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Southeast Missouri State University

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do I have to have all academic requirements completed prior to entering field education?
  2. How many hours of field education are required in order to graduate?
  3. How many weeks of field education are required in order to graduate?
  4. Do I have to find my own field placement agency?
  5. How are field placements decided?
  6. Can I find my own field placement agency?
  7. Can I have my field placement with my current employer?
  8. Can I have my field placement in my hometown?
  9. What if I don’t like my field agency placement after I begin?
  10. Can I be paid for my work during my field education?
  11. Do I get a grade for field education?
  12. Can I take classes while I am in field placement?
  13. Do I have to pass a background check in order to be placed in an agency?
  14. What is the role of my field instructor?
  15. What is the role of the faculty liaison?
  16. What is the role of the director of field education?
  17. What is the Integrative Seminar?
  18. What is the Assessment of Competencies?
  19. What is the ACAT? How do I prepare for it?

1.  Do I have to have all academic requirements completed prior to entering field education?

The answer to this question is yes. The prerequisites for enrollment in Field Education include the following:

  1. Completion of at least 105 University credit hours.
  2. The student must have a cumulative 2.5 Grade Point Average (GPA) or a cumulative GPA of 2.25, plus a GPA of 2.75 in the required professional foundation courses.
  3. Completion of all University Studies requirements.
  4. Completion of all required professional foundation courses and social work electives with a minimum grade of "C".
  5. Successful completion of the University's General Graduation Requirements i.e., Writing Proficiency Exam,  MAPP2, and Career Proficiency CL001, 002, 003, & 004.
  6. Completion of the Area Concentration Achievement Test (ACAT) or any other required professional competency examination.

2.  How many hours of field education are required in order to graduate?

Field Education consists of 448 clock hours of generalist social work practice experience in a designated field agency under the supervision of a professional social worker serving as the Field Instructor.

3.  How many weeks of field education are required in order to graduate? 

Students are assigned to field agencies four days each week, Monday-Thursday. The student typically works an 8 hour day. At this rate, 32 hours per week, the student will complete the required 448 hours in about 15 weeks. Occasionally students will work more than 32 hours per week, however, the student must complete a full 14 weeks at the agency in order to fulfill the field education requirements.

4.  Do I have to find my own field placement agency? 

The Director of Field Education is responsible for coordination of the placement of students in field agencies.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES IS A STUDENT TO CONTACT ANY FIELD AGENCY FOR POSSIBLE PLACEMENT WITHOUT CONSENT FROM THE DIRECTOR OF FIELD EDUCATION.

5.  How are field placements decided?

The Director of Field Education is responsible for coordination of the placement of students in field agencies. The student must submit an Application for Admission to Field Education in the semester immediately before the student is expected to enroll in Field Education. The Director of Field Education reviews each student application to insure that the student meets the requisite criteria. The Director of Field Education then meets individually with each student to gather the student’s input as to interest in settings and/or agencies. The applications and proposed matches are then submitted by the Director of Field Education to the Social Work faculty for review. During this review the Director of Field Education and the faculty make a final determination of appropriate field agency assignment(s).

During the assignment process the Director of Field Education contacts each prospective field agency instructor to determine willingness to interview and/or possibly accept a student for the upcoming semester. After assignments are finalized by the faculty and the Director of Field Educaiton, the student is referred by the Director of Field Education to the selected Field Instructor to arrange an interview.

At the interview the student will provide the Field Instructor with a copy of her/his Application for Admission to the Field Education Program, her/his resume, and the student's Portfolio of Standardized Assignments. During the interview, the Field Instructor and student will discuss the learning experiences available in that agency. The Field Instructor will also assess the student’s expectations, knowledge, experience, personal characteristics, and portfolio content and scores as indicator of the student’s potential for success in the placement. Following the interview, the student and the Field Instructor complete their respective Pre-placement Interview forms and return them to the Director of Field Education. If both interview forms are affirmative, the Director of Field Education will confirm the placement with the student and the Field Instructor in writing.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES IS A STUDENT TO CONTACT ANY FIELD AGENCY FOR POSSIBLE PLACEMENT WITHOUT CONSENT FROM THE DIRECTOR OF FIELD EDUCATION.

6. Can I find my own field placement agency?

The Director of Field Education is responsible for coordination of the placement of students in field agencies. 

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES IS A STUDENT TO CONTACT ANY FIELD AGENCY FOR POSSIBLE PLACEMENT WITHOUT CONSENT FROM THE DIRECTOR OF FIELD EDUCATION.

7.  Can I have my field placement with my current employer?

The Department of Social Work strongly discourages students from attempting their field education in settings where they are employed. There is great concern that such placements may negatively affect learning, growth, and professional development. A student's mastery of the core competencies may conflict with employment-related expectations. Conflicts of interest my also easily arise, potentially influencing the quality of the educational experience. Moreover, such arrangements place the faculty liaison and Director of Field Education in the awkward position of monitoring a situation that is assumed from the outset to be potentially problematic. Although such placements are rarely approved, a student may submit a request to the Director of Field Education to have the faculty consider approval of an exception to this policy.

8.  Can I have my field placement in my hometown?

Students often request a field placement in or near their home towns. The Department of Social Work has 30 core approved agencies throughout the Southeast Missouri region in which to place students. The Director of Field Education is usually able to accommodate students’ requests for placements in or near their hometowns.

9.  What if I don’t like my field agency placement after I begin?

Placement decisions are made with careful consideration of the student’s interests, the student’s education needs, and the practice opportunities available at each approved agency. Placements are not changed due to the student not “liking” the field agency placement. In the event that the student is not satisfied with the placement, the Faculty Liaison, the Field Instructor, The Director of Field Education, and the student will work together to resolve any issues so that the placement can continue.

If the student has to be removed from the assigned field agency due to circumstances beyond the student’s control, such as the agency closing or the Field Instructor leaving the agency, the Director of Field Education and the Faculty Liaison will work with the student to establish another field placement for that student as quickly as possible.

If at any time a student is asked to leave a field agency due to illegal, unprofessional, or unethical behavior, or due to student’s consistent inability to meet basic requirements, the student will fail SW449 and SW450. 

10.  Can I be paid for my work during my field education?

Students in Field Education may not be paid wages or a salary for their services while performing field education agency duties. Students may accept scholarships, educational grants, and stipends. Field agencies wishing to provide a scholarship or educational stipend to the student in field placement must inform, in writing, the Director of Field Education in advance. The amount of the scholarship, grant, or stipend should be given along with any expectations or obligations that may be tied to receipt of such funds. The Director of Field Education will inform the faculty of the Department of Social Work of such proposals. The faculty reserves the right to approve or decline such placement arrangements.

11.  Do I get a grade for field education?

The final grade for SW450 - Field Education is Pass or Fail.  Evaluation of the student’s performance is based on the student meeting departmental benchmarks in all of 10 core competencies as scored in the Final Field Education Assessment of Competencies  assessment tool. The final grade will be assigned by the Faculty Liaison.

In addition, the student must take and pass SW 449 - Integrative Seminar with a minimum grade of "C" and have an overall 2.25 GPA to graduate.

 12.  Can I take classes while I am in field placement?

 The Field Education semester courses are:

  • SW450  Field Education  (12 credits);
  • SW449  The Social Work Integrative Seminar  (3 credits).

Students cannot take additional coursework, University's Writing Proficiency Exam or the University's critical thinking exam, during the Field Education semester.

13.  Do I have to pass a background check in order to be placed in an agency?

The semester immediately preceding the semester for which the student is applying for field education, he or she must register with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Family Care Safety Registry. The appropriate State forms, which will be provided to the student by the Director of Field Education, must be completed and accompanied by any required fee(s). The Social Work Department will receive from the Registry a criminal background check, a child abuse and neglect screening, and other critical background screening information. The results of these screenings could render a student ineligible for certain field education assignments as well as prevent a student from enrolling in Field Education. 

In the event that a student has already registered with the Family Care Safety Registry as a result of previous or current employment/volunteer work, the student will provide his/her name and social security number to the Director of Field Education for verification purposes. Background check information will then be accessed by the Director from the Family Care Safety Registry.

14.  What is the role of my field instructor?

Responsibilities of the Field Instructor include but are not limited to:

  1. Orienting the student to the agency mission, policies, procedures, and staff.  Confidentiality, sexual harassment, grievance and personal safety should be addressed.
  2. Developing practice opportunities for the student in accordance with the Department of Social Work mission and goals and the core social work competencies.
  3. Educational instruction, supervision, and weekly sessions to assess competencies with the student.
  4. Evaluation of the student’s performance, assessment of core competencies at mid-term and final, and recommendation of the final grade to the Faculty Liaison.
  5. Communication with the Faculty Liaison regarding the student’s progress and any issues or concerns that may affect field education.
  6. Communication with the Director of Field Education regarding the organization’s overall participation in the Field Education Program, adherence to the cooperative agreements, and any related issues.  
  7. Regularly attend Field Education orientation and training sessions to keep abreast of developments in the Field Education Program. Also provide feedback and input into the program decision-making process.
  8. Fostering and promoting identification with the values, principles, and Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers.

15.  What is the role of the faculty liaison?

As part of their semester work load, members of the faculty may be assigned the role of Field Liaison. Faculty Liaisons provide oversight of the student's field education experience.

Responsibilities of the Faculty Liaison include but are not limited to:

  1. Developing working relationships and communicating with assigned field instructors.
  2. Mediating issues that may arise between the student, field instructor, and the field agency.
  3. Conducting a minimum of three on-site visits to each field agency during the semester.
  4. Serving as a resource to field instructors related to assessing competencies, identifying evidence, and scoring behaviors.
  5. Overseeing the assessment process of the core competencies in field educaiton.  
  6. Conducting weekly small group meetings with assigned field students.
  7. Reading and providing timely feedback on weekly student self-assessments.
  8. Submitting the final grade for students in SW 450 - Field Education.

16.  What is the role of the Director of Field Education?

The Director of Field Education has administrative responsibility for the Field Education Program including but not limited to:

  1. Selecting, recruiting, and maintaining field agencies, as well as developing collaborative relationships with those agencies.
  2. Planning and facilitating orientation and training programs.
  3. Providing orientation to field education for students and field instructors.
  4. Screening and approving student applications for admission to the field education program.
  5. Arranging for the placement of students in field agencies.
  6. Handling conflicts, complaints, and grievances related to field education. 

17.   What is Integrative Seminar?

All field education students are enrolled in SW 449 – Social Work Integrative Seminar. This is a three hour class that is graded using the A, B, C, D, F scale. The class meets on Fridays, 10:00 am – 12:50 am. The purpose of the Integrative Seminar is to support the student during his/her field education experieince. This includes the integration of social work knowledge, values, and skills as the student progresses in developing and demonstrating the core competnecies in a rural generalist practice setting. Seminar must be  passed with a "C" or better in order for the student to graduate.

18.  What is the Assessment of Competencies?

In field education students are expected to develop and demonstrate mastery of the core competencies for entry-level generalilst practice in a rural setting. Assessment of the student by the Field Instructor is achieved through the Field Education Assessment of Competencies instrument which has "mid-term" and "final" versions. The forms list 10 core competencies. Each competency is followed by related behaviors or skills to be developed and mastered by the students. The Assessment of Competencies forms are completed by the Field Instructor, with input from the student, prior to the liaison's visits for mid-term and final evaluations.

19.  What is the ACAT?  How do I prepare for it?
 
All Field candidates are required to complete the Area Concentration Achievement Test (ACAT) prior to the field education semester. The ACAT will be scheduled by the Director of Field Education the semester prior to enrolling in the field education courses. The ACAT is a nationally normed test designed to measure general social work knowledge in eight critical substantive areas: diversity, populations at risk, social and economic justice, values and ethics, policy and services, social work practice, human behavior in the social environment, and research methods. The ACAT scores will be used to assess individual student performance in each of these areas.

Preparation for the ACAT can include a review of core social work class notes and a review of the NASW Code of Ethics. Students may choose to form study groups to review notes from core social work classes.

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