Working Together Works
The Department of Social Work’s program emphasizes social work practice with a broad range of types and sizes of client systems. Direct fieldwork in selective placements encourages students to bridge macro and micro issues, practice and policy, and to see themselves as agents of change within the context of current social issues.
Agencies within the Greater Binghamton area and surrounding communities in the region have enthusiastically embraced and supported the creation of collaborative partnerships that foster the learning process while addressing community needs. Field education sites and field instructors are key factors in promoting meaningful these learning opportunities. In this light, the program developed criteria for agencies participating in our field education program as follows:
Field Agency Selection
Identification of potential Field Agencies can occur in a number of ways.
- the University may solicit the participation of an agency
- an agency representative may contact the University and express interest.
- a student may request an agency be considered for participation in the program
In any of these situations, the Director of Field Education meets with representatives of the agency and learns about the program to share information about the program’s mission and curriculum with the agency staff, and to discuss how the field placement can address the program’s goals and objectives. The agency staff describe what kind of learning opportunities could be provided to meet the student’s and program’s learning objectives and complete an Agency Information form. Potential field instructors also complete a Field Credential Form.
Final selection of Field Agencies occurs when agencies comply with the following criteria:
Criteria for Selection of Field Agencies
- Demonstration of a commitment to the educational process of students.
- Adherence to the guiding principles of Binghamton University’s MSW program mission.
- Demonstration of adherence to the National Association of Social Work Code of Ethics and professional values.
- Agency provides service to vulnerable populations, including some combination of individuals, families, groups, organizations or communities from diverse backgrounds.
- Provision of learning opportunities that correspond with field education goals and objectives in a supportive and ongoing manner.
- Provision of an agency orientation for students.
- Provision of a minimum of one hour of supervision each week for 31 weeks by the field instructor.
- Participation by the field instructor in student and program evaluation processes.
- Participation by the field instructor in an orientation program and field instructor seminars, meetings and gatherings.
The agency plays a critical role in the education of students, providing a foundation and context for students to learn and apply knowledge and skills related to the profession. The role of the agency is to provide students with diverse experiences on a macro and micro level while ethically delivering services to vulnerable populations. The agency must be committed to education and create a meaningful learning environment for students.
Criteria for Selection of Field Instructors:
- Values the educational process for graduate-level students.
- Has a master’s degree from a social work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
- Has had a minimum of two years post-MSW practice experience with client systems of a variety of sizes.
- Has a willingness to provide exposure and learning opportunities that expose students to issues of diversity.
- Understands the difference between student-focused learning opportunities and what is expected of employees.
- Has the ability to recognize generalist and advanced-practice skills.
- Has the ability to guide students to consider assessment and interventions from a bio, psycho, social, spiritual, cultural and environmental context.
- Understands the strength-based perspective.
- Has the ability to provide a minimum of one hour of structured supervision per week for 31 weeks.
- Has the ability and willingness to attend fieldwork orientation, seminars and meetings organized by the Director of Field Education.
- Has the ability to provide ongoing feedback to students.
- Has the ability to identify and address performance issues that may arise.
- Willingness to alert Field Liaison or Director of Field Education of concerns should they arise.
- Willingness and ability to participate in student and program evaluation process.
- Completion of the Field Instructor Credential form. (See appendix 3)
The role of the Field Instructor is central to the student’s ability to learn. The primary role is to provide a sound educational experience for students. The Field Instructor’s role is not to serve as an employer, but rather as an educator. Field Instructors must be committed to education, understand different learning styles and be able to engage students in the learning process. Field Instructors must be able to provide a safe learning environment in which students can learn about information, values, and skills related to the profession.