case-based learning and problem-based learning are well-established methods for teaching social work students about documentation. This article describes a method combining case-based learning and problem-based learning for teaching child welfare documentation to undergraduate social work students using movie characters as “clients.” A preliminary assessment of student perceptions and attitudes relative to their experience with that teaching method is presented, together with recommendations for future investigation into the extent and effectiveness of child welfare documentation training at the undergraduate and graduate level.

Keywords: documentation, case-based learning, problem-based learning, child welfare
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Preparing BSW Students for Practicum: Reducing Anxiety Through Bridge to Practicum Course

Published May 2017

by Ali Kamali, PhD
Missouri Western State University

Pam Clary, PhD
Missouri Western State University

Jana Frye, MSW
Missouri Western State University
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Abstract

A challenge for BSW programs is designing curriculum that both addresses students’ anxiety prior to their field placements and prepares students to enter the field with the necessary values, skills, and knowledge. While the literature is rich in discussions of anxiety among graduate students, there is limited research on BSW students. Hence, this study examined the effectiveness of utilizing a Bridge to Practicum course in reducing anxiety of students entering the practicum. The study further identifies topic areas that help increase preparedness for practicum. Results indicated that core social work courses had prepared students to handle the rigor of the field placement. Although students may begin with preconceived notions (about the practicum site, their field instructor, and the work they are expected to perform), a major issue with anxiety was the fear of the unknown.

Keywords: preparedness, anxiety, bridge to practicum, BSW
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Student Self Report of Core Field Instructor Behaviors that Facilitate Their Learning

Published May 2017

by Carol Coohey, PhD
University of Iowa

Lily French, LMSW
University of Iowa

Rebecca Dickinson, LISW
University of Iowa
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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to describe student self-report of core field instructor behaviors related to their learning. In response to an anonymous survey, 168 students reported behaviors that facilitated their learning and that interfered with their learning. Using grounded theory, these behaviors were categorized into two overarching themes as developmental support or task support— and varied by age, prior work experience, and placement level. The findings can be used to evaluate field instructor performance, intervene when student learning needs are not adequately met, and train existing instructors to provide targeted instructional support.

Keywords: field instructor, supervision, practicum
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Distance Field Education: A Model for Development, Delivery, and Evaluation

Published May 2017

by Susan Cutler Egbert, PhD
Utah State University

Diane Calloway-Graham, PhD
Utah State University

Derrik Tollefson, PhD
Utah State University
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Abstract

This article provides a model for the development, delivery, and evaluation of distance field education programs. Distance field education poses benefits and challenges due to the contextual realities of students, agencies, communities, and university social work programs. The framework identifies systematic guidelines for graduating competent professionals utilizing seven components for effective implementation and administration. Model components are centered on: field policy and standards; partnerships with human service agencies; distance field supervisor orientation and ongoing training; hybrid method integrative seminar; documentation of learning contract, time and agency supervision; utilization-focused evaluation; and systematic program reflection.
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Tolerance of Heterosexism and LGBTQ-Affirmative Practice in Generalist Field Education

Published May 2017

by Trevor G. Gates, PhD
University of the Sunshine Coast

Debra Fromm Faria, MSW
State University of New York - Brockport
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Abstract

Field education has an important role in professional education for social workers and provides an opportunity for students to engage diversity in practice, including sexual orientation and gender identity diversity. However, organizational settings differ in the extent to which they tolerate heterosexism and intend to engage in LGBTQ-affirmative practice. This paper reports on a pilot study (N = 19) of students’ experiences with heterosexism and gay-affirmative practice intentions in their field education settings. There was a relationship between heterosexism tolerance and generalist field placement students’ LGBTQ-affirmative practice intentions. Results also suggested that these social work students are sensitive to LGBTQ issues and have a willingness to engage in LGBTQ-affirmative practice. Implications for classroom and field education are explored.

Keywords: heterosexism; affirmative practice; field education; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities
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A Conversation with Cynthia Hunter

Published November 2016

by Cynthia Hunter, MSW
James Madison University

Suzanne Sankar, MSW
Simmons School of Social Work
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Editor’s Note: In this issue’s Conversation Suzanne Sankar, Executive Editor of the Field Educator and Associate Dean of Simmons School of Social Work, interviews Cindy Hunter, who along with Julia Moen and Miriam Raskin, edited  Social Work Field Directors Foundations for Excellence. Cindy is an Associate Professor and Director of Field Placement at James Madison University. More information about the book can be found at http://bit.ly/2fxkSyX.

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Recent Articles of Note

Published November 2016

by Nicholas Hebert, MSW
Simmons College

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.

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Transfer of learning to the field: A follow-up with child welfare MSW students after an intensive clinical training

Published November 2016

by Elizabeth J. Greeno, PhD
University of Maryland

Laura Ting, PhD
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Kevin Wade, MSW
University of Maryland
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Abstract 

This article follows-up on a 2013 randomized trial where MSW students were taught Motivational Interviewing (MI). To assess experiences with the MI training, focus groups were held with students seven months post training. Student perceptions of the MI training, maintenance of skills learned with an emphasis on how they transferred training to their field practice and the role of field instructors was explored. Findings suggest that students were able to maintain basic MI skills but had difficulty transferring greater elements of the training to practice. The role of the field instructor was instrumental in whether students did or did not use MI in practice post training.

Keywords: clinical training transfer to field, motivational interviewing, transfer of learning, field instruction
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Developing a Faculty-Led Field Practicum: Factors to Consider

Published November 2016

by Anthony J. Hill, PhD
Delaware State University

Fran K. Franklin, PhD
Delaware State University

Chavon D. Dottin, EdD
Delaware State University
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In 2012, the state of Delaware experienced an unprecedented number of suicide deaths among youth and young adults (aged 13-21). A CDC epidemiologic investigation found mental health problems as a major determinant of the suicide deaths. Faculty members in the Department of Social Work at Delaware State University (DSU) collaborated with the Office of Field Instruction to develop a faculty-led field practicum to address the problem.  This article addresses the factors that were considered, including adhering to the philosophy of field instruction at DSU, assessing students’ understanding and mastery of core competencies, and supporting the department’s mission and key underpinnings.
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Service-User Involvement in Social Work Education: The Road Less Traveled

Published November 2016

by Katharine Dill, PhD
Marist College

Lorna Montgomery, PhD
Queen’s University Belfast

Gavin Davidson, PhD
Queen’s University Belfast

Joe Duffy, PhD
Queen’s University Belfast
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Introduction

This paper outlines the experiences of an undergraduate social work program (Bachelor of Social Work) in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Two terms used throughout the paper include: 1) “service user,” equivalent to “client” in the North American context and 2) “caregiver” also known as “carer,” a term used to describe individuals who play the role of caring or supporting service users/clients.

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Virtual Academic Challenges To Real-Time Trauma

Published November 2016

by Susan Hess, MSW
University of Southern California

Melissa Indera Singh, MSW
University of Southern California

Mary Walker Baron, MSW
University of Southern California
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Helping graduate level social work students address and process recent mass casualty violence is a challenge to any classroom.  We feel it is especially challenging when the classroom is virtual. While the virtual format allows for video and audio contact, students and instructors may be thousands of miles apart and see each other, like the old Hollywood Squares television program, from only the shoulders to the top of the head. Our Virtual Academic Center (VAC), while in most ways a marvel of technology, does present special challenges when faculty is confronted with such sensitive issues as the killings in Orlando, the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and the shooting of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

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Evidence-based practice in social work curriculum: Faculty and field instructor attitudes

Published November 2016

by Anwar Najor-Durack, PhD
Wayne State University
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Abstract

Evidence-based practice (EBP) continues to be debated among social work educators, as well as practitioners, while many funding sources are calling for accountability demonstrated by use of EBP. While social work faculty members and field instructors may agree that EBP should be used, reaching consensus on the definition of EBP and incorporation into teaching and practice is difficult. This study considers social work faculty and field instructors’ attitudes regarding opportunities and barriers to adoption and use of EBP in social work classrooms and field placements. Results showed that field instructors, more than faculty, perceived greater opportunities to use and adopt EBP into practice.

Keywords: Evidence-Based Practice, Field Placement, Social Work Curriculum, Social Work Faculty, Field Instructors

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A Qualitative Study of BSW Students’ Cultural Competence Preparedness to Uphold Client Dignity

Published November 2016

by Stefan Battle, EdD
Rhode Island College

Anthony Hill, EdD
Springfield College
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Abstract

This qualitative study, informed by grounded theory, examined junior-level Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) students’ preparedness in cultural competence skills to treat clients with respect and uphold their dignity. The researchers used Hicks’ (2013) elements of dignity, along with questions related to cultural competency, to guide a focus group with students. Overall, the students expressed readiness in the classroom to serve clients. However, some expressed uneasiness with knowing how to apply the practice skills learned in the classroom when in their field practicum. Case studies and skill lab modules could support students’ real-life skills with clients.

Keywords: social work, client dignity, cultural competence, field practicum, BSW program
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A Field Practicum Experience in Designing and Developing a Wellness Initiative: An Agency and University Partnership

Published November 2016

by Erlene Grise-Owens, EdD
Spalding University

Justin “Jay” Miller, PhD
University of Kentucky

Laura Escobar-Ratliff, CSW
Spalding University

Donia Addison, MSW
Spalding University

Midaya Marshall, MSW
Spalding University

Donna Trabue, MSW
Volunteers of America MidStates

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Abstract

Increasing complexities in field education require new field practica models.  Concomitantly, growing evidence supports the need for wellness initiatives in social service organizations.  This article describes a piloted model of a partnership between two universities and an agency, in which MSW students’ field practicum focused on conceptualizing, planning, implementing, and evaluating a wellness initiative at a social service organization.  The article offers a template for other professional programs to adapt.  The authors describe the components of the field practicum, in relation to EPAS competencies.  The authors critique the placement experience, concluding with future recommendations and further applications.

Keywords:  Wellness Initiative; Scholarship of Teaching-Learning (SoTL); Agency and University Partnership; Field placement model; Competencies
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Field Manuals: A road map to student learning?

Published November 2016

by Elisa M. Martin, PhD
Siena College

Toni-Marie Ciarfella, MPA
Independent Researcher
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Abstract

Twenty baccalaureate social work field education manuals from New York State were examined for the content they contained related to student assessment, how they linked theory and practice, and student responsibility in their learning and behavior. Data are examined in the context of the Council on Social Work Education’s Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (CSWE EPAS) and current literature. Findings highlight the range of content both in areas covered and depth of detail. Results provide a foundation for field programs to compare their manuals as they make revisions for EPAS 2015 and build on recommendations made in the 2014 CSWE Field Education Summit.

Keywords: field education, manuals, CSWE EPAS, assessment, professional behavior
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