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Agency Roles & Responsibilities
There are several different titles we use for field volunteers within our programs, some of which overlap:
Roles as a(n):
- Agency Supervisor (AS)
The agency professional directly responsible for supervising the student's day-to-day activities. The agency supervisor, in many cases, does not necessarily have a Degree in Social Work.
- Agency Representative (AR)
A person employed by the placement agency who represents the agency in all matters relevant to the placement. This could be the field instructor or an agency employee who determines if the agency will take a student for the year.
- Field Instructor (FI)
A professional, qualified, experienced MSW- or BSW-degreed social worker who supervises, instructs, and mentors the social work student in the field placement. The field instructor usually is an employee of the agency in which the student is placed. The CSWE requires that field instructors be graduates of an accredited social work program and have a minimum of two years of professional, post-graduate experience.
- Outside Field Instructor (OFI)
The term used for a field instructor recruited from among qualified social workers in the community who provides the weekly supervision to a student who is placed in an agency which does not employ a social worker who meets UAA / CSWE field instructor requirements.
Placement Process Information for Agencies
**Please note that neither students nor agencies solicit or arrange placements. Placements will not be made outside the following process.
- Placement Process
Step 1 The student completes their Field Application. The student becomes familiar with the potential placements in their community.
Step 2 Agencies interested in hosting a Social Work student submit to the School of Social Work a brief description of the learning experience the agency can offer the practicum student. Field Instructors submit a Field Instructor Application. Agency Representatives submit a contact information sheet.
Step 3 The Field Education Coordinator meets with each student during the spring semester to discuss the student’s interest and learning needs. The Field Education Coordinator will work with the student to identify potential placement options.
Step 4 The student prepares to interview at the agency or agencies mutually identified as the preferred placement choice(s). The student is given the name of the agency contact person and is instructed to arrange an interview. The Field Education Coordinator contacts the agency to provide names of the student(s) referred to the agency for an interview.
Step 5 The student schedules an interview at the agency. Students are encouraged to bring a resume and to prepare for the interview as they would a job interview, although the focus of this interview is clearly one of securing an appropriate social work learning experience rather than employment. The goal is for both student and agency personnel to determine whether there is a fit between student expectations and agency expectations for the practicum placement.
Step 6 Students interview at the placement site. Students take the agency placement referral/decision form and give it to the interviewer to return to the School of Social Work.
Step 7 The student and agency interviewer submit their respective decision form to the Field Education Coordinator. Either is welcome to contact the Coordinator to discuss their decision. If all parties concur (agency interviewer, student, and Field Education Coordinator) that this is the best match, the Coordinator will confirm the placement. The School of Social Work will contact the agency if additional information is needed (i.e. Field Instructor Application or if UAA does not already have an Affiliation Agreement on file between the agency and the university outlining practicum policies, one will be sent out for signatures).
Step 8 If the interview does not result in a placement of the student at the agency, then the student will interview at other agencies as referred by the Field Education Coordinator.
Step 9 A field orientation will be held in late August for students and agency staff. Program materials will be provided to guide the practicum and the necessary forms for documentation of practicum activities will be included.
Step 10 Students enter placements in late August or early September following review of practicum expectations in the practicum seminar.