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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.

Carolyn was the Field Director when the SCSSW adopted its anti-racism commitment more than 20 years ago. Carolyn worked tirelessly to ensure that all aspects of field curriculum incorporated an anti-racism lens, including spearheading the unique 2nd year anti-racism field assignment, which is still part of the curriculum today. She also created the field integrative seminar program. Her work ethic is legendary.

Carolyn was a great collaborator with resident faculty, administrators, students, agencies, field advisors, and her field team. A fierce advocate for anything field-related, she was also known to be fair-minded and an excellent listener. She was also a wonderful colleague to be around. Quick-witted with a great sense of humor, it is no surprise that her master’s thesis topic was, “The Psychotherapist’s Use of Humor.”

A sophisticated practitioner in her own right, Carolyn’s early career began as a practicing clinician and then she quickly moved into teaching Practice courses, which she still does today.  She is extremely dedicated to students’ learning experiences with one eye on the clients and the other eye on the quality of the students’ experience. What she cares about most is that students graduate prepared to serve the needs of clients whatever the setting may be. One of her most beloved phrases that she uses when teaching is, “Hopefully on a good day you do what you do on purpose.” The crux of her dedication is helping students understand what “on purpose” means.