Dr. William “Bill” Fisher

From 1996 until his retirement in 2020, Dr. William “Bill” Fisher served as a member of the faculty of Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts. He held leadership roles as the assistant dean of field education and as chair of the Department of Graduate Social Work. As the assistant dean for field education, he is known by his faculty and community colleagues for his excellence in teaching, advising, and educational administration. Most significant has been his contribution to the Springfield College Field Education Department, where he successfully led a busy program, managing field placements for over 250 MSW students and developing approximately 500 field agency partnerships, while also advising students and teaching the yearly seminar in field instruction.

Likewise, Bill also played a meaningful role in field education at the regional and national level. For many years, he was an active member of the New England Consortium of Field Education; his investment in the group helped to make it a vibrant organization that generations of New England field directors counted on for collegial advice, support, and friendship. Bill was part of planning and organizing the consortium’s annual trainings and educational activities. Also, in 2013, as a member of the NASW Massachusetts chapter statewide Safety Task Force, Bill played a key role in the passage of landmark social work workplace safety legislation for the state of Massachusetts. On the national level, Bill was active in shaping field education policy; in 2015 he was the work group chair, lead author, and principal investigator for the Council on Social Work Education report, Findings from the 2015 state of field education survey: A survey of directors of field education on administrative models, staffing, and resources. The report prompted a national discussion about innovation and the resources needed to support field education learning.

In sum, Bill Fisher’s unwavering commitment to field education has spanned three decades. His staunch support for the centrality of field education as an anchor for student learning and as an essential pathway for professional development has helped to keep field education center stage and deserving of the designation, “signature pedagogy.”