Roles & Responsibilities

Field Instructor Responsibilities

1.         Facilitate the student’s learning by establishing and maintaining positive working relationships with the student, the faculty liaison, the agency representative, and others involved in the field education program;

2.         Help ensure the student meets practicum course requirements by developing a working knowledge of the course objectives, procedures, requirements, and the integration of the field placement experience in the total social work educational program;

3.         Promote a successful outcome in the field placement through participation in student selection, orientation to the agency, development of learning objectives reflecting program requirements and student career goals; evaluation, and timely and constructive feedback to the student concerning the strengths and weaknesses of his or her performance;

4.         Maximize student’s professional growth and learning through participation in activities designed to promote continuous expansion of the ability to apply social work skills in progressively more challenging situations;

5.         Assure that the student is able to implement social work values and ethics in all professional interactions in the field work setting through weekly supervision and by example;

6.         Facilitate student learning and achievement of objectives by being accessible to the student at reasonable intervals (minimum of 1 hour/week), identifying and collaborating with the agency representative and faculty liaison to resolve problems or disputes as early as possible, and serving as champion for the student’s professional development; and

7.         Promote the continuous improvement of the BSW Program and practicum course through participation in feedback activities designed to evaluate the program and course.


Agency Representative Responsibilities

The positions of field instructor and agency representative often will be filled by the same person; however, a field placement agency may separate these roles when a person meeting field instructor qualifications is not available, an agency has multiple student placements, or an agency elects to separate the roles. The agency representative will work with the outside field instructor, with the student, and with his/her own colleagues in the organization to ensure that the field education process works well for all involved. The agency representative will:

1.         Represent the field placement agency in all interactions with the program, including negotiating the agreement between the agency and the BSW Program, selecting students, evaluating the students and the field education program, resolving conflicts, and developing an acceptable learning contract;

2.         Assure that the field placement enhances the development of a student’s professional skills to work with diverse populations, vulnerable at-risk groups, and progressively more challenging situations dealt with by the agency by assignment to programs and duties maximizing experiential learning;

3.         Help ensure the student meets practicum course requirements by developing a working knowledge of the course objectives, procedures, requirements, and the integration of the field placement experience in the total educational program;

4.         Assure the agency supports the placement by provision of adequate working space and other essential materials; 

5.         Promote the achievement of field education and student learning objectives by orienting the student, field instructor (if necessary), and faculty liaison to the agency- including its service mission, expectations, values, priorities, and key personnel;

6.         Help ensure the safety of the student in the placement by fully disclosing any known or suspected risks at the field site during the pre-placement selection process, and by arranging for the appropriate training to minimize risks; and

7.         Monitor student completion of any agency required background checks and/or confidentiality training and notify faculty liaison of any non-compliance.