General Field Questions
When does field begin and end?
Undergraduate (BSSW), Second Year Masters (MSWII), and Advanced Standing (ASAP) students generally begin field at the start of the autumn semester. First year Masters (MSWI) students will complete their field practicums during spring semester only. All field placements will finish at the end of the 14th week of spring semester. Students deviating from this plan must consult with the field office. Please refer to the Field Calendar for specific start and end dates for the academic year.
How do I document my field hours?
Students document field hours using the Time Sheet form on the Field Database. Time Sheets will be assigned to students at the beginning of their first semester in field. It is up to the student to track their own hours for the duration of the field placement. Review the policies around field hours in the Field Manual and view the database instructional videos more information.
How do I apply for field placement with an agency?
The field placement process begins with each student completing the Field Practicum Questionnaire. The Field Practicum Questionnaire is designed to assist the field placement coordinator in matching students with appropriate field sites and requests specific information on the student’s employment/volunteer experience, previous practicum experience, learning experiences requested, and special needs or requests. The timely submission of the Field Practicum Questionnaire will increase the opportunity for placements in preferred settings. Please note: Students must not initiate contact with agencies to seek placements without the approval of the director or field placement coordinator.
Can I choose my field placement?
For undergraduate and first year Masters Students, the Office of Field Education will review the Field Practicum Questionnaire to match students with field practicum agencies. Second year Masters Students and Advanced Standing students may select up to 3 preferred agencies. Please note that these are preferences only, and specific field assignments cannot be guaranteed.
Can I do my field placement where I work?
Students may complete their field placement in work sites, provided they have been working in the agency at least 60 days, have separate employment and field placement supervisors, and learning activities that differ from the student’s current employment responsibilities. The student’s learning experiences must exceed present job skills and knowledge. Students who are requesting to complete a field placement with their employer must complete the Employment-Based Field Placement Application. This application must be completed in the Field Database and submitted with the Field Practicum Questionnaire. A student wishing to pursue this option should contact the field placement coordinator who can provide additional information.
Do agencies have specific requirements for students that might impact where I can be placed?
Some agencies require flexible work hours/days, FBI/BCI background checks, specific health tests or screenings (TB test, flu shot, etc.), drug screens, or social work licensure as a prerequisite for placement. Other placements may require students to have a car. Foreign language skills may be helpful.
If I do not have a car, how will I be assigned to a field placement site?
The Office of Field Education takes into consideration whether students have their own car or will require public transportation to their agency. Students who do not have a car are expected to utilize public transportation.
If I commute for classes, can I be placed in an agency near my residence?
The Office of Field Education offers opportunities for placements in several of Ohio’s counties. Students should indicate their preferred county of placement in the Field Practicum Questionnaire. Additionally, students are encouraged to discuss plans to be placed in counties that are outside of their campus area during the placement process.
Can I receive a field placement with all evening and/or weekend hours?
The Office of Field Education takes into consideration students who work part-time, full time, or have other responsibilities during the daytime hours. It is important to note that there are a limited number of agencies that can accommodate evening/weekend hours. Students must understand that evening/weekend field placements cannot be guaranteed.
Will I get to interview at my field placement?
Each student is expected to have a pre-placement interview at their field site before they are accepted for placement. Some agencies are agreeable to phone interviews for students who are unable to interview in person due to geographical distance. Students should consider this a professional interview: dress appropriately and bring a resume.
Human Rights Activities
How do I decide what to do for my human rights activity?
Although the activity doesn’t have to be directly related to a student’s placement agency, the student and field instructor should decide on the activity. This activity entails more than volunteering, it should advance human rights or bring attention to a social and economic justice issue. If a student attends training, the student must go beyond the training to receive human rights credits. Examples might include visiting a legislator and discussing student’s position on the issue, or training staff at the student’s agency to increase their awareness. The student might also consider attending a rally, watching legislative testimony, or helping with a fundraiser. Students can find ideas to discuss in supervision on our website: http://csw.osu.edu/field-education/human-rights-activities/.
Is there flexibility in how I complete the hours for the human rights activity?
Generally, yes. Students can do more than one activity to complete their human rights hours. In some cases, an activity will take many hours, especially if the student is involved in the planning of an event.
Learning Agreement – General Information
When do I turn in the Learning Agreement/evaluation?
Initially, the learning agreement is generally turned in at the end of the 5th week of the first semester in field for BSSW, and ASAP/MSWII students and in the 4th week for MSWI students. Please see the Field Calendar for specific dates. Prior to turning in the Learning Agreement, the student and field instructor add learning activities specific to the placement, determine how to assess the newly added activities, and develop target dates for the required and added learning activities. MSWI students do not need to add activities to the Learning Agreement, but do need to complete target dates for all the required activities.
The evaluation is turned in at the end of the 14th week of each semester in field. The field instructor rates the student’s performance for each learning activity, and for the competency as a whole, in the “evaluation of practice behavior” column. The field instructor also provides a narrative addressing each competency.
Do I develop a new Learning Agreement each semester?
No, only one Learning Agreement is developed during the first semester in field. This is the plan for the duration of the student’s placement. If learning objectives drastically change, the student may be asked to update the Learning Agreement. Should a student’s field placement change during the school year, the student must complete a new Learning Agreement.
Do I have to add learning activities to the Learning Agreement or are the required activities enough?
All students, except MSWI students, should add one to two learning activities for each competency that are specific to the field placement. At the beginning of the placement, we suggest the student start a list of known learning objectives during the course of the academic year. When it’s time to work on the Learning Agreement, add those learning objectives to the most appropriate competency.
Can I put one activity under multiple competencies on the Learning Agreement?
No. While it is understandable that one activity might fit under multiple competencies, students may only place an activity under one competency.
Where can I get help coming up with additional activities for the Learning Agreement?
Students should first talk with their field instructor as they develop the Learning Agreement together. Many field instructors have years of experience working with students and will have great ideas for activities that are specific to the agency/placement. For more assistance, contact your field liaison.
What if I don’t know the target date for a learning activity?
It is understandable that some learning activities will have specific target dates (e.g., 11/30/16), more general target dates (e.g., February or spring semester), and a couple of activities might be “ongoing.” If you will be in placement more than one semester, be sure to identify some activities to complete each semester.
What gets submitted with my Learning Agreement/evaluation?
When students initially create the Learning Agreement, you will submit that for review. When students submit the evaluation at the end of each semester, the Time Sheet and Supervision Log are also submitted at the same time.
Can I change my Learning Agreement if I move from one agency to another?
On rare occasions, a student might change agencies during a placement. In other cases, a student may move from one department to another during the course of the field placement. In these situations, the student may need to update the Learning Agreement, or create a new Learning Agreement, so that the learning activities apply to the new placement setting. The student should work with the field liaison to determine which path, updating or creating, is correct for the given situation.
Learning Agreement – FAQs about specific Required Activities
What should I discuss in my weekly reflection?
The first activity in Competency 1 requires students to write a weekly reflection related to the field placement. The activity is self-reflective. It should assist the student in capturing observations, interactions, and reactions in field that the student might forget to discuss in supervision. Students should discuss this activity with their field instructor at the beginning of the placement to determine how the instructor prefers to review the reflections. There is flexibility in this assignment; some field instructors might want the student to submit the reflections the day before supervision via email, some may want the student to turn in a hard copy, and others may want the student to bring the reflections with them to supervision to read together. Students who don’t like to write paragraphs, like in a traditional journal, can keep a list of items to discuss during supervision. Keep track of your questions, thoughts, and reactions around those items.
Do the weekly reflections get turned in with my Learning Agreement evaluation?
No, the reflections are not turned in with the evaluation. They are tools for the student and the field instructor to use in supervision.
How do I accomplish the “professional training” activity on the Learning Agreement?
Some agencies offer in-house training that students can attend. If not, the college offers Continuing Education programs and there are many workshops and training events available on campus through various organizations. Students struggling to identify opportunities should contact their field liaison for assistance.
What is the ethical decision-making model activity on the Learning Agreement?
Each semester in field, the student must document their thinking about a placement-related ethical dilemma through the use of a decision-making model. Students may use any model they like, including one from class or one recommended by the field instructor. Click here for an outline of the Reamer model.
How do I “demonstrate awareness of social media” which is an activity on the Learning Agreement?
Competency 1 includes this Required Activity. Students and field instructors should have a conversation around the use and impact of social media. Items to consider may include: What does it mean to practice in the age of Twitter and Facebook? Can we use social media in our practice? How do we work with all available technologies? Is it OK to be friends with clients on Facebook? What legal and/or liability issues can come up? How do we be professional in communication in a digital world?
Can I read any scholarly articles that I want for Competency 4 on the Learning Agreement?
Students are responsible for identifying the articles and obtaining approval from their field instructor. However, the field instructor may also suggest articles to the student.
Performance Evaluation and Grading
Who will sign off on completion of my field placement?
At the end of each semester, the student’s field instructor will sign off on the completion of hours and determine the level of competency for each activity on the Learning Agreement. Final grades will be submitted by the field liaison. If a student works with both a field instructor and task instructor, the instructors will collaborate on the evaluation and narrative feedback on the form.
Will I receive a grade for field placement?
Each semester that a student is enrolled in field, the student will be graded as Satisfactory (S) or Unsatisfactory (U) based on the evaluation of their performance in field. The field instructor evaluates every learning activity on the Learning Agreement using the ratings at the top of the form and those evaluations roll-up into the S or U.
If you have questions, please contact your field liaison or the Office of Field Education firstname.lastname@example.org or call 614-292-7686.